Carl Zeiss has just announced a new cine lens – the Lightweight Zoom LWZ.2 – which has an image circle of 24.9×18.7mm for ANSI 35mm cine which is just larger than APS-C Canon and DX Nikon sensors, and obviously large enough to cover Micro Four Thirds camera sensors as well.
Interestingly, Zeiss has decided on designing it with interchangeable mounts – in Nikon F, Canon EF and cine PL mounts so that videographers can change their cameras to give a different look or feature set without having to buy new lenses.
Of course, this need for interchangeable mounts did not apply to Micro Four Thirds camera users anyway as they can buy an adapter to use practically any mount lens, including cine PL mount.
Although they call it “Light Weight”, it is 2kg – much too heavy for hand held work with a small Micro Four Thirds camera, but it would be awesome on the recently announced Panasonic professional camcorder for Micro Four Thirds!
This lens has a focal length range of 15.5 to 45mm at T 2.6 aperture
Why spend all that money on one of these lenses when it will only be manual focus anyway?
There is a good reason for the discerning videographers out there who usually do not use auto focus anyway but need the following features which these lenses provide (assuming it has the same feature set of the Compact Prime CP.2 lenses):
- easy manual focus via longer focus rotation
- consistent manual focus distances unlike dSLR USM lenses which are unreliable in manually setting a focus to the distance scale – a critical exercise in professional videography
- ability to attach geared follow focus equipment to manually focus and adjust iris
- cine-style housing dimensions for compatibility with existing cine equipment
- iris diaphragm has an incredible 14 rounded blades (most current dSLR lenses use 8 or 9) to ensure it remains as circular as possible at all apertures to give circular out of focus images and thus contributes to more aesthetic and “natural” bokeh
- T style aperture which presumably is step-less to ensure changes in brightness are subtle
- superb image quality, free of distortions with T* XP multi-layer coatings to reduce flare
Carl Zeiss are also revising their Compact Prime CP.2 lenses which cover a 35mm full frame sensor without vignetting, and which have a common maximum aperture of T2.1 – more on these here. A set of 6 prime lenses will set you back $US20,000.