Carl Zeiss Unveils Cine Lenses for DSLRs

In his recent Twitter Q&A session regarding House being filmed with a 5D Mark II, director Greg Yaitanes answered a question about differences of the new setup by saying, “focus was hard with these lenses but more “cine-style” lenses are being made as we speak.” Lo and behold, new cine lenses are being announced!

Carl Zeiss has just announced the first set of prime and zoom lenses designed specifically for HDSLR cameras. The new Compact Prime CP.2 and Lightweight Zoom LWZ.2 lenses have interchangeable mounts and can be used on F (Nikon), EF (Canon), and PL (traditional cine camera) systems.

The primes range in focal length from 18mm to 85mm and can be used on full frame cameras, while the zooms are limited to crop sensor bodies. Here’s an interesting quote from the press release:

The trend of filming in high definition using a digital SLR camera is unstoppable. Moviemaking today is unthinkable without this technique, whether for independent filmmakers, television producers or professional still photographers who wish to expand their services.

Pricing was not unannounced, but the lenses will be available starting June 2010.

  • R v S

    This will probably not be affordable for the amateur photographers :p

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  • KarelBata

    I don't think that's the market they're aiming at. :D

    We're seeing a curious inversion here where the accessories are costing way more than the camera itself! I'm wondering how Canon will respond. Already Panasonic have announced a four-thirds video camera based around the chip they used in the Lumix. Nikon and Pentax must be watching this intently. As must RED. It'll be an interesting year.

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  • Niall

    That's not an inversion at all: lenses have often been more expensive than bodies. It's a little rarer with high-end digital bodies, but a 300mm 2.8 lens (from either Nikon or Canon) for example, has always cost much more than the body you bolt it onto. And that's how it should be. In the days of film, the body was just the thing that got the film behind the lens and opened the shutter for the appropriate period; in the digital era the camera does more, but is also more prone to obsolescence and thus likely to be replaced more often than the lens.

    A lens is not an accessory: it's arguably the most important part of the system.

  • Karel Bata

    I was thinking about the world of cinematography (rather than stills) for which this lens is clearly intended.

    I don't know how much they cost to buy, but (as an example) an Arri 435 body is over £500 per day to hire, while a decent Cooke zoom would be about £250. What changes (if you're contemplating moving from film to DSLR) is that the cost of a body is so much less than a comparably good lens. Hence my saying the situation is inverted. To those of us used to film this takes a little getting used to.

    Oh, and really – there is way more to a film camera than “just the thing that got the film behind the lens and opened the shutter for the appropriate period” :D

  • mdubuque

    I was thinking of buying a Canon L series 28-300 for my 5d, but was very worried about the strong pincushion distortion.

    Anyone have any ballpark ideas how much some cine quality super telephoto zoom lenses for the 5d might cost when they become available?

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