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I had ZEISS’ Snehal Patel over for a lively discussion about the new Compact Prime 3 and Compact Prime 3 XD lenses from ZEISS. This exciting new series of professional cinema lenses feature smaller and lighter housings than their CP.2 predecessors, consistent 95mm front outer diameters, and an updated focusing mechanism for a consistently smooth feel, even in cold weather. All lenses in the range are now “full frame” (covering up to the 35mm stills format, 24mm x 36mm, with a 43.4mm diagonal) and maximum apertures have been made more consistent as well. The 15mm, 18mm and 21mm focal lengths all open to T2.9 while focal lengths from 25mm and up all open to T2.1.

In addition to the CP.3 line, ZEISS is also introducing the CP.3 XD range. Identical to the CP.3 lenses in terms of optics and housings, these lenses use Cooke’s /i Technology protocol to communicate aperture, focal length and focus distance with compatible camera mounts in the PL-mount versions (via /i data pins at the 12 o’clock position). They can also communicate through a lemo cable to compatible hardware, such as Ambient’s Master LockIt Plus timecode generator. What’s more, the /i data protocol is also being used to store – and manipulate(!) – lens shading and distortion maps. Check out my video above for the full rundown on these lens’ extraordinary new capabilities.

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