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Lenses / Optics Posts

Zeiss has had a line of reasonably priced cinema zooms for a few years now, but the introduction of the Zeiss LWZ.3 21-100mm takes things up a notch. The 21-100 covers a much longer focal length range than any of their other lenses, and is more than a pound lighter than its predecessors. The 21-100 will cover most of the documentary shooting situations you’ll find yourself in. But unlike the other Zeiss cinema zooms, the 21-100 only covers Super 35, so you can’t use this on your full frame cameras. Let’s take a closer look at the aspects of this lens.

…continue reading Behind the Lens: Zeiss LWZ.3 21-100mm Zoom

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Canon’s CN-E Compact Zooms have been a great addition to documentary cinematography since their release five years ago. The image quality is superb and is a great choice for higher-end productions. They offer a comfortable size and weight, with a fast, consistent T2.8 aperture. This pair of lenses offers a great focal length range that will cover you in most shooting situations. Let’s take a deep dive into the look and feel of these two lenses.

…continue reading Behind the Lens: Canon CN-E 15.5-47 & 30-105 Compact Zooms

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I caught up with Les Zellan of ZGC and Cooke Optics to hear all about their new S7/i “full-frame plus” lenses, a new front-anamorphic zoom, and a new variant of the Anamorphic/i primes with modified coatings to provoke more cinematic flare. Stay tuned through the end of the video to see the new line of Panchro/i lenses, Cooke’s own reproductions of the classic Speed Panchro’s from the golden age of cinema.

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Thomas Fletcher of Fujifilm joined me to discuss the new Fujinon MK 50-135mm T2.9 Cine-Zoom lens. This is a telephoto companion lens to compliment the recently announced 18-55mm T2.9. The new 50-135mm shares the same weight, length and diameter of the 18-55mm. It also shares the same par-focal design, with minimal breathing and no aperture ramping. Like its “shorter” brother, this lens will be offered in a native E-mount for Sony cameras like the FS7II.

The Fujinon MK 50-135mm T2.9 will start shipping in July. Watch the video above to learn more.
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In this video, I chat with Ron Engvaldsen from Schneider Optics about their new RHOdium Full Spectrum Neutral Density filters. Traditional ND filters have used organic dyes, with naturally varying densities and changes in spectral transmission over time. Schneider’s new filters aim for ruler-flat spectral response over the entire visible spectrum and down into near-infrared. Because camera manufacturers have introduced better handling of IR contamination in recent years, existing IRNDs can now actually over-filter towards the infrared end of the spectrum, ironically introducing new issues when used with modern sensor/OLPF packages. Schneider’s FSNDs have been extensively tested with Sony, ARRI and RED cameras to make sure differences in sensitivity and spectral transmission introduce little to no variation among the red, green and blue color channels when viewed “end-to-end” on a vectorscope and other test equipment. Check out the video for more.

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In this installment of our NAB 2017 coverage, I’m here with Patrick Santucci from Sigma to discuss some updates and new lenses in the Sigma Cine series.

The most recent additions to the cine prime lineup are a 14mm and a 135mm, both with a maximum aperture of T2. These lenses will be available in PL, EF and E-mount, and offer full frame coverage up to 8K resolution, just like the rest of Sigma’s cine primes.

Sigma’s line of Super 35 cine zooms have been so popular, they are now stepping into the full frame-compatible cine zoom lenses market with the 24-35mm T2.2. With a 43.3mm image circle, this lens will be perfect for everything from Sony’s a7S to the RED EPIC-W. Check out the above video for more information.

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I met with Seth Emmons from CW Sonderoptic (Leica’s affiliate company for cinema lenses) about their exciting, new large format Leica Thalia lenses. The Thalia’s are a line of high-end spherical cine primes with extra-large 60mm diameter image circles. This is more than enough to cover ARRI’s ALEXA 65 and virtually any other digital format in use today. This includes RED’s 8K VistaVision, full format stills (36mm x 24mm) and, of course, all 3- and 4-perf Super 35 digital sensors as well.

Similar in size and weight to the Leica Summilux-C primes (some of the Thalias are actually smaller), these lenses average just 4 lb and have consistent outer front diameters of 95mm (matching all other Leica cine lenses) with inner 92mm filter threads. The set will ultimately comprise nine lenses with focal lengths ranging from 24mm up to 180mm with maximum apertures of T2.6-T3.6. In adapting designs from Leica’s medium format S camera system, which already had a reputation for producing cinematic images, CW Sonderoptic took the opportunity to optimize the lenses through new coatings and elements, targeting a balance of sharpness and smoothness. The iris implementation is interesting as well, using 15 curved blades to produce perfectly round and smooth bokeh (out-of-focus highlight discs) at all aperture settings.

Stayed tuned throughout the video to hear more about the Leica M 0.8 lenses, as well as first availability of the final focal length in the Summicron-C range, the 15mm T2. With a generous 36mm image circle, this rectilinear lens will easily cover RED’s 6K Dragon and 8K Helium sensors, as well as ALEXA’s Open Gate mode. Finally, Leica’s Macrolux diopters are now available in two new strengths, adding +.5 and +2, in addition to the original +1 version.

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