New PL/EF ZEISS Compact Primes II

And now for something completely different. While the world has busily been drilling and dremeling to install PL mounts on Canon EOS bodies, ZEISS just revealed a new iteration of Compact Primes, to be introduced at NAB 2010. The picture above is a prototype (no focus or aperture scale). You can see the Canon EF mount, and the cine-style barrel and gearing. The final version will be similar in appearance to the current Compact Prime PL mount lens. Additional photos and info forthcoming. This preliminary information is not official and subject to minor changes.

The Compact Prime II set, as the new lenses will be called, were made in response to the high level of interest in using HDSLR cameras for filmmaking. It helped that ZEISS made similar lenses for both worlds. The ZF series of lenses are smaller in diameter and lack focus gears. The Compact Primes have all the right moves for PL cine cameras, but don’t fit on Canon cameras without modification. So, now ZEISS has combined the best of both: Compact Prime lenses for use with EF-mount (Canon EOS) cameras. These new lenses feature a bayonet mount for a direct fit to the EF-mount and do not require any modification of the camera or lens. Since the optics are based on the ZEISS SLR “Z” lenses, they cover the full still frame 24 x 36mm image format without vignetting. The new Compact Prime II lenses will have an interchangeable mount system that can be easily changed from EF mount to PL mount by a lens technician equipped with collimator.  This design lets you use the same set of lenses on both PL mounted cine/digital cameras and HDSLRs.

ZEISS Compact Prime II

  • covers full frame still format, 24 x 36mm sensor
  • lenses will be available in both EF and PL mount versions, with interchangeable mount systems
  • manual focus with smooth travel
  • barrel dimensions are identical and lenses feature internal focusing
  • each lens weighs between 2.0 – 2.2 pounds
  • support bracket is included for additional lens stability
  • 300 degree focus rotation
  • 14-blade aperture
  • geared for standard follow-focus
  • calibrated focus scales
  • 8 focal lengths available,  from 18 mm to 85 mm
  • estimated list price for a set of 6 lenses is under $20,000. Lenses will also be sold in a custom 3 lens set, or individually
  • shipping May 2010

By the way, the picture below of two 18 mm lenses shows the difference between the current ZF (left, the Nikon mounted version of the Carl Zeiss DSLR lens) and a current Compact Prime.

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