The lenses with no name (yet).
Objects of desire beckoned behind glass. History repeated. Mystery lenses introduced. Nine years ago, a new line of cine optics floated among the stars. CW Sonderoptic’s Summilux-C Super35 lenses were presented. They didn’t yet have a name or a logo. It was a concept to entice. And entice they did.
Like a name-changing rock star, the company formerly known as CW Sonderoptic is now Ernst Leitz Wetzlar GmbH, aka Leitz Cine. On September 14 at IBC 2o18, they surprised even me by presenting a pre-prototype sneak peak preview of their new line of Leica Format (Full Format, VV, LF) prime and zoom lenses. No names but yes logos. Perhaps they were prototypes, but mere mortals were not allowed to touch, test or even open the glass display case. It was as heavily guarded as a priceless work of art.
This was an astute move. In cine, as in fashion, cars, elusive women and DPs whose agents have unlisted phone numbers (thank you, Jill Friedman)—the harder to get, the more appealing.
Leitz Cine announced their roadmap.
There are two sleek Leica Format zoom lenses. They are planned for delivery in late 2019. The 25-75 mm and 55-125 mm both have a breathtaking maximum aperture of T2.8, without ramping.
A set of 12 prime lenses is planned for delivery in early 2020. Focal lengths run from 18 mm to 180 mm, all with a T1.8 aperture. There were 6 of these Leica Format primes on display: 21, 25, 29, 40, 65, 100 mm T1.8.
The lenses are all made in Leitz Cine’s new factory in Wetzlar, Germany.
If you have to ask the price, you cannot afford them. These are the lenses that will separate the top of the line rental houses from the masses. Rental house managers were gathered in the Leitz Cine booth. The usual suspects clamored to be first on the list. Performance and MTF are described in terms so superlative I dare not repeat them because the FDT Manual of Style, like National Geographic, tries to avoid superlatives. The look is designed to be painterly, filmic, smooth and beautiful.
If you missed the show at IBC, you can see these lenses at Cinec in Munich, booth 3-C14, on September 22-24.
In addition to the new Leica Format zooms and primes with no names, the display case also contained the additional Leitz Cine lens lines:
- Summilux-C and Summicron-C Super35 lenses,
- M 0.8 Leica Format 27.80mm FFD,
- and Thalia 65mm Format and Full Format lenses.