Zeiss CP.2 Primes On The AF-100

Zeiss CP.2 Primes On The AF-100

I had the great fortune to use these amazing lens. I rented them for a promo shoot. I never used a PL mount lens before and wanted to try them out. I used the 28 and 50 most of the time. The 85 was too long for what I was shooting. The focus and iris on these are so smooth. Longer range makes it easier to fine tune both the iris and focus. I was surprised how light the are. They look beefy, The AF-100 had a Hod Rod PL Mount with lens support and baseplate. Thats a nice piece of kit. I needed to use a matte box in order to shoot wide open on a sunny day. I didn’t have a ND filter for the matte box so I made a few calls around town to find one that would fit. I got lucky and found a three stop 4X4 at a local camera shop. I wanted a 4×5.65 Panavision style filter but no way would I find them locally in San Diego. I wasn’t sure if the 4×4 would vignette but I was pretty sure it wouldn’t. The only way to know was to try it out and I didn’t have enough time to in the store. I just pulled the trigger and bought it. Once I got the camera setup I dropped in the Lee 3 stop 4X4 neutral density filter and that got me in the range I wanted and no vignette. Lucky me!

The kit came with a follow focus but didn’t need it with the type of shooting I was doing. I like to keep things simple with less clutter on the camera.

Zeiss CP2 with Hot Rod PL Mount on AF-100
AF-100 with Zeiss CP2 lens and Hot Rod PL mount and baseplate

I was originally going to hold on to them over the weekend but I got a call from the rental house and they needed them back for a weekend order that just came in. Oh well.

Working with the Zeiss CP.2 PL mount was simple, however I was limited in using my other lenses that I have that are Nikon mount with MFT adapters. The Hot Rod PL adapter has two threaded wheels to take the mount off. One for the lens support the other to the baseplate. Not having much time to get familiar with the setup I chose to not mess with it during the shoot and the I really wanted to just use the CP2’s anyway. As I mentioned before the CP.2’s are very light and I don’t think a lens support is need for them but thats the way it was set up from the rental house and I didn’t want to take any chances of damaging the cameras mount, so I left it on. The option of having interchangeable mounts is very interesting. I wonder how difficult it is to calibrate or shim the mount when you change them.

Now if I could only figure out how to buy these sweet lenses, but at $4000 per lens or if your a big spender $27,000 for a full set and a nice case to go with it. I don’t see that happening anytime soon. All and all it was fun to use these cinema grade optics. I will post some images from the shoot when I get into post.

Updated 10-10-2011

I brought the footage into Final Cut Pro 7 and looked over the shots. I’m pretty happy with what I got. It was so darn bright out. The DP4 EVF was so valuable on this shoot. I used the false color setting to help make sure I didn’t blowout my highlights. Its ok to be a little under just not over. That ugly yellow blowout is imposable to fix in post. So far Colorista II is working very well. Cant wait to get final script so I can start the edit.

Hot Rod Tuner Kit with PL Mount for AF-100
Hot Rod Tuner Kit with PL Mount for AF-100

Unedited screen grabs from Adobe Premier Pro CS5.5. The export frame feature is nice. Love the CP.2 lenses. This is with the 50 and 28

Framed for graphic or title
Shot handheld so their is a little motion blur in the image
Shot in late afternoon sun. Used Scrim Jim silk to soften light and 4X4 reflector to fill. Zeiss CP.2 50
Wish I had the 4X4 reflector but we had to travel light on base.


The promo that I shot with the Zeiss CP.2 is at :30 on the video below.


Here is the original Carl Zeiss press release from 2010.

OBERKOCHEN/Germany, 13.04.2010 : 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. Optics specialist Carl Zeiss now introduces the world’s first set of cine lenses designed especially for HDSLR cameras: the Compact Prime CP.2 lenses.

Why change the mount on the camera when you can change it on the lens? The Compact Prime CP.2 lenses deliver great flexibility by introducing interchangeable mounts that allow the lenses to be used with a wide range of cameras, from traditional cine to HDSLR systems. Available with three different mounts – PL, EF and F – this new family of ZEISS lenses enables cinematographers to be completely free in their choice of camera systems while ensuring a high consistency of images. Furthermore, the lenses can be upgraded to any number of existing or future cine and still cameras while enabling cinematographers to still utilize the same set of lenses.

Like their predecessors, the Compact Prime CP.2 lenses are made for a rigorous life on the set. The ergonomics have been improved compared to standard SLR lenses. The lenses’ cine-style housing dimensions, focus and iris gear positions, and front diameter are the same for the standard lens set. The longer focus rotation and the possibility for manual focus give users the flexibility they demand. The iris opening consists of 14 high-precision blades, which stay consistently round and symmetrical over the entire T-stop range. This translates into natural and pleasing out-of-focus highlights and a smooth bokeh. Together, they help create and capture special moments on film. The modern lens design and tight tolerances ensure low distortion, high resolution and excellent color rendition for sharp, punchy images.

The Compact Prime CP.2 lenses cover a full-frame 24 x 36 image format without vignetting. They will be based around a common aperture of T2.1 for the standard set, which is an improvement over the first generation of lenses.

Carl Zeiss will present these new lenses for the first time at the NAB show in Las Vegas (April 10-15). They will be available from June 2010.

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