New Products

Zeiss Supreme Primes

The full-frame revolution continues with this new set of cine lenses.

David Alexander Willis

The full-frame revolution continues with this new set of cine lenses.

Starting at a promised 13 models, the latest optics from Zeiss, the Supreme Primes, are built for portability, speed and full-frame coverage, capable of supporting such large-sensor cameras as the Sony Venice, ARRI Alexa LF, Red Monstro and Canon C700 FF. Offering an image circle of 46.2 mm, the lens line will cover a total focal range of 15-200mm.

Two ASC members were given the new lenses for preliminary tests. Cinematographer Paul Cameron, ASC shot the film Ties with director Laura Stabilini using the Sony Venice. Jon Joffin, ASC and director Aisha Schliessler used the Sony Venice, Red Monstro VV and DJI Phantom 3 4K for the short Farm.

Centered on smooth bokeh and heightened lowlight capabilities, the majority of the line sports an aperture of T1.5, with T1.8 on two models, and the largest iris at only T2.1 in the upcoming 200mm.

(Photo by Danna Kinsky)

“The lenses are designed for film productions of an extremely high quality,” explains Christophe Casenave, Senior Product Manager Zeiss, in the press release, also pointing out the “gentle sharpness” of the aesthetic focus fall-off and “elegant” bokeh. “Weighing an average of 1,600 grams (3.5 pounds), Zeiss Supreme Primes are significantly lighter and smaller than comparable lenses on the market.”

“Zeiss Supreme Primes are unbelievably rugged and reliable,” he continues. “Regardless of whether filming in the desert or in the Arctic, the lenses perform flawlessly. And in the event that something should ever break, our worldwide service network provides fast and professional help.”

The lenses have been color-matched across the line for visual performance, and the first models to be released will have a consistent as well as diminutive front diameter of 95mm, also with congruous body lengths of 119mm or 121mm. 

Rotation has been designed to be “ultra-smooth,” even in extreme temperatures. Coupled with matched gearing placement, these design features are provided to quickly swap lenses in matte boxes, follow focus and other peripherals.

(Photo by Danna Kinsky)

Introduced last year, the Supreme Primes also include the Zeiss eXtended Data technology for frame-accurate metadata and visual effects mapping, including focal length, focusing distance, T-stop and depth-of-field characteristics. Using the industry-standard /i infrastructure from Cooke Optics, the Zeiss-specific distortion and vignetting mitigates the need to shoot grids for accelerated compositing and stitching in post.

The first five models, a 25mm, 29mm, 35mm, 50mm and 85mm (each T1.5) are planned to ship this August. A 100mm (also T1.5) is scheduled for December delivery. As a complete set of six primes, they will be available at $112,600. The following models, a 15mm (T1.8), 18mm (T1.5), 21mm (T1.5), 65mm (T1.5), 135mm (T1.5), 150mm (T1.8) and 200mm (T2.1), will be delivered through 2019 and 2020.

Headquartered in Oberkochen, Germany, where Zeiss Cinematography lenses are designed and manually assembled, the company employs roughly 27,000 workers. Service stations in the U.S., Europe and Asia will offer any needed assistance with a guarantee for results to the original factory standards.

The lenses will debut to the public during the Cine Gear Expo, held at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles (May 31 - June 3). They will be available there for testing.

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