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Behold, A New Era In Cinema Lenses — Say Hello To The All New Carl Zeiss CP3

Behold, A New Era In Cinema Lenses — Say Hello To The All New Carl Zeiss CP3

Last night we witnessed the end of an era, and said farewell to the CP2 and hello to the all-new, future proof, totally redesigned CP3. The CP3’s housing makes it smaller, lighter with buttery-smooth focus and iris control, but it’s the technology inside that will blow you away.

On the eve of NAB 2017, Carl Zeiss, shocked and amazed everyone with the announcement of the successor of the CP2, the CP3. As attendees HDSLRShooter was treated to an exclusive look which included a series of shorts, one written and produced by Carl Zeiss’s own Snehal Patel and producer Jay Holben which was a short based off a feature written by Patel.

Ranging from 15 mm to 135 mm, the ten focal lengths available in the ZEISS Compact Prime CP.3 or CP.3 XD series cover all applications from wide-angle to telephoto. The ZEISS CP.3 lenses feature advanced lens coatings, painted lens rims and special light traps within the barrel to eliminate unwelcome veiling glare and flares. The result is higher contrast, richer blacks and more saturated colors.

The ZEISS CP.3 lenses are a professional toolset that simplifies your work on set. They are easy to handle, allow for fast changeover of equipment and give you great creative freedom to make your ideas come to life.

  • Standardized positioning of the focus rings and a consistent 95 mm front diameter allows for fast and easy changeover while on set
  • Extraordinarily smooth focus rotation even in extreme temperature conditions thanks to a new, sophisticated construction design
  • Consistent T-stops simplifies lighting on set and exposure compensations (T2.9 for 15 to 21 mm and T2.1 for 25 to 135 mm)

The compact and light-weight design enables you to use different stabilizing systems and to have a compact camera setup that is ideal for shooting in narrow spaces and for capturing dynamic shots.

  • The compact and light-weight design is ideal for handheld, gimbal, drone and Steadicam applications
  • Consistent size and weight across most of the focal lengths enables quick change of lenses when used on drones and gimbals
  • The ultra-smooth focus rotation allows use of small focus motors


While on set, the ZEISS eXtended Data feature enables members of the crew to monitor lens settings in real-time, pre-visualize modified images and to use new, automated search functions within data wrangling. In post-production, ZEISS eXtended Data offers numerous benefits such as image fine-tuning, editing and color grading, visual effects, virtual and augmented reality, multi-cam live productions, projection or 3-D imaging. An additional plug-in provided by ZEISS allows an easy implementation of ZEISS eXtended Data in a number of leading software tools.

ZEISS eXtended Data reduces workflow costs and facilitates the exchange of lens information between the production and post-production departments. ZEISS eXtended Data unifies two data sets:

 CP.3 XD lenses house encoder chips to deliver ZEISS eXtended Data, currently assigned to two data sets:

  • Key lens data (focal length, focus distance and iris position) based on the /i Technology, which is supported by a wide range of existing equipment.
  • ZEISS specific lens data, which contains precise information about distortion and shading


The ZEISS eXtended Data technology is planned to be expanded in future to offer additional features. Therefore ZEISS will offer lens firmware upgrades.

Lens characteristics can be applied and previewed on set using Pomfort LiveGrade Pro. To apply recorded lens characteristics in post-production ZEISS provides an OFX-plug-in. Initially the plug-in works with the grading software Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve. Support for other grading, editing and compositing software will be available in future.

The ZEISS CP.3 XD lenses enable trailblazing, one-click correction of images, never before possible in motion picture workflow. ZEISS specific lens data provides frame accurate information about:

  • Lens distortion characteristics based on the focal point
  • Lens shading* characteristics based on the focal point and effective T-stop


 No matter the size of the production or the number of people on the team, the ZEISS CP.3 XD lenses benefit large teams or solo-operations. ZEISS eXtended Data technology will accelerate the workflow and facilitates the collaboration between the production and post-production departments.

Camera Operator / Camera Assistants

  • Real-time display of T-stop, focus distance and depth-of-field supported on lens control systems, cameras and monitors
  • Automatic detection of the lens, which enables the focus scale without calibration on a l ens control system

Script Continuity

  • Lens settings can be viewed at a glance on a monitor for continuity log sheets or transferred wirelessly to supported device apps
Lens settings can be viewed at a glance on a monitor for continuity log sheets or transferred wirelessly to supported device apps

Director of Photography

  • Lens settings at a glance on monitor or viewfinder
  • Defining the final look by previsualizing color grading, shading and distortion and transferring it to post-production.


Video Engineer

  • Pre-visualization of corrected images in live grading or VFX previews (e.g. live-key)
  • Distortion corrected pre-visualization of CGI Live-Rendering


Data Wrangler / Digital Imaging Technician

  • Classification and search functions for specific shots (e.g. correct lens settings for a re-shoot)
  • Automatic options for quality check procedure (e.g. pre-selection of critical shots for visual check in real-time)
  • Statistical analysis of lenses used in the production and the lens’ settings



  • Classification and search functions for specific shots
  • Automated image correction speeds up the process of image optimization


  • Quick supply of dailies to head-of departments due to automated image pre-correction and faster sorting options


Lens settings can be viewed at a glance on a monitor for continuity log sheets or transferred wirelessly to supported device apps

Visual Effects

  • Removing or adding distortion for stitching and CGI integration
  • Removing or adding shading while matching shots
  • Key lens data for Match Moving, calculation of defocus and bokeh with CGI integration, stitching, manipulation of motion blur


Color Grading

  • Automated image correction accelerates the color grading process and saves valuable time for more intense fine-tuning


Virtual Reality Productions

  • Stitching and matching of multiple images
Lens settings can be viewed at a glance on a monitor for continuity log sheets or transferred wirelessly to supported device apps

Augmented Reality Productions

  • Corrections for CGI integration


The ZEISS CP.3 XD provides an end-to-end solution for recording and feeding data for onset application and in post-production. ZEISS eXtended Data is processed in real-time and recorded frame accurate. The data can be transferred in one of two ways. Either to any supported equipment via an external LEMO™ interface or directly to any camera compatible with the /i Technology standard via a 4-pin interface (PL-mount). With the additional ZEISS plug-in for leading compositing and editing software tools, the lens’ characteristics can be removed and/or reapplied to the footage.

Premium PELI™ Air Case


The premium PELI™ Air Case provides protective storage for the ZEISS CP.3 lenses while on set and when travelling between shooting locations.

Molded from Pelican’s™ next generation HPX2 resin, it is up to 40% lighter than other polymer cases, while being enormously shock-proof at the same time. The weather sealed design keeps dust and water away from the ZEISS CP.3 lenses in rough shooting environments.

The transport case will fit up to five lenses, with a perfect cut-out for each focal length. The foam material is specially designed to prevent scratches and undesired movement during transit. Recesses between the cut-outs leave enough space to easily grip and remove the lenses. The lenses are stored horizontally, making it easy to view the focal length and iris settings at a quick glance. Additional cut-outs provide space for small accessories.