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Cinegear 2014: Which Zeiss Lens Is Right For You?

One our favorite companies, Zeiss is always someone we make sure to speak with at trade shows. Usually the talk revolves around one of their new lenses, but given that Cinegear is not long after NAB, we’ve pretty much covered all of Zeiss’ newest products. So instead we asked Rich Schleuning more about how to choose a lens, what goes into manufacturing a lens, and the different traits of their different lens lines.

Schleuning starts off by describing the differences between their SLR still photo lenses and their Compact Prime 2 lenses. He then addresses the use of their SLR line for shooting video as well as stills, and how that’s shaped their design decisions for future lenses.
One of the important points Schleuning also makes is the idea of using lenses to preserve the look you want during filming, instead of leaving it completely up to the post production team. The idea is that when we were all shooting on film, you could swap out different types of film for a different kind of look. Combine that with the different looks you could get from each camera and the filmmaker had a bevy of options at their disposal.
In the days of the digital sensor however, the whole process is much more streamlined. Now it’s more up to your lens choice than ever before, which is where choosing the right lens or lenses for the look you’re trying to accomplish is more important than ever. Otherwise you leave it all up to whoever controls your post production, which is not always going to result in the look you want.
With that notion, we also talked about the importance of investing and developing in a lens system so that you can not only achieve the signature look you’re going for as a filmmaker, but also be adaptable enough to be useful in production. To this end, Schleuning suggests thoroughly investigating each lens you buy by renting them first. That way you can test the lens with multiple cameras and get a feel for it prior to committing to what is frequently one of the higher costs of production.
We talked about all of this and more in our interview above, so be sure to give it a watch. For more information you can also always go to

Written by Jake Fruia

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