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HDSLRShooter at NAB 2013: Carl Zeiss Compact Zoom 28-80

When you’re considering what to invest your money into in regards to camera equipment what comes to mind?  Some may say the camera body, but with technology changing moment to moment the body is  one of the most disposable pieces of a camera rig.  At best you may be able to get three to four good years before it’s time to replace it.  If you’re talking a DSLR body, expect to lose 50% of what you paid for it if you resell it.
Rigs would be a good choice.  They tend to hold their value and if you go with a company like Redrock Micro, you can just ad the pieces you need to accommodate   your new camera when you upgrade.  Talk to any career shooters, and they’ll say the best investment you can make is glass.  As long as you take care of them, your lenses will never lose their value and in some cases they may increase in value.  With adapters, you can rest assured no matter how many times technology changes, 1080p, 4K or dare I say 8k, your lenses will be ready to handle whatever body the industry throws your way.
Zeiss’s, Rich Schleuning adds this piece of advice prior to the introduction of their latest compact zoom, the  28 to 80.  Any lens by Zeiss is an investment.  A worthwhile investment, but an investment to be sure, as the new lens retails at $19,000.  If you’re heart skipped a beat when you read that, don’t worry.  It only means you’re sane.  As Rich explains, the purchase of a lens should not be taken lightly.  However, you should consider it, as glass more than anything else, can effect the quality of your footage and therefore, your career.
As big of an investment as lenses are, Rich gives some great advice on essentially dating a lens before you take the plunge.  He also breaks down why the large sensor digital cameras and the new Blackmagic cameras demand a much higher quality lens than other cameras in the past.
For more information on the Zeiss CZ 28-80 and all of the other great lenses from Zeiss, go to their website at
Here’s the press release from Zeiss:
Carl Zeiss presents Compact Zoom lenses

The CZ.2 28-80/T2.9 can be seen for the first time at NAB Show in Las Vegas
OBERKOCHEN/Germany, April 5, 2013
Carl Zeiss presents its new zoom lenses from the Compact Family at the NAB Show 2013 (8-11 April) in Las Vegas at its booth C9043.Versatile, flexible and yet small and manageable – these are the characteristics that describe the Compact Zoom CZ.2 lenses. For the first time, the new CZ.2 28-80/T2.9 will be presented in the US. The Compact Zoom Family currently comprises the CZ.2 28-80/T2.9 and the CZ.2 70-200/T2.9; the latter won the prestigious iF product design award in February 2013.
The ZEISS Compact Zoom lenses weigh just 2.5 to 2.8 kilograms (5.5 to 6.2 pounds). “For cinema zoom lenses, that is very little. The light and compact design is ideal for hand-held and steadicam shooting,” explains Helmut Lenhof, Product Manager for the Compact Family in the Carl Zeiss Camera Lens Division. The lenses are suited for owner operators as well as episodic television series, documentary films, features and big-screen productions. Especially for shooting projects on a tight budget and time schedule, a ZEISS Compact Zoom lens is an extremely flexible solution. The zoom lens enables faster work and minimizes long set-up times.
Unlike zoom lenses for still photography, the Compact Zoom cinema lenses each have three independently moveable zoom groups. This complex design prevents undesired focus shift and ensures optimal image quality. The lenses have a continuous high aperture of T2.9 over the entire zoom range.
Filmmakers can also look forward to a new shorter super wide-angle zoom lens designed for the owner-operator when the Compact Zoom series will expand to a family of three at the end of 2014. This new zoom lens will replace the Lightweight Zoom LWZ.2.
As members of the ZEISS Compact Family, the zoom lenses are the perfect complement to the fixed focal length Compact Prime CP.2 and ARRI/ZEISS Ultra Prime lenses. Thanks to the exact color matching within the ZEISS cinema lens family, all lenses in this series can be combined flexibly with each other, with no visible deviations.
They cover full-frame format (24x36mm) and can therefore be used on HDSLR cameras, as well as professional HD video and cinema cameras. Being designed as full-frame lenses, they create a sweet spot effect and a uniformity of illumination when used on Super 35 sensors and are ‘future-proofed’ for next generation digital cinema cameras utilizing larger sensors.
Moreover, the interchangeable mount system makes it possible to use the lenses of the Compact Family on various camera models. The mounts currently available are for PL, EF, F, MFT and E. “Investing in this lens family is especially attractive for cinematographers and rental companies because the interchangeable mount also ensures the lenses’ long-term compatibility in the rapidly changing camera market. For all relevant future camera models, mounts will be available which the user can exchange very easily,” adds Lenhof.
Cinematographers can also rely on the quality features that ZEISS is known for:
The T* anti-reflective coating and the internal stray light reduction eliminate bothersome light reflections.
All Compact Zoom CZ.2 lenses have the same front diameter of 95 mm and the gears of the cine-style housing are always located exactly in the same position. This makes it possible to change lenses fast – without any adjustments to the rig or other accessories. The large focus rotation angle of almost 300 degrees and the calibrated focus scales ensure comfortable handling. All lenses in the Compact Zoom Family correspond to 4K production standards and cover a resolution of 4096 x 2160 with no distortion.
Australian cinematographer Warwick Brown has already used the Compact Zoom CZ.2 70-200/T2.9 for shooting a television production. “I have just finished shooting a dramatic short film using this lens and the Compact Prime CP.2 Super Speed lenses together. They are a real winning combination. The lens is sharp and handles highlights beautifully.”
The delivery of the Compact Zoom CZ.2 70-200/T2.9 began in early 2013. The Compact Zoom 28-80/T2.9 will be available starting June. Carl Zeiss authorized dealers are now accepting orders on both zoom lenses. The suggested list price of each Compact Zoom CZ.2 lens will be €14,900 or US$19,900 (excluding VAT). 
The lead time for the Compact Zoom CZ.2 70-200/T2.9 is currently six to seven months. A higher demand as expected led to these lead times. Carl Zeiss will increase its production capacities in order to reduce the lead time to three to four months.

Written by Clint Milby

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