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Why Zeiss Variable Primes wasn't succesfull ??


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I always was curius WHY Variable Primes wasn't succesfull in the market ..

 

1. They have the quality of a fixed lens

 

2. They are extremely time-saving ... No changing lenses for finding the right focal length .. or changing lenses with different focal length

 

3. They also can be used as a PARAFOCAL MINI-ZOOM (ok very short zoom .. but still zoom)

 

-Many accuse them for their weight .. But if you compare (for example) Master Primes it's not a big deal ...

The VP1 16-30 weights 4.4 kg and the Master Prime 21mm weights 2.4 kg !!! Also in NOWADAYS with the digital cameras weight isn't a problem (even for steadys)

 

-Also isn't a shame that the OLDEREST Standards Primes 2.1 are in almost in every rental house and VP's are so rare ??

Edited by panagiotis agapitou
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They're lovely pieces of glass. But they're enormous. The biggest of the three is over 6kg! (that's almost the weight of an Alexa camera body). Still, there's a few out there in the world if you want to work with them. And with the super lightweight cameras these days, it's not such a big deal if the lens adds a couple of kilos.

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I've used these lenses only once when I was camera operator on "Confidence". The lenses were quite good and we zoomed almost every shot. But they are heavy and not comfortable for handheld work. For Steadicam I had a set of prime lenses.

 

I also can't recall, but it's possible they required the use of a 6x6 matte box which adds to the weight and bulk of the setup. Even with a light weight camera, I would't choose these for Steadicam work. With their weight, they require a base plate and lens support system which adds to the weight again.

 

And if you want to use them with a digital camera, I would do some testing to see if you see significant light falloff from the center, and carefully check for interior reflections between the lens rear element and the sensor. I have found this to be a big issue with the 16mm UltraPrime/Alexa combination for example or the 65mm MasterPrime/Red cameras. So, do your testing.

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I think traditionally short zooms find a use on multicam style shows or more docu style shows that moves very very fast. The modern angenieux products have pretty much taken over that space. They are sharp, light, and almost as fast as the VP's. These type of shows often care a little less about having really shallow DOF or the characteristics of the lenses too so that might help explain why the VP's never got popular - 4.4KG is also VERY heavy.

Edited by Albion Hockney
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Plus the breaks in the range were always around that spot where you needed them. Always had to switch from VP1 to VP2, back and forth. At which point you just go - why not just stay on a prime? Did I mention how heavy they are?

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-Many accuse them for their weight .. But if you compare (for example) Master Primes it's not a big deal ...

The VP1 16-30 weights 4.4 kg and the Master Prime 21mm weights 2.4 kg !!! Also in NOWADAYS with the digital cameras weight isn't a problem (even for steadys)

 

 

I had the luck to actually see this lenses in person years ago, they are massive!!! Consider you have today Alura 15-40 and 30-80 or the Angie 15-40 and 30-90 EZ do the same job, and weigh about 2Kg...Why would you use those monsters unless you really like the look?

 

- They also breath pretty heavily

 

 

 

 

-Also isn't a shame that the OLDEREST Standards Primes 2.1 are in almost in every rental house and VP's are so rare ??

The Standard are lovely lenses, beautiful classic look, cheap, very small and lightweight and very sharp wide open. make much more sense the 3 mega monsters that you need to swap all day.. :-D

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Thanks guys for your answers !! I want also your thoughts ...

 

As i know Kubrick in the Shining and Full Metal Jacket used super speeds MKi T1.4 and the Cooke varotal 20-100T 3.1 .... According to Larry Smith In Eyes Wide shut used super speeds mkii 1.3T, the Cooke Varotal and a bit of the Variable Primes

 

In an interview Leon Vitali said thatt a very common focal length for Kubrick was 24mm ... I guess in EWS he achieved it with the Variable Primes ..

 

But what about the two older movies where Variable Primes wasn't made yet ?? (According to Garett Brown in the Shining he used an "24mm Distagon" ).... But the 24mm focal is only in the Standard Primes 2.1. series !!!

 

So the perfectionist Kubrick considered that the image quality of the Variable Primes is better than the standard primes ?? Right ??

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I had the luck to actually see this lenses in person years ago, they are massive!!! Consider you have today Alura 15-40 and 30-80 or the Angie 15-40 and 30-90 EZ do the same job, and weigh about 2Kg...Why would you use those monsters unless you really like the look?

 

- They also breath pretty heavily

 

 

The Standard are lovely lenses, beautiful classic look, cheap, very small and lightweight and very sharp wide open. make much more sense the 3 mega monsters that you need to swap all day.. :-D

 

I want the highest quality despite the mess :) no pain no gain .. right ?? ;)

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I want the highest quality despite the mess :) no pain no gain .. right ?? ;)

 

The technology has evolved, the lenses I mentioned like Alura, angie etc, are sharper, almost as fast or faster, lighter, better CA, less fall off, so what are you gaining for using those Vari-Primes? If they were that good they would have come out with a V2 for them and people would have gone crazy on them on the second hand market, there is a reason why they are not in demand.

 

At the time those lenses came out, they were the first of it's kind, things have changed since then, and they are now history.

 

Again, the only reason to use them, is if you tested them for a particular project against other lenses and decided that from some reason you like the look..

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