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Zeiss CP.2 vs Zeiss ZE/ZF


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Folks,

 

I recently shot a short using a three-lens Zeiss CP.2 Super Speed set: 35, 50, 85. Mind = blown. Lens/picture quality aside, I found the standardized gear positioning and long throw to be wonderfully efficient and useful.

 

Once I returned the set to Vistek I couldn't get the Zeiss look out of my head however CP.2s are cost prohibitive presently. I rented a Zeiss ZE 35mm f/1.4 and shot some video over the course of a day, with a variety of lighting and with a number of different subjects. IMHO the DSLR lens didn't deliver the same picture quality as the CP.2. My question is this: has anyone shot anything using Zeiss's ZE/ZF lenses and successfully intercut with CP.2? If you take the time to search you'll find that everyone says the Zeiss DSLR lenses have the same optical arrangement as the CP.2s, main difference being housing and 9 vs 14 blades on the aperture. That said, the DSLR lenses didn't seem as sharp and the cinema lenses popped more.

 

Is there anyone who knows more than me about lens engineering who may have some ideas as to why? I'd love to get a Duclos set of Zeiss ZF primes, but it just doesn't make sense from a quality perspective! Back to renting I go... for now.

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at least the older ze 28/2 and CP2 28/2.1 look like to have the same optical arrangement. don't know about other lenses on the series…

 

cp2: http://provideocoalition.com/images/uploads/ZECIMG_5504.jpg (from page http://provideocoalition.com/Awilt/story/zeiss_eye_candy )

 

ze2: http://www.zeiss.com/camera-lenses/en_de/camera_lenses/slr-lenses/distagont228.html (look the "design" section)

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To my understanding the CP have tighter quality control and have more consistancy in the assembly line compared with the ZE. So there can be more variation with ZE where as the CP, Zeiss checks each lens for accuracy. I dont know this first hand however I have seen ZE lenses with remarkable sharpness on the bench and some with less so.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Victor,

The optical quality may be the same, but CPs are geared towards filmmaking with accurate witness marks and a long focus throw. It is critical for 1st ACs.

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One of my recent shoots, we had Canon k35 lenses, it was definitely not the best experience. Our first day of shoot, we shot 4000ft of 35, and quite of few of the shots had focus problems. Luckily, we switched over to Superspeeds.

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As far as matching CP.2s goes, you're not going to get closer than the Zeiss ZE/ZF primes - they use the same glass and optical design.

 

The CP.2s offer the benefit of Zeiss (reportedly) hand picking the very best (and most colour-consistent) glass elements produced for the two lens lines and putting them into the more expensive CP.2s (which is understandable and makes sense).

The mechanics of the CP.2s compared to the ZE/ZFs are on another level entirely and offer precise and repeatable focus always and forever (the CP.2s single greatest feature). Another thing to consider is the 14-blade iris in the CP.2s, which is something a lot of people gloss over, but it gives you silky smooth and perfectly round bokeh at virtually every aperture - it's the one quality of the CP.2s that I'd actually rate over and above higher-end glass like the Ultra Primes or S4s, it really is a beautiful feature.

So yes, there are differences between the two lens sets. But again, if you want to get something similar to the CP.2s the ZE/ZFs are quite simply (and obviously) the only way to go. And if you can't afford to stretch to the cine lenses, then you don't really have a choice anyway (other than to keep renting).

 

The ZFs produce gorgeous images - I coveted them for stills photography work long before the original Compact Primes range were announced. They're a purchase I can't see anyone regretting.

The 21mm and 85mm are my particular favourites. Lovely pieces of glass by any measure.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sooo ... I bought a bunch of vintage Contax Zeiss glass and I take back what I said. I think it's an amazingly close approximation of the five thousand dollar lenses! The microcontrast and bokeh are just GREAT!

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Sooo ... I bought a bunch of vintage Contax Zeiss glass and I take back what I said. I think it's an amazingly close approximation of the five thousand dollar lenses! The microcontrast and bokeh are just GREAT!

 

Isnt that glass supposed to be more like Zeiss Super Speeds? (a good thing if you ask me!)

 

Also isn't there more than one version of the CP2's. I understand that at some stage they re-engineered them and made them faster.

 

Freya

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Also isn't there more than one version of the CP2's.

 

 

 

Yup, regular CP.2s and Super Speed CP.2s. Also several iterations of each with different speeds, and blade numbers, not to mention optical performance - as I understand it.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I have both the CP.2's and the ZF's. I used to use the ZF's on my D800 - but now they are my fall back for my F3 When traveling and space is a premium. Plus I sold the D800 and kept the lenses - I actually had them since I was using them on the Letus adapter on my SOny EX3. I have a hard time parting with them. They are great lenses. I also had them outfitted with the Duclos Cine-Mod.

 

I have to say, other than speed - it is very difficult to see the difference between the two lens sets. - the CP.2's are NOT the superspeeds - they are the T2.1 I have the CP.2 85mm, 50mm and 28mm. The ZF's I have the 85mm, 50mm and the 25mm.

 

If someone were to make a great offer - I might be willing to let the ZF's go! Lol! Anyway to answer your question - I too heard that they were the same glass and different housing. It's believable - don't know how true that is. I trust either lens set on a shoot and for the record - I use the Kippon mount adapter for the ZF's on my F3.

 

CJ

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  • 2 weeks later...

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