Sony introduces two updated zoom lenses for its A-mount camera systems

by JamesNYCApril 23. 2015 14:29

Today, Sony lifted the veil on two new Zeiss zoom lenses to add to its lineup of A-mount glass. The two new lenses are the standard zoom 24–70mm F2.8 ZA SSM II and the wide-angle zoom 16–35mm F2.8 ZA SSM II.

Both the 24–70mm F2.8 ZA SSM II and 16–35mm F2.8 ZA SSM II rely on the same optical formula as their predecessors. However, as similar as they are in build, a number of improvements have been made across the board, making them more than worthy enough of their ‘Mark II’ nomenclature.

The first difference is an improved subject tracking function, which is said to be 4x better than their predecessors thanks to changes made to the quiet, SSM (Super Sonic wave Motor) autofocus drives and associated electronics used inside the two lenses.

New coatings have also been applied to the Zeiss optics, which are said to further reduce ghosting and flaring in images.

Lastly, both lenses are now dust and moisture resistant, which should give you a little more piece of mind when taking your gear out in more challenging environments.

The two new models are designed to be used with Sony’s A-mount cameras, including their popular α99 and α77 II models. However, they can also be used with any E-mount Sony cameras with Sony’s LA-EA4 Adaptor.

The new 24–70mm F2.8 ZA SSM II standard zoom and 16–35mm F2.8 ZA SSM II wide-angle zoom lenses will be available June 15th for $2100 and $2250, respectively. You can pre-order yours now at B&H through the above links.

 

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ZEISS launch Batis 25mm f2.0 and 85mm f1.8 full-frame autofocus E-mount lenses

by JamesNYCApril 22. 2015 14:35

Zeiss has announced a duo of lenses designed specifically for use with Sony’s Alpha range of mirrorless full-frame system cameras (a7, a7R, a7S and a7 II). The Batis 25mm f2 and 85mm f1.8 lenses have Sony’s E-mount and will also work on video cameras like the FS7 or FS700. The two new lenses are available to order now and will ship in July 2015. The recommended retail prices are $1299 US for the ZEISS Batis 25mm f2 and $1199 US for the ZEISS Batis 85mm f1.8.

In a break with tradition, Zeiss has decided to equip the Batis lenses with a OLED display instead of a conventional focus scale. The little screen is illuminated, enabling users to see it even in low light conditions, and shows the distance to the subject as well as depth of field.

Both Batis lenses are constructed to high Zeiss standards and feature dust and weather seals. According to Zeiss the new AF drive system is fast and quiet, with linear motors allowing for rapid AF shooting in a variety of situations. If you don’t want to use the AF function a rubberized focus ring supports manual focusing, although it appears that this is of the fly-by-wire type.

 

This from Zeiss:
ZEISS Batis 2/25:
The ZEISS Batis 2/25 wide-angle lens has ten lens elements in eight groups and draws on the ZEISS Distagon optical design. Four of the lens elements are aspheric on both sides and five are made from special types of glass. The aspheric lens design ensures consistently high image quality over the whole image field and a sharpness that extends right to the edges of the frame. The moderate 82 degree image angle combined with a minimum focusing distance of 0.2 meters makes this wide-angle lens the perfect choice for architecture and landscape photography and many other applications besides. It encourages the user to make creative use of depth of field which can often yield surprising results, particularly in close-up photography.

ZEISS Batis 1.8/85:
The ZEISS Batis 1.8/85 is a moderate tele lens which offers 11 lens elements in eight groups and features the ZEISS Sonnar optical design. The lens elements are made from special types of glass and designed to ensure superior image quality. The ZEISS Batis 1.8/85 is a particularly good choice for wedding photography and portrait shots, offering the high speed which provides plenty of creative scope to bring out the main subject. Thanks to its optical image stabilization, the ZEISS Batis 1.8/85 can capture outstanding images even under difficult, shifting light conditions.

“The Batis family of lenses is the first time we have launched autofocus lenses for Sony’s full- frame E-mount cameras which are ZEISS through and through – in other words exclusively developed and distributed by us,” says Dr. Michael Pollmann, Product Manager at ZEISS Camera Lenses. The Sony alpha full-frame E-mount system, which currently consists of the α7 family of cameras, is one of the most innovative camera systems on the market and is becoming an increasingly popular choice for professionals and people considering switching from DSLRs. “The ZEISS Batis lenses are our way of acknowledging this trend and providing creative and ambitious photographers with the expert tools they need,” says Pollmann. The lenses are easy to use yet offer professional performance, so they are a sound investment for amateur photographers, too: “Camera sensors are constantly evolving, and so are photographers. Our Batis lenses are the perfect answer to these changing trends and herald a new era of professional photographers using mirrorless full-frame cameras,” says Pollmann.

The ZEISS Batis 2/25 and ZEISS Batis 1.8/85 lenses offer an initial choice of two focal lengths which have proved to be the most popular among users of the system: a moderate wide-angle focal length and a tele portrait focal length. The lenses make optimal use of the camera sensors, capturing every last detail with impressive contrast and high resolution. As well as offering fast and reliable autofocus, the lenses also support manual focusing, allowing users to choose the best option for each individual situation. The sleek, modern design – with smooth surfaces reminiscent of the high-end ZEISS Otus lenses – emphasizes the superior quality of this new lens family and gives the Batis lenses an unmistakable look and feel.

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ZEISS - The Physics of Camera Lenses

by JamesNYCAugust 22. 2014 08:23

Zeiss has released a technical article by Dr. Vladan Blahnik all about the irradiance and aperture of camera lenses. The 32-page article goes in-depth on the physics of lenses.

Read it here.

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Sony FE 55mm F1.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T*

by JamesNYCJanuary 19. 2014 06:25

The Sony FE 55mm F1.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* is one of the first lenses for Sony's fledgling full frame mirrorless system, and designed as a fast 'normal' prime to complement the Sony Alpha 7 and 7R. However at around $999, it costs several times as much as the 50mm F1.4 options for DSLR systems.

The FE 55mm F1.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* is one of the first three lenses available for Sony's full-frame E-mount system, having been announced alongside the Alpha 7 and 7R camera bodies. It's a slightly long 'normal' prime designed for everyday photography, and its relatively fast F1.8 aperture makes it a good choice for selective focus work or shooting in low light. Its 7-element, 5-group optical design includes three aspherical elements to minimise aberrations, which is unusual for this type of lens.

The 55mm is a large-ish lens for its type (it's 71mm / 2.8" long), but even so, when coupled with the A7 or A7R it's still more compact than comparable full frame SLR options (as the cameras themselves are slimmer). It's also decidedly expensive, at around $999 at the time of writing. It's pretty clear that this isn't going to be quite the same proposition as the inexpensive 50mm F1.8 primes available for full frame SLRs - it costs several times as much as the average 50mm F1.4.

The FE 55mm F1.8 can also be used on Sony's APS-C E-mount bodies, on which it will behave like a classic short telephoto 'portrait' lens. However most users of these cameras will probably find theSony E 50mm F1.8 OSS to be a better choice, as it's much cheaper and includes optical image stabilisation, while offering decent optical quality too.

Headline features

  • 55mm focal length
  • Fast F1.8 maximum aperture
  • FE lens for full frame Sony E-mount cameras (also works on APS-C E-mount models)

The 55mm F1.8 lives up to its Carl Zeiss branding, returning truly superb test results on the Alpha 7R. It's extremely sharp, shows little chromatic aberration or distortion, and has entirely acceptable levels of vignetting. In fact it comes very close indeed to the astounding (but $4000) Zeiss Otus 55mm F1.4.

 

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Otus 1.4/55 From Carl Zeiss

by JamesNYCNovember 19. 2013 01:00

The point of the Otus was to make the very best lens Zeiss could possibly make, and they believe they’ve done it. Why is this important news for those of us shooting video with DSLR? In the interview below, Rich Schleuning explains although this is a still lens, it represents the future of video lenses from Zeiss.

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CSI Brooklyn - Opening Monday June 3rd.

by JamesNYCMay 29. 2013 03:43

CSI Brooklyn - Opening Monday


Live in Brooklyn and have to truck all the way to Manhattan just to rent out high-end equipment from CSI Rentals? Well, truck no more: CSI is coming to Brooklyn. On June 3, they will open their new shop at 1138 Flushing Ave. in the East Williamsburg/Bushwick area. The store will have ground level loading, parking spaces and truck drive in—all that just a block away from the L train. They will also offer delivery and pickup in both Brooklyn and Manhattan. Ease and everything a professional photographer or videographer needs.

Visit CSI online for more information: csirentals.com

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Carl Zeiss Compact Zoom 28-80 Lens

by JamesNYCMay 15. 2013 11:54

The CZ.2 28-80/T2.9 as seen at the 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.

 

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Zeiss Test Footage from a Number of their Lenses

by JamesNYCFebruary 21. 2013 05:52

Zeiss has provided a number of test shots from a variety of their CP.2 and CZ.2 lenses.

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Zeiss Upcoming 55mm Distagon Lens

by JamesNYCFebruary 19. 2013 02:59

Carl Zeiss Lenses - High-end SLR lens Distagon T* 1,4/55

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