Zeiss has just unveiled 6 new cine lenses for mirrorless full-frame cameras, promising 'true cinema for all'.
Zeiss is a lens manufacturer specializing in high-quality compact lenses, offering supreme optics for photography stills and specialized cinema cameras. Many had thought Zeiss had left the photography and video industry, with its last lens issued in 2019, but Zeiss is back, and looking to bridge the gap with 6 new cine lenses designed for modern mirrorless full-frame cameras. On first look, the lenses appear stunning and seem likely to establish themselves among the best cine lenses on the market.
The lenses will initially be released for Sony E mount, making them a fantastic pro cine lens option for Sony's cinema line of cameras such as the Sony FX3, FX6, FX9, and the upcoming Burano. The 6 prime lenses come in 18, 24, 35, 50, 75, and 100mm focal lengths, with a consistent high-speed aperture of T1.5 (f-stop is a theoretical value t-stop is tested transmission of light). They will be available for sale individually but also as part of a set.
Zeiss has designed these lenses with all levels of filmmaking in mind. Full-frame mirrorless camera technology has advanced a long way in the past few years, with many now being Netflixed-approved. This has lowered the entry for professional cinematography, and these lenses look to hit that particular market. Full-frame sensors are typically large and amplify visual depth and character, the Zeiss Nano lenses are designed to cover the larger sensor enabling users 'to craft images rich in volume and personality'.
With a maximum aperture of T1.5 and incredible close focus capability, the Nano Prime offers a stunning depth of field and bokeh rendering, even when used with the widest angle. The 12-blade iris enhances smooth and circular bokeh for what Zeiss calls the "creation of true cinematic images".
The compact package of the Zeiss Nano Primes offers versatility across the range, with the consistent position of focus and iris rings that streamline lens changes, and a 95mm compendium ring and an 86mm screw-in filter thread enable seamless integration between gimbals and drones.
Durability and build quality have always been a speciality of Zeiss lenses, as on top of the typical sleek design, the Nano lenses are certified for use in extreme weather conditions. This is important as it enables the use of the lenses in tough environments without fear of damage, and as Zeiss states, it makes the Nano Primes the go-to lens for every day.
Other notable features include compatibility with Zeiss' Interchangeable Mount System (IMS), an electronic interface for real-time lens data to cameras hud, and easy-to-read calibrated scales for a smooth 280° focus rotation and a 90° iris ring rotation for precise control.
Although we are yet to get our hands on these lenses, they look the business! They offer professional cine lens performance for entry-level cinema line cameras. I have recently been debating whether to get a Sony FX6 or FX3 to start my filmmaking journey, and these lenses may just have swayed my decision.
It is worth noting, however, that these lenses are not cheap. They seem decently priced when compared to the higher-end Zeiss Supreme Cine lenses, but coming in at around the $4,490 (per lens) mark, there are cheaper alternatives such as the Sirui Nightwalker series and even the highly rated Sigma Cine line.
Zeiss' history of creating exceptional lenses should not be discounted, however, as I am sure that although on the more expensive side, the performance justifies it!
For more information on the best equipment for video and filmmaking, you may be interested in our guides to the best camera for filmmaking, the best camera for film students, and the best video lighting.