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Old March 8th, 2011, 08:54 PM   #1
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Zeiss ZF/compact primes vs. Standards

Anyone know how the Zeiss ZF and compact primes compare to the older but more expensive Zeiss standard primes in optical quality?

Obviously i can compare f stops and am guess there is less breathing on the standards. The standards are generally older and that could affect optical quality - though they are still more expensive as well.

Is it true that ZF and ZF.2 lenses are identical except for electronics compatibility?
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Old March 12th, 2011, 05:17 AM   #2
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Re: Zeiss ZF/compact primes vs. Standards

The Zeiss Standards are T2.1 and were a workhorse in the film industry. They shot a ton of films are sharp, a bit warm, and don't breathe much. They sort of don't win in any category by todays standards. They weren't the fastest or most color accurate, but they are sharp and look like 1970's 1980's TV and movies. They were the lower cost lenses once the Super Speeds came out.

I actually like them. Only issue is that buying a set nowadays is weird because the PL vaccum has inflated their price. I see them go for +$20,000, and hell even the old super speed MK II and MkIII's go for almost 35-40K. I feel like a set of CP2's in PL is a safer purchase than Standard speeds, because they dont make the damn things anymore, and eventually geting them serviced will be harder and more expensive. Atleast new lenses will go 20+ years before needing to be totally rebuilt.
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Old March 12th, 2011, 01:45 PM   #3
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Re: Zeiss ZF/compact primes vs. Standards

Thanks Tim, I'm thinking to go budget altogether and get Duclos ZF's , as well as a few good Nikon Zooms (11-16, 17-35, 24or 28-70, and 80-200) then get a follow focus with a reversing gear. (May even try a cheap 18-200 Nikon for down and dirty running around work because its still supposed to be a sharp lens)

Any suggestions on a good follow focus and mattebox -preferably on a budget? I would have gone to Wayne at shoot 35 but he doesn't have a reversing gear for his follow focus and though he plans one , can't say when. Same for his mattebox as I have a bunch of vertical 4 x5.5 grads and he hasn't made a frame for them. A lot of the less expensive matteboxes don't provided those frames.

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Old March 13th, 2011, 01:41 AM   #4
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Re: Zeiss ZF/compact primes vs. Standards

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Originally Posted by Leonard Levy View Post

Any suggestions on a good follow focus and mattebox -preferably on a budget? I would have gone to Wayne at shoot 35 but he doesn't have a reversing gear for his follow focus and though he plans one , can't say when. Same for his mattebox as I have a bunch of vertical 4 x5.5 grads and he hasn't made a frame for them.
O'Connor Obox, and Redrock FF.
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Old March 13th, 2011, 04:21 AM   #5
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Re: Zeiss ZF/compact primes vs. Standards

Seconded on the O-box--I just bought one last month. There are a few caveats on it but it is overall built very solidly with an intelligent design. The unique addition of the mounting bar on top is perfect for attaching monitors and other components. The O-grips are well made and have some great features when used with the O-box but tragically expensive.
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Old March 13th, 2011, 01:23 PM   #6
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Re: Zeiss ZF/compact primes vs. Standards

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Seconded on the O-box--I just bought one last month. There are a few caveats on it but it is overall built very solidly with an intelligent design. The unique addition of the mounting bar on top is perfect for attaching monitors and other components. The O-grips are well made and have some great features when used with the O-box but tragically expensive.
If you happen to invest in other Oconnor stuff, like Ogrips, the OBOX makes alot more sense. Its ab it heavy to be a standa lone mattebox. but when you attach its accessories, it really becomes somethign more.
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Old March 13th, 2011, 01:35 PM   #7
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Re: Zeiss ZF/compact primes vs. Standards

Yes it does--it becomes a mounting point for accessories at the front of the camera assembly. Which I've taken to a further level than O'Connor themselves--see attached photo. However, the infuriating part of the design is that not only does it require a hex wrench to attach and remove the O-grips, it's a finicky process that requires explaining and demonstration to each and any assistant that works with it. I've just resigned myself to using the supplied rod mount bar for the O-grips instead of attaching directly to the O-box.

If you are wondering the point of having top rods as well as bottom rod attachment points--more to come as I'm having more parts machined as we speak. But you can also see that rather than wait for O'Connor to come out with side flaps I've had my parts made to use my Chrosziel siders with the O-Box.

(in honor of pending St. Paddy's Day, I feel like referring to the thing as the O'Box!)
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Old March 16th, 2011, 01:07 PM   #8
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Re: Zeiss ZF/compact primes vs. Standards

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The Zeiss Standards are T2.1 and were a workhorse in the film industry. .
Timur, I also loved and worked with the Zeiss Distagons for over 20 yrs. The Super Speeds were harsh by comparison, and the ultra primes did improve on the longer focus throw, though missing some of the romance the older Distagons had. Ultra primes also became big and heavy.

I regret a little in getting the Arri matte box kit when O'Connor told me their follow focus was not ready to ship a month ago. O'Connor's design was refreshing while Arri's lower price MMB-1 seemed flimsy and similar to DSLR inspired Vocas or other similar designs.

Kind of feel there ought to be a balance between price points of camera & accessories. If one wants to go 'budget' then why not the plastic Cokin snap ons? Dirt cheap and you can even slide grads up & down.
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Old March 16th, 2011, 05:04 PM   #9
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Re: Zeiss ZF/compact primes vs. Standards

I just ordered a couple ZFs, 50mm F1.4 and 85 F1.4. Can the iris can be declicked on these? Also, is the focus rotation direction "a la Nikon" or standard?

Thanks.

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Old March 16th, 2011, 05:26 PM   #10
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Re: Zeiss ZF/compact primes vs. Standards

Theirry,

Yes they can be de-clicked. Both Duclos and RP Lens do it but you might be able to find a photographic lens repair shop locally that will do a de-clicking for a fraction of the price. Your lenses will rotate the way of photographic lenses, not like cinema lenses.

You can use a follow focus that is flippable or is geared to reverse the knob rotation. ARRI makes a good one. They have it at Abel Cine Tech.

Last edited by Andrew Stone; March 16th, 2011 at 07:39 PM.
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Old March 16th, 2011, 06:55 PM   #11
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Re: Zeiss ZF/compact primes vs. Standards

The new Letus follow focus looks interesting. Its looks like an Arri design and is supposed to be reversible for around $600. I've had a Chrosziel with a reverse gear for the last 4 years and its been a workhorse. Costs a lot more but is solid
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Old March 25th, 2011, 02:15 AM   #12
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Re: Zeiss ZF/compact primes vs. Standards

Nigel is this the Chrosziel follow focus you are using?...

ZGC - Lens Controls/Follow Focus | Chrosziel Follow Focus System, HDV Rig Varilock DV

If so does it do reverse gearing for photo lenses (Nikon and the like)?
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Old March 25th, 2011, 07:36 AM   #13
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Re: Zeiss ZF/compact primes vs. Standards

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Nigel is this the Chrosziel follow focus you are using?...

ZGC - Lens Controls/Follow Focus | Chrosziel Follow Focus System, HDV Rig Varilock DV

If so does it do reverse gearing for photo lenses (Nikon and the like)?
Andrew

I have that Chrosziel. You have to buy a separate gear that reverses it and sitson top of that gear. Just saw the new Petroff that has the reversing system built into it. I got my Chrosziel 4 years ago and its been solid. I like these new systems with it built into it so you can use it also with Cine lens. Its a bit of work to take the revering gear off, so I have a second follow focus for Cine lenses and EFP lenses.

You can see the second gear in the attached photo. Also as we talked about it only can go on one side of the follow focus, so its been a problem with my new Chrosziel Matte box. I have to leave my hood on my 24-70 Tokina so there's enough space between the lens Matte box and follow focus
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Old March 25th, 2011, 08:31 AM   #14
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Re: Zeiss ZF/compact primes vs. Standards

The Genus Superior FF can also be reversed by mounting the gear box upside down. It's designed to be able to do this and has a reversible bracket.

I compared the ZF.2's to some CP2's and the Sony PL's and there was very little to choose between them optically. Ergonomically the CP2's were clear leaders, with the Sony PL's next and ZF.2's last. I'm looking at adding some ZF.2's to fill in some of the gaps in my lens kit.
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Old March 25th, 2011, 05:23 PM   #15
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Re: Zeiss ZF/compact primes vs. Standards

NIgel, I noticed you have a Cineroid attached to your F3. Can you get the aspect marker framing lines on it? Also which arm are you using and is it secure enough? My Manfrotto arms does not tighten well and the swaying of the finder is a pain.
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