A new lens company called Foton, owned by China-based parent company DZO, has a new spherical T2.8 25-300mm S35 12x zoom on display at NAB. We tried the very, very large lens on the show floor and had some thoughts…
Lens manufacturing is tricky and this lens is admittedly not yet in production, but we noticed a few flaws during the show. For one, the lens was displayed on a large format RED Monstro, so the S35 lens would crop at anything over 5K as displayed in the booth. The build quality is also a little suspect. We tried to set the lens to T2.8 and the lens ring stopped just short of the point marked at T2.8 on the lens body.
I also had trouble finding focus in the booth for just a quick test because the min focus distance is 6.5 ft (or 2 meters) and the booth wasn’t quite large enough for focusing on too many different objects. The lens also appeared a little soft in my opinion. While the price point is more affordable to other zooms of this scale there are a few things that need to be worked out before this zoom is ready for primetime in my opinion.
It is also a little strange that the parent company of Foton, DZO, is based in China yet all the marketing materials say Foton is made up of engineers and cinematographers based in California. Note the image below:
While the attempt is admirable this lens needs additional time in development before it can be seen as a serious contender to other high-end manufacturers with zooms in this range.
What do you think? Is there room in the market for a $22,000 S35 cinema zoom that covers 25-300mm like this one?