NAB 2012 – PrimeCircle: affordable EF cine prime lenses

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Here’s one of the most intriguing new products we’ve seen at NAB 2012: The PrimeCircle cine EF lenses.

Italian based product designer and lens modifier Dante Cecchin had been working in cinematography for a long time when the HDSLR revolution changed the way we looked at cinema. Driven by the need for HDSLR cine primes Dante modified high quality Zeiss ZF glass into cinema lenses and started a production.

After starting his project in 2011 Dante has further advanced and perfected his lens modifications and produced some other renown products along the way like a hdmi cable locker, a designer aluminum body cap or a DIY cine lens modification kit for stills glass, to bring cinestyle closer to the indie filmmaker.

How it’s done
Basically the original Zeiss ZF lenses stay fully intact, Dante only adds an additional housing, a front cover, a new tighter EF mount, a gear and decklicks the aperture ring. The quality of these modified lenses is truly remarkable. Certainly they will have to be tested in a real life environment which cinema5D will undertake soon.

The PrimeCircle lenses cost 20-30% more than the original stills lenses. Compared to other compact cine prime lenses this is very affordable.

Advantages over stills lenses:
– tighter locked lens mounting
– 90° orientation twist so scales are on side instead of top
– correctly sized and locked gear
– large focal length display on lens sides
– reflection free front
– unified front barrel/mount size for use with matteboxes
– declicked and fluid aperture ring

Dante says his modifications can only get you 90% to where dedicated cine primes take you. Here are the
disadvantages over other cine primes:
– no gear on aperture (because stills lens aperture ring
_isn’t strong enough for geared force)
– shorter aperture travel
– Stills lenses often tend to expand or retract during focus
_changes (where Dante’s mattebox as seen in the video
_comes in very handy)
– slightly shorter focus travel
(if there’s anything I missed here let me know)

The PrimeCircle website

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