Here is a Quick Take on the new Zeiss Compact Prime Lenses. The 2nd generation of compact primes is available in Canon EF, Nikon or PL mount. Currently they are some of the only cinema style lenses that will cover a full frame sensor. The Compact Primes have a full focus rotation with a ton of focus marks. I found it hard to pull my own focus as a result. This was in part due to the HDSLR follow focus I had. I would highly recommend getting either a speed crank or a studio follow focus with a larger knob and gear to pull focus. The iris is also manual and set in T-Stops versus f-stops.
The new CP.2 primes differ from the Zeiss ZE line in many ways. The glass is color matched and hand picked. The lenses are made in Germany and not Japan. The iris is manual and “click-less”. This enables iris pulls, a common practice in cinema. Both the Iris and Focus barrels are geared for a follow focus or remote motor. The front housing is uniform at 114mm for use with a mattebox. The prime set is also a T2.1 from 28mm through 100mm. The 100mm T2.1 Close Focus Lens will be released sometime in November 2010. The CP.2’s also have a small baffle over the rear element that helps control lens flare. Richard Schleuning from Carl Zeiss, USA was kind enough to explain the baffle to us.
The one major difference is price. The Zeiss CP.2 retail for around $3900 each. They are a little less if you buy a set. That is well over three times the price of the ZE line for Canon cameras. However, this is well under the cost of traditional 35mm motion picture cinema lenses.