ZEISS: Cinema lenses, 4K & Anamorphics – ON THE COUCH Ep. 3

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In the 3rd episode of ON THE COUCH, we hosted our show sponsor ZEISS to talk about their company and news in the lens area. Our guests were Michael Schielen, Sales Director at the Camera Lens Division of ZEISS, Dr. Aurelian Dodoc, ZEISS’s Principal Scientist for lens development, and Barry Anderson, an American filmmaker and author of the well-know DSLR Filmmakers Handbook. ON_THE_COUCH_EP3 We talked about where ZEISS came from and how they got back into the game of cinema lenses in the late nineties. Then we touch on their popular CP.2 range and the new Compact Zooms, and the fact that their new lenses cover full frame – and what advantages this has even for Super35mm cameras. We cover the question whether or not there is a distinct “ZEISS look” and why it is essential to have a neutral image out of your camera to work with in post. The relevance of 4K was a topic as well, and how ZEISS makes sure their lenses are 4K capable – how they are measured. I asked Barry about the relevance of 4K in his filmmaking work and whether he thinks it’s just another fad like 3D or not – we seem to agree on the issue that it’s here to stay.

Still frame from "Star Trek" involving a lot of anamorphic flare (created in camera), courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Still frame from “Star Trek” involving a lot of anamorphic flare (created in camera), courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Aurelian Dodoc talked about ZEISS’s new anamorphic line and we shed some light onto what anamorphic actually means – there seem to be many misconceptions around that topic, especially since JJ Abrams established horizontal flares as a “look” in his Star Trek films. The last topic we covered was ZEISS’s concept of a zoom rocker that can be added to all three new Compact Zooms – including control options of not only zoom, but also f-stop and focus.

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oscar April 9, 2014

Doktorrr. Teizzz – I love it……
Where is Mel Brooks :)

Ben Robinson April 9, 2014

Great content guys, loved all the science ‘behind the lens’in Ep 3. Really enjoying your approach. Keep up the good work.

Peter Kent April 10, 2014

First thanks for this episode, I like seeing the scientific as well as the artistic side of cinematography and I love Zeiss for thinks like CP.2s and that servo design.

I understand how to use LP/mm to measure contrast and resolution but not sure how he applied it to classifying a lens as “4k ready”. Unlike a straight forward LP/mm measurement, wouldn’t classifying something as 4k ready require a viewing size?

Pixels can be any size; for example the same image on a 13-inch 4k screen would look sharper than on a 40-inch 4k screen just like a 300dpi A6 print would look sharper than an 300dpi A4 print. So how did he calculate 70LP/mm as 4k? What size screen or dpi and print size was he using?

I assume he means a huge theater screen but if you’re only displaying on a 4k display at 80-inches then maybe a 30LP/mm lens is 4k ready (not sure on that math though). The fact is 4k is 8.9 megapixels and uHD is about 8.3 so if you’re lens is sharp enough for blowing up your 9 megapixel photos onto your intended display medium then you would be 4k ready.