Canon introduced their first servo-driven Cine Zoom Lens with autofocus at NAB 2016. But the new Canon CN-E 18-80mm T4.4 compact servo zoom comes with an odd trait for a cine lens: it has no focusing hard stops. Here is Canon’s response. No Hard Stops on Canon CN-E 18-80mm T4.4 COMPACT-SERVO The new 18-80mm is a very welcome lens for documentary style, large sensor shooters. Just like the newly announced Sony 18-110mm lens, it has a lightweight design, super35 (and APS-C) coverage, features autofocus and servo zoom functionality with a price tag of just over $5,000. We first noticed the missing hard stops when we took the lens for a spin at NAB 2016. The lens has a gear ring for focusing with a follow focus or remote focus, but the lack of hard stops is reminiscent of traditional Canon photo lenses. Video shooters and cinematographers alike will have a more difficult time controlling focus, especially when using focusing tools. According to the response from Mr Yuya Suzuki we got at IBC this year (see video above), in order to achieve the much applauded Dual Autofocus functionality they had to incorporate soft stops on the lens. The lens is clearly positioned as a professional tool for (indie) filmmakers and marketed as a cine lens, so the missing hard stops will probably leave some questions open. On the other hand, follow focuses are rarely used by single operator shooters, and this might just be the perfect lens for those looking to equip a Canon C300 Mark II documentary style. The lack of hard stops might justify the competitive price tag of the Canon CN-E 18-80mm T4.4 lens, but could be a tradeoff that some are not willing to accept. What do you think about this issue? Dealbreaker, or worth overlooking for the Dual AF functionality?Read more
After the success of their ART lenses, the Sigma cinema line of primes and zooms marks their foray into the cine lens market. Responding to the success of the ART range, Sigma has designed a new range for videographers and cinematographers, with 8 new fast cine primes and zoom lenses for full frame and super 35/APS-C cameras. The optics are the same as the ART range, but rehoused into a cinema lens with gears and 180 degree focus throw. The Sigma Cinema prime lenses come in focal lengths of 20mm, 24mm, 35mm, 50mm and 85mm, all at a very fast aperture of T/1.5, and are all full frame compatible. They come in EF, PL and E-mount, have rugged metal housing and a front diameter of 95mm, meaning they can be easily changed on a camera rig or matte box/follow focus setup. The Sigma Cinema 18-35mm and 50-100mm zoom lenses are for super 35/APS-C, with a fast aperture of T/2 and ready for high resolutions of 6K and 8K. They are also compact in comparison to other lens models, keeping the camera footprint small without compromising on quality. They’ll be available in EF, PL and E-mount, with a filter size of 82mm; ideal for swapping ND filters. The 24-35mm is the full frame zoom model in the Sigma Cinema range, with a maximum constant aperture of at T/2.2. It is also very compact and 6K/8K ready, and will be available in EF and E-mount, with no PL mount option (yet). Following suit with the other lenses, the size and filter thread diameter is the same at 95mm and 82mm respectively. Sigma also have a mount conversion service, should you wish to convert the full frame 24-35mm to PL mount. [UPDATE]: The Sigma 24-35mm T2.2 will not be available for PL mount, so you the conversion to PL mount will not be possible. Pricing is still to be determined, but the two super 35 zooms are expected to be available at the end of 2016, with the full frame zoom and prime lenses becoming available in spring 2017. In Europe, you can get more info from CVP here. Like the look of the new Sigma cine lenses? Let us know in the comments!Read more
ZEISS just officially announced a new lightweight cinema zoom, the first in many years: the LWZ.3 21-100mm. It starts at T2.9 and gets a stop slower at the far end, down to T3.9. A pre-production version of the ZEISS LWZ.3 used on the shoot of the documentary Through the Thick in South Africa early this year. LWZ.3 – Perfect for Documentary? For a cinema zoom, it is extremely compact and lightweight at 2kg (4.4 lbs). To me, this is almost the perfect documentary zoom lens. How do I know? I used a pre-production version of this lens while shooting our anti-poaching documentary Through the Thick, which I reported about before on cinema5D (click here) and which you can watch below. As a regular documentary shooter traveling the world and often covering factual content with large-sensor cameras like the FS7 or C300, I know how often I see myself with the wrong lens at the wrong time, especially when being forced to use photo zooms like a 17-55, 24-70 and 70-200mm. If something unexpected happens, you may not have the time to change lenses, but that’s one of the downsides of working with large sensors: they also mean large(r) lenses. Shot on a pre-production version of the ZEISS LWZ.3: A Great Compromise – Versatility, Weight, Size, Speed and Interchangeable Mounts The LWZ.3’s zoom range of 21-100mm is a great compromise – it’s wide enough for most practical purposes on documentary shoots (although of course, a few more millimeters make a big difference on the wide end), and it’s long enough for getting a close-up of anything not too far away from the lens. This new ZEISS zoom covers only Super35mm sensors, which is a complete deviation from recent ZEISS Cine lenses such as all Compact Primes or Compact Zooms, which were designed to cover the full frame 35mm photo size sensor. I actually think it’s a great idea because, aside from the RED line of cameras, there are still no cinema cameras on the market that have a sensor larger than Super35. Designing the lens this way means that it is considerably smaller (226mm long) and lighter than its Compact Zoom counterparts, which can get quite heavy on the shoulder when used for extended documentary shoots. The loss of one stop of light at the end of the zoom range is a compromise that is totally acceptable in my opinion. I’d rather have a lens start with a fast T-stop like T/2.9 and then loose a stop of light at the end, than having a very compromised T/4.4 like the Canon 18-80 all the way through. If that loss of a stop of light means shaving off a few hundred grams of weight in glass and size of this lens, I am very willing to take it. Practically all the “real-time” action shots in the documentary above were shot with this lens, which was attached to a Sony FS7 using a PL Mount Adapter from Vocas. Like most other ZEISS cine lenses, however, the LWZ.3 uses the Interchangeable Mount System (IMS), which allows you to change the mount to PL, EF, E, F and MFT. During our shoot in January, the pre-production version we used was PL only, which is why I used the adapter. Competition – Right Lens at the Right Time … We have seen a few manufacturers announce or release less expensive zoom lenses that cover the whole range needed for documentary filmmaking, and many of the available options were too big and heavy for constant documentary work from the shoulder. For example, the Fujinon Cabrio series (pricey) or the Canon 17-120 Servo Zoom (very expensive too) are both really great lenses, but oftentimes out of range for the average documentary production, even for rental. Canon announced their Cine-Servo Zoom 18-80 during NAB, but it’s only a constant T4.4 which isn’t great for both creative and practical reasons. The LWZ.3 is surprisingly affordable for a ZEISS zoom lens: its suggested retail price is just below $10K. Director of Photography Nino Leitner using the ZEISS LWZ.3 on the shoot in South Africa Conclusion This lens will definitely have quite an impact on the market, and its versatility seems to be unmatched by any others. The only thing that’s really missing is a servo unit for the lens, but ZEISS has been teasing one for their zoom lenses for quite a while now, and it seems to be around the corner as well. Offering a separate, optional servo unit means they are also able to keep costs down on the lens overall compared to the competition. We will release a full review of this lens in a few weeks alongside a behind-the-scenes featurette shot specifically about the ZEISS LWZ.3 in South Africa alongside the documentary shoot, and I will share more of my experiences with this lens then.Read more
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