Here at IBC 2016, we go hands-on with the freshly announced Zeiss LWZ.3, the newest addition to their lightweight zoom range. Although the lens gets slower at the far end, from T2.9 down to T3.9, it might nevertheless be the next big thing for documentary work. Make sure to read Nino’s in-depth article for all about the details of this lightweight cine zoom lens. Hands-on with the Zeiss LWZ.3 As there is no such thing as the perfect lens (14 – 200mm T 1.5 with full frame coverage in a 1,2 kg parfocal lens for $800, anyone?) you’ll always get some downsides, that’s for sure. In the case of this lens, even though it is really lightweight for the focal range it covers, there are also some downsides to it. The Zeiss LWZ.3 only covers super35 sized sensors, for example. The bigger Zeiss Compact Zoom versions cover full frame, but they are double the price for half the focal range. The one thing I find really annoying is the drop of T-stop towards the end of the focal range of this lens. But Zeiss has managed to implement a technology called gradiant T-Stop which will ensure very smooth and linear transition of aperture over the focal range. the Zeiss LWZ.3 21-100mm The mount of the Zeiss LWZ.3 is user interchangeable, so you don’t have to buy (or rent) multiple versions for different cameras. Also, the front diameter is the same for the Compact Prime lenses, so you can keep any valuable matteboxes and other accessories you might own. Prizing and Availability The Zeiss LWZ.3 will be available around January 2017 and will come in 5 different mount versions, namely EF, PL, Sony E, Nikon F and MFT. The price for the lens itself is set to $9,900, while additional mounts will set you back $290.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
by Jared Abrams | 16th April 2010
Now, this is what I’m talking about. Finally a Zeiss Zoom with Canon EF mount. This should make up a little for the 7D firmware French Update. The new LWZ.2 15.5mm-45mm T2.8 with cine gears is exactly what the HDSLR community has been waiting for. I guess Canon missed the boat on this one. No mention of price that I could find yet. Killer Glass for the DSLR’s. Less barrel distortion than still zooms. ▪ Three different mounts available ( (PL, EF and F mount) ▪ Compact, lightweight zoom ideal for Steadicam, handheld and remote work ▪ Super color matched with all ZEISS cine lenses ▪ Highest optical performance despite compact build T* XP coating ensures flare resistance Click Here To Read The Boring Press Release.Read more
We only send updates about our most relevant articles. No spam, guaranteed! And if you don't like our newsletter, you can unsubscribe with a single click. Read our full opt-out policy here.