Professional cinematography with the Apo Sonnar T* 2/135
Watching the documentary “Undercity“ you get the feeling that New York cinematographer Andrew Wonder enjoys doing crazy things. So when we asked him to test our new Apo Sonnar T* 2/135, we were keen to receive his pictures and user feedback.
Wonder decided to make a fashion video because it gave him the perfect opportunity to experience the creative potential of this telephoto lens. The result is a film with incredibly beautiful pictures.
SLR lenses from Carl Zeiss are popular with both photographers and HD video cinematographers thanks to their precise manual focusing and robust design. Whereas the Compact Prime CP.2 lenses have features designed especially for professional use, camera lenses from Carl Zeiss are used mainly by cinematographers who are just starting out in making movies with interchangeable lenses, or looking for very compact gear. Especially in combination with HDSLR cameras, the SLR lenses’ compact size opens up completely new creative perspectives and allows for a more authentic look: people tend to behave more naturally in front of a small HDSLR camera with a small lens than a large professional movie camera. Which is why this combination is often used for interviews, documentaries and music videos.
Compared to the professional Compact Prime CP.2 lenses from Carl Zeiss, filming with SLR camera lenses has certain disadvantages. For example, camera lenses have no uniform rotation angle; the focus swivels are located in different positions; the iris consists of 9 instead of 14 blades; and the lens measurements vary significantly between different focal lengths, making it more difficult to use matte boxes. Changing to another focal length is therefore difficult and costs time on the set. In order to have more flexibility, cinematographers therefore like to use photography zoom lenses. But the disadvantages remain the same as with fixed focal lengths. Weaknesses such as focus shift can become even more apparent with zoom lenses due to their construction.
Carl Zeiss introduced the Compact Zoom Family in 2012 to combine the best of both worlds. The new Compact Zoom CZ.2 lenses are intended for HD video applications, as well as professional motion picture productions. The lenses have the following characteristics:
- Interchangeable mount
- Full-frame coverage (36 x 24 mm)
- No focus shift over the zoom range
- Robust cine-style housing
- Circular shape of iris
- Great flare suppression
- Calibrated focus scales
The optical Sonnar design of the Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 is reflected in the Compact Prime CP.2 135/T2.1. This CP.2 lens is perfect for use with HD video shoots and integrates seamlessly into the Compact lens family from Carl Zeiss. The Compact Prime CP.2 lenses have 14 rather than 9 iris blades for an even more harmonious bokeh and, compared to camera lenses, they offer handling advantages, for example through a uniform focus rotation angle and identical barrel and front diameters.
Read a more detailed description of Andrew Wonder’s experiences on his blog.