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Zeiss Standard Speeds MK2

After even more research, testing, readings, etc etc etc. I decided to go with a tried and true cinema lens kit. My last post I mentioned I was going to get the Zeiss cp.3 kit, but after further investigation I decided to go with the Zeiss Standard Speed MKII lens kit. This kit was built in the late 1980s and have been used on more hollywood films than I can name. Zeiss built these for ARRI (Arriflex back then). However you may be asking, why would you buy lenses made from the 80s opposed to a new set made within the last few years? There is a lot of answers to that question and I will attempt to cover most of them.

Sharpness: The sharpness of the Zeiss Standard MK2 even at a stop of T2.1 aperture is amazing. The newer lenses within the price range I paid (Zeiss CP.2s/CP.3s, Canon CN-E, etc) don't come close.

Chromatic Aberration (CA): also known as “color fringing” or “purple fringing” is something I personally cannot stand. Cheap photo lenses have this problem badly but even some higher end still glass and cine glass show it as well. You can see it in the highlights, extreme contrast area, sometimes on edges of faces, it's truly horrible. If you don't know what I mean google chromatic aberration and see for yourself. However, these older Zeiss kits (especially the mk2 Standards) don't exhibit CA, even at t2.1, I am not seeing it. The same cannot be said of the current Zeiss CP.2s/CP.3s. In fact this was probably the main reason I chose to steer clear of the CP.3s.

Focus Breathing: This is the phenomenon of when you are racking focus and the image slightly zooms in and out, which can distract the viewer and take them out of the scene. Lenses like the Zeiss CP line, Canon CN-Es, Sigma Cines, Xeens, etc. "breathe" quite a bit, reason being is they are simply rehoused still glass in a cine body. Still glass manufactures don't worry about breathing because it isn't seen in a photo and doesn't really matter, but with motion pictures it is crucial. These older lenses (and newer cinema lenses like the master and ultra primes) don't exhibit focus breathing because they were built for cinema and only cinema.

Focus pulling: When working with bigger crews and budgets having lenses that have a great focus throw is crucial. The Zeiss Standards have a 360 degree focus ring, which means that to go from the closest focus point to infinity focus is a complete 360 degree turn on the focus ring. This allows my 1st AC/focus puller to make more precise focus moves and allows the production to move faster and more efficient.

Weight: I am always trying to keep weight down on my camera rigs, especially on my Movi gimbal. The Zeiss Standards are lightweight and allow me to still move quickly and able to go a full day on the Movi and handheld setups.

There are a few other reasons I chose this kit but the list above covers the mains. If you want to see them in action let me know.

As they say, they sure don't make them like the use to!

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