After doing a post recently about the differences between lenses, I think it is important here to note the difference between the popular cinema choice of Zeiss ZF.2 vs CP.2. One is a lot more expensive that the other and sometimes this causes a lot of confusion about the differences. The ZF and CP.2 lenses share exactly the same glass so will give you the same image results on any camera. The CP.2 are however considered as Cinema lenses because of some features it comes with that make it much more user friendly on set for cinematographers.
It should be noted here that the Zeiss ZF’s are the Nikon mount photo lenses. The ZE are the same but for Canon however the Canon mount version are fairly useless for filming because they do not have the manual iris/aperture setting that the Nikon ZF mount does. So for filming, users should grab the Nikon mount and grab an adapter to attach to your camera if necessary.
A video can often says 100 words so check out the video below:
The details below outline some features of each lens so its easier to see where the CP.2′s shine out. This is looking at standard ZF lenses without a cinemod.
- 14 bladed iris/aperture which is geared.
- Cinema housing
- Internal Focus housing (when changing lenses you wont have to reposition your follow focus)
- Cine-standard 32-pitch gears for focusing
- Focus rotates nearly 300° for precise focusing
- Focus’s what we normally consider ‘the right way’ – infinity is clockwise when looking at front of the lens.
- Iris is click-free
- Interchangeable mounts
- Much larger than the ZF’s
- Limited to f/2 (T2.1)
- Around £3000 a piece
- 9 bladed iris/aperture (not geared just gridded)
- Photography-like housing (which is the main ascetic different between the lenses)
- Focusing differs from 90° to 275° depending on the lens.
- The ZF’s are Nikon mount meaning they rotate ‘the wrong way’ – infinity is counter-clockwise when looking at front of lens. However many follow focus’s can be inverted which would correct this. The ZE version (Canon mount) do not focus the ‘wrong way’ but lack an iris ring.
- Iris clicks every 1/3 of a stop
- Fixed mount -
- ZF – Nikon mount
- ZE – Canon mount
- Compact in size.
- Go down to f/1.4
- Around £800 a piece
Here are some links to known cinemod’s
So which is better?
I cannot say which is better for you better because it completely depends on your budget. If you have the budget for CP.2′s and you know the features will benefit you and the crew then you should go for the CP.2′s. However if you dont have £3000 to spend on each lens then maybe grab some ZF’s with the possibility of cinemod-ing them.