[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Eclair Cameras: Zeiss lenses old and new ... my personal experience

Hi Carlo,

The 25mm to 85mm Zeiss Standards typically sell from a dealer for about $400-$500. The shorter focal lengths from $600 up to $1000. And of course everything is negotiable as the fleet gets older. And you can sometimes find them on e-Bay for less. There are 2 kinds of housing designs --- they look similar to the eye --- but they focus differently: with the older lenses, the entire lens housing turns --- even the mount that is in the camera turns. With these lenses, how tightly the retaining ring is screwed in affects the resistance you'll get when turning the focus ring. The later models have focus rings that turn independently of the rear barrel (like modern lenses). The later models have stainless steel rear mounts. You can easily tell which kind it is by grasping the lens mount barrel, and then turning the focus ring. If the entire lens rotates in your hand, it's the earlier design. While I imagine the glass in the earlier design is the same (though older, of course), having a mount that needs to both turn and ALSO be locked in place, wasn't a brilliant idea. But they work --- I have two. Also, the 16mm Standard lens came in both a Planar and a Distagon. I once e-mailed Zeiss to ask if one was "better". An engineer replied that in the old Standards the Planar was better but in a modern Zeiss lens, that would not be the case. Certainly seems to be less glass in the Planar. The standards are T2.2 . They are not designed for Super-16, though the 16mm will just barely cover (below specs in corners and sides, I'm sure), and a 25mm or more works fine.

Because it is hard to manually pull focus with the Standards --- since the focus ring is narrower in diameter than later designs --- I had my machine shop make a wide diameter barrell out of aluminum that fits overtop of the focus ring and screws on with set screws (black anodized with rubber around the outside). With that, they are as easy to focus as an SLR lens.

The Superspeed Bayonet mount Zeiss lenses are T1.2 ish, and are designed for Super 16. They are wider and heavier than the standards, and sell used for around $1500 or more, though you can now find some pretty good deals for a set of 4 lenses (9.5,12,16,25) as everyone dumps their old stuff to have lens mounts compatible with HD.

While it has been argued both ways on this site before, for us impovershed filmmakers looking to own lenses that give razor sharp images, I don't imagine that the difference between Standards and Superspeeds is material, assuming that the glass and coatings are pristine. Probably the newer lenses are a little better handling flare, but I've intercut shots from Standards and Speeds and not noticed a difference to my own eye --- your milage may vary.

As a reference, I think a brand new Zeiss Superspeed PL is around $7,000 U.S., but I haven't checked recently so take that with a grain of salt. Also, I'm not a DP, just a do-every-job-yourself-filmmaker ... the DPs would know more details. Mark.

This email was sent to: elroro@propagandaindustries.org

EASY UNSUBSCRIBE click here: http://topica.com/u/?a84xYK.bdbHPA.ZWxyb3Jv
Or send an email to: EclairACL-unsubscribe@topica.com

TOPICA - Start your own email discussion group. FREE!