It was going to happen sooner or later. The Zeiss Otus primes — 28mm f1.4, 55mm f1.4, 85mm f1.4 — have a reputation for being the best stills lenses in the world, outperforming practically every other full-frame stills or full-frame cine lens in the world in terms of resolution. Not only that, but they have beautiful bokeh, and a characteristic that many video shooters have fallen in love with.
Until this week, you could only buy these lenses from Zeiss in Canon EF and Nikon F mounts. If you wanted to put one on your shiny cinema camera, no dice. Enter Chinese lens wizards GL Optics with a reputation for beating some major lens manufacturers at their own game. They have succeeded in cinemizing lenses like the Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 and 50-100mm f1.8, and Tokina 11-16mm f2.8, months, or sometimes years before the original manufacturer gets around to making their own.
Now they have turned their attention to the Zeiss trio of Otus lenses, successfully rehousing them in a cine housing, and converting them to PL, with an EF option. The 55mm and 85mm are already completed, and the 28mm is promised soon. All three lenses have a 114mm front diameter, which should make them compatible with most matte boxes. The focus rotation is now 330 degrees, and the focusing was extremely smooth when I tried it out. The optical design remains exactly the same as the stills lens, just the housing is new and somewhat larger.
The price of each lens fully converted is not yet set, but GL Optics expect it to be around the $8000 month, including the lens and the conversion. If this is the case, it’s highly likely that these could be the highest performing lenses in this price point, and perhaps (depending on your taste), at any price point.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that these modifications void the original warranty. If you’re ordering one, please let us know how you get on with it.
Also at the show, GL Optics introduced two more Leica R rehousings to round out their existing line. These were a 15mm f3.5 and 100mm f2.8 APO Macro.