IBC 2016: Hands-on with the under-$10K Zeiss 21-100mm T2.9-3.9 Zoom

Earlier in the month, Zeiss unveiled a brand new lightweight Super 35mm zoom, the LWZ.3 21-100mm T2.9-3.9, which is going to retail for $9,900. At the IBC show in Amsterdam this year, we got a chance to test the lens, and it certainly lives up to the lightweight name, coming in at just 4.4 lbs/2 kg.

Zeiss 21-100mm
Zeiss 21-100mm

Bill Bennett, ASC, who shot the demo film The Recipe seen in the video above, had high praise for the lens, and compared it sharpness-wise to the Ultra Primes. He was also impressed by how little distortion the lens exhibited at both the wide and the close range.

Here is a quick test we were able to do with the LWZ.3 and the Blackmagic URSA Mini 4K:

Bill did have something to say about the ramping exposure, which goes from T2.9 to T3.9. The lens ramps gradually from the wide end to the telephoto end, but as he mentions in the video, this is pretty standard behavior from lenses, as all of them have to ramp to some extent, but some do more than others, and some have more complicated glass movements inside to try to compensate for this behavior and minimize light loss at the extreme focal lengths.

Zeiss 21-100mm on RED HELIUM 2
Zeiss 21-100mm on RED HELIUM

There are definitely times when lens ramping can be a problem, especially if you’re doing a long slow zoom from a wide onto a face and the image is getting noticeably darker. For most situations it won’t be that big of a deal, but it will definitely depend on how you’re using the lens.

Zeiss previously showed off some footage shot with the lens in this short video:

And the behind the scenes:

The lens should be shipping by January 2017, and will come in PL, Canon EF, E-Mount, and MFT mount.

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