NAB 2009 - Zeiss Compact Primes, Sony SRW-9000, etc.

More goodies from the Sunday before the show.
Adam Wilt
By Adam Wilt 04.20.09

An SRW-9000 at BandPro with a Zeiss DigiZoom.

Both BandPro and Sony had prototypes of the new SRW-9000 HDCAM-SR camcorder to show, as well as the new PDW-F800 XDCAM HD camcorder. But first, those Zeiss Compact Primes I was rabbiting on about...

Zeiss Compact Primes at BandPro, with a Red One.

BandPro's Michael Bravin and Jim Hegadorn kindly fetched out their set of the new Zeiss Compact Primes for me to photograph. These are a set of seven matched PL-mount primes, based on Zeiss's well-regarded ZF-series still camera lenses, reworked with cine lens housings. All are 80mm long, 114mm across their fronts, and all within 10% of 1 kg in mass:

  • T3.6 18mm Distagon T*

  • T2.9 21mm Distagon T*

  • T2.9 25mm Distagon T*

  • T2.1 28mm Distagon T*

  • T2.1 35mm Distagon T*

  • T1.5 50mm Planar T*

  • T1.5 85mm Planar T*

All the lenses stop down to T22, using a 14-blade iris for a smooth and pleasing bokeh. As the list shows, the max apertures vary a bit between the lenses, but also consider that the set is likely to sell for around US$40,000, or roughly US$6,000 per lens—a bit under half the price to the corresponding Ultra Primes.

Zeiss Compact Primes at BandPro.

While I obviously didn't have the opportunity to evaluate the Compact Primes optically, I did observe that the mechanical fit, finish, and operation of the focus and iris rings are all up to Zeiss's typical high standards; all the actions were silky smooth and perfectly damped.

Next: SRW-9000, a one-piece HDCAM-SR camcorder...

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