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Header image for article Shooting with ZEISS Supreme Prime & Cinema Zoom Lenses

Shooting with ZEISS Supreme Prime & Cinema Zoom Lenses

As DPs, we often decide whether our project should be shot with primes or zooms based on the desired look and logistics of the shoot. However, there are plenty of times when we need to use both. Maybe we are handheld, shooting outside for some scenes, so zooms make the most logistical sense. Yet for other portions, we are shooting portraits or interviews, and we want the added optical quality, control, and stop of a prime. Then, our main objective becomes making sure the lenses match and will cut together cohesively.

Recently, I had the opportunity to put this to a test. I wanted to really evaluate the ability to intercut a prime and zoom from the same line of lenses, and I choose to use ZEISS Supreme Primes and ZEISS Cinema Zoom Lenses. I decided to shoot a combination of skin tones and resolution charts in order to analyze the look, feel, resolution, and sharpness of the lenses.

For these scenes, I used the 29mm T1.5, 35mm T1.5, 50mm T1.5, 65mm T1.5, and 100mm T1.5 Supreme Primes. For zooms, I used the ZEISS Cinema Zoom 28-80mm T2.9, and 70-200mm T2.9. All shots were kept at a consistent T-stop of T2.9 and shot on the RED MONSTRO at 4K.

Both lenses captured an organic, natural skin tone. I also really noticed the soft highlight roll-off. The bokeh matched and intercut perfectly, and the sharpness was very comparable. The completed project reveals the matching look, feel, and sharpness of the ZEISS Supreme Zooms and the ZEISS Cinema Zooms. They're great options for a lens package for a full format or Super 35mm project where both primes and zooms are necessary. Watch the final video to see how all the lenses performed together.

Editor's Note: At 1:40 the caption should read ZEISS Supreme Zoom 28-80mm T2.9 (at 29mm).

Megan Donnelly
Director of Production Services, AbelCine

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