Thread: Zeiss 21-100vs...?

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  1. #1 Zeiss 21-100vs...? 
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    Oct 2012
    Squaw Valley, California
    Hey guys! Trying to figure out a cine zoom. I'm a snow/outdoor shooter and need to be able to carry all my gear in a pack. I own my own Epic Dragon and the company I usually am working with has a couple of Epic W's I use some of the time. I don't think I'm probably going to get a great rental rate on every job I bring it on but am the kind of person that tries hard to have their own gear in order to have it totally dialed. It's rare that I have an AC to pull focus and normally I'm one man banding or at the most will have a tripod/battery sherpa helping out. I feel that with pulling your own focus it's pretty important to have a good "feel" for your lens and going between rental options and L glass I think I'm missing out.

    In the interest of budget and weight I've been using Canon L glass for the last 4 or 5 years particularly the Canon 24-105, 70-200, and Tokina 11-16. I've had no complaints with image quality but was what put me over the edge on making a change was recently renting the Zeiss 21-100 and Canon 17-120. The ability to be able to rack with a real focus throw with a skier coming at you at full speed made such a huge difference I didn't really know I was missing.

    Canon 17-120
    Too expensive for my budget

    Zeiss 21-100 $8,000+ (used)-$10,000 (new) +$1,000 for filters = $9,000-$11,000
    Pretty decent 5x zoom range
    lightweight 4.4lbs
    Still have the option (EF mount) to use my existing wide and telephoto zooms as well as my Contax prime kit
    Zeiss is probably a better sounding rental option for clients

    exposure ramping and a stop slower than the Red zooms
    Filter system is a pain (I already own a zip box but no 4x5.65 filters))
    Coverage on bigger sensors?

    RED RPZ 17-50 and 50-150 combo $3,500 each x2 +$300 for 67mm filters +2x PL doubler $1500 =$8800
    I like the idea of being able to use the 67mm filters and avoiding the zip box which hates going in and out of the pack
    a bit cheaper
    Shorter length fits my pack setup much better

    Stuck in PL mount so I'm handcuffed on the wide and long ends though I'd probably pick up a 2x doubler
    Forced into a used "owner/operator" market so not 100% on quality of each lens
    a little heavier at 3.2lbs+3.2lbs=6.4lbs combined

    Fujinon 20-120
    6x zoom

    more expensive
    close focus is really bad

    Angenieux 25-250 T3.7 HP 8.5lbs $7,000?
    10x zoom/good on the tele end
    Easier on the budget

    need a wide PL option
    Does the front element rotate, filter options?
    cover 6k?
    only used option
    Quality vs Zeiss and RPZ?
    Would need a wide PL option

    Wouldn't need a tele option
    within budget

    Red 18-85 $3,500-4,000
    With a 2x doubler I could probably get away with just one lens
    Too heavy
    used owner operator market

    Laowa 25-100 2.9
    within budget

    No EF option (sounds like there might be an EF option)
    Doesnt exist yet
    would need a wide PL and a PL tele option

    Any other options?

    Thanks guys!!
    Last edited by Jeffrey Wright; 05-09-2019 at 04:06 PM.
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  2. #2  
    Senior Member Cameron Currier's Avatar
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    Nov 2012
    Bellingham/Seattle, WA
    I feel like the Laowa will be a great contender on that list, once it is available. And it will have an EF option, according to this thread:
    Epic-X Dragon #8014
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  3. #3  
    Okay, I know you said it's too expensive for your budget, but the 17-120 is worth every penny, especially if you're largely operating by yourself or with limited support. I've owned one for several years and I've never regretted buying it for one second. And Canon recently dropped the price again, so it's down to $22,850(originally ~$31K). I come from a broadcast background and I'm used to large zoom ratio servo lenses and not having to change lenses(often), so it really fits my style of working.

    Long zoom ratio-7x
    Built-in servos for zoom, focus and iris
    Decently wide back-end
    Decent reach
    Decent close focus(just under 2' from front of lens)
    Built-in macro focus ability
    Built-in back-focus adjustment
    Focus throw designed for single operator operation(~170-180 degrees)
    Overall designed for single operator operation
    Constant T2.95 aperture from 17-91(5.3x)
    Swappable PL/EF mount system available from IBE Optics/AbelCine that maintains data/power/control with both mounts. I had it installed on mine.
    Slightly larger than s35 image circle
    Nothing else like it exists in the s35/large sensor world.

    Heavy(front heavy)
    Expensive(ish)(compared to the other lenses on your list, still a good deal for what you get, though)
    Aperture does ramp during the last 29mm of the zoom range(worth it for the range and versatility imo)

    Now, I don't own the Fuji 20-120, but have a client with one and I've used it several times on one of their Amira's and I will say that I do like it more than I thought I would(Ironically all of my broadcast 2/3" HD lenses are Fuji). With that being said, though, I have a friend who bought one and he said if he had it to do over, he'd buy the Canon.

    For me, the Zeiss is a non-starter, because it's not wide enough and not long enough. Also it has a really long focus throw for single operator operation and its mounts are "dumb"(may or may not be important).

    I have no personal experience with the Angenieux or RED and the Laowa isn't out yet, but not enough range for me, anyway.

    So yes, the Canon is the most expensive on the list by a fair margin, but it's the most versatile for "one man band" type operation and pretty much the de facto lens in the s35 sensor EFP/Feature/Sports world. Which is where I'd classify what you're doing.
    Last edited by Christopher A. Bell; 05-09-2019 at 06:50 PM.
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  4. #4  
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    May 2015
    The Fujinon 20-120 does not cover 8K but at 7K, it's good.

    So at 7k you have approximately a 23-137mm lens.
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  5. #5  
    Junior Member
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    Oct 2012
    Squaw Valley, California
    thanks Christopher! Great argument for the 17-120. I think I'm gonna hold off until next winter and see if I can line up enough work to justify it.
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  6. #6  
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    Dec 2013
    Tel Aviv/London
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffrey Wright View Post
    I've had no complaints with image quality but was what put me over the edge on making a change was recently renting the Zeiss 21-100 and Canon 17-120. The ability to be able to rack with a real focus throw with a skier coming at you at full speed made such a huge difference I didn't really know I was missing.
    You write you rented the Zeiss 21-100, so how did it worked for you? Where you okay with the long 300 degrees focus throw? Where you okay with the wide end being only 21mm? I think it's a fantastic lens for the money, but as others said here, the Canon is probably the best all around lens in it's class.
    The benefit of the Zeiss is it's size and price, it's feels smaller and more compact from the Canon. I will completely rule out the big massive zoom, like the RED 18-85 or the angie, those are monsters, you can't use them them by yourself really.

    Btw, I'll also consider a used Cabrio 19-90 if you consider the Canon, such a great lens!
    Oron Cohen
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  7. #7  
    Senior Member Blair Thornton's Avatar
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    Oct 2013
    I got some pretty good results with a Nikon Zoom 200-500mm with 1.4x Tele $1,480
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  8. #8  
    Senior Member Bob Gundu's Avatar
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    Mar 2011
    Toronto, ON Canada
    I’ve been testing the Loawa for a week now. It’s a bit heavy but it’s going to be real winner.

    VFX, Cinematographer, Photographer
    10 frame handles
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  9. #9  
    Senior Member Scot Yount's Avatar
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    Dec 2014
    Marblehead, Massachusetts
    The Canon is a great ramps. If that is not a problem for you then no problem. The Fuji 20-120 is a shade slower than the Fuji 19-90 (which does not ramp btw) and the 19-90 has a larger image circle than the 20-120. I have seen version 2 19-90s going for the mid teens. Take the FIZ servo off and it lightens the load quite a bit. I have not used the Loawa but it looks interesting.

    EDIT: I would love to own a Fuji though it does ramp!
    Last edited by Scot Yount; 08-05-2019 at 08:18 PM.
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  10. #10  
    HP FTW. Shooting ski you need more on the tele end fo sho. Those other zooms are pretty limiting for shooting on a mountain. Get a 1.4 expander for the HP and have a 35-350 in your backpack that covers 6K FF. Misfit clamp on mattebox so telescoping is no problem. 11-16 in PL used and you are good to go. Get a microforce and get buttery zooms as well. It is heavy though... Or stick with L glass and practice more focus pulls with them... L glass is pretty easy on the back! Tripod needs to be pretty beefy for the HP as well so take that into account.
    Mike McEntire
    Mack Dawg Productions
    Oceanside, CA
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