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    Canon CN-E Primes - VS.- Zeiss CP.2 Superspeeds
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    Title pretty much sums it up. Looking for advice comparing the Canon Cinema Primes to the Zeiss Compact Prime Super-speeds.

    Will be used exclusively on my Sony FS7, Sony FS5, & a7RII with mounting adapters.

    So far from what I have been able to read on forums, watch on Youtube, etc. I have deducted the following....

    COLOR & SKINTONES: It seems that the Canon's render nicer skin tones and colors right out of the camera whereas the Zeiss's are colder. So I would assume grading with the Canon's might be a little bit nicer to get more pop out of your colors while retaining neutral skin tones with good highlight roll-off.

    SHARPNESS & IMAGE: From what I have read or watched (to my eyes) they seem to both produce similar levels of sharpness with the Zeiss having slightly more micro-contrast and more detail in the blacks but with the Canon's producing nicer and brighter highlights. However I have seen various instances on forums that statements were made that the CP.2 super-speeds are soft wide open at (T1.5) where I have always heard the Canon's are tack sharp at (T1.3-T1.5)? This is very important to me as I want them to be tack sharp wide open as I will be using them in that regard often in Low-light or for shallow depth of field. It seems the Zeiss reduce flares more but I kind of like the Canon flares and think they are way more beautiful (if you want to achieve that look for certain shots when not using a mattebox) so that is a toss-up. However, I do like the sun-stars the Zeiss produces and I do think its bokeh may be a bit more smooth as it has 14 iris blades compared to the canons 11 iris blades specifically when comparing the lenses stopped down.

    BREATHING: From what I have seen the Canon's breathe very little (almost unnoticeable). I have read that the CP.2's breathe quite a bit, especially the 50mm but I haven't really been able to find any Video evidence supporting this? Can anyone chime in? I would prefer minimal breathing for lenses at this price point.

    MOUNTS: PL mount is obviously the industry standard and will give me more options going forward if and when I decide to abandon Sony. However Canon is somewhat becoming a more prevalent (i.e. Red, Kinefinity, Black Magic Design) but still nothing for Arri. Whatever prime set I decide to invest in I want to have the most options going forward for future proofing. Zeiss also have interchangeable mounts which is a very nice option and will help with re-sale in that event.

    MOUNTING ADAPTERS: This is actually a question I do not have much answers on. Obviously I am going to need a PL or EF to E-mount adapter for Sony Cameras. I am looking at Metabones, specifically the ones with locking mount as I want it to be secure. Does anyone have experience with these lenses with use on a Metabones or similar adapter. There are other brand PL mounts that are locking as well but I think Metabones is the only mounting adapter that has a locking feature for EF-mount. Also, what about speed booster and or the 0.71x versions for S35 sensors? I would love to not have to change with horizontal angle of view / crop factors so the 0.71x versions of the Metabones are appealing to me... However I am concerned about what kind of image quality performance I am going to get out a lens that is already T1.3 or T1.5 when the Metabones is making it even faster? Not sure how this is acheived optically but it just seems crazy to put a speed booster on a T1.3 lens and I am unsure what the result would be like, therefore I was looking at the non-speedbooster versions (which unfortunately do not come in the 0.71x versions). So that is probably one of my biggest dilemas is which of these lenses (CN-E vs. CP.2) is going to have the best functionality for use on my Sony cameras and what mount would you all recommend?

    THANKS!


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    Senior Member Run&Gun's Avatar
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    I'm obviously biased because I own a full set of the CN-E Primes, but they are great looking lenses. Skin tones are beautiful and they are sharp wide open. Mechanically they are solid with well dampened focus and iris rings. My only complaint mechanically is that the iris has a very short throw. I also don't think you will have any complaints about the bokeh with the Canon's 11 blades.

    With the exceptions of the extreme ends(14 & 135), they are all FAST. Five lenses now that are either T1.3 or T1.5. The 14mm T3.1 is my least used lens. And the 135 T2.2 is probably my most used, but besides creatively, it doesn't matter that it's not as fast as the others, because I'm shooting lit sit-down interviews with it. But T2.2 still isn't bad for a long lens like that.

    I think the Canons have been overlooked a lot, because they only come from the factory in EF mount. BUT Duclos does a PL mount swap, and I believe he is still offering an incredible deal right now, that if you buy the lenses from him they will do the PL conversion for free. That's the mount and the conversion labor. I think it's normally like ~$1500/lens. Homeland used one of, if not the first sets of PL converted CN-E Primes back in the day. Altered Carbon, shot on Alexa 65, also had CN-E's in the mix.

    I use mine natively on my C300, but I use the Optitek adapter on my F55. I do have a Metabones adapter, as well, but I don't use it with the CN-E's, because it's so large and I don't need the aperture control ring that is built into it. I only use it if I'm using still lenses. So for me right now, the lenses are "more universal" being EF mount than if they were PL.


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    I use the CN-E zooms and love them. They are a tad on the warm side which I like. If that's not your thing correct it in post. The zooms have almost no breathing so I would expect the primes to operate the same. I don't own any primes yet but if I did, I would go with the Canons.


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    Resident Preditor mcgeedigital's Avatar
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    We have the cine primes at work and LOVE them. Duclos converted to PL for us.

    GREAT glass.
    Matt Gottshalk - Director/ Dp/ and Emmy Award Winning Editor
    Producer, Digital Creative for the United States Postal Service


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