CinemaTechnic Lens Profiles – Carl Zeiss Super Speed Cine Prime Lenses
Part 2: Second Generation “Mk. II” Super Speed (High Speed) Set – T1.3, 16mm and 35mm Formats.
Newly Updated 5/08/16
The second generation Super Speed lenses for 35mm format had an entirely new mechanical housing, with an integrated focus gear, and are compatible with PL mount only. The first version Mk. II lenses.
Focus scale rotation is about 170º and both the feet and meter marks are ahead of the focus gear.
The photo above is of a lens that I reconditioned and sold, so the feet footage marks were repainted high visibility yellow, rather than the original dark orang which is hard to see on a dark set.
Second Generation 35mm format – T1.3, ARRI PL Mount, Improved Mechanics – 1983
Second generation High Speed lenses were introduced in early 1984. They represent a complete re-design of the mechanics, and an optical re-design for the Planar 50 and 85mm to achieve a true f1.2 aperture. Because of the limited diameter available inside the ARRI bayonet mount, the rear elements on the 50mm and 85mm Planars could not be large enough for f1.2 aperture.
The 18, 25 and 35mm lenses retained the original optical design. Adjustment points for optical alignment were added to the Distagons, but the Planars have no optical adjustments.
Mark II lenses are only available in PL mount. I have seen BNCR versions but these were retrofits and were not produced by Carl Zeiss.
Gen. 2 HS lenses all have 80mm front diameter rings. The focus helix threads were of a larger diameter and the linear guides are larger and more stable. Click stops on the iris were eliminated, as was the “hat switch”.
Focus scales on the Gen. 2 are much larger and have integrated focus gears of 0.8 Module pitch. Focus scale markings are meters on one side and feet on the opposite side (flip the lens 180º). Focus travel is about 170º.
The Bayonet mount, with its troublesome pin and lockring attachment was replaced with a large and stable PL mount held by eight 2mm screws. On the 35mm Mk. II lenses, only the 54mm O.D. ARRI PL mount can be fitted. On the S16mm Mk. II lenses, either Bayonet or PL mounts can be fitted.
The design of the mount proved so reliable that it is still in use on the new Ultra Primes, CP.2 and Master Primes (modified to accommodate the LDS contacts). The only change to the PL mount has been to accommodate Torx head screws.
The 35mm set has different overall lengths (the 18mm Distagon is the longest). But the focus gears are all the same diameter. Other than slight adjustments to the position of the matte box, lens changes can be quickly accomplished.
The external dimensions of all the focal lengths of the S16mm lens set are the same. This allows very fast lens changes on set. All the lenses have 80mm front diameter and integrated focus gear, all the same diameter (76mm). All the 16mm format HS lenses are the same physical length. Lens changes can be made in about 15 seconds.
The larger diameter focus scale allows for more focus marks and more space between the marks. A major problem with the Mk. I S16 and S35 sets is the very limited focus marks on the scale ring, combined with the minimal depth of field at T1.3. This meant that eye focus was the only way to go with the Mk. I lenses. The camera assistant had hardly anything else to work with.
The Mk. II focus scales are calibrated in feet and meters. On S16mm and early version S35mm Mk. II lenses, the scale rotates 170º and each side of the lens has one calibration, ether feet or meters. The marks are oriented along the optical axis of the lens. When the camera assistant needs to switch sides on the camera, he can “flip” the lens by loosening the PL mount and rotating into another of the four available positions. In this way either the feet or meter scale can be used on either side of the camera.
The S35mm Mk. II lenses switched from the 9-blade triangular iris to a 7-blade iris.
For unknown reasons, the S16mm Mk. II lenses switched from 6-blade hexagonal to a 9-blade Ruleaux triange iris very similar to the Mk. I S35mm set. The aperture closes down to T16 rather than T11 of the Mk. I lenses.
Updated Version – Mark II Generation 2.1 – Extended Focus Scales – 1988
Super 35mm T1.3 Mk.2 set: 18, 25, 35, 50, 85mm, all f1.2 / T1.3. PL mount only. Pictured is the version with wrap around focus scales. The feet markings have been painted bright yellow for better visibility. The set pictured was sold by CinemaTechnic in 2006.
An updated version of the Mk. II S35mm lenses was introduced in 1988. These have a “wrap around” focus scale with about 350º rotation. These scales have meters in front of the focus gear and feet markings in back, with both scales reading from the same index position on one side of the lens.
This version also introduced the Planar 1.2/65 mm which is not available in any previous version.
The focus helix thread was changed in pitch/starts to increase the amount of rotation needed to go from infinite to minimum focus. Four adjustable linear guides reduce play in the focus mechanism and give a smoother and more consistent focus feel.
Gen 2.1 HS lenses did not have geared iris rings, at some point the geared iris rings were added and I will call these Gen 2.2
Spare parts for the updated second generation lenses were available until February 2015.
Super 16mm Set – Mk. II T1.3
The complete Mk.II Super 16mm format Super Speed set: 9.5mm, 12mm, 16mm, 25mm, 50mm all f1.2 / T1.3. The set pictured here was fully overhauled and has been upgraded with new PL mounts and the focus scales have been repainted. This is one of several sets that I reconditioned and sold.
The Super 16mm format set shares most of the upgrades with the 35mm set. The barrels on the 16mm lenses are slightly smaller in diameter than the 35mm set, but the 80mm fronts and lens mount are the same. The 16mm set can be fitted with ARRI Bayonet mounts, while the 35mm set cannot. All the 16mm set lenses are the same length, and focus gears are the same diameter and distance from the lens mount, making lens changes very quick.
The optics on the 9.5, 12, 16 and 25mm lenses are substantially the same as the Mk.I. There are some upgrades in the fitting of the front elements and internal baffling to reduce flare. The 50mm f1.2 Planar for S16mm is a new optical design introduced with the Mk.II lenses.
This is an incredibly sharp lens and actually covers 35mm (Academy) but is soft in the corners. Because of the position of the rear element, the 50mm for 16mm format should never be fitted to a 35mm reflex camera, due to the risk of damage to the mirror shutter.
<- Original High Speed Primes Mark I (T1.4) | Zeiss High Speed Primes Mark II (T1.3) | Zeiss High Speed Primes Mark III (T1.3 ->
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