Behind the Lens – The Zeiss 21-100mm T2.9 – 3.9 LWZ.3 Lens
Another installment from AbelCine’s and Matt Porwoll’s series on Zoom lenses from the perspective of the Documentary Filmmaker. Zoom lenses seemed to have fallen out of style for some time with the idea that primes were more cinematic. In the last 5 years there has been a resurgence of the use of zooms, and a supply of very high quality cinema zoom options on the market.
The Zeiss 21-100mm T2.9-3.9 zoom lens is a lightweight zoom at 4.4lbs making it ideal for documentary run & gun style shooters. The image circle will cover a Super 35mm sensor so a few newer large format FF cameras will be left out of the equation unless shooting with the sensor windowed down.
This lens ramps from T2.9 to T3.9 through the zoom range, as most zooms do with as the elements move and light is lost. This Zeiss lens has what they call gradient T-Stop which smooths out this transition to attempt to create a linear light loss. This helps in post if you are trying to compensate exposure during the zoom, because it is easier to mimic a linear exposure change.
The zoom barrel rotates almost 300 degrees, so the long throw can be a help or a hindrance depending on what you intend to use it on. The LWZ.3 also has an interchangeable mount so the user can switch between PL, Canon, EF, E-Mount, and MFT Mount. You can buy new for $9900
Watch Matt Poroll’s comments on the Zeiss. He finds it has zero breathing, very sharp, and delivers a cooler image with little flare.