View Full Version : Zeiss Ultra 16

10-04-2012, 10:50 AM
I came across this on cml. though i would share. the seller claims that the Zeiss Ultra 16 lenses will cover the bmc sensor. can anyone verify this?

6mm http://tinyurl.com/9sou5hk

8mm http://tinyurl.com/8arcg6m

12mm http://tinyurl.com/8ulfyfb


10-04-2012, 10:56 AM
Unlikely. Most S16 lenses I've seen with enough coverage without vignette for BMCC would start at around 25mm. That's not to say there's the odd lens out there with better coverage. It'll require a lot of testing.

10-04-2012, 04:39 PM
depends on the image diameter... most lenses cover more than their intended image format.
zeiss should be able go answer your question.

Jason M.
10-04-2012, 07:13 PM
It's entirely possible that they cover, but I certainly wouldn't buy the lenses without checking first. It's far less likely that they cover on the wide end, but the 16mm Superspeeds have pretty decent coverage to spare (though they'll vignette on the BMC at wider than 16mm). The Ultra 16's are beautiful lenses, but I wouldn't shell out for them to use on the BMC unless I had pretty rigorously tested them to make sure they cover at all apertures/focal lengths.

The most practical way to verify their coverage without actually having a PL-adapted BMC is to put them on a Scarlet or an Epic in 3K mode. That's almost exactly the size of the BMC's sensor, so if they vignette on the RED at 3K, they'll vignette on the BMC.

10-04-2012, 09:41 PM
Just curious. that's all. I have a set of 16mm super speeds but if the ultra 12mm covers the bmc it would be a good addition to the set.

Jason M.
10-04-2012, 11:37 PM
Just curious. that's all. I have a set of 16mm super speeds but if the ultra 12mm covers the bmc it would be a good addition to the set.

Makes total sense. If the wide end of the Ultra-16s actually covers the BMC, those will be hands down the best wide primes for the camera, and well worth their asking price. A 6mm T1.3 that covers the sensor would be AMAZING.

10-05-2012, 10:36 AM
The wider you get, the more critical is coverage. Plus, even a lens that doesn't vignette too much might be very soft in the corners, not being intended for such a wider image circle.

I think you'll have a chance with the 16mm, but not with 12.

Todd Anderson
10-09-2012, 08:21 PM

I'm selling a brand new in box 8mm Arri / Zeiss Ultra16 T1.3 lens on ebay. As stated in the auction, I purchased this item brand new from Arri a few months ago. A receipt from ARRI with matching serial number, as well as the original box can be seen in the ebay acution.

These lenses have a list price of over $17,000 from ARRI. The starting bid is $3,799 with no reserve. Take it home for that price if no one else bids. And again, this is not a used lens but brand new in every respect.

I have read what has been stated above, and a few months ago I had actually contacted that other seller mentioned above via email about the coverage of the BMC sensor (I have a few more Ultra16mm lenses I'm using for S16mm, but figure I would like to use them on something like the BMC, as well). But he emailed me back and said he had thrown them up on a lens projector at Panavision and said that they cover the BMC image sensor size. I don't think he is lying from our communication. But take that as what you will.

Keep in mind that the all fast lenses usually cover a lager image circle by design. Also of note is that the original Zeiss Superspeeds for 16mm were designed for normal 16mm and not Super16mm, but they covered Super16mm. The Zeiss Ultra16's were designed to be razor sharp across the entire Super16mm image area, and perhaps they are doing that with a little bit of cheating by having them cover a much larger image area than Super16mm. The barrel of the lenses themselves are the size of Ultra Primes, so the physical room is there (even if the main reason for the barrels being so big, and the exact size of Ultra Primes, is so they can be used in conjunction with the 35mm Ultra Primes series on a S16mm camera without having to change the follow focus / matte box set up, etc).

Either way, even if a S16 lens only covers the "normal" S16 image area, quality Super16mm production lenses can still prove to be very useful on the BMC (especially a wide angle, fast lens). A S16 lens should cover the whole height of the BMC sensor, and the sides could be "pillar boxed" a bit in post to give you a slightly less rectangular image. Maybe something in-between 1:37 and 1:78. It also appears that Normal 16mm lenses, and certainly S16 lenses, would at the very least give you a 2K crop out of the 2.5 k BMC sensor, and so in post you could still have enough for a 2k or 1080p finish. But the point is, there are many high-end S16 production zooms going for about $4,000 that use to retail for $18,000. The mechanical quality of these lenses for film production (not to mention the little "breathing" attributes, and adequate focus scales, and follow focus gears) are much better than still camera lenses and some of the lesser "pro-sumer" offerings. Have a lens that a AC can actually pull focus on, a matte box can be placed on, and shoot your project at full resolution at 1:37, or crop out a 1:78 from 2K. OR, get lucky and have a Ultra16mm lens that may cover the whole BMC image area at 1:78. Which it may quite possibly do.

Anyhow, I hope that helps. You won't find a brand new Ultra16 lens on ebay for this price again, as they can only be bought new from Germany for $15,000 to $19,000 (see the price list from my recent inquiry from ARRI in NY).


My link for selling this lens on ebay:


Ebay item#: 200830762154

My previous link (with images of my lens for sale) on BMCUSER:


Todd Anderson
10-09-2012, 08:23 PM
A picture of my 8mm lens for sale (more images can be seen up on ebay) ....

10-11-2012, 02:18 AM
These are fantastic lenses, I had the joy to work with them on S-16. You are probably right that the longer ones will cover the BMC sensor, I doubt this for anything wider than 16.

But if you think about cropping, please remember this: The sensor is a Bayer pattern sensor, it doesn't resolve the number of photocells you have as true resolution in pixels. You can expect between 70 and 80 % with a very good de-bayering algorithm. So, if you crop that image it might not be what you expect from a Zeiss lens any more and the corners will be quite soft (which is not always a bad thing in close-ups of people, but gets annoying with architecture and landscape).

Sorry to pour water with the wine…

Todd Anderson
10-11-2012, 12:09 PM
Thank, Nomad. Here is some more information that will add some more clues on if, or if not, the ARRI ULTRA16's cover the BMC. It does look promising, but see for yourself:

Below is a screen capture from someone on REDUSER that did a test with a Zeiss 14mm Ultra16 Prime. The interior blue keyline is for 2k, with the outer blue keyline being RED set to 3k. The RED 3k, which you can see starts to vignette in the corners, can still be cropped at the sides in post to get a 1:66 extraction from the 1:85 frame. Not too bad. And that is 3K. It seems very reasonable that with the BMC 2.5K sensor, that the ARRI ULTRA16 Primes may just cover.

I honestly think the market to sell this lens is more for the RED, EPIC, SCARLET crowd because of the price. So again, take this information as you may. I don't own a RED or I would do some more tests myself, as I use my additional Ultra16 Primes on Super16mm. Nevertheless, it may turn out that the ARRI Ultra16 primes may cover the BMC, or cover with some limitations. Time will tell when the MFT mount version is released. And nevertheless, this is a brand new professional grade lens at a 1/5 of the price. Sometimes the risks are worth the rewards. But I can't decide that for anyone.


10-11-2012, 12:36 PM
Zeiss Product Manager said they have already tried and these lenses do not cover.

10-11-2012, 12:38 PM
Strange because if that art above is correct, it looks very much like it does cover.

10-11-2012, 12:42 PM
Strange because if that art above is correct, it looks very much like it does cover.

Remember the pixel density may be different on the cameras (BMC-RED)

Im not quite sure how big the BMC sensor would be on this image - I think about the size of the 3k red image? (the outer box??)

So 'it nearly covers' esp in a narrower format than 16:9

Also strange this is a '6' when the card says 14


Todd Anderson
10-11-2012, 01:30 PM
Morgan, you may be correct that the card says "14mm". Because the same individual was selling a set from 6mm to 14mm, I read the card as, "A6", which I thought meant "Arri 6". I thought the 4 looked like a 6. So you may be right. The saga continues ....

... but all this seems trivial to me, because I have just heard that Harris Savides has passed away. R.I.P.

Barry Green
10-11-2012, 02:54 PM
Red 3K = same physical sensor size as BMC 2.5k.

Therefore, no, it won't cover.

And as Kholi said, they've already tried them and no, they don't cover.

10-11-2012, 02:59 PM
We know they wont cover, but it would appear that they can do this (doubtless a fail in the eyes of zeiss), which probably delivers a very clean 1080 from a raw capture.. ??

Personally Im not up for this lens but very interested in a zoom


Jason M.
10-11-2012, 08:39 PM
... but all this seems trivial to me, because I have just heard that Harris Savides has passed away. R.I.P.

Fuck. He was way too young. One of the great cinematographers without a doubt.

Todd Anderson
10-12-2012, 08:39 PM
Perhaps you are right, Barry. But a real world example may help explain a little better, too.

Please go to this page on Cinematography.com for more information on Arri Ultra 16's and coverage of the Black Magic Sensor size. If you go to the end, there is a nice diagram with markings. It looks a little promising if you can live with some compromise. But again, decide for yourself. This is not my test. I'm not making the claim. Thanks - T