On Super Speeds in the States
A weeks shooting across LA and Seattle with two different sets of Zeiss Super Speed Mk2s.
It is interesting how these lenses, now 30 years old, still attract so much attention. A set now costs more than it did back in the 80s, when production ceased.
The two sets I used both seemed to cover 5k on an MXEpic... With some slight vignette ( or maybe 'port holing'?) on the 18mm.
The regular set is the 18mm, 25mm, 35mm, 50mm and 85mm, these all F1.2/T1.3
And its at this stop is where the lenses are the most interesting, yielding soft, diffused shallowness. Don't look too closely though, as these 30 year old aspheric lenses do exhibit a fair bit of chromatic fringing and some spectral distortion. Good for portraits, but you wouldn't want to shoot a pack-shot on them wide open, particularly when close- focused.
By 2.8 they are radically different lenses... And herein lies their problem. These lenses look quite different at different apertures (something Zeiss addressed in their Ultra and Master Primes)
By T5.6 they offer an overly sharp/zingy look in no way resembling the softness of the T1.3
Their age is also an issue for their optics and mechanics. Zeiss will no longer service or supply parts, so lots of wear on the helical screws ( meaning one of my 18mm was too tight to follow focus) and inevitable scratches and compromised coatings on the optics. The focus throw of these small lenses is also way too accelerated ( something addressed in the rare Mk3 set) so good luck to the AC asked to do any intricate work at F1.2!
These issues aside they are still an interesting set of lenses and the list of films shot on them is legendary. When conditions are right they yield memorable images... what some refer to as the 'magic' that happens between wide-open and T2.
Also got to try out the Dana Dolly in Seattle. An interesting proposition for tracking over obstacles and rough terrain... two scaffold tubes supported on stands. Works great till you get it at height...where its lampstand/central support begins to struggle a little with stability.