Zeiss Revives LWZ Line With New 21-100mm T2.9-3.9 LWZ.3 Zoom

Just ahead of the European trade show trio, Zeiss has lifted the veil on their newest zoom lens project - The 21-100mm T2.9-3.9 LWZ.3. A Super 35 format, 4.7x cinema zoom lens weighing in at a mere four and a half pounds. We've got the scoop on Zeiss' newest light weight zoom lens.

(UPDATE) we previously reported that the lens was a T2.8 when in fact it's T2.9-3.9 - an error on our part.

The LWZ line from Zeiss enjoyed but a brief moment in the spotlight with their 15.5-45mm LWZ and LWZ.2 back in 2010. The LWZ line was discontinued and replaced with the CZ.2 line that began with the 70-200mm, and then gained the 28-80mm and 15-30mm. The CZ.2 line features full frame, compact zoom lenses with interchangeable lens mounts, making them some of the most versatile zoom lenses on the market. The LWZ line is now revived with the newest addition, the 21-100mm T2.9-3.9 LWZ.3 Those familiar with the vintage Cooke 20-100mm will really enjoy this new zoom from Zeiss, but at a fraction of the size and weight - what's not to like?! [gallery ids="5154,5155,5156,5157,5158,5159,5160,5161,5162" type="columns"] Let's take a look at some of the details around the 21-100mm...
Focal length
Aperture range
2.9 – 22
Lens elements/groups
22 elements/ 18 groups
Close focus
0,8m/ 2'8''
Focus ring rotation angle (inf-MOD)
Zoom rotation angle
Aperture rotation angle
Front diameter
114mm/ 4.49''
226mm/ 8.9''
2.0kg/ 4.4 lbs
Aperture blades
Sensor coverage
ANSI Super 35mm
Horizontal field of view
Super 35: 61-14° Normal 35: 55-12° APS-C: 56-13° MFT: 45-9°

So who is this new lens intended for? “With a focal length of 21 to 100 millimeters, the new ZEISS LWZ.3 covers a range for which cameramen had to use up to six, fixed focal lengths until now. This flexibility delivers a clear price and time advantage as it is no longer necessary to change focal lengths,” said Christophe Casenave, product manager from ZEISS Camera Lenses. Zeiss has a clear market segment in their sights, based not only on the marketing photos below... but the size, weight, and focal length of the new LWZ.3. There's already a bit of a battle brewing in this particular market place between Fujinon and Canon. [gallery ids="5122,5123,5124,5125,5126,5127,5128,5130,5131,5132,5133,5134,5135,5136,5137,5138,5139,5140,5141,5142,5143,5144,5145,5146,5147,5148,5149,5150" columns="5"] Fujinon began with their 19-90mm Cabrio and expanded with the 85-300mm and 14-35mm Cabrio. Canon soon followed up with their 17-120mm Cine-Servo which bested the 19-90mm Cabrio in range and price. Fujinon fired back with their brand new 20-120mm Cabrio which beat out the Canon in the price department by decent amount. Canon then dropped the hammer with their yet-to-be-released 18-80mm Compact-Servo with a staggeringly low price tag of $5,220. All of these lenses are aimed at the documentary, ENG, run-n-gun style shooter with their integrated servo controls and relatively lightweight design. Some perform better than others at different tasks; zoom range, weight distribution, image quality, max aperture, etc. While the new Zeiss LWZ.3 is obviously aimed at similar customers, it lacks a servo unit but offers an interchangeable mount (Arri PL, Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony E, Micro 4/3) which is something the other options sorely lack. Zeiss could always decide to offer an add-on servo unit similar to their accessories for the CZ.2 zooms. But I find it refreshing that the such a classic focal length will be available without the added expense of a servo unit which, for a lens this size, can add quite a bit to the price tag. Duclos Lenses will have an in-house demo unit available for customers to get their hands on just as soon as the new 21-100mm begins rolling out of the factory. You can pre-order immediately for delivery beginning January 2017 with a list price of $9,990. Stay tuned for a full featured product review once production models are available.


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