PrimeCircle XM lens line: A lower-price Cinema Zeiss, but is it as nice?


posted Friday, April 4, 2014 at 3:23 PM EST


Just in time for the 2014 National Association of Broadcasters show in Las Vegas, LockCircle -- a company best known for its DSLR accessories and modified Zeiss lenses -- has launched its new PrimeCircle XM lens line. The new series follows in the footsteps of its existing PrimeCircle XT, XT-F and XE lenses, and like all of those, it's made up of unofficially-modified Zeiss ZE and ZF.2 SLR lenses.

We believe that, as with past offerings, the XM lenses are optically identical to the Zeiss optics on which they're based, so you don't get the video features features of Zeiss' more expensive CP.2 Compact Prime lenses. Most notably, that means you forgo their rounder, higher blade-count irises, with the XM optics having a nine-bladed iris, rather than the more bokehlicious 14-bladed iris of a Zeiss CP.2 lens. And of course, you're getting a modified lens originally designed for still imaging, not one designed from the ground-up for video.


If you're willing to forgo those features, though, PrimeCircle XM line should be quite a bit more affordable than the notoriously pricey Zeiss CP.2 lenses, and better suited to video than the stock Zeiss' SLR optics. Nine focal lengths will be available, matching most of those offered by Zeiss in its SLR line. Each PrimeCircle XM-series lens has an interchangeable, stainless steel Canon EF / Nikon F lens mount, and the operation of changing mounts is said to take around two minutes.

As well as the interchangeable mount, each has enlarged, geared focus and aperture rings, allowing smoother and finer-grained adjustment, motorized control, and more generous spacing for focus and aperture markings. And LockCircle also adds a cinema-standard 95mm front mount and 90mm filter thread to each lens, so you can share the same filters and accessories between all of your lenses.

LockCircle's PrimeCircle XM lenses will be offered with a choice of either metric or imperial focus distance scales, and with "velvet black" or "silver magic" finishes to match the Blackmagic Cinema Camera body. Pricing and availability had not been disclosed at press time.