Lens News

Zeiss’ Answer to the Cooke SP3: The new Zeiss Nano Prime!

ZEISS have just announced their newest set of prime lenses, the ZEISS Nano Prime Cinema Lenses. Designed for full-frame format cameras, ZEISS have added the 6 lens Nano Prime set as their third active line of prime cinema lenses, to be marketed as more of an "entry level" lens offering. However, ZEISS do claim that these lenses will match the look of the much more expensive ZEISS Supreme Primes, potentially making them a great option for B-Camera shoots and stunts. With the recent release of the Cooke SP3 lenses, and now the ZEISS Nano Primes, the mid-tier cinema lens market is getting quite exciting!


ZEISS' new Nano Primes will cover the 18mm, 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, 75mm & 100mm focal lengths - all with a constant maximum aperture of T1.5, for excellent lower light performance, shallow depth of field and beautiful bokeh. Initially, the Nano Primes will only be available in E-mount format, but will have interchangeable mounting options available in the future.

Ranging in weight from as little as 1.92 lbs to 2.62 lbs, the ZEISS Nano Primes are quite light considering they are full-frame lenses, with a T1.5 aperture. All six lenses in the Nano lineup have a consistent 95mm front diameter, an 86mm screw-in filter thread, and feature identical focus and iris ring locations for efficient lens swapping.

Additionally, the entire Nano Prime set includes the ZEISS eXtended Data system, which is essentially an internal method of recording frame accurate metadata about the lens. The eXtended Data system logs useful information like lens type, focal length, calibrated focusing distance, and horizontal field of view, which isn't necessarily essential for the average filmmaker, but can be well utilized in VFX pipelines.

A Zeiss Nano Prime Lens set product image showing the full set of lenses in a carry case.
A Zeiss Nano Prime Lens product image showing the lenses attached to six Sony cameras.

Additional Thoughts

I personally think it's great to see the top-tier cinema lens manufacturers offering the sum of their tremendous R&D budgets, and years of experience, to the masses in the form of mirrorless camera cinema lenses. Although, all things considered, these entry-level lenses aren't exactly cheap options for an independent filmmaker, they are attainable, and will ultimately rent for less than their high-end brethren. In the end, giving filmmakers the ability to add additional matching camera and lens combinations to any shoot is a big bonus in my book!

I'd say however, that anyone in the market for entry-level cinema primes might have a tough choice ahead of them. There are numerous options available now, which is likely why ZEISS and Cooke have entered the market… making the choice a little harder still. ZEISS lenses traditionally offer a more clinical look than the more organic "Cooke Look", which will be a deciding factor for many out there. Some may prefer the choices offered by an additional focal length in the Nano Prime Set, or the slightly lighter Cooke SP3, and others yearn for the shallow depth of field provided by a fast t-stop… choices, choices. I think I'd better wait for some in-depth reviews to hit the interweb!

A Zeiss Nano Prime Lens lifestyle image showing a handheld cinema camera shooting a closeup of a woman outside with snow falling.

ZEISS Nano Prime Essential Information:

  • Focal length range: 18mm, 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, 75mm & 100mm
  • Format: Full Frame
  • Mount: Interchangeable: E (fitted), other mounting options available in the future
  • Speed: T1.5
  • Compatibility: Matched to ZEISS Supreme Primes

Price, Availability & Conclusions

The ZEISS Nano Prime Cinema Lenses with fitted E-mount are now available to pre-order, and come with a price tag of around $4,490 USD for a single lens, with the exception of the 18mm and 100mm focal lengths being $500 USD more each. The entire six-lens set is also available for $25,950 USD. In comparison - one that everyone is sure to make, the Cooke SP3 Primes retail for $4,500 USD each. I'm a little surprised that ZEISS is launching the Nano series with only the E-mount option available, but I think it is fair to say that ZEISS have been at the forefront of pioneering new lenses and lens technology over the years, and, knowing this, I'm sure the ZEISS Nano Primes are going to be spectacular options for filmmakers around the world.

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