The night before the NAB show opened, Fujifilm previewed their new Premista full-frame cine zooms (they were first shown off at the ASC Clubhouse a few days ago). The Premista are Fujifilm’s first large format cine zooms; they follow the company’s formula prioritizing optical excellence — Premistas are designed as prime-lens replacements — over idiosyncratic “character”. The Premistas will be available in two focal lengths, a 28–100mm T2.9, and an 80–250mm T2.9 up to 200mm, ramping to T3.5 at 250mm (the minor reduction in T-stop at full tele means both lenses share the same size, weight, and 114mm front diameters).
The 28–100mm exists in prototype form today and it’ll be shipping this summer; the 80–250 is currently only a mock-up.
The lenses share common dimensions, control placements, rotations (280º focus, 120º zoom, and 48º iris), and Zeiss Extended Data ports for lens metadata output. They’ll weigh about 3.8kg / 4.8 lbs, and will be 255mm / 10 inches long. PL mounts are used, and flange-back is adjustable using a (normally concealed) 2mm hex socket — no shims necessary. Both lenses will cover a full 46.3mm image circle, making them suitable for “full frame” cinema cameras like the Sony VENICE.
A 28–100mm was set up on a VENICE to play with:
While the setting wasn’t conducive to an exhaustive technical evaluation (grin), it was possible to see the general performance of this lens.
Insofar as I could tell, the lens is pleasingly distortion-free, and it has minimal breathing. There was no noticeable chromatic aberration, and no obvious flare: at one point Bill Bennett, ASC, took the chair, and aimed an iPhone’s LED into the lens; the 28–100mm soaked it up without a hint of internal reflections.
At wide apertures the bokeh — the appearance of out-of-focus areas — has a “cat’s eye” swirl to it. Looking at it close up, the bokeh on point sources has a bit of hard edge, and a mild “onion-ring” texture, a common indicator that aspheric lens elements are in use.
Bokeh snobs may tut-tut superciliously, but these artifacts aren’t so pronounced that they’re distracting.
All the lens controls on this prototype were buttery-smooth. I’d have no concerns about zooming or focusing live.
I’ve seen prices written up as $38,800 for the 28–100mm and $39,800 for the 80–250mm, but I also heard the figure of $58,000 mentioned by a usually-knowledgeable third party. The press release doesn’t list prices, so take all these figures with a grain of salt until I can double-check ‘em.
Disclosure: Fujifilm supplied food and drink at their press event, but that aside no compensation was paid or blandishments offered for a favorable writeup. There is no material relationship between me and Fujifilm.