ZEISS CP.3 and CP.3 XD Cine Lenses

Differences and improvements between CP.3 and CP.2 lines

As their name implies, the CP.3 line replaces the currently existing CP.2 line of ZEISS Compact Primes. Considering that they have sold over 30,000 of the CP.2 line, it’s quite a bold move for ZEISS to move on to enhance such a beloved product. Are they any better?

Like their predecessors, they cover full frame 35mm stills camera sensors, but the front diameter has shrunk from a rather hefty 114mm on the CP.2 to only 95mm. Focusing was massively improved, as the focus barrel now moves much more easily – this is really something that has been a challenge with the CP.2s, so the softer focus rotation on the CP.3s is very welcome. Most of the optical designs stayed the same, but some individual lenses like the 18mm CP.3 were entirely developed from scratch, and not surprisingly: the 18mm was probably the weakest of the original CP.2s – and when put against my favourite lens, the CP.2 15mm, it did not compare very well at all.