CARL ZEISS Mk. II SUPERSPEED T1.3Marc Ehrenbold
Introduced in 1984, the Carl Zeiss Mk. II T1.3 came with more features than the Mk I set. Composed of 85mm, 50mm, 35mm, 25mm, and 18mm prime lenses, the Mk II set is heralded as one of the fastest ones in use today.
The mechanical design of the Mk. II lenses was greatly enhanced, and come in 80 mm diameter rings along with larger and more stable linear guides.
The focus helix thread on the Mk. II are now larger in diameter, with 0.86 Module pitch integrated focus gears in bigger focus scales.
These new enhancements make for minimal play in the focus mechanism allowing a more fluid and seamless focus feel.
A large and sturdier lens mount held down with 8 M2 screws replaced the cumbersome Bayonet mount and its pin and lock system.
Only the PL mount can be used with the 35mm Mk. II lenses. Both PL mounts and Bayonet and can be utilized with the 516mm.
This new mount design has grown to become more reliable that the new Master Primes and Ultra Primes are still using it.
The 18mm, along with other lenses in the Mk. II set, has been relied upon since it first came out, and is still a weapon of choice among cinematographers for its speed, accuracy, and ability to produce gorgeous images.
Widely regarded as an industry workhorse, the Mk II series utilizes both imperial and metric focus marks situated along the optical axis of the lens.
Switching sides on the camera can be seamlessly done by simply “flipping” the lens with just loosening the mount by orienting to the other four optional positions.
This allows easy access to the meter or feet scales when switching to either sides of the camera.
The external dimensions on the Mk. II focal lengths are all the same, and as such, changing lenses has never been so fast and easy.
With 80mm front diameter lenses and 78mm focus gears, it won’t take 15 seconds to to switch lenses. However, with the 35mm set, physical lengths vary (mostly attributed to the 18mm Distagon’s length), but the focus gears have a standard diameter.
Lens swapping is still snappy, even if small adjustments to the matte box is required.
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