Saturday, July 4, 2015

Phase One 40-80 zoom lens

Do a Google on "Phase One 40-80"  and you'll see a PDF from June 2014 of the news release introducing the 40-80 mm leaf shutter lens from Schneider Kreuznach. 

Make no mistake, this lens is both beautiful and a beast; you can find the specs here.  There's several factors to think about when looking at this lens with the top two being price ($8,990 list) and weight (186g/65.6oz or a whopping 4.1 pounds).  Yes, you read the weight correctly, 4.1 pounds.  The filter size is 105mm and it has a detachable lens hood that by itself is massive in size measuring 2.5 inches at the longest petal but weighing only 4.0 oz.  Comparing this lens to the 240LS and you'll see it weights .57 pounds more (however that's before adding the 2x teleconverter). 

I've had the lens now for one week and in short love it.

Many years ago I felt that prime lens were the only way to go as zoom lens just didn't produce the same quality.  I'm pleased at admit that I'm now very wrong in that assessment.  I have used a combination of Mamiya and Phase One lens for several years with each lens being a prime.  This lens now replaces 3-that were in my camera bag; 45mm, 55mm LS and a 80mm.  The 40-80 not only physically replaces 3-lens it also adds more focal lengths between the 40 to 80.  The lens barrel is marked 40, 50, 60, 70 and 80; of course you can shoot anywhere in-between the numbers. 

The first thing I noticed in testing/getting used to the lens is that moving the zoom ring to each focal length marked was dead on the money which is something I like when I want to shoot a specific focal length say 50mm.  Speaking of focal lengths, the 40-80 is equal to 25-50mm in 35-mm terms due to the difference in sensor sizes.

Going into this I knew the lens was both very large and heavy.  The good news is that it is so well balanced you hardly notice the weight.  I can attest to this from spending time at the Saguaro National Park in Tucson AZ testing the lens and X-Pro filter system.  

Lets talk about the 105mm filter size.  And yes that's huge.  I had begun researching a proper 105mm filter system shortly after Phase One announced the new 35mm LS that also has a 105mm filter; in fact I placed my order the same time I ordered the new Phase One XF body.  Then I had a change of heart.  Not that the 35mm isn't a beautiful lens, rather the 40-80 began creeping into my brain and would not let go.  Make a long story short, a conversation with Dave Gallagherof Capture Integration and the order was changed from the 35mm to the 40-80.  The 3-lenses are gone and I now am the proud owner of the 40-80.  As of this writing I'm still waiting the XF body and will comment on that once I receive it.

 Cokin Filters appears to be the only company that's offering a 105mm adaptor ring (and in fact also offers a 112mm ring), unlike Lee filters (which I use on my Cambo WRS technical camera) that only offers a 95mm adaptor for their SW150 system.  Cokin offers a 130mm versus 150mm filters from Lee.  I was concerned that a 130mm filter might cause problems at the wide end of the 40-80 however I'm very pleased to note I was wrong.  The majority of my testing have been at 40mm using the Cokin X-Pro and so far I have yet to see any vignetting or loss of image quality.

The other benefit of using the Cokin X-Pro is the availability of Singh-Ray filters that offers filters not only in 130mm as well as 105mm screw on.

Cokin offers 2-seperate 105mm adaptor rings.  One ring which is noted as being in stock at B&H is thisone that has a 0.75mm thread.  I'm currently using this and have found it somewhat difficult to mount onto the lens.  I have thisone which is listed as a special order off B&H that is listed as having a 1.00mm thread.  I should have this second adaptor within a couple of days of writing this and will update on which is a better fit.  B&H stated a wait of between 2-4 weeks with mine coming in before the 2-week mark.  There's also a 1-cent difference between the two rings.  UPDATE - The special order 1.00 ring is the correct ring for the 40-80 and I suspect the 35LS. Mounting the ring shortly after I received it and it actually spun on which the other never did.

I'm including a shopping list for those who are interested.  Please note the linkto B&H at the bottom right of this page. 

105mmX-Pro Adaptor Ring (105mm Thread)  Special Order - current price as of July 2015 is $74.86 with a 2-4 week shipping time (I got mine just short of 2-weeks)

CokinX-Pro Filter Holder (Requires Adaptor Ring)      Current price as of July 2015 is $90.89

Here's a search result using "CokinX-Pro Filters"  This search gives a result of 171 items that includes various sizes of adaptor rings as well as Cokin, FotodioX (which I have no experience with) as well as Singh-Ray filters.

This is the first of at least 2-parts describing my experience using the Cokin X-Pro system on the 40-80 zoom so stay tuned for updates.

Please let me know if you have any questions on the above and I'll attempt to answer them.





  1. Don,
    Thanks a lot for the info on Cokin filter holder for Schneider 35 mm and 40 to 80 mm zoom. I was trying to figure out using the Lee filter system but it was causing vignetting at 40 mm.

  2. Don,

    Thanks for the detailed write-up. Just got the 40-80 and was trying to figure out if I could reuse my Lee Foundation set. Will investigate the X-PRO system.


    1. You're welcome. I'm currently selling my entire X-Pro system as I recently switched to Lee. There was no problem with the Cokin however I'd rather have just one filter system to contend with and the Lee covers all my lenses. Drop me an email if you want more info. don

  3. I use the Cokin XPro System too and use GND-Filters from Lee for this size. I bought them at Robert White in GB.

    Greetings from Germany