In the world of medium format photography, most systems work primarily with fixed focal length lenses for a couple of reasons. These are mainly size, weight, and complexity of the optical construction, which due to the larger size of the imaging area of medium format film and digital sensors are higher than those of (D)SLR or mirrorless camera lenses. For pure convenience, however, a zoom lens just cannot be beaten. And so Phase One has decided to introduce a second zoom lens for its 645 digital medium format system, the new Schneider Kreuznach 40-80mm f4-5.6 with leaf shutter.
Due to the requirements of the medium format system, the lens consists of 15 elements in 11 groups, two of which are aspherical. The lens has been designed to deliver “excellent optical qualities throughout the zoom range” according to the press release. This is reflected by its price tag, which is US-$ 8,990. The Schneider Kreuznach 40-80mm f4-5.6 is the second zoom lens for Phase One’s 645 system, the other one being the 75-150mm f4-5.6 which was also developed in conjunction with the German optics manufacturer.
According to Los Angeles based photographer Richard Thompson III, who has already been testing the new 40-80mm, the lens delivers flawless performance that rivals many prime lenses. A behind-the-scenes video of his shoot can be found here.