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Phase One Introduces 40-80mm f/4.0-5.6 Leaf Shutter Lens from Schneider Kreuznach

Medium format Phase One shooters have a new lens to lust over, as today Phase One and Schneider lenses announced the availability of the Schneider Kreuznach 40-80mm f/4.0-5.6 leaf shutter zoom lens. This is the second zoom lens designed for the Phase One 645 camera platform. It is the latest in the close collboratioin partnership between the two companies. It complements the existing Schneider 75-150mm f/4.0-5.6 leaf shutter zoom lens.

We're not ones to normally include quotes from press releases, but this one does contain some interesting information from Phase One Senior Product Manager Espen Beck.

Designing a zoom lens with excellent optical qualities throughout the zoom range is always a challenge. When the zoom range goes from a fairly wide angle perspective to a normal perspective, as our new lens does, this only adds to the design complexity. This lens has 15 optical elements, two of which are aspherical, arranged in 11 groups. We have invested greater design and engineering resources into this lens than any of those before it, and we are very proud of the results. I think that this lens will be a perfect companion for on-location photographers.

P1 40-80 onCam w

The Schneider Kreuznach 40-80mm LS f/4.0-5.6 lens is priced at 6.990 EUR / 8,990 USD and, as mentioned, is available now. You can read more information at

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Spy Black's picture

I'm surprised they didn't design it as a constant aperture lens, like the old Mamiya 645 zooms.

Anonymous's picture

May I ask why a 2x zoom lens with max f-stop of 4.0 costs that much? I'm trying to get into photography but I see these weird prices... I use a 18-55mm nikkor that costs 90$

louisleblanc's picture

All because it's medium format. Since the sensor is around 4 times as big as a full frame sensor, the glass required to make the lenses is much larger. Next, since this lens is being used on 80+MPix cameras it needs to be tack sharp. With bigger aperture, you typically need to add more optics in the lens to get a sharp image. So, making this lens an f/2.8 would make it huge, possible not as sharp and stupidly expense.

The depth of field on these large sensors is much smaller than on smaller formats, f/2.8 gives you a very shallow depth of field at most focal lengths. Lastly, these cameras are typically more used in studios than anywhere, so there's no reason to shoot at large apertures just to get more light in.

Graf Almassy's picture

Pixel density on a 24 megapixel APS-C sensor is bigger than on an 80 megapixel 645 format sensor. This means the smaller sensor needs better optics, but sharp zoom lenses on APS-C systems are cheper than this Schneider lens. The price isn't based on the size of the glass elements.

I think the whole medium format market is a big illusion.

Mr Blah's picture

Medium format a big illusion??

Tell it to Greg Heisler, see what he tells you! ;)

Spy Black's picture

Heisler is known for being a photographer, not a salesman.

Graf Almassy's picture

I wasn't said anything about "medium format". I talked about "medium format market".

Kornel Kabaja's picture

Pixel density is one thing, but take into consideration e.g. the image circle. To cover a sensor of 4x bigger surface, the optical design has to be diffrent, plus a whole lot more of glass needs to be used. Hence the price point goes up.

Graf Almassy's picture

Producing smaller lenses are much more labor-intensive than polish glass elements with larger diatemer. Achieve the perfect quality is harder with the smaller glass elements.

Not the size of the glass elements raise the price with 1000%! For example: Glass with small diameter costs 15 dollars, another element with double diameter costs around 30 dollars.

Kornel Kabaja's picture

Your 18-55 is a cheap plastic lens that only covers an APS-C sensor and has a lot of optical flaws like distortion, vigneting, coma, chromatic aberrations and so on... This is a lens that is robust and well built first of all, and it's supposed to be sharper than even the prime lenses, which is not easy to achieve. While f/4-5.6 on an APS-C sensor is "dark" and gives lots of depth of field, it's not the case for medium format. The lens is designed to cover a multiple times bigger surface, so it requires huge amounts of glass to get the necessary light. More glass = more expensive. Besides, huge glass needs bigger, stronger, more robust motors to move it. From what I've heard, it e.g. doesn't breathe while focusing and doesn't change focus while zooming, so the optical design is on a much, much higher level of sophistication, the kind of sophistication that professional cine lenses have, and they can cost tens of thousands of dollars...

Anonymous's picture

That explains alot, thanks for pointing these out. I'm a noob here soooo yeah... ^_^

J H's picture

The physics of a larger sensor: Medium formats have crop factors of approx .93 or less versus 1.3 or 1.6, my numbers may be off a bit but the point is larger sensor so smaller crop factor.
The smaller crop factor number translates to the F4-F5.6 being a considerably larger aperture than it appears. A F4 aperture on a large sensor may actually be representative of a full frame equivalent of 1.4 or 1.8 depending on the crop factors. You are comparing a crop sensor lense to something designed for a considerably larger device.
I had similar confusions as you do about the what the F stop numbers of a medium format lense mean in terms I could grasp having never handled one before.

Douglas Sonders's picture

I'm buying one!

Tim Foster's picture

So you're dedicated enough to shoot medium format but too lazy to change lenses? Only a moron would use zooms on an MF body.

Veldask Krofkomanov's picture

Any time you have to qualify a statement with "only a moron would", chances are that you indeed are the moron. There's always going to be a legitimate use for something, whether your brain has the capacity to recognize it or not.

Tim Foster's picture

Legitimate use or legitimate market? There's a big difference.

Spy Black's picture

You sound like you've never seen a zoom on a medium format camera before. What makes you think this is a high holy format?

Tim Foster's picture

It's not holy, but if you're going to settle for a zoom lens, why not settle for a 135-sized sensor?

Spy Black's picture

Why? Seems to me you believe it is indeed some holy format that shouldn't be subjected to the "sacrilege" of a zoom optic, when zoom optics have long been a part of the format.

Bill Cahill's picture

This lens is large, however the optics are amazing. Because Mamiya doesn't make leaf shutter lenses in the 40-50mm range, its viable. The quality of the lens at 40mm is sharper than the 35mm D lens, and on par with the 80mm LS lens. This came from a group that does extensive testing on new products. I am only a studio shooter and I am considering this lens. And I have never bought a zoom lens in my life... Just a suggestion, but you may want to do research before making broad inflammatory statements.