CLICK HERE FOR RESULTS POST!
The SALT (Southland ALternative Lens Test) is an informal yet professional collaboration of motion picture industry professionals who gather a specific genre of cinema lenses and evaluate their characteristics and features for the masses to explore and learn. This particular round of SALT included the talents of Will Kier, Matt Hayslett, Evin Grant, Matt Uhry, Ryan O’Hara, Charlie Pickle, Phil Holland, Jeff Whitehurst, Luke Edwards, and myself, Matthew Duclos, evaluating the most recent crop of high-speed prime lenses available. With resources at hand, we were able to secure a respectable selection of prime lens sets including:
- Leica Summilux-C
- Zeiss Master Primes
- Zeiss Super Speeds
- Zeiss CP.2 Super Speeds
- Illumina S35
- Elite High-Speed
- Canon Cinema Eos Primes
BEFORE I GO TOO FAR, IT’S ONLY FAIR TO MAKE A FEW DETAILS CLEAR. THE SHOOTING SET-UP PORTION OF THE TEST FEATURED A RED EPIC CAMERA WHICH IS NOT BY ANY MEANS CONSIDERED THE STANDARD BY WHICH ALL LENSES ARE EVALUATED. IT’S MERELY A MATTER OF CONVENIENCE IN THAT THE MOUNT CAN BE SWAPPED TO ACCEPT DIFFERENT LENSES AND IS A VERY COMMON OPTION FOR CINEMATOGRAPHERS WHO WOULD BE INTERESTED IN SUCH RESULTS. EVALUATION OF LENSES WITH A TEST PROJECTOR CAN BE SUBJECTIVE IN CERTAIN ASPECTS AND THUS ALL READINGS AND EVALUATIONS WERE PERFORMED BY THE SAME INDIVIDUAL TO MAINTAIN CONSISTENCY THROUGHOUT THE RANGE. EVERY LENS WAS TESTED WIDE OPEN. T-STOP READINGS WERE NOT MEASURED IN ORDER TO AVOID BROKEN HEARTS ;-). AND LASTLY, TO GATHER, ARRANGE, EVALUATE, AND RECORD ALL THE RESULTS FROM SIX SETS OF LENSES IS TIME CONSUMING AND LABORIOUS TO SAY THE LEAST. EVERYONE THAT PARTICIPATED IN THE TEST IS A WORKING PROFESSIONAL WHO TOOK TIME OUT OF THEIR SCHEDULE TO PARTICIPATE. THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO HELPED OUT.
We were looking for specific characteristics exhibited by each set of lenses such as resolution, contrast, light falloff, field coverage, breathing, chromatic aberrations, distortion, and other factors that effect the image quality and performance of a professional motion picture lens. All of the footage shot is being processed by wizards over on RedUser if you’re interested in seeing them. I’ll have a few frame grabs posted here for your viewing pleasure later on, but the bulk of the footage and data will be posted to RedUser.
Testing at Red Studios consisted of a locked off shot of our “trap” which was setup in a way that would really stress the lenses with difficult scenarios. We began with the widest lens from each set and rolled with the same settings, position, angle, etc., and moved on to the next focal length, moving the camera back just enough to keep the frame consistently relevant for each focal length.