So you bought a new Sony F5 or even better, an F55. Or you’re upgrading from a 5D to a C100 or C300. You’re Red Epic needs some better glass for the upcoming Dragon sensor. Regardless, congrats. Now you need some lenses to get the best performance out of your new camera. But where do you start? I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there’s a new camera almost every month these days. Sensor tech continues to improve and grow. However, lenses are a lifetime investment. Unless you jumped on the 2/3″ train and bought some lenses that are useless now you may have also noticed that a set of, now vintage, classic Zeiss Super Speeds is still $50k and they’re almost 40 years old!!! Let’s explore some options that won’t break the bank and still give you some amazing performance. Continue reading “2013 Cine Prime Lens Buyers Guide”
Duclos Lenses recently announced a now program that offers customers the ability to bring their equipment in anytime for what is essentially routine check-up and maintenance. Any lens purchased from Duclos Lenses is eligible for two years from the date of purchase at no additional cost to the customer. This is great for users who shoot in harsh climates or rough conditions since they can simply bring their lens in to Duclos Lenses after a shoot and have it cleaned up, back-focus checked and calibrate, and evaluated for any potential damage done during the shoot. It’s like having your own personal lens tech to inspect your gear before and/or after every shoot. Considering Duclos Lenses has been servicing lenses for over a decade and has over 100 years of combined motion picture lens service experience, this is just another reason why Duclos Lenses is the premiere destination for professional motion picture optics. Continue reading “Proper Maintenance Is Critical For New Lenses”
Canon wiggled their way into the professional cinema lens market with a few zooms and a trio of primes. Shortly after their initial line-up they added a wide and telephoto prime option to cap the end of their prime lens family. The line-up included a 14mm, 24mm, 50mm, 85mm, and 135mm. Not a bad set of primes, but the gap left between the 24mm and 50mm was painfully obvious. This week Canon has announced the development of a 35mm CN-E prime lens to add to their offering. Continue reading “Canon Fills Out Nicely With a New 35mm Cine Prime”
Canon introduced their pair of lightweight zooms, 15.5-47mm and 30-105mm, about a year ago and they’ve had a bit of a rough start. They were introduced into an already saturated market where every other manufacturer had been making zoom lenses for decades. Canon is no newb when it comes to high-end cinema zooms. They had their line of S16 format zooms a few years back (remember 16mm film?) that were adapted from their long running and still successful video lens division. Everyone knows that Canon makes great lenses. Their L series is a perfect indication of high quality, professional glass. But in the recent past, there wasn’t really any professional cinema lens offerings from Canon. The new lightweight zooms were an excellent comeback! They had all the features I look for in a zoom lens. They are designed with simple, robust components throughout the lens. Plenty of focus marks on clean, simple barrels. Consistent T-stop of T2.8 throughout the zoom range. And just about every other feature of a professional cinema zoom lens. Continue reading “Canon Lightweight Zoom Universal Mount From Duclos Lenses”
Many productions call for the absolute best lenses possible and end up reaching for Zeiss Master Primes or Panavision Primos for a well corrected, clinical look. This is great if you want an absolutely clean slate to work with in post since it’s always easier to dial down sharpness and add a bit of grunge after the fact. But what if you want something with a little more character – a little bit of flare, in camera. Continue reading “Duclos Lenses Introduces Rokinon•Raw Primes”
I’ve been on a bit of a Zeiss kick here lately, partly because I genuinely appreciate their products, but mostly because they continue to innovate and provide new glass for their customers. Earlier this week we took delivery of the Zeiss 135mm T2.1 CP.2 which marked the first time Zeiss released a lens as a CP.2 before releasing it as a ZF.2 or ZE. I’ll be sure to put some tests of the 135mm up soon, it’s an impressive tele-prime to say the least. This brings me to todays topic. The ZF.2 lenses that the CP.2 primes are based on are still being produced in quantity and Zeiss continues to add focal lengths and updates older designs on a regular basis. There’s certainly no sign of them slowing down. However, if you pay attention to the inter-webs, you’d have noticed rumors and results of their new 55mm Distagon floating around. Continue reading “The Future of Zeiss DSLR Lenses”
Welcome to the 2013 Southland Alternative Lens Shootout “Wide F%$@*^G Open” Edition. This was a coordinated effort between the following individuals: Will Keir, Phil Holland, Matt Uhry, Matthew Duclos, Jeff Whitehurst, Evin Grant, Ryan Patrick O’Hara, Luke Edwards, Charlie Pickle and myself. I’d like to begin by thanking our Sponsors who not only donated their time, but their facilities, insurance services, and their lens sets: Continue reading “SALT III – High Speed Prime “WFO” Results”
LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., January 10, 2013 – Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, announces the new CN-E14mm T3.1 L F and CN-E135mm T2.2 L F single-focal-length lenses for large-format single-sensor cameras employing Super 35mm or full frame 35mm imagers. These two new lenses join with Canon’s CN-E24mm T1.5 L F, CN-E50mm T1.3 L F, and CN-E85mm T1.3 L F primes to provide a broad line of five precision-matched, competitively priced EF-mount Cinema prime lenses that provide high optical performance levels and a choice of versatile focal lengths for a wide range of creative shooting choices. All five Canon Cinema prime lenses are part of the Canon Cinema EOS System of professional digital cinematography products, which include the EOS C500 4K/2K Digital Cinema Camera, EOS C300 Digital Cinema Camera, EOS C100 Digital Video Camera and EOS-1D C 4K DSLR Cinema Camera, and four Canon Cinema zoom lenses.
Continue reading “Canon Introduces Two Additions To Their Cinema Prime Line-Up”
I’ve touched on Zeiss’ success over the past decade, all based on their old Zeiss ZF and ZE line of lenses. The ZF lenses started to become extremely popular with the VDSLR revolution and low point of entry into the world of motion picture acquisition. The ZF lenses were updated and replaced with the ZF.2 line which made using them on modern Nikon cameras easier and more feature rich. Zeiss proceeded to take those same internals and implant them into bigger better housings in the form of Compact Primes, their first new cinema lens in quite a while. The compact primes were good but they had a few problems. The speed from one lens to another was inconsistent and the mounts were fixed. Zeiss addressed both of these issues by limiting the entire range to T2.1 with the exception of the already slower 18mm, 21, and 25mm and introducing their interchangeable mount system. This pleased most users that wanted a versatile set with consistent aperture throughout the set. But where did those faster primes go? Continue reading “Do Your Speeds Need to be Super?”
Carl Zeiss will display the new cine zoom lens Compact Zoom CZ.2 28-80/T2.9 at the IBC in Amsterdam, the leading international trade show for film, radio and television, from September 7 to 11, 2012 in hall 11 booth G64. The new Compact Zoom CZ.2 28-80/T2.9 by Carl Zeiss is a cine zoom lens ideally suited to a wide variety of shooting situations. It is easy to handle, compact and versatile. It takes pictures in 4K resolution — in full format. This is the second Compact Zoom CZ.2 lens from Carl Zeiss, complementing the Compact Zoom CZ.2 70-200/T2.9 presented in April at the NAB Show 2012 in Las Vegas for the longer focal length range. For color rendition, contrast and other parameters such as great flare suppression, calibrated focus scales, consistent aperture over the zoom range, round iris the new CZ.2 family is closely aligned to one another, making these lenses ideal for attaining a con- sistent optical performance when changing lenses.
This post is part of a series of upcoming reviews of camera-lens mounts and their pros and cons. Quite possibly the most common camera-lens mount on the market today is the Canon EF and EF-S mount. Introduced in 1987 and updated in 2003, the EF-S mount added several features that improved on the original FD Mount including focus motors placed inside the lens to enable auto-focus. Step forward 2.5 decades and the Canon EF and EF-S mount are the reigning champion of still photography and quickly gaining popularity in the world of cinema. For the sake of simplicity, I’ll simply refer to the Canon mount as EF instead of EF or EF-S. If you need more clarification on the difference between EF and EF-S, google it. 😉
Rokinon announced their 35mm T1.5 “cine lens” a few months back, their maiden offering in the world of budget cinema lenses. Now they’re announcing their next alteration set to release this September in the form of a wide angle prime lens. A 14mm T3.1 which actually sounds quite nice. Rokinon didn’t release any pricing but with a cheap plastic body and low-cost materials, the lens will certainly be a good, cheap alternative to higher priced wide angle options. It’s primary competitor will be lenses like the Canon 14mm f/2.8 which receives well deserved great reviews from Canon fanboys Continue reading “Rokinon’s Next “Cine Lens””
Everyone is talking about the Rokinon line of lenses. Also known as Bower or Samyang depending on what country you reside in. They’re all the same lenses just different badges. Rokinon lenses are an excellent alternative to pricey cinema lenses mostly due to their cheaper, featureless construction. These lenses don’t come with any zippy auto focus motors nor do they offer camera controlled aperture functions. They still (as in non-motion) photography lenses with completely manual controls. Maybe a pain for those used to automatic lenses from Nikon or Canon, but great for those looking for an entry level cinema option. The lenses are commonly available in Nikon F or Canon EF mount. Continue reading “Rokinon’s Intro to Cinema Lenses”
In a recent post I declared that it’s better to invest in glass than in cameras since new cameras come out every few months. I wasn’t just saying that to get people to buy glass, I meant it. Just this year there have been at least half a dozen cameras released or announced, if not more. With more cameras there comes more choices for lenses. Wether it’s a BlackMagic camera with it’s mighty little crop sensor or the new 5DMk14B-R whatevermagig. Lenses will always be required for cinema and in todays economy it’s all about compromise. So where do you compromise and what lenses make the most sense for you? Continue reading “More Lens Options Than Ever”
Yes. But not really.
The PL mount is an excellent standard that Arri gave us several decades ago and has been the industry standard alternative to Panavision’s camera mount ever since. The PL (Positive Locking) mount is large enough to accommodate sizable rear elements and strong enough to support the largest of professional cinema lenses (with proper support of course). More and more cinema is moving over to Nikon F, Canon EF, and even the Micro 4/3 standard. So why is everyone trying to slam a PL mount on their grandfathers old set of Nikon AIS lenses? It’s simple. All three of the still photo mounts I mentioned have their limitations that can really disrupt a cinematographers flow. For example, Nikon, Canon, and M34 all have a locking pin that keeps the lens set in it’s place and you push the little button to release the pin. Most of those camera mounts have a very weak leaf spring that keeps a bit of pressure on the lens mount to stabilize the lens. Certainly not as much pressure as PL mount fully tightened. Still photo mounts usually have one position that the lens attaches to the camera in and that’s it. you can’t rotate the lens relative to the camera whereas PL mount, depending on the lens manufacturer, can have up to four mounting positions, each 90 degrees apart. Not a deal breaker but still just another reason PL is superior for cinema. I can go on all day about the benefits of PL mount over Canon or Nikon mounts but that wouldn’t help many people. Continue reading “Canon EF to PL, Is It Possible?”