The Ultimate Anamorphic Lens Test

Yep. We did it again. Last year the folks at ShareGrid, Old Fast Glass, a brilliant, talented crew, and myself came together to test a wide variety of vintage lenses to give the cinematography world a sort of sampling, flight, if you will, of the various vintage lenses and what sort of characteristics you can expect with when using them. It’s been shared thousands of times and utilized in who knows how many pre-production meetings to determine the visual aesthetics as it pertains to lenses for a specific project.

So what’s next… ANAMORPHIC! The subject that baffles so many with a shroud of mystery. Optics designed to provide a wider field of view when bound by a specific format, fashioned by unsung geniuses from around the world – some a shining beacon of optical engineering superiority, and others a trophy of intentional flaw for the sake of introducing artifacts and characteristics that, to the average viewer, carries a subconscious nostalgia, lending honesty and legitimacy. But most importantly… They’re beautiful! Continue reading The Ultimate Anamorphic Lens Test

S7/i Full Frame Plus: Cooke’s Answer to Vista Vision

It’s no surprise that Cooke is joining the Full Frame revolution. They’ve cornered the market on stylized, romantic cinema glass and now they’re taking aim at the Vista Vision crowd to ensure the Cooke Look is carried over to just about any format out there. The new S7/i primes will cover an image circle up to 46.31mm which is slightly larger than standard Full Frame (hence the “PLUS” in the product name). Just ahead of NAB 2017, let’s take a look at the next big addition to the Vista Vision lens market from Cooke. Continue reading S7/i Full Frame Plus: Cooke’s Answer to Vista Vision

How do we decide the value of a lens?

 A popular topic of discussion these days is whether or not certain lenses are worth their huge price tags. Moreover is there a justified correlation between a lens’ price and how “good” it is. It’s an apt time to continue this conversation since there are more lenses to choose from than ever. Also, there are some seriously high-performing cine lenses at price points that are within reach of so many filmmakers. The number of “affordable,” full frame, super speed, cinema lenses alone is incredible (Canon CN-E, Sigma Cine, Tokina Vista, Zeiss CP.2, Rokinon XEEN). It’s an exciting time to be a DP. It can also be an overwhelming time to be a DP especially if you are an aspiring cinematographer who is just scratching the surface of all the lens options out there. Continue reading How do we decide the value of a lens?

Ever Wonder How Cooke Lenses Are Made?

When Cooke advertises their lenses as “hand built in the UK”, they’re not joking. As someone who’s been lucky enough to experience the Cooke factory first-hand, I can confirm that every single lens is hand built by skilled technicians. This video shot by Florin Gabor back in 2013 takes us on a nice tour through the factory and shows a glimpse of each step of the lens manufacturing process. Continue reading Ever Wonder How Cooke Lenses Are Made?

The Ultimate Vintage Lens Test

Over the course of two days, in a studio in Burbank, California, a band of self-proclaimed “lens geeks” set out to complete the ultimate vintage cinema lens test. The project first began as a collaboration between ShareGrid’s Brent Barbano, and Duclos Lenses’ own Matthew Duclos. Initially, Barbano and Duclos had been planning to complete a rather small-scale lens test with the industry’s most popular and widely used vintage lenses. However, upon approaching director and cinematographer Mark Lafleur to ask him to participate, they discovered that he too was getting ready to carry out his own vintage lens test. The two sides decided to join forces, and before long a whole team was assembled. With Lafleur and Barbano as Directors and Executive Producers, and Duclos as Lens Consultant, Kyle Stryker was brought on as Director of Photography. The team also came to include Camera Assistants Matthew Borek and Michelle Diaz, and Nick Ferriero as Editor. Continue reading The Ultimate Vintage Lens Test

Cooke Brings Back The Panchro Primes

Vintage lenses have been a major trend in the motion picture industry and Cooke is in a prime position to take advantage of their unrivaled heritage. They’ve just announced they’ll be reviving the classic Cooke Speed Panchro line of prime lenses that were first made in the 20’s and ran all the way through the 60’s. Let’s take a look at what information is currently available from Cooke. Continue reading Cooke Brings Back The Panchro Primes

NAB 2016 Recap, Final

And here we are – our last day on the NAB 2016 show floor. We scoped out all the major lens manufacturers’ new gear, go out hands on some brand new tech and soon-to-be-released models. We spoke with some of our favorite lens makers to see what’s coming down the pipe. Overall, we’re less than enthused… Here’s our closing thoughts on the state of the motion picture lens industry as of NAB 2016. Continue reading NAB 2016 Recap, Final

NAB 2016 Preview

NAB has officially begun. It looks like just about every lens manufacturer couldn’t keep it in their pants and dropped their news ahead of the actual show, with a few exceptions. This post is a general roundup up the news announced as of Sunday night before the show. We’ll be posting a daily wrap-up with a ton of photos and additional news from the show floor so be sure to subscribe and check back soon. If there’s anything we missed that you found interesting, send a tweet to @MQDuclos and we’ll make him run across the expo to check it out ;-). Let’s get to it! We’ve broken the product announcements up by manufacturer in alphabetical order. Continue reading NAB 2016 Preview

Cooke Unveils Details of New Anamorphic Zoom

CookeBack in April, at NAB, Cooke teased us all with a silhouette of a new zoom lens – the first zoom from the manufacturer since the workhorse 18-100mm, or if you recall the 15-40mm CXX from 2004… Then at Cine Gear earlier this year Cooke gave us a few more hints including the fact that the lens will be anamorphic.  Continue reading Cooke Unveils Details of New Anamorphic Zoom

P+S Technik Conveys Challenges of Rehousing Vintage Lenses

In a recent newsletter, P+S Technik Managaing Director, Alfred Piffl, felt it prudent to bestow a bit of knowledge upon cinematographers keen on having some vintage lenses re-housed – something that I feel is necessary coming from one of the largest lens re-housing operations. There’s no doubt about it; vintage lenses have made a huge resurgence in the motion picture world. It’s not a fad that I have a solid explanation for. Perhaps it’s the fault of modern cameras being so crisp and sharp, a rather clinical look in a world of romance and beauty. Or maybe it’s just the hipster trend to use an old lens that would otherwise be off limits. Regardless of the reason, vintage lenses are being refurbished and re-housed in large numbers. But users expectations must be brought back down to earth and kept reasonable. Continue reading P+S Technik Conveys Challenges of Rehousing Vintage Lenses

P3 Update Looks Into Lenses

 

Duclos Lenses - Your Source for Professional Cinema Lenses

If you haven’t already, you should grab a copy of P3 Update. After you do that, check out a neat article by James Thompson, that explores what choosing a lens means these days and why shooters make the decisions they do. With feedback from industry professionals such as Richard Crudo, ASC, Steven Poster, ASC, and Jon Nelson, it’s a nice article that I feel taps into the direction that the motion picture lens industry is going in that you need to find what works best for you and the only way to do that is experience.

Take anyone of these lenses from any manufacturer, off any shelf in any rental house in the world, and I guarantee it will deliver an amazing image,” says Cinematographer Richard Crudo, ASC (“Justified”). “But, what does that tell us? Is it the right feel? Is it the right texture? Is it the right thing for what you are trying to do? And, that you only know when you have a script in hand and a director to talk about it with.” That chat with a director will also cover the subject of resolution. “We’re already at 4K resolution, which is more than the human eye can handle,” explains Crudo. “The only thing that really changes is apparent contrast at that point. [Manufacturers] should be worrying more and putting all their R&D into bit depth and color space [and] black level. That is where we really need to work, capturing highlights [and] the high-end of the spectrum.

Check out the complete article over at P3 Update.

2013 Cine Prime Lens Buyers Guide

Cooke Mini S-4i • Zeiss CP.2 Compact Prime • Canon CN-E Prime
Cooke Mini S-4i • Zeiss CP.2 Compact Prime • Canon CN-E Prime

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