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”
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.
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”
The gentlemen at True Lens Service (TLS) in the UK displayed a fully functional prototype of their 18mm Cooke Speed Panchro at IBC last year which garnered a respectable amount of interest. But what about the rest of the set? If you’re not familiar with the Cooke Speed Panchros, they’re basically the standard by which other prime lenses were measured between the 1930’s and 1950’s. George Eastman estimated that approximately 90 percent of 16mm films shot during that time in America were using Cooke Speed Panchros. There have been several revisions of the Panchros in Series II and III which can be a bit confusing, kind of like Cooke as a company in general. Surely you’ve seen “Taylor, Hobson” “Taylor, Taylor & Hobson” “Rank, Taylor & Hobson” or just plain “Cooke”. They’re all the same lineage with an extremely rich history in photographic optics and industrial revolution. Cooke was a true innovator in their infancy and continues to produce motion picture optics that push the boundaries of quality. Enough with the history… The Speed Panchros are relevant here because they are notorious for producing beautiful images that are simply not duplicated in post production. They have a character to them that defined the “Cooke Look” and gave thousands of films a warm romantic feel that cinematographers, directors, and colorists strive to reproduce with lackluster results (most of the time).
It’s always nice to see two well established companies collaborating. Just ahead of NAB 2013, seeing Angenieux and Cooke work together is a perfect example. Cooke has a long history of making some amazing prime lenses. Angenieux sets the standard for motion picture zooms. Imagine the things they can do, combined. Just this morning, an announcement of just that, a collaboration, was released and the results are nothing short of excellent. Cooke will be offering a completely new line of anamorphic primes that will be about the same size and shape of their S4/i line of lenses, color matched with 5/i primes. Not to be outdone, Angenieux is releasing a professional anamorphic zooms lens to complete the Cooke prime line-up. Now you can have a complete set of primes and zooms, all anamorphic, all matched, all professional grade. Continue reading “Angenieux and Cooke Join Anamorphic Forces”
There is certainly no shortage of professional motion picture prime lenses available in a wide range of focal lengths, features, and prices. Quite possibly the most common question we get asked at Duclos Lenses is wether or not a lens is “worth it”. That’s a very difficult question to answer most of the time. A lens can be an extension of one’s vision. It’s the tool that allows a cinematographer to capture the light they so dynamically seek. To one professional, it could be the quirky flaws that a lens introduces into an image that give it a certain personality whereas another cinematographer would consider that quirky flaw unacceptable. The value or worth of a lens is not always something tangible or measurable. But of course, sometimes it is. Continue reading “Get the Cooke Look at Duclos Lenses”
As many of you know, Duclos Lenses has spent the past two months moving the Lens Lab from a small dumpy building in the middle of Canoga Park to our bigger, better facility in Chatsworth. It took a lot longer than we expected and it wasn’t easy. But we did it. I have to thank all of the customers who tolerated our longer than usual turn around time. We’re about 98% done setting up everything the way we want it. We just have to hang a few more pictures and paint a few more walls and we’re done.
On a similar note we decided to update our website while we were at it. The old site was nice and all, but every day I had at least a few emails from people asking how they can purchase items through our website. Unfortunately our old website publishing and hosting did not provide the services necessary for e-commerce. With the new DuclosLenses.com you can browse and purchase our entire catalog (almost) all from the comfort of your computer desk and enjoy our products faster and easier than ever. We’re really happy with the new site and we hope you like it as well. We’re still working the kinks out so if you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to inform me or any Duclos Lenses rep.
Thanks again to our loyal customers. We look forward to serving you for years to come.
The Cooke 20-100mm is a workhorse of a zoom lens. It’s solid build quality combined with classic “Cooke Look” glass make it a very desirable lens in the current HD market. The other option is to drop a pretty penny on a stellar new Angenieux 24-290mm. The current champion of motion picture zoom lenses. These two cinema zoom lenses are decades apart and even farther apart in cost. An average Cooke 20-100mm costs a mere $7,000 compared to the going rate for a new Angenieux 24-290mm at around $63,000. A little background on these still samples. These were shot with a 35mm full frame 5D which means the vignetting is severe and expected. The settings were the same for each lens, 100mm at T4, ISO 100, 5100K color temp etc. Here are the samples.
Before you get too excited, a “universal mount” in the motion picture industry is not universal. The universal mount is what is used on lenses such as the Cooke 20-100mm or 25-250mm, and more recently on the Angenieux 24-290mm. It’s simply a sub-mount with a threaded rear that allows several different mounts to be attached, most commonly a PL or Panavision mount. These were fairly common on professional zoom lenses in the 80s, 90s, and 00s. Now, wouldn’t it be awesome if you could put a classic Cooke 25-250mm on a Canon 7D? Yes. Yes it would be awesome. Please observe the awesomeness: