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?
Duclos Lenses released the first video in a new series they’re calling LENS GUTS. The name says it all. Lens geek, Matthew Duclos, sits down with a new lens each episode and tears into it, showing us the materials, build quality, and techniques used while he discusses the history or lesser known facts about each “patient”. Continue reading LENS GUTS – A New Video Series from Duclos Lenses
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
This one has been a long time coming and I couldn’t be happier to be breaking this news to all that have waited so patiently. For the past couple of years I would receive an email or phone call about twice a month asking if we had plans to convert the Sigma 18-35mm and/or 50-100mm to a cine lens. I would consistently, politely decline citing high cost or some other hurdle that made such a project unattractive to my organization which was generally met with the oh so annoying “Well, this other company in China does it for real cheap”. Good for them… But alas, we can finally admit to the real reason why Duclos Lenses has avoided such a project. Sigma has taken it upon themselves to carry out what so many have asked for over the past couple of years; Manufacture a high quality, fast, lightweight range of zooms and primes direct from their factory in Aizu, Japan. Let’s take a look into the future of Sigma Cine. Continue reading Sigma Steps Into The Spotlight With New Cine Zooms and 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
Here’s a few bits from around the internet, just in case you missed them. Enjoy! Continue reading Weekly News Roundup #7
Yet another bombshell has landed in the NAB 2016 battleground. This time, it’s Canon who has struck with a brand new product in a whole new segment, perhaps only tapped otherwise by Sony – The 18-80mm T4.4 Compact Servo Zoom Lens which features a truly hybrid stills/motion design approach with some interesting cross-breed features. Continue reading Canon’s New 18-80mm T4.4 Compact Servo Zoom
IB/E Optics, a German opto-mechanical design and manufacturing house, gave us a sneak peak at their new apochromatic macro telephoto prime lenses which will be available sometime early next year. The new prime lenses possess some rather interesting features. Not only are they true 1:1 macros, they’re original designs with 35mm Full Frame (Vista Vision) coverage, interchangeable mounts (PL, Nikon F, Canon EF, Sony E), internal focus (constant volume, non-telescoping), and Cooke’s /i data technology. Continue reading IB/E Previews New APO Macro Primes
Leica, CW Sonderoptic have approved Duclos Lenses for complete factory authorized service of the Summilux-C and Summicron-C cinema prime lenses. To celebrate the cooperative milestone, Duclos Lenses will be offering a free diagnostic check for any Leica cinema lens through the month of July. Bring your lenses in today for a free check up. For additional information, call or email – (818) 773-0600, firstname.lastname@example.org Continue reading Duclos Lenses Adds Leica, CW Sonderoptic To Authorized Service Schedule
Canon produced a short video that does a really good job of explaining what constitutes a 4K lens and reminds us of how much technology goes into the glass coming out of Canon. It really does drive home the need for high resolution lenses for todays demanding sensors. Check it out below and let me know what you think. What’s more important to you, sharpness or character? Continue reading Canon Video Explains 4K 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
A few weeks ago I was asked by friend and colleague, Seth Emmons of Leica – CW Sonderoptic, to speak at the first Camera Department: Continuing Education Series. The event was offer exclusively to Local 600 members for three days with a different group each day. We covered topics ranging from how to properly clean glass – what chemicals to use and what not to use – to simple infinity focus checking. It was great fun and a pleasure meeting some of our industries working professionals. The event was a sponsored by CW Sonderoptic as well as Camadeus Film Technologies who had some goodies on display from brands such as Leica, C-Motion, and Gecko-Cam. Back by popular demand, the Camera Department: Continuing Education Series is opening up the next event to everyone this time for a very reasonable fee. Continue reading Camera Department: Continuing Education Series – Encore Presentation
It happens more often than you’d think. A call comes in from a customer informing me that a lens was dropped in water. My immediate response consists of two questions. One, fresh or salt water? And two, dunked or submerged? The answers to these two question drastically effect the prospect of repair. A lens submerged in salt water is almost certain death for a lens (if not properly cared for) whereas fresh water usually has a good chance of being repaired to perfect working order. I’m pretty sure the worst water damage I’ve seen was a Zeiss lens that went for a dive in the Salton Sea. The customer was just as smart as they were quick and took our advice, rinsing repeatedly with fresh water and delivering in a sealed Tupperware of fresh water. The lens was fully repaired and restored to perfect working condition shortly thereafter. The folks over at ZGC put up a great blog post that shows the horrifying results of a lens submerged in salt water if not treated with appropriate measures and punctuality. They also go into more detail on what to do if you find yourself with a salted lens. Give the post a read and take notes!
It happens in real time; so quickly you can only watch as that lens, which costs many thousands of dollars, plummets to the floor. An expletive escapes as you attempt to stop the lens mid-fall but, alas, you just aren’t fast enough to overcome Newton’s Law. There’s that horrible feeling in your gut as you watch the lens hit, and maybe bounce a time or two, because you know you are the responsible party: How are you going to explain what happened?
OK, look on the bright side. Maybe it’ll only be a few parts that need to be replaced. It’ll put the lens out of service for a while, but the lens will most likely go on to live another day.
Now let’s take a look at the “Dark Side”. Instead of the lens landing on the floor it lands in the drink. No, not that drink. (You know, the one you’ll probably have to calm yourself after “The Drop”). The drink I’m referring to is that body of water that covers the majority of the planet: sea water. Unlike a fresh water pond or river, sea water has an element that just doesn’t mix well with lenses. Sodium Chloride (NaCl), otherwise known in its common term as SALT. NaCl, aluminum and brass don’t go well together.
To read the full article, head over to ZGC’s blog here.
Rokinon (Samyang, whatever brand you prefer) has been quick to jump into the world of motion picture lenses, using the optics and core mechanical design of their popular all-manual still photography lenses. The Rokinon lenses aren’t what most would consider professional, mostly because of their plastic housings, but the price, availability, and quality more than make up for their cheap feel. I’ve seen some very, very nice cinematic work shot with the Rokinon cine primes regardless of their “status” compared to the likes of higher-end cinema lenses. Currently, Rokinon offers an 8mm, 14mm, 16mm, 24mm, 35mm, and an 85mm. This would be a pretty decent set of cinema primes if it only had the 50mm.
Rumors have been floating around for over a year that a 50mm would be available and it loos like the wait is finally over. Rokinon recently posted a photo to their Facebook page indicating the imminent announcement of a new focal length in their cine prime line-up. Additionally, a lot of the rumors floating around are claiming that the lens will feature a fast aperture of f/1.2. While I don’t know if this is true or not, a 50mm focal length in the Rokinon cine primes series will be a welcome addition at f/1.4 or faster.
Keep an eye on the blog for an update once officially announced. You can bet Duclos Lenses will offer a Pro Set with all the great focal lengths including a new 50mm, at a substantial discount!
Well there you have it. Rokinon officially announced the new 50mm with specs and a September ship date. The lens will offer a respectable aperture of T1.5 just like the rest of the fast primes. I know a lot of folks were hoping for a faster aperture but I think that matching the rest of the set is plenty fair. Naturally it will cover 35mm Full Frame and feature all the other accouterments as the rest of the Cine Prime line. The other great bit of news is the price: at $549, this is by far the most affordable 50mm Cine Prime currently available. Head on over to Duclos Lenses to pre-order the new 50mm Rokinon today!
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.