Rokinon’s Next “Cine Lens”

Rokinon 14mm T3.1 Cine Lens

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”

Duclos 15mm Iris Rods

There is no substitute for quality. Duclos Lenses now offers a selection of precision iris rods. Carbon fiber is neat. Aluminum is cheap. Stainless steel remains the most durable, precise, and reliable material for high quality iris rods. Why bother with lower quality materials that may break or bend? Duclos Lenses has meticulously engineered every set of iris rods, precision ground to exacting dimensions with the most delicate of tolerances. Such a simple tool shouldn’t be given a second thought by any cinematographer or operator. Available in 15mm diameter, 24” and 12” lengths, the Duclos Lenses Iris Rods will provide the support required by today’s exotic heavyweight zoom lenses as well as a mounting point for the plethora of accessories associated with 15mm support rods. Jump to the product page >

 

More Lens Options Than Ever

Photo by Phil Holland https://i1.wp.com/www.artbyphil.com/phfx/photography/lensTests_SALTII2012/bigs/_MG_1032.jpg
Photo by Phil Holland @ Salt Test II Duclos 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

Leica 100mm APO-Macro

Leica makes some great lenses. They always have. Even their defunct Leica R series lenses are still working hard all around the world. It would almost seem that Leica is incapable of making low quality products. I just finished our Cine-Mod on a Leica APO-Macro-Elmarit-R 1:2.8/100, or as I like to call it, a Leica 100mm Macro. This lens performs like a dream for motion picture applications. It’s close focus is 2.5′ from the film plane which puts objects about 1.8′ from the front of the lens. Keep in mind, this is 100mm. It’s not THAT close considering the Zeiss ZF.2 100mm f/2.0 cranks all the way down to 18″ from the film plane which is about 8″ in front of the lens. The only draw back, which both the Leica and the Zeiss exhibit, is the massive amount of telescoping from infinity to close focus. Both lenses go from a modest 5″ length to a maximum of about 7″ at close focus. Still, Leica made some amazing glass that still does it’s job quite well.

Under Construction: The New Lens Lab

As many of you know, several months ago our facility was broken into, setting us back in orders with our 11-16mm lens and leaving us violated and insulted. Since then, we’ve been planning, researching, and  pursuing a facility more suitable for our needs. If you had visited our old shop in Canoga Park, it was just that… A shop in an industrial park. Our new facility which I have endearingly titled The Lens Lab, is far more appropriate for our ever growing company. This will allow Duclos Lenses to accept more service work as well as technicians to increase turn around time and speed up production of our 11-16mm lens and future products. With dedicated test and tech areas such as dual independent test projectors and optical calibration benches, Duclos Lenses has never been better equipped to repair and maintain the motion picture industries most valuable optics. Located in Chatsworth, CA, The new Lens Lab should house Duclos Lenses for decades to come. Don’t forget to update your phonebook with our new address and phone number. Contact us today to have your lenses serviced in the all-new Lens Lab.

Duclos Lenses – 20222 Bahama St. Chatsworth CA, 91311 –  Tel (818) 773-0600  –  Fax(818) 773-0601

As most of the building is still being put together, I snapped a photo of the dual projector rooms being built for versatility as well as consistency.

CineMatics “High Cost Customized Film Lens”

I first saw these lenses featured in an article over at Cinescopophilia.com who did a nice job reporting the facts. Basically, it looks like CineMatics is re-housing Zeiss ZE/ZF lenses for use on motion picture application. Similar to a Cine-Mod but larger and with more parts. The cost of these lenses really is pretty cheap, despite the title of the page over at CineMatics (“High Cost Customized Film Lens”). I could’t get a hold of anyone to provide some more accurate information regarding the details behind these new lenses. As far as I can tell, the lenses are not re-barreled, but just… Barreled. It looks like the original lens is left intact and the housings are added on top of the original lens. Not a bad thing, just curious. The CineMatics lenses look almost identical to Zeiss Compact Primes, but to the decreeing eye, are obviously very different. From what i can see on the photos provided on their site, the barrels are quite a bit larger than stock ZE/ZF lenses. This would help extend focus travel a little bit, but what puzzles me is that there are two follow focus gears in the photo. One larger gear toward the front of the lens and another small gear at the back that appears to be directly connected to the focus ring via set screws. At first glance, it appears to be the same construction as a CP.2 which would lead one to believe the smaller rear gear is an aperture ring but it doesn’t appear to be connected in any way. The site says they can add a aperture ring for an additional charge, I assume to ZF models only which already have an aperture control ring. It also notes that to remove the click-stops, there is another additional charge which tells me that the original aperture assembly is kept intact. I would love to see these lenses in person as they could be a good alternative to the much higher priced CP.2. The lenses do also come with the Zeiss warranty… Not sure how that works either. So these lenses are basically a more extensive, prettier Cine-Mod somewhere in-between ZF.2 and CP.2. If you want to have a set of professional looking lenses to impress your producer on set but don’t want to break the bank, these lenses might be a good choice for you.

PEN EP3 FTW LOL

Olympus has suffered a lot of bad press recently with the outbreak of bad corporate decisions and “fee payment” coverups. I’m not one to speculate about international corporate scandal, for several reasons; I don’t have all the facts, and I don’t care. As long as Olympus continues to crank out quality products, I’ll continue to buy them. I’ve owned several Olympus cameras several of which were the PEN line of cameras. I fell in love with the Micro Four-Thirds (M4/3) system, shared by Olympus and Panasonic, right around the time the Panasonic AF-100 became popular with its’ modest sensor and versatile lens mount options. The M4/3 system is extremely flexible in that adapters can be used for just about any lens mount. From Leica R to Arri PL mount, almost any lens can be mounted to a M4/3 camera with little to no hassle. Other than the vast array of lens options I really appreciate the inherent compactness of almost all of the M4/3 cameras. Wether it’s the relatively miniature Panasonic AF-100, or a pocketable PEN camera, I can’t get enough of the M4/3 system. My introduction to the PEN line was rather careless. I never thought I would adopt such a fledgling standard and grow to prefer it over other systems that have been around for decades. A little background on my E-PL1: It was purchased as a test mule for lens evaluation when it first came out. I knew that I could mount all of the cinema glass I was servicing and testing to it and thought it would be useful for real world image testing. The small sensor wasn’t a big deal since  I was only looking for basic center image test results. The camera did indeed provide vital test results but eventually we moved onto larger sensor cameras for test mules in order to evaluate frame coverage and edge illumination falloff more often. The E-PL1 was retired to my bench where I occasionally snapped photos of interesting subjects for use on my twitter or blog. At this time, I regularly used, and still do, a Nikon D700 with an arsenal of lenses for my hobbyist shooting around town and on vacation. Continue reading PEN EP3 FTW LOL

Lens Guts: RED 18-85mm

Just finishing up an overhaul on a RED 18-85mm RED zoom. The zoom focus and iris all needed some new grease after some heavy shooting. This lens is built quite well using nothing but aluminum alloys and high quality hardware. A cam driven zoom converter and a helix based focus assembly join to make quite a nice optical-mechanical tool. 

Vintage Lens Restoration

Restored to like new condition, ready to make beautiful images.

Given my profession of servicing lenses and the nature of such a precise vocation, I’ve become somewhat compulsive over the past decade. Some might even argue that I’m just downright anal about details. I wouldn’t disagree with that at all. I can’t stand imperfections or flaws. I feel compelled to perfect every minor detail that is within my capacity and even sometimes beyond my capacity, either succeeding or failing, but always learning. This became something of a curse when I started collecting cameras and lenses a while back. I would buy cheap “junk” off of eBay that looked pretty good in the auction photos, but upon arrival, the items were almost always worse than they appeared in the photos, which I came to expect. I couldn’t spend a ton of money on mint condition collectors items as my fiancé would be rather upset if $1000 was used to purchase a 25 year old film camera or lens. So I did my best to find good deals and restore them. It has become quite a painstaking hobby. I consider these dirty, beat-up old cameras and lenses a challenge. I wish I had taken more photos of the equipment I’ve restored prior to their make-over but I really didn’t think much of it at the time. I just wanted my collection to be clean and tidy. The tools and techniques I use on a daily basis have proven to be most valuable to such restorations, allowing me to cleanse, machine, anodize, and essentially re-engineer parts that were otherwise ugly and useless. Continue reading Vintage Lens Restoration

Keeping Your Lenses Clean

Yes, that is a spider inside a lens. This was a 600mm Nikkor that came back from “Survivor”, shooting in Africa. The customer was noting a “soft image”…

A lot of people have asked about cleaning lenses and dust in the optics. I’ve considered doing a few short videos on glass cleaning techniques and tips but never really went through with it. It’s difficult to explain, it’s a skill that comes with years of practice. It’s like asking a surgeon how to perform surgery… He can explain and even demonstrate, but that doesn’t mean you should attempt it yourself. Thus, I always say the best way to clean your lenses is to not let them get dirty. I do a lot of work with still photo lenses these days with the whole DSLR revolution and all and every now and then I get a request to clean some dust, dirt, or debris from inside an otherwise pristine Canon or Nikon lens or similar. I almost always have to turn people down simply because the cost of labor compared to the cost of the lens is prohibitive. Your average Canon Eos lens costs a few hundred bucks. The average time to disassemble a lens enough to access debris inside the optics, clean in out (properly), re-lubricate, reassemble, align and collimate optics, is about 4-6 hours if not more. This amount of time in service can equal or exceed the value of the lens, in which case it’s usually better just to buy a new lens. Some people like to think that the “Pro” lenses with their weather sealing are immune to dust and contamination but that’s simply not true. They are better at keeping contamination out, but not perfect. Some of the higher end L glass would be worth a good cleaning if it’s a specific lens you are partial to. The cost:value ratio prohibition doesn’t usually apply with cinema lenses. Even professional cinema lenses get dust in them on a regular basis, but these lenses are designed to be serviced and cleaned. If you shoot in a clean studio environment and keep your lenses in well sealed cases when they aren’t in use, you probably won’t see much dust in them over their life. If you’re a run-and-gun shooter, swapping lenses constantly in the desert, you’re going to have problems with dust and debris sooner or later. I have a client that shoots motocross events for a living with his Epic camera and a couple of Angenieux zooms. His lenses get destroyed on a regular basis, coming back from jobs covered in dust, dirt, mud, everything that doesn’t belong in a lens. The lenses are worth quite a bit which makes cleaning them worthwhile for him. We clean them up, calibrate them, and send them back into the field to shoot again. Continue reading Keeping Your Lenses Clean

Zeiss Reveals New 25mm f/2.0

Not exactly the most unique lens to be introduced in the past decade. What a boring focal length, 25mm… The current 25mm ZF is an f/2.8 and really doesn’t do anything special except make clean images. It doesn’t perform really well in low light, it’s not some crazy wide focal length, and it doesn’t even focus automatically for you or stabilize your image. You might think, hasn’t this been done over and over again? Not really. Zeiss knows that people are carefully criticizing their ZF/ZE line of lenses these days. With all the attention they are getting for motion picture use, Zeiss is really stepping up the quality of their lenses. Some of their current line-up is what I would consider sub-exotic, like the current 25mm f/2.8. This new lens, with it’s dual aspherical element design, practically eliminates chromatic aberrations and distortion, according to Zeiss. I don’t usually believe press release claims especially when the samples provided are absolutely useless… But Zeiss isn’t usually one to claim false features. I’ll be waiting to get my hands on one of these bad boys as soon as they hit the market in late November with an estimated price of $1,700, at which time I’ll take some more conclusive sample photos that really show off the features of the new and improved 25mm f/2 Zeiss. Continue reading Zeiss Reveals New 25mm f/2.0

Leica-R Cine-Mod

A few quick picks from my bench of a Leica 60mm Macro lens being Cine-Modded. I’m sure you’ve all read countless posts about the Duclos Lenses Cine-Mod, but I use find the applications so interesting. People are finding the coolest old glass to use for cinema work and it just intrigues me so much. Have I mentioned that I love my job?  –  This specific lens received the works: An 80mm front ring, 32-pitch focus gear, damped/de-clicked aperture ring, and a fixed Eos mount. This little beauty will work great on just about an Eos mount camera including a RED Epic. Would love to see those results. Here are a few more pics.

Leica-R 60mm f/2.8 Elmarit Macro with focus gear and 80mm front ring.
A little look inside the rear focus assembly. A good amount of threads for extended macro travel.

Support This Site

As you may have heard me mention before, this site is run entirely by me, Matthew Duclos, completely independent from Duclos Lenses. The cost of running the site, while minimal, does come out of my own pocket. I’m not one to beg or anything, but I do want to keep the site ad free and uncluttered to make the sharing and learning experience as clean and simple as possible. So I’ve decided to offer crap for readers of this site to purchase and support the flow of information and knowledge. If you enjoy posts and content here on the Circle of Confusion, please help me keep it running by purchasing some stuff from the Swag Store that I’ve linked below. For now, there is just one T-shirt just to see how many people actually help out, but I’ll be adding more stuff if all goes well. Thank you for the loyalty and continued support of this blog. It’s still just a hobby, but I truly enjoy sharing knowledge with anyone and everyone that is willing to accept. See you again soon!

Click here to proceed to the Swag Store on DuclosLenses.com

Zeiss ZF.2 Cine-Mod Set

This post is a little self serving in that I’m touting a product that Duclos Lenses sells. However, I love the product and use the product myself on a daily basis. The product I speak of is the Zeiss ZF.2 lenses. I have raved about these lenses ever since I started using them years ago on my Nikon DSLR. I’ve had several posts detailing their use in the motion picture industry and the modifications that make them cinema work horses. Duclos Lenses has been modifying and selling the Zeiss ZF.2 lenses as an official Zeiss distributor for several years now. Zeiss announced that they would be offering a set of five lenses at a reduced price which included a swanky custom foamed transportation case. I thought the idea was great. That is, until we ordered a few and realized that the lenses offered in the set were not the lenses I personally thought performed the best. On top of that, after our Cine-Mods, the lens barrels were expanded to at least 80mm due to the additional front ring and focus gear, the lenses didn’t fit in the case. So we thought, why not make our own set and offer a similar discount. We hand-picked the particular lenses to include in the set, mostly for their overall quality and range from wide to tele.

 

The set includes a 21mm f/2.8, 28mm f/2.0, 35mm f/1.4, 50mm f/2.0 macro, and of course, the gorgeous 85mm f/1.4. Between these five lenses, 21mm-85mm, just about every shot is covered. The set comes in our own custom foamed flight case, a Pelican Storm iM2600 to be specific, foamed by the fine folks at Innerspace Cases (the same guys who do the RED cases). Each lens is hand selected and features our complete Cine-Mod including a standard 32-pitch focus gear, 80mm front with 77mm filter thread, and of course, a de-clicked, buttery smooth aperture ring. I love this set! It’s every focal length I would want in a portable set of primes. I think the Zeiss ZF.2 lenses appeal to a wide range of cinematographers due to their light-weight, budget conscious nature. On top of that, their image quality is excellent for the price and the image size the lenses produce covers anything from a micro four thirds AF100 to a RED Epic, and all the way up to the 35mm full frame sensor of the 5D MkII. Like I said, this post is a little self serving, but I really do enjoy using these lenses. For more information head on over to www.DuclosLenses.com

Showdown: Rokinon Vs. Zeiss

If you frequent my website, you are surely familiar with the Zeiss ZF.2 line of lenses. They are considered the high end of DSLR lenses in terms of quality and price, unrivaled german engineering. But recently, a new crop of cheap-o lenses have made their way across the ocean and are really giving Zeiss a run for it’s money. Continue reading Showdown: Rokinon Vs. Zeiss