Everyone should be familiar with the price of equipment sporting a small red dot. In this particular case, the red dot is pretty large. A venerable cream of the telephoto crop, this set consists of a Leica APO-Summicron-R 180mm f/2.0, a Leica APO Telyt-R 280mm f/2.8 and finally a massive Leica APO-Telyt-R 400mm f/2.8. The set is currently owned by Samy’s Camera – but not for long as it’s being sold for $100,000.00. This is no ordinary set of rare Leica telephoto primes. Custom modified with PL mounts and integrated focus and iris gears by Duclos Lenses, this is a one-of-a-kind set making the rare even rarer.
About two years ago I was paid a visit by some fellow named Samy who claimed he was from Samy’s Camera. It took me a few seconds to realize he wasn’t just some guy from Samy’s… He was Samy’s. Samy proceeded to explain what he wanted done to these lenses, at which point I gave some examples of what something like this costs and the down-time associated with custom modifications. You see, performing this type of work isn’t something that we here at Duclos Lenses do for just any lens. There are several prerequisites for this type of work that we stick to pretty closely which usually discourage customers from advancing with bespoke engineering. The most important condition is quality. We don’t design or engineer anything that we aren’t confident putting our name on, abel to admire once completed and say “damn… that’s marvelous”. The second most important factor is the cost. I understand that there are some individuals out there that simply don’t care about the cost, and want, need, must have something despite the fee. This entire process requires a balance of these two primary factors (quality/cost) which I felt Samy understood and shared in our enthusiasm. As a result of our unrelenting crusade for precision and quality, custom conversions go through many stages within Duclos Lenses beginning with conception and going on to design, engineering, prototyping, manufacturing, and finishing.
Over the next few months we penned, plotted, rendered, caffeinated, and repeated many times over. The final result was a set of three Leica telephoto primes with stainless steel PL mounts, integrated focus and iris gears, and industry standard supports, ready to deliver to Samy. As far as I know, at the time, Samy had no plans to offer these lenses to anyone because of their rarity but I’m glad to see that they are for sale and possibly going on to shoot stunning images. I hope that whoever ends up purchasing these lenses lets me know so that I can keep an eye on them over time. It’s this desire to follow bespoke projects throughout their life, that I feel makes the work that I’m involved with special. If you’re interested in purchasing this set, check with your accountant/wife and then head on over to the eBay listing.
Duclos Lenses has developed a conversion process for the Canon Cinema Eos CN-E Primes that provides a high quality, stainless steel PL mount that allows the primes including the 14mm, 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, and 135mm to be used with any PL mount camera. Continue reading “Canon CN-E PL Primes From Duclos Lenses”→
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”→
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?”→
The following from a Zeiss press release dated 08.30.12.
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.
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”→
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?”→
We’ve been building our 11-16mm lenses as quick as we can while still maintaining the highest quality standards we can. We’ve received great feedback from a lot of satisfied customers and look forward to continuing to fill orders. There are quite a few back-orders still but rest assured, we are working diligently to fill orders as quickly as possible. This particular photo is our Nikon-F mount model. We offer the lens in PL, Nikon-F, and Canon-EF. Such a versatile little beauty. 🙂
I have to start this post by clarifying that this is NOT our project 70-200mm conversion. We developed a simple PL mount conversion for the Nikkor 80-200mm, the grandfather of the 70-200mm, a few years ago and made a handful for specific clients like Tom Lowe. Before we discontinued the short run of 80-200mm PL conversion, we built a pair for our own rental inventory. The 80-200mm is strong optically but not quite as nice as the 70-200mm. Regardless, the 80-200mm was the go-to telephoto zoom for sports and nature photographers for quite a long time. With it’s relative light weight, all manual controls, and convenient zoom range, the 80-200mm was a great candidate for our regular Cine-Mod. A lot of people wanted them for their HDSLRs but the Nikon and Canon mount just didn’t cut it after a while. We decided to develop a simple PL mount conversion that allowed our lens to be used on RED Cameras, Arri Cameras, and just about any other PL mount camera. The lens covers a full 35mm frame which is more than enough for a new RED Epic frame, and maintains an f/2.8 aperture throughout the zoom range. This simple mount conversion that we developed for our 80-200mm doesn’t sport as many features as our upcoming 70-200mm cine-conversion. Unlike our comprehensive, in-depth 70-200mm project, the 80-200mm internals remain untouched. For lack of a better comparison, the 80-200mm is the ugly step-sister of the 70-200mm… She doesn’t look or feel as pretty, but she sure does get the job done, if you know what I mean. We now have two twin PL mount tele-zoom lenses. In fact, one of them inherited some of the designs we developed for the 70-200mm project and features an interchangeable mount so it can still be used on a Nikon F or Canon Eos mount camera. Pretty versatile. If you’re wondering were this leaves us in regards to the progress of the 70-200mm project, you’re not alone. We had a few setbacks recently and had to put it on hold. The project is still in the works, so keep an eye on the blog for updates. If you’re interested in renting the PL 80-200mm, contact Matthew for availability and details. If you’re looking for more details on our yet-to-be-released 70-200mm project, subscribe to the mailing list from Duclos Lenses and be one of the first to know about release date and cost.
So I’ve decided to start posting more content here on MatthewDuclos.com that I would normally reserve for the Duclos Lenses Facebook Fan Page or Twitter etc. Most of the posts will be short blips, either photos or quick little videos, just quick, simple content. For starters here is a rather comical, yet surprisingly effective use of a Zeiss/Arri Master Prime on a Sony FS100 with Hot Rod Cameras PL mount. The Sony FS100 costs about $6,000. …Pocket change compared to the $25,000 price tag of the 14mm Master Prime. The lens costs more than four times as much as the camera. But it looks awesome! I didn’t record any footage but I will eventually. I was just trying out the Hot Rod Cameras mount adapter and it worked like a charm. Now… Enjoy the magnificent potential.
Angenieux has long been the standard for cinema zoom lenses and certainly isn’t stopping anytime soon. NAB brings out the best in new lens manufacturers (and sometimes the worst) so Angenieux took the opportunity to announce their new addition to the Optimo series of lenses. This time it’s a 45-120mm. A little on the longer end of an all-purpose zoom, this will share a lot of the same features as the other light weight zooms like the 15-40mm and the 28-76mm Optimo. It will cover a full Super 35mm sensor/film utilizing a 31.4mm image circle and will feature an interchangeable mount with options for PL, Panavision, Nikon F, and Canon Eos.
The focus scale has 320° of rotation which is about as much as anyone could every want and offers separate interchangeable metric and imperial scales. It will weigh in at 4.3 lbs. making it perfect for lightweight, steadicam, and 3d rigs. It’s a constant T2.8 which isn’t the fastest zoom in the world, but it’s certainly not the slowest and matches well with other pro cine zooms. I’m sure we can expect the same accuracy and quality as the rest of the Optimo lenses. It’s focal range, 45-120mm is a little long even at the wide end giving it a horizontal angle of view of 27.4°-10.5°. A 45mm in a S35 frame is fairly tight and 120mm on the long end gives it a nice versatile throw. It’s 2.7x zoom ratio drops it in the same boat as the other short zooms. I’ll be looking forward to getting my hands on this little bad boy from Angenieux and putting it through the paces. I have no doubt I won’t be let down.
Canon is releasing a couple of PL mount zoom lenses. Some might think this is a step in a new direction for Canon but they had great success with their 16 format zooms back in the late 80’s in the form of a 11-165mm and 8-64mm that were based on some of their popular video lenses.The optics and core mechanics were transplanted into a cinema friendly housing. The lenses worked great and performed very well. You can still find them floating around rental houses and private owners basements since they only cover a very small 16mm film format.
Canon’s new lenses will be native PL mount and will cover an image circle of 27.5mm which includes APS-C sensors. The RED One requires an image circle of 28mm so you’re pushing it there… It certainly won’t cover the Epic camera with a required 33.5mm image circle. I would be willing to bet the telephoto of the two would have a larger image circle as is the case with most lenses. The focal lengths are going to be 14.5-60mm T2.6 and a 30-300mm T2.9-3.7. The 14.5-60mm size will be a little smaller than an Angenieux 17-80mm but larger than I would care to hand hold. T2.6 is a nice aperture for the smaller zoom but the 30-300mm will ramp and nobody likes a zoom that ramps. 🙁
If these two zooms are similar to Canon’s previous lens ventures, then they should perform very well optically and mechanically. I look forward to seeing these pups at NAB and bench testing them when they come to market. Good luck, Canon!