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Are Full Frame Lenses The Future of Cinema?


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Hey guys. Check out this nice article about this full frame lens phenomenon we're seeing in 2017. If anyone was at NAB or followed it, you know how big full frame lenses have become this year. We sat down with Matt Duclos of Duclos Lenses and Mark LaFleur of Old Fast Glass to discuss what this means and where we're heading in cinema.

 

http://blog.sharegrid.com/blog/why-full-frame-lenses-expose-the-future-of-cinema-cameras

 

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I'm skeptical. Seems like a lot of marketing copy, and while I appreciate how No Film School usually presents a great sample of information, they tend to turn their hype machine into overdrive around NAB.

 

Having enough light is rarely an issue. You don't use an 18k HMI because you need all that light to expose an image--you use it to keep the lighting consistent in a scene that might be shot in pieces hours or weeks apart.

 

And shooting under ambient streetlight at night is already doable--and only gets harder if your focus puller has to follow focus wide open on a full frame sensor.

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Full-frame only has 1.5-stops less depth of field than Super-35 and a lot of those full-frame lenses don't open to T/1.4 anyway so I think to some degree the depth of field issue has been a bit overhyped -- if you want more depth of field on a full-frame sensor camera, the lower noise from shooting on a larger sensor tends to make it easier to use a higher ISO rating so you can stop down a little, so most of the people who are going to shoot a lot of shallow-focus stuff with full-frame cameras are the people who deliberately want to get a shallow-focus look, and they'd be giving their focus-pullers the same challenges if they were shooting in Super-35 at T/1.4 on Master Primes to get that look.

 

Full-frame is similar to anamorphic in terms of depth of field issues, and anamorphic has been around for decades.

 

I think we'll obviously see more full-frame sensor movies in the future but I don't think it will become the norm for cinema cameras, just more common than today.

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Great point on both accounts. Personally, I think it'll become just another tool. I don't think it will be the new normal. Just another marketing tool for manufacturers who have, in some cases, "perfected" optics. But it's just another way to achieve something that can already be done in Super-35 with Master Primes as you pointed out David.

 

David:

On that note, we are shooting our next lens test but with anamorphic lenses in Los Angeles on May 27th and 28th! You chimed in last time I shared our spherical lens test on here a few months back. Would you have any interest in joining us? Phil Holland, Matt Duclos, Panavision, and a number of amazing DP's are involved with over 10 sets of lenses (Masters, Cookes, Lomos, Kowas, Hawks, Panavision T-series, Cineovisions, Todd AOs, etc). Let me know and I can send you our full list of lenses and more info. We'd love to have you. Please check out our previous test below:

http://join.sharegrid.com/ultimate-vintage-lens-test.html

http://blog.sharegrid.com/ultimate-vintage-cinema-lens-test

 

Thanks!

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I'm not sure we can postulate them as the 'future' anymore. They're literally the here and now.

 

I tend to agree with David, I'm not sure larger formats like Vistavision really offer us all that much more than what we already have with S35mm sensor and lens tech. The one area I think you do get a more noticeable advantage with the larger formats is wide-angle photography. But outside of IMAX presentations (where the high resolution capture does make a difference), I just don't think it's that big of a deal.

Colour science and highlight handling remain the most important traits in motion-imaging I think.

The one thing I am excited about with this new crop of full-frame lenses though, is not so much the larger image circles, but rather - having some new 'Superspeed' T/1.5 glass that has modern coatings/performance, but doesn't have the cost prohibitions of Master Primes or Cooke 5/is

Until now, it's really been a case of having to spend a fortune for the big boy lenses, or being stuck with 30 year old Superspeeds.

So it's nice to have options!

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The one thing I am excited about with this new crop of full-frame lenses though, is not so much the larger image circles, but rather - having some new 'Superspeed' T/1.5 glass that has modern coatings/performance, but doesn't have the cost prohibitions of Master Primes or Cooke 5/is

 

 

Could you offer example lenses with the cost/benefit you're explaining? Which vendor? Thx.

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The Zeiss Otus lenses are also quite cinema friendly and they offer superb sharpness wide open (T/1.5-1.7ish).

 

Otus would be the best of the lot optically, but with only three focal lengths and the only option for getting proper cinema mechanics and a PL mount being the GL Optics rehouse, I wouldn't lump them in the same category yet.

 

If Zeiss eventually get round to filling out the set, and then give them a CP.3-like housing - then we'll be cooking with gas!

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