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Alexa LF


Adam Frisch FSF
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Just finished my first shoot on the LF.

 

Used the K35 Canon re-housed lenses on this job. Many of them open up to T1.3 and cover the FF, so you can really get some drop off if you want to (although they get a bit mushy there). The images were lovely. It's also less noisy at higher ISO-settings than a smaller Mini or SXT, so a good choice for night stuff. Uses a lot of power though, and it's a very heavy camera, so that's a detriment.

 

That said, the director complained that on some of the closer shots, it was almost too much drop off. He said, "the background looks comped in, like we shot it on green screen or something". So had to stop down a little more, to around T4-5.6 for some of these closer shots to satisfy him. Which kind defies the purpose of having such a large format. I was on the fence - I saw his point as valid, but still liked the shallow DOF it produced. I could have gone either way.

 

What wasn't in contention is how lovely it is to have a hint of drop off on even wider images. Even in mediums and full body shots, you could see a light drop-off in focus in background, which is nice to have. Gives it that medium format vibe, which is almost impossible to achieve on super 35 sized chips.

 

I'd love to use it again, and I will, but for the right project (not handheld). Also, there's a lack of lenses still, unless you want super clean, crisp Zeiss stuff. The eco-system we have with vintage and funky lenses for the smaller formats, is still going to dominate the scene I think until more old lenses have been converted to this larger format.

 

 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
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How did you find the re-housed K-35's? Obviously the housing is a big improvement on the originals but I've heard a few comments from people that some of visual characteristics of the lenses have been lost, such as the flares being quite different in the re-housed lenses.

 

 

These were the TLS re-hosued K35's, so mechanically they were impeccable. I did find them nice, but kind of vanilla as far as vintage goes. I did test them before the shoot and they had a wonderful bokeh, but somehow on set I didn't feel much of that. Even on the night stuff. It was hard provoking them. Did have some veiling glare, but not to the extent my older Lomo's or some other vintage lenses do. Showed some chromatic aberration wide open. Need to stop them down if you want sharpness.

 

I'll post some stills when I'm allowed to.

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Two commercials I shot on the LF with the K35. Didn't get a "feel" for the K35's, somehow. They just looked a lot like any vanilla glass would, nothing that special in my view. A little chromatic aberration wide open, so had to stop down slightly on some of the shots. The night stuff is pretty wide open. We did have a few close-up's where the director thought it was too shallow depth of field, so had to stop those down (but they're not in these clips, they were for another ad that's not ready yet). But you can see the pretty dramatic drop-off in the mid shot of the mum in the car with her son in the back - there's a distinct difference in focus planes there.

 

Not in love with the grade they made and they're not very exciting or great films, but at least something to compare to:

 

https://vimeo.com/291560733

 

https://vimeo.com/291548337

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Thanks for the write up Adam.

 

This large imager phase is so interesting because it's not new or unique at all. So many films have been shot on large format, but very rarely did they ever use that beautiful shallow depth of field look. I for one love that look and if/when I shoot large format in the future, I will flaunt it because what's the point otherwise? As you pointed out, if you're at an F5.6, you might as well be shooting on an regular Alexa. I think people are just scared because it's so hard to pull focus and it takes up a lot of extra time.

 

Your samples remind me of the commercials I did in the 90's... walk and talk and then some driving/studio stuff. I miss that industry sometimes, good money and not very much work. Looked great btw.

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Very interesting. Thanks for sharing Adam.

The image is so clear and pristine, I'd never have even guessed you'd thrown vintage glass at those spots. I still think that's the big (and primary) point of difference with these large format images - the sheer image quality.

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