Jump to content

ENG Lens possibility with an Alexa?


Max Field
 Share

Recommended Posts

So I'm completely shooting in the dark here so sorry if this is impossible.

 

I have intentions of getting my hands on an Arri Alexa within a year.

 

I've been using ENG zooms on an F900 for a while, but I was wondering if any of you ever needed that type of servo lens on a super35 sensor camera?

 

Are there any lenses sold for this exact purpose? Do most just adapt B4 onto PL if they do happen to need it?

 

Sorry if this question is a total waste of time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Don't think you can with Alexa..? since 2016 software the Amira/Mini 16-9 sensors.. have centre crop mode..like the f5/55 have always had.. this makes its easy to use B4 ⅔ and s16mm zooms.. you will need of adaptor B4 -PL there are a few around.they have a small bit of glass in them..so not heavy and only ⅔ stop light loss if memory serves .. I still have a dusty ABAKUS one in a draw.. otherwise there are a few s35mm ENG zooms now.. the Fujinon Cabrio series and Canon CN7 at the top of the range.. down to the cheaper fly by wire Canon one.. and I think there is a 3rd party servo zoom for the very good value Fujinon MK zooms..

 

There are also a couple of much larger, heavy, expensive.. adaptors that chew more than 2.5 stops .. that you dont need centre crop..but its such a massive heavy thing..and you loose so much light .. I think centre crop is the much better way to go..

 

So maybe you could wangle a mini or Amira..?

Edited by Robin R Probyn
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Premium Member

Two thoughts on this.

 

For the full expansion to super-35, you lose two stops, but then again those lenses are often f/1.3 anyway. So what, you're stuck at a 2.8? The Fuji MKs, the 19-90, Zeiss 10-100 and the Canon CN7x17 are all slower than that. The result will certainly not have the sharpness of any of those things, but it's no slower.

 

Second, have you ever handled an Alexa? The Amira is (slightly) lighter and in my view is still a bit of a lump to run around with ENG-style. The Alexa is not something you can easily throw on your shoulder and go all day. People who work on upscale feature films will claim often that they can, but they have a rather different idea of "go all day" than the average documentarian. It pulls 85 watts, which greatly limits your independence from mains power and tends to require an assistant to fetch and carry batteries, which will generally go flat more than once an hour.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Two thoughts on this.

 

For the full expansion to super-35, you lose two stops, but then again those lenses are often f/1.3 anyway. So what, you're stuck at a 2.8? The Fuji MKs, the 19-90, Zeiss 10-100 and the Canon CN7x17 are all slower than that. The result will certainly not have the sharpness of any of those things, but it's no slower.

 

Second, have you ever handled an Alexa? The Amira is (slightly) lighter and in my view is still a bit of a lump to run around with ENG-style. The Alexa is not something you can easily throw on your shoulder and go all day. People who work on upscale feature films will claim often that they can, but they have a rather different idea of "go all day" than the average documentarian. It pulls 85 watts, which greatly limits your independence from mains power and tends to require an assistant to fetch and carry batteries, which will generally go flat more than once an hour.

 

 

Yes I would say the Mini with centre crop adaptor would be the way to go..less than a stop I believe from memory.. agree the Amira is pretty heavy and quite power hungry for a doc camera..which it was sold as..

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Second, have you ever handled an Alexa? The Amira is (slightly) lighter and in my view is still a bit of a lump to run around with ENG-style. The Alexa is not something you can easily throw on your shoulder and go all day. People who work on upscale feature films will claim often that they can, but they have a rather different idea of "go all day" than the average documentarian. It pulls 85 watts, which greatly limits your independence from mains power and tends to require an assistant to fetch and carry batteries, which will generally go flat more than once an hour.

I've only handled one for all of 30 minutes but it really didn't seem drastically different in weight. I understand the shooting controls on the opposite side of the body can be tricky, but the only thing I ever end up adjusting when I'm out in the field is aperture.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Premium Member

You really want a Mini or an Amira-- if only for the build in ND filters!

Now the Mini- no problem, can hand-hold all day long, so long as you get it balanced pretty well. The others-- well, Sure, you COULD, for a day, maybe, but parts of you will really disapprove as soon as wrap out.

 

As for lenses, honestly, I'd look into a S35mm Zoom. They are expensive, sure, but they will have a lot more longevity (well, maybe not, depending on how this race for lager formats plays out) than an ENGHD Zoom. Though if price is an issue, yes, there are adapters. Make sure you get an optical one as the old HD zooms were designed to work with a prism block which, of course, the Alexa is missing. This causes some---- interesting--- artifacts on single chip cameras as you open up and if you're wide. Worked fine when I did it with an SD zoom on a Pocket camera but they were going for an ethereal (e.g. screwed up looking) look.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What's the end goal? Trying to reuse glass you own? Comfort of specific zoom ratios? Need for servo zoom? And "getting hands on" - to buy or rent or in hopes of owning and renting to others?

 

There are legit uses for B4 adapters - the Sony F55 has a build-up kit that lets you benefit from that camera's latitude and color while using box lenses. Great solution for that purpose. But handheld w/ B4 21x - the optical quality just isn't anything special to necessitate the compromises.

 

A buddy of mine used super 16 zooms on the F55 natively, center-crop mode, in order to have a 10:1 zoom on a Movi Pro for a couple months of car work. Clever compact solution, worked great for that purpose - but they still strapped a FIZ onto it. He would do it differently next time (with a S35 zoom and larger gimbal).

 

Having used every flavor and iteration of doc-style lens on S35 cams, I can tell you I hate the B4 adapters. They seem like nice compromises to get massive zoom range in a small package, BUT the tradeoffs are generally not worth it. The HDx35 etc style adapters came out before the Cabrio or CN-E zooms were widely available, so they were filling a market niche of doc shooters suddenly using S35 sensors and pulling their own focus. Cabrio and CN-E are actually nice looking lenses (I prefer the look of the Canon). They mount natively, and if you need the servo it's there. They also interface with microforce, C-motion etc without external motors which does help keep things streamlined.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Won't an Arri Alexa Mini, using center crop, be less than HD resolution? Cropping is throwing away a lot of pixels. I'd go with the full frame two stop loss adapter if I had a choice.

 

Yes after debayer it would be a little less than HD..but then anyway using a B4 zoom on a s35m sensor is never going to be the best optical move.. ,each to their own but personally I think if you want or have to use an B4 ENG zoom.. then using crop with the less than 1 stop and much smaller/lighter adaptor is the better of evils... but centre crop can look ok.. Detroit was shot mini centre crop but with s16 zooms.. admittedly for a "gritty" look .. but it can stand up to the big screen.. TV its pretty much not a problem..

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ive been in the same situation when I first got my f5.. I only had some prime s35 lenses.. shoots where a zoom was just going to be vital I used my ENG zoom.. with the centre crop Abakus adaptor.. the s35mm ones were about $6K .. very heavy and ate light.. non starter for me anyway.. also dearly loved my very trusty Fujinon 4.5 HD zoom lens..

 

But my quickly I found it wasn't really cutting it shooting only centre crop and not getting the Shallow DoF "look" when I wanted it.. plus it was never going to pass muster for well paid shoots, turning up with an ENG zoom lens.. I found the 19-90 Cabrio not wide or long enough.. .. for a, at the time close to $40k lens... luckily the Canon CN7 came out as an answer to my prayers .. the draw back being it weights a ton !!..

 

Great for your f900.. but if you do actually go over to s35 sensor.. in my opinion .. for general freelance work.. and you want to stay with a servo zoom.. I think there is just no alternative but to get a s35m ENG style zoom..at least now there are more second hand ones around.. first few years ,buyers just didnt sell them at all..

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...