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super baltars anyone?

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Guest shutter bug

anybody have and semi recent use with super baltar lenses? im just wondering how they hold up in todays modern age of theatrical release. i know the colours and stuff will certainly be saturated etc but thats what we want. the biggy is how sharp are they? i wasnt around when these were used on a daily basis so i never went to a cinema to see a film shot on them.

 

what do you folks think?

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Take a look at just about any mainstream American theatrical production of the 50's and 60's; they were typically shot on Mitchells with Super Baltar lenses. Of course they were new back then.

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Baltars don't have the uniform sharpness one can expect from newer lenses. You can get a decent focus in the center, but the sides of the image tend to go soft. You could, of course, make use of that property, depending upon the look you're after.

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Take a look at just about any mainstream American theatrical production of the 50's and 60's; they were typically shot on Mitchells with Super Baltar lenses. Of course they were new back then.

 

---Super Baltars came out in the early-mid60s for the Mitchell MkII/S35R because the wider lenses on the older (just plain) Baltars woulded clear the mirror.

 

---El Pedante

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Guest shutter bug

ive seen a lot of the older films...most recently a few james dean flicks. the problem is i didnt see them on the big screen and im wondering how soft the image would really be if shot today.

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ive seen a lot of the older films...most recently a few james dean flicks. the problem is i didnt see them on the big screen and im wondering how soft the image would really be if shot today.

 

Hi,

 

The Cooke S2/3's are also quite soft. They were used for the close ups in Mr & Mrs Smith. I think only 1 set of Super Balatars were ever rebuilt in PL mount, your focus puller will not like the scales on the original lenses!

 

If your after the softer look they will be fine.

 

Stephen

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Guest shutter bug
Hi,

 

The Cooke S2/3's are also quite soft. They were used for the close ups in Mr & Mrs Smith. I think only 1 set of Super Balatars were ever rebuilt in PL mount, your focus puller will not like the scales on the original lenses!

 

If your after the softer look they will be fine.

 

Stephen

 

 

any suggestions for older lower cost lenses that put out a reasonably good image?

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anybody have and semi recent use with super baltar lenses? im just wondering how they hold up in todays modern age of theatrical release. i know the colours and stuff will certainly be saturated etc but thats what we want. the biggy is how sharp are they? i wasnt around when these were used on a daily basis so i never went to a cinema to see a film shot on them.

 

what do you folks think?

 

State of the art lenses in their day, made by Rochester's Bausch and Lomb company:

 

http://www.bauschandlomb.com/en_US/default.aspx

 

Lots of optics used in cinematography have a Rochester connection (e.g., Todd-AO, Cinerama, CinemaScope).

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The Cooke S2/3's are also quite soft. They were used for the close ups in Mr & Mrs Smith. I think only 1 set of Super Balatars were ever rebuilt in PL mount, your focus puller will not like the scales on the original lenses!

 

---Most Super Baltars had the MkII/S35R mount which has a 2.25" flange focal depth and are only a bit wider than Arri bay. mount.

They were used on BNCRs with an adaptor.

It might be practical to macine PL adaptors for the set instead of totally rebuiling them.

 

---LV

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any suggestions for older lower cost lenses that put out a reasonably good image?

B&L Baltars, though older design, were the standard Hollywood lenses of the previous generation, and depending on their condition are inexpensive. Wider lenses such as the 25mm will probably exhibit vignetting, but the 75 and 100mm Baltars I have are things of beauty; think Greta Garbo / Bette Davis glamour shots. And no need for Pro Mist filters on these puppies - the effect is built in!

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B&L Baltars, though older design, were the standard Hollywood lenses of the previous generation, and depending on their condition are inexpensive. Wider lenses such as the 25mm will probably exhibit vignetting, but the 75 and 100mm Baltars I have are things of beauty; think Greta Garbo / Bette Davis glamour shots. And no need for Pro Mist filters on these puppies - the effect is built in!

 

---I've no qualms about using old lenses. I'm intrigued by the idea of using Astro-Berlin Pan-Tachars.

However the cost of rehousing them for current cameras will negate the inexpensive price.

 

And the shorter lens won't clear the mirror on reflex cameras, so vignetting is a moot point.

the shortest Baltar availiable in an Arri std. mount was 30mm. The Mitchell BNCR would only take Baltars 50mm and longer, thus the Super Baltars.

An Eclair cameflex might take the 25mm, making it the only 35mm camera to do so.

 

Baltars came out around the time Garbo retired. I think Fox might have been the first to use Baltars on its Fox Studio Cameras.

 

Garbo was at MGM and Bette Davis at Warners.

The Cooke site claims those Studios used mostly Cooke Speed Panchros (series 1):

 

"In the United States, Paramount, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and Warner Bros. used Cooke Speed Panchros almost exclusively. Fox, R.K.O., United Artists, Columbia, Universal, and other studios were using them increasingly. In England, all film producers, including British Gaumont, British & Dominion, London Films, and British International Pictures, used these lenses. In other countries, Cooke Speed Panchros were used by the Russian motion picture trust, in Australia by Cinesound and Australian Films, and by leading studios in Austria, France, Italy, Germany, India, Japan, and South America." (Quoted from a 1938 Bell & Howell brochure.)

 

---LV

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used them for commercials, super baltars with new stocks are quite beautiful. Similar to large format still guys who still use 360mm Goerz or turn of the century primes for warming portraits.

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If you need low cost lenses with modern glass, consider Nikon Nikkors, AIS, MF, F-mount. Even though Nikon has officially gone out of the SLR lens business, you can still pick them up new at camera stores Like B&H and Adorama. You'll have to get the L-plate adapted to Nikon mount. I'd change just one slot to Nikon, another to PL and leave the last one for the Balts. The Nikons pull focus differently than cine lenses and some here will talk them down like they're made of dog-do. Ultimately, your choice will be dictated by money. I have a set of Balts and would be fine with shooting a feature with them. However, I've commited to the Nikons for my Fries GC and am still crossong my fingers on the decision. At some point it is an artistic choice. If you like how they look then how can your choice be wrong?

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I think some of island / horse stuff in "The Black Stallion" was shot on an Eclair CM3 with Nikons.

 

Your main problem is really just focusing the lenses since they weren't designed for cine-style focus-pulling during a shot -- the distance marks are not great, the lens rotates the opposite direction, etc.

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I recently did a lens test with super baltars-

 

 

I tested a super baltar 25mm, super baltar 50mm, kowa 100mm, schneider cine xenon 35mm, schneider cine xenon 75mm, and a angenieux 25mm-250mm.

 

I tested all the lenses with vision2 50asa and vision 2 250asa. I tested all the lenses wide open and then each stop to f16.

 

The baltars and the kowa are R35 mount and were on tested on a mitchell BNC spinining miror Reflex camera with no matt (full gate).

 

The ange has a BNCR mount and was mounted on an arri 2C anamorhpic gate.

 

The schneiders are arri standard mount and were mounted on a arri 2B with an acadamy gate.

 

I had worked prints made best lit to a gray card at the beging of each roll of film under the exact same light for each lens. I then projected the prints on a devry dual system (interlock) projector with a snaplite 2inch lens and a bauch and lomb 4inch lens. I have watched dozen of theatrical trailers on this projector set up so I am familiar with the projector and it's lenses.

 

As you all may know the ange vignetted from 25mm to a bit past 50mm. It was also relatively yellow.

 

The Schneiders were the softest of the bunch but matched the color of the super baltars.

 

The kowa was relatively blue.

 

The super baltars were the sharpest in the center and the edges, and the 25mm did not vignette at all. It is truely my favorite piece of glass.

 

I don't have a lot of experience with other lenses, yet. So my judgeing is relative to the lenses I have. I have also shot with cooke, old cookes (taylor hobsons) and few Zeiss primes in 16mm.

 

The super baltars that I have are so much better than the other lenses I have that there is no comparison. The other lenses I have make nice images on the new vison 2 stocks but the super baltars look just amazing in comparison.

 

Now I hope some of you don't go out and buy the last few super baltars out there and drive the prices up. If you do you owe me.

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Still camera zoom lenses wander all over the place while zooming also (They're really meant to be variable primes). That's why cine zoom lenses cost so much more.

 

Mark

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If you need low cost lenses with modern glass, consider Nikon Nikkors, AIS, MF, F-mount. Even though Nikon has officially gone out of the SLR lens business...

 

Really? When did this happen? Any ideas why? I didn't know that.

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If you need low cost lenses with modern glass, consider Nikon Nikkors, AIS, MF, F-mount. Even though Nikon has officially gone out of the SLR lens business, you can still pick them up new at camera stores Like B&H and Adorama. You'll have to get the L-plate adapted to Nikon mount. I'd change just one slot to Nikon, another to PL and leave the last one for the Balts. The Nikons pull focus differently than cine lenses and some here will talk them down like they're made of dog-do. Ultimately, your choice will be dictated by money. I have a set of Balts and would be fine with shooting a feature with them. However, I've commited to the Nikons for my Fries GC and am still crossong my fingers on the decision. At some point it is an artistic choice. If you like how they look then how can your choice be wrong?

 

I think if you need low cost 35mm lenses for motion picture you really can't go wrong with Lomos. They are sharp, can be converted to PL and you wouldn't need to go through the Nikon focus hassle as the Lomos are made for motion picture. A much better option than still lenses IMO and the Lomos are at least as sharp as the Nikons in my experience.

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Still camera lenses were made for sharpness where a cine lens was made for contrast. That's probably only a problem/difference if you go to the big screen.

 

Mark

Edited by Mark Henderson

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Uh, who says?

 

Sharpness and contrast are very much related to each other, as they both affect perceived detail. Hence why the MTF messures the two of them. And a good lens need to have both, be it for stills or motion picutre use.

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Uh, who says?

 

Sharpness and contrast are very much related to each other, as they both affect perceived detail. Hence why the MTF messures the two of them. And a good lens need to have both, be it for stills or motion picutre use.

 

Contrast and sharpness have little to do with each other optically, though they do in the appearance of the image.

 

Sharpness is how clean is the edge of a black line on white paper. Is there a clean break between black and white? Or is it fuzzy? I know you could reasonably use the word "contrast" here, but that's not how it's used in photography.

 

Contrast, when speaking of lenses, has to do with the effects of non-image forming light that, nevertheless, finds its way into your lens. It also has to do with how well a lens can keep hold of light that started out as image forming light, so that it gets to the film that way.

 

Words of Bill Smith

PhotoNet

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Contrast and sharpness have little to do with each other optically, though they do in the appearance of the image.

 

Sharpness is how clean is the edge of a black line on white paper. Is there a clean break between black and white? Or is it fuzzy? I know you could reasonably use the word "contrast" here, but that's not how it's used in photography.

 

Contrast, when speaking of lenses, has to do with the effects of non-image forming light that, nevertheless, finds its way into your lens. It also has to do with how well a lens can keep hold of light that started out as image forming light, so that it gets to the film that way.

 

Words of Bill Smith

PhotoNet

 

Hi,

 

I don't think Mr Cooke or Herr Zeiss would agree, both of whom have Accadamy awards.

 

Stephen

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I'd really like to know where you got the idea from that cine lenses are made for contrast and stills lenses for sharpness, because based on my knowledge that doesn't make any sense and just seems like a sweeping generalization. Zeiss lenses for instance are not just very contrasty, but also very sharp. I'd venture to say that the Zeiss Master Primes are the sharpest lenses available anywhere, both in the stills and cine market. There is a reason why they cost 14.000 Euros a pop.

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Hi,

 

I don't think Mr Cooke or Herr Zeiss would agree, both of whom have Accadamy awards.

 

Stephen

 

I think I'd agree with Mr Smith

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