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Steve Broback

TV Lens vs 16mm Zoom Lens

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Does anyone know if the TV lenses are inferior to lenses made specifically for 16mm cameras? The prices are low and they are made by Canon, Fuji Sony etc. who do know how to make a good lens.

I have tried a Sony 16-64 and looking through the viewfinder while zooming - I notice that the lens doesn't quite cover the frame for the full zoom range.

Steve

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Does anyone know if the TV lenses are inferior to lenses made specifically for 16mm cameras? The prices are low and they are made by Canon, Fuji Sony etc. who do know how to make a good lens.

I have tried a Sony 16-64 and looking through the viewfinder while zooming - I notice that the lens doesn't quite cover the frame for the full zoom range.

Steve

 

TV lenses cover TV pickup tubes (and CCD sensors) which were at one time 1 inch, but are often 1/2 inch. A lens for a 1 inch tube will likely cover regular 16, but one intended fora 2/3 or 1/2 inch tube might be a bit tight.

 

Other issue is some TV lenses don't bother with Diaphragms and or Focusing mounts. TV cameras can adjust the pick up sensitivity on the fly, and many have a mechanism to move the whole camera tube back and forth for focus. (removes the need for a lot of precision parts)

 

Other reason these lenses are fairly cheep is that the cameras they were made for are obsolete, and so were junked, but the lens was saved. (That is actually a plus for us) but you have to select the good ones from the chaff and make sure that the backfocus is set correctly.

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TV lenses cover TV pickup tubes (and CCD sensors) which were at one time 1 inch, but are often 1/2 inch. A lens for a 1 inch tube will likely cover regular 16, but one intended fora 2/3 or 1/2 inch tube might be a bit tight.

 

Other issue is some TV lenses don't bother with Diaphragms and or Focusing mounts. TV cameras can adjust the pick up sensitivity on the fly, and many have a mechanism to move the whole camera tube back and forth for focus. (removes the need for a lot of precision parts)

 

Other reason these lenses are fairly cheep is that the cameras they were made for are obsolete, and so were junked, but the lens was saved. (That is actually a plus for us) but you have to select the good ones from the chaff and make sure that the backfocus is set correctly.

Thanks Charles - Very helpful information. I will refine my search!

Steve

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Here's some test footage with one TV lens mixed in with other various types of lenses:

 

If you have a c-mount on your camera then there's a lot of TV lenses out there that are cheap. As somebody else mentioned there is the 1" variety which are usually more expensive but will cover Super-16. The biggest problem with them for me is not the quality of the image, but just the ergonomics of the lens. They tend to be really small, the focus and aperture rings are not convenient to turn without getting your hand in the shot. Basically some of them are not much more diameter than a large coin, so imagine trying to pull focus on that - not easy! But, if you don't need to pull focus then some of them are pretty sharp.

Edited by Jason Hinkle

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1" TV Zooms cover the Super-16mm frame and then some, I have a really nice 14-140mm T1.9 1" Zoom that was adapted to Aaton mount and it covers way more than the S-16mm frame (might even cover the Blackmagic camera) and it as sharp as the converted Zeiss 12-120mm IMO. There were a few manufacturers of 1" Studio Zooms mine is a Tokina (don't laugh it is built like a tank) Zeiss had a 15-150mm in C-Mount with similar specs.

 

NFL Films got B4 adapters for all of their S-16mm cameras a few years ago to use HD Canon zooms on S-16mm cameras, including the huge Canon "Box" zooms with incredible zoom ratios and optical stabilization.

 

-Rob-

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Thanks Charles - Very helpful information. I will refine my search!

Steve

 

One other gotcha to know, I had to move some stuff the other day and came across a box of several TV - c-mount lenses that I set aside, as they have a large back portion. It was a nice e-bay find of good looking little lenses that I had to put aside once I looked at them closely.

 

TV cameras often just have the "sensor"or Pickup tube behind the mount with no shutter, so some TV lenses extend far back into the camera. The ones I had in this box all would strike the shutter in a movie camera.

Edited by Charles MacDonald

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Go for proper 16mm lens.

I've shot once with Canon TV zoom 15-150mm 2.8 in C mount, and even comparing to the old Angenieux 12-120mm it's a garbage!

Now, prices of Angenieux or Zeiss 16mm zooms are so low, you probably could afford one.

Don't waste your money on processing and telecine of footage shot by cheap lens :)

 

If you're on a budget good N16 lenses are:

Angenieux 9.5-57mm (especially late HEC version),

Zeiss 10-100mm T2

and even underrated Angenieux 12-120mm (but find one with high serial number-above 1.370.000- and in a good shape)

 

And stay away from Angenieux 9.5-95mm.

 

Just my 2 cent. :rolleyes:

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I shot some test shots with the Canon TV 15-150 on a NEX-EA50 (in the 2x crop mode) the other day.

 

 

The lens had a bit of a backfocus issue so I had to use the macro to hit focus on the wide end of the lens.

Take it for what it's worth.

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Go for proper 16mm lens.

I've shot once with Canon TV zoom 15-150mm 2.8 in C mount, and even comparing to the old Angenieux 12-120mm it's a garbage!

Now, prices of Angenieux or Zeiss 16mm zooms are so low, you probably could afford one.

Don't waste your money on processing and telecine of footage shot by cheap lens :)

 

If you're on a budget good N16 lenses are:

Angenieux 9.5-57mm (especially late HEC version),

Zeiss 10-100mm T2

and even underrated Angenieux 12-120mm (but find one with high serial number-above 1.370.000- and in a good shape)

 

And stay away from Angenieux 9.5-95mm.

 

Just my 2 cent. :rolleyes:

 

I bought and had a PL mount made for a 15-150 Canon 1" zoom. It works fine and covers Super 16 completely. I would respectfully disagree that they are garbage. Maybe some were, but the one I got was "old" new stock, never used, still in it's box. Works great and the footage is even better. I have used Rob Houllahan's zoom he spoke of and it a a great lens. Very sharp and fast. I would recommend looking for one of those, however it is a tank like he said and it weighs about as much as a Sherman.

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