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Gene Sung

135mm focal length for narrative work

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I personally really like long focal lengths, but I have NOT shot a lot of narrative as I mainly get brought on to film more MOS beauty / pretty footage type stuff which long focal lengths are great for.


I was thinking about picking up a Zeiss ZF 135mm f2, but is 135mm used much for narrative work which I'm trying to do more of? Seems like it would be tough to keep focus on dialogue with a 135mm lens. Might be great for some pretty non-dialogue footage though.


Thanks for any input.

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There's no rule that says you can or can't use certain focal lengths for narrative work. Ridley Scott pretty much exclusively uses telephoto lenses (zooms in his case). Other filmmakers like Terry Gilliam and Alphonso Cuaron love super wide angle lenses.


It's true that it is very difficult to pull focus on a 135mm, especially wide open and even more so with stills lenses.


You will also need to choose locations with enough room so that you can back up the camera far enough. So those are some limitations.

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