Jump to content
Tiago Pimentel

Lenses with character

Recommended Posts

Panavision are probably stellar, but completely out of my range. Besides, I'm looking for a set of primes to buy, and Panavision doesn't sell lenses. And their daily rental values per lens is probably double than I would want to pay for a full set of 4 or 5 primes.

 

This doesn't mean that I wouldn't consider renting for my next narrative project. In fact, I'm going to do some tests next week on some angenieux optimos (zooms) and zeiss cp.2. I've always been a little suspicious about the added value those high priced lenses would actually deliver compared to budget solutions such as the ones we were discussing here.

 

That's why I was asking which set you guys would choose. If you think it's worth to spend that money on renting higher end lenses, please let me know.

 

Thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anymore; I find myself leaning further and further into renting kit. If i was to own anything I'd err towards pedestrian work horse lenses which I know I could rent out or use on the projects which honestly wouldn't have the budget to rent, or perhaps when that budget would be better spent on crew and lighting. That said, Anamorphic-wise, the Atlas Lenses are very nice and affordable, but i'm not sure where they are in their release. Ultra-Primes, honestly my least favorite lenses, will always be usable, though expensive. On the cheaper side I'd look into the Sigma Cine Zooms, Rokinon Cine DS (I see little reason for the Xeens unless you need PL and at that point I'd go with something else, maybe the CineAlta Primes v 2) or a used set of Zeiss Standard Speeds. The CPs are also work-horse lenses, as can be the Canon Cine primes.

 

When it comes to "cool" or "magistic" looking lenses, I'd be going rental and doing some serious testing at the camera-house to find and build out a set for the project which'll work. Since when we are looking at those "special" lenses, they are often older and in various states of repair, and never really matched anyway, It's important to really build out your set so you don't get into trouble in the edit bay when shots don't match up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sort of the opposite, though I don't own much gear, but I'd be tempted to get a few "funky" old lenses for select scenes, dreams and flashbacks, etc. (I do own a Lensbaby for that sort of thing) but rent the normal set of high-quality lenses, which tend to be expensive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lensbaby is nice. You should also look into Dog Schidt Optics.

 

http://www.richardgaleoptics.uk/

 

Also I often get tempted to pick up some of those "PL" russian lenses off of ebay-- the re-mounted stills ones-- since they're pretty cheap. But then again, being in LA, such things are just a search on sharegrid away when needed and not able to be found.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sort of the opposite, though I don't own much gear, but I'd be tempted to get a few "funky" old lenses for select scenes, dreams and flashbacks, etc. (I do own a Lensbaby for that sort of thing) but rent the normal set of high-quality lenses, which tend to be expensive.

David, what major differences do you find in the image quality between a high end lens and a budget (but good) one? I know that the built quality is something else, but from an optical perspective, do you find that the higher end stuff really adds up?

 

Thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had some chance to look at the Schneider Xenons recently. They're full-frame, reasonably affordable, and don't force a look on the image. If someone were to splurge on a decent set of lenses, I think they're fine enough to shoot anything you want on them, which might make them a sensible thing to own.

 

A lot of big, famous brands are recognisable because they do very, very obvious things to an image. Panavision C and E, Cooke anything. Not that we can own Panavision, or that most people can practically own Cooke. But who would want to, on the basis that I am then forced to have that look for every project?

 

The more affordable stuff is often more suitable to own, anyway.

 

P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Schneider made Tessar type lenses as longer focals, namely Xenar. A tele-Tessar has a very distinct character, try one. If you look at the longer and older Wollensak lenses for LF photography, you have almost invariably the Tessar. At some point they decided to avoid the cemented back group, moved back to the dialytic system and called it rapid Tessar or Raptar. Bausch & Lomb the same, they made the Animar, also a four-elements system with four separate pieces of glass. In Europe there were introduced, almost at the same time, the Ernostar and the Perlynx. TTH joined later with the SEparated Rear Inverted Taylor Anastigmatic Lens and Berthiot reissued the Perlynx as Cinor B. The advantage of those designs is a strong positive rear element that flattens the field and improves on even illumination.

 

Triplets are characterized by that they cannot be colour corrected for the entire spectrum. Generally the shorter wavelengths are neglected, so that one can enhance the piqué by filtering out ultraviolet, violet, and blue. A strong character trait in my eyes

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Panavision are probably stellar, but completely out of my range. Besides, I'm looking for a set of primes to buy, and Panavision doesn't sell lenses. And their daily rental values per lens is probably double than I would want to pay for a full set of 4 or 5 primes.

 

This doesn't mean that I wouldn't consider renting for my next narrative project.

 

Oops. Sorry. I presumed there would be problems of this kind with my suggestion, but I just so love the look and thought to throw them in here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I saw a few stills from the Takumar 50mm and it's magic!

Tiago,

 

Here's a comparison of a modern Fujinon 35mm f1.4, and a 1960s Asahi Takumar 35mm f2. I was testing more for sharpness and chromatic aberration, hence the shiny beer can, but if you flick between the two images you can quite clearly see a difference in the spatial rendering. The Fuji lens appears quite flat, whereas the Takumar seems to have a greater separation between foreground and background. It also has the soap bubble bokeh that people either love or hate. Both of these lenses were shot wide open. Once you stop down, they start to look much more similar.

 

Fujinon

35mod.jpg

 

Asahi Takumar.

35old.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've never seen what people like about the Helios. Apparently some are more quirky than others. The one I have is just a little soft, and fairly boring. Also, it's a fairly strange focal length at 58mm. I think Helios do make other focal lengths, but not a whole set.

 

I'd go with the Takumars over Helios every time. Bear in mind though, that the Takumars are not perfect for movie use either. They focus the 'wrong' way (like Nikons) and the M42 screwmount means that if your focus ring is stiff you can sometimes end up unscrewing the lens instead of adjusting focus. That said, they are built like tanks, relatively cheap, and easily available on eBay.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Stuart. I really like how these vintage lenses work with modern ultra sharp sensors such as my ursa mini 4.6k. I'm suspecting that the biggest problem with that Takumar will be to match it with other primes...

Edited by Tiago Pimentel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm suspecting that the biggest problem with that Takumar will be to match it with other primes...

Takumars were available as a set. Look for the 35mm f2 (as above), the 50mm f1.4, 85mm f1.9, 105mm f2.8, & 135mm f2.5. All are available as Super Takumars and Super Multi Coated Takumars. There was also a 28mm Takumar, but it's slow (f3.5)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stuart, probably a dumb question, but the rear element has thorium (I imagine it was probably to let more light in). Can this harm the camera body in any way?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've certainly never heard anyone say that it can harm a camera. As far as I know, the radiation levels from the thorium are barely above normal background radiation. The only side effect that I've heard of is the element yellowing, but this can be cured with a UV treatment, or by simply leaving the lens in the sun for a few days.

Share this post


Link to post
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.



  • Wooden Camera



    Tai Audio



    Just Cinema Gear



    FJS International



    CineLab



    Visual Products



    Rig Wheels Passport



    New Pro Video - New and Used Equipment



    Abel Cine



    Paralinx LLC



    The Original Slider



    Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS



    Ritter Battery



    Serious Gear



    Broadcast Solutions Inc



    Glidecam



    Gamma Ray Digital Inc



    G-Force Grips



    Metropolis Post


    Cinematography Books and Gear
×
×
  • Create New...