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Tiago Pimentel

Prime kit for narrative

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Hey guys. 

 

I'm looking for a set of primes suitable to render a modern and snappy look that we're used to getting in Netflix and other platforms. They need to have that sharp but organic look. Whatever set I end up choosing, it's going to be used with Ursa Mini pro cameras with Ef mount. I'm torn between the Zeiss Zf.2 and the Leica-R though I never tried the Leicas. Any suggestions? 

 

Thanks! 

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Posted (edited)

Contax. Minolta/Rokkor - they built and designed lenses for Leica, after all. Many of the Leica R lenses are rehoused Minolta designs and the Minoltas definitely have the sharp-but-organic look... But, no, you said you wanted EF mount - and Minoltas won't convert without some extra glass. Shame - they have exactly the look you want:

https://phillipreeve.net/blog/minolta-md-50mm-2-review/

Edited by David Mawson

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Zeiss CP2s are awesome I'm loving them and they're getting cheaper.

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Whats your budget? The ZF's are really nice glass but as still lenses difficult to focus pull. 

At the lowest budget range its worth looking at the Samyang VDSLR primes - they won't blow you away optically, but they behave more like cineprimes, and are easier to mesh with a follow focus.

Next level up is something like the Xeen primes - for better build quality

Next level up again Zeiss Compact Primes or Cannon CN-E primes - but these are more expesive - but they are great workhorse lenses and upto the rigours of profession production

 

On film work the mechanics of a lens are at least (if not more) important then its optical performance or "look"

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I’ve used the Rokinon Cine DS primes once or twice, and aside from being susceptible to veiling glare, they are not at all bad for the money. The set lacks a 100mm, which is a shame.

The Xeens are basically the same glass, but with proper Cine housings.

I haven’t really used CP2s, but we did have a lot of problems with Zeiss ZE lenses (which share the same glass) on a recent show. Awful chromatic aberration on highlights.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Stuart Brereton said:

 

I haven’t really used CP2s, but we did have a lot of problems with Zeiss ZE lenses (which share the same glass) on a recent show. Awful chromatic aberration on highlights.

That is bad, Stuart. I've read so many good things about that Zeiss glass. People usually rave about the Contax Zeiss which is basically the same as the ZF and ZE. I think the T* coating on the Contax might help with more organic flares. Was the problem with the highlights related to purplish flares or was it more about fringing? Were the lens wide open? 

Edited by Tiago Pimentel

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It was purple fringing on highlights. The worst I have ever seen on any lens. The 35mm was particularly bad.

I asked around on the internet, and apparently it’s a well known issue.

The Contax Zeiss lenses are from the same era as the Zeiss Super Speeds, and have the same T coatings. Lovely glass, but being stills lenses, some of them are slightly slow by movie standards, and they don’t have a consistent maximum aperture. They also have a shortish focus throw, although that might be less of an issue if you’re using a remote focus unit. I love the look of them.

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26 minutes ago, Tiago Pimentel said:

Was the problem with the highlights related to purplish flares or was it more about fringing?

I've used the CP2s on a few occasions, and I can attest to seeing fringing and noticeable softness when wide open. Stopping down a little made it all go away.

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2 hours ago, David Ruck said:

I've used the CP2s on a few occasions, and I can attest to seeing fringing. Stopping down a little made it all go away.

That didn’t work with the lenses we had. The CA was bad at every stop.

We also had some Zeiss Otus lenses which flared like crazy. Very unimpressive considering the price tag. It was a very low budget show, and the lenses were forced  on me as I was replacing someone else, but even for a low budget project, I would never use these lenses again.

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19 minutes ago, Stuart Brereton said:

That didn’t work with the lenses we had. The CA was bad at every stop.

We also had some Zeiss Otus lenses which flared like crazy. Very unimpressive considering the price tag. It was a very low budget show, and the lenses were forced  on me as I was replacing someone else, but even for a low budget project, I would never use these lenses again.

Stuart, would you recommend the contax Zeiss instead? Any other recommendation on a set of primes for a similar price tag? 

 

Thanks 

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25 minutes ago, Tiago Pimentel said:

Stuart, would you recommend the contax Zeiss instead? Any other recommendation on a set of primes for a similar price tag?

I think the Contax Zeiss C/Y lenses look great, and if you can deal with the issues of them being stills lenses, you won’t be disappointed. The Leica Rs are also really nice, but suffer the same problems. Canon FDs are good, but it’s virtually impossible to adapt them to EF without adding extra glass in the adapter. Another, slower option might be Mamiya 645 lenses. They’re from the mid 70s/80s and have a great look, but they’re f2.8, and as they’re designed for medium format, the range of focal lengths might not be what you need. I’ve just finished putting together a set of these, so if you want to know more, PM me.

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my regular recommendation for low budget use is Nikon AI-S primes. you need to stop them down from 1 to 1.5 stops to get rid of the CA but you can get very good price-performance ratio with them and they are easy to adapt to anything. more snappy look than normal Rokinons (never tested the Xeens) . don't bother with the ai-s 35/1.4 though, it needs to be stopped down so much to get rid of the CA (somewhere around F2.8/F4 split) that it is pretty much pointless to have it I think. Most of the others are pretty great (for example the 50/1.2 is a wonderful lens and still pretty affordable) and have the added benefit of working usually very well in very low temperatures if needed. used them in -40C without any issues. the mechanics are fine if the lens is in good condition but they are still lenses so the scales are very short. adding a larger diameter gear and you should be fine in most uses.

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Thanks guys. Anyone knows if there are any real and pragmatic differences between the Zeiss Contax, Milvus and Otus lines? There sure is a huge price gap. Just wanted to know if it's optically relevant.

 

Thanks! 

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