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Old September 22nd, 2003, 03:13 PM   #1
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Which still (SLR) lenses are you using with the Mini35

Hey All,

We know that many of you Mini35 users are using Nikon, Canon, and Leica still lenses with wonderful success.

Pass along the skinny...what SLR lenses are you using and with what success...the world wants to know!!! :)

mizell
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Old September 29th, 2003, 06:23 AM   #2
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I just wrapped up a shoot for a short film on which I was the DoP. Will post stills as soon as I manage to get hold of the footage from the director!

Lenses used...

Canon EF 17-35 f2.8/ L

Canon EF 50 f1.4

Canon EF 70-200 f2.8/ L

Of the lenses, I have to say the the 50mm and the 17-35 got used the most. For some reason, I cannot focus when the lens is wider than 24mm on the 17-35, wonder if its a back focus issue or something else. No issues with the other 2 lenses.

cam settings- sharpness (min setting)

generally set the camera to be as low contrast as possible to get the most information recorded.

Things to consider... pulling focus with a stills lens is doable but a nightmare! Took up 60-70% of my concentration just maintaning focus.

Adrian
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Old September 29th, 2003, 07:47 AM   #3
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Adrian:

You didn't have a focus puller, then?
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Old September 29th, 2003, 07:57 AM   #4
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Nope, wish I had a focus puller... and its quite fidgety to pull focus on a stills lens anyway since its not really designed for that purpose. But glad to say that all went well and footage looked great!

The camera looked really weird with the mini35 and the 70-200 lens on it (big white lens)
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Old October 2nd, 2003, 11:29 PM   #5
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Did the lenses "breathe" alot when racking focus?
I hear the 35mm still lenses do breathe quite a bit. Doesn't anyone from P+S technik have any suggestion on the best 35mm still lenses to purchase...for those of us who cant afford to buy (or rent) a Cooke series IV?
Appreciate any input


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Old October 3rd, 2003, 10:09 AM   #6
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Brian,

You have basically hit on the main reason for starting this thread. Unfortunately we and P+S don't have very good ideas which still lenses are best because we have not received many reports from the field. Due to the wide variety of lenses on the market, it is hard for us to do definitive testing.

To at least pass along anecdotal evidence, it seems that most of the more modern Nikons do not suffer from breathing as badly as ealier models might have. We also have reports that some of newest Nikon zooms also keep focus throughout their zoom range, something that was completely unexpected. We had been warning people that still zooms would become variable primes.

Without knowing exactly which lenses were used we've heard of no complaints about any Nikkor lens. Tamracs with a Nikon mount have also been reported to be great options. Another, slightly more expensive option, are Leica lenses, which we've heard nothing but good things about in conjunction with the Mini35. Many believe the Leica lenses top the already reported high quality results of the Nikkors.

mizell
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Old October 3rd, 2003, 10:27 AM   #7
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If there was any 'breathing', I didn't notice it... that's basically what I thought of the performance of the lenses. They work great and to be really honest with you, I wouldn't pay 10-20 times the price for a 'professional' motion picture lense. The lenses were bought mainly for my stills photography some time ago and they're optically superb, in my opinion, for a modest 'improvement' in quality, perhaps of 10%, you're looking at a price increase of 1000-2000%.

I was a stills photographer on a feature shoot last year on the Sony HDCAM 900, It was shooting with Nikon stills primes and the results were absolutely fantastic. Apart from the benefits you get from having an easier time pulling focus, a hypothetical increase in quality (assuming you are not going for anamorphic lenses, which is a different ballgame althogether) and the 'prestige factor', I personally see little benefit in shooting with a cine lense.

Hope it helps!

Adrian
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Old November 3rd, 2003, 01:14 PM   #8
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I use a couple Nikkors all the time

I have an 80-200mm Nikkor F2.8 which I really like, it's a sharp lens. Unfortunately it does require a lot more light than when I use Arri/Zeiss high speed primes (T1.3).

And it doesn't work well with a follow focus either but for an inexpensive lens it does produce really nice images if you thow enough light it's way.

The other lens I have standard with my camera package is a Nikkor 18-35mm F3.5, which requires even more light... But I find it soft, however I did throw more light at the lens and got some good results on a recent shoot.

So both are pretty good choices, though I prefer the longer lens, expecially because it does provide more compression in the image (shallower depth of field not encoding compression).

There are some pictures of my rig and frame grabs using the nikons at www.scorchedice.com then click into the pictures page.
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Old November 3rd, 2003, 04:46 PM   #9
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About the Nikkor 80-200mm 2.8...isn't that available only as an AF? I loved the idea of 2.8 throughout the range and got the Tamron 28-105 2.8 as a "run and gun" lens for our mini35 setup. This is a manual focus version and after using the fastest Nikon primes, I couldn't adjust to the course/rough focusing by comparison

I use Nikon 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm. 135mm and 180mm. For the money vs cine primes, buying a set of the fastest Nikons was a no-brainer. They average 1.2-1.4...the 180 is 2.8, 24 is 2.0. These are fast and solid lenses ad the focus is very smooth and accurate which is th other thing you pay for beyond speed.

While a little trickier to keep "clean" given the focal range, the 180mm gives absolutely beautiful close ups with gorgeous clarity and rich dof...the 85mm is an amazing lens as well.

As for pulling accurate focus with them, Charles is right, but in the day to day world, you just don't have an AC available. I'm so into this setup, that I can't imagine shooting straight video when I have this with me all the time. I grab it hand held all the time for nature and walk around stuff. You need the B&W VF and you need to calibrate it and learn to use the peaking and a good deal of practice, but you can get great shots without a puller.

That said, moving shots are a whole other world and really tough to maintain focus shooting nearly wide open. Although I remember talking to Justin Chin here not long ago where he had just finished a "live" shoot of several hours of crowd work. He put on his 35mm (it might have been a 50mm) and did all his hand held work moving in and out with it.

I've done both. and as much as I like the Marzpak setup with the Mini35 (that's a whole other thread) I find myself grabbing it with the handgrip and getting some very nice results for general and commercial work. It' like any other creative tool...the more you practice, the better the results
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Old November 4th, 2003, 04:01 PM   #10
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yeah

it is a AF lens but you can switch it to manual with full range. the only problem is it's focus ring is not as free moving as a traditional 35mm manual focus still lens.

I'm looking into getting a clamp on gear ring to use it with the follow focus unit but I don't have a problem using the lens as it is right now.... I'm rackin focus not zooming in and out at the same time..... it's just nice not to have to change out the lens so often when shooting things like extreme sports.... it gets you where you need to go.. nothing pretty about it
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Old November 4th, 2003, 04:43 PM   #11
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For all US customers, and Craig if you can't find one in Canada, Karl Horn at Cinetech, 626-969-6050, will custom fit all still lenses with film gears.

mizell
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Old January 25th, 2004, 05:56 PM   #12
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This is a little OT, but this thread seemed like the best place to ask this:

I am trying to decide between using still lenses and cine lenses, and in my research on cine lenses, a question has arisen. Can lenses designed for 16mm be used as 35mm lenses? I am looking at this used Angenieux 12-120mm zoom, which the owner says is for 16mm, but when I have looked it up, some places is says it is for 16 or 35. Can anyone clear this up?

Thank you.
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Old January 26th, 2004, 12:11 AM   #13
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That is a 16mm lens. I would fully expect it to vignette on a 35mm target.

That is a venerable lens, but not phenomenal optically; it breathes a LOT and doesn't have particularly good coating so it is susceptible to flaring.
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Old January 26th, 2004, 10:48 AM   #14
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Justin,

Lenses designed for 35mm will work on 16, but lenses specifically designed for 16mm will not work in 35mm, unless you're looking for a very specific "looking through a peephole" effect.

What does get confusing is that the focal length of the lens is the same whether it's used on 16mm or 35mm. So what makes the two lenses different?

Lenses create an image circle. Lenses designed for 35mm project an image circle that is large enough to cover the 35mm (and often S35 in modern lenses) frame. These lenses can be used to shoot S16 and 16mm because the respective frames are smaller then the 35mm frame, thus falling within the projected image circle. In fact, you're technically getting a better image because you're only using the center of the lens in 16/S16.

To make lenses specifically for 16/S16 that were less expensive, lens designers created lenses that while maintaining the same focal length, simply did not have to project as large an image circle. But a 50mm lens designed for 35mm shooting will provide the same exact composition as a 50mm lens designed for 16mm shooting.

My knowledge of the 12-120 concurs with Charles. A stalwart staple of the heyday of 16mm shooting but not something to consider in this day and age unless you are really strapped for cash. Other lenses to consider...a Zeiss 10-100 that has been converted to S16 or a Cooke 9-50 that has been converted. If you really want an excellent S16 zoom look for the Canon 11.5 - 138 or 11 - 165 used.

mizell
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Old January 26th, 2004, 11:47 AM   #15
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Nikon Lenses vs. knockoffs

<<<-- Originally posted by Jim Giberti : I got the Tamron 28-105 2.8 as a "run and gun" lens for our mini35 setup. -->>>

Having shot Nikons for a few years, I just thought I'd mention; I got a Tamron lens a couple of years ago but thought the image quality compared to the comparable Nikon/Nikor was dismal. They are cheaper than the Nikons but not worth the savings in my (eversohumble) opinion.

It wasn't very sharp, it looked way softer (and not in a pleasing way) than the Nikons. It had terrible color shift, especially toward the edges.

After all light is everything, and when light passes through one of these lenses it's not at all like the Nikon. My point is this; if you are using a Mini35 or an XL1(s) adapter, then don't put an inferior lens on it.

I have done grey card tests with most of my Nikons and they're not perfect, but if you know the limitations of each lens it sure helps get better images.

I have also done grey card tests with some of the Canon lenses and they were excellent performers, perhaps a tad more consistant than the Nikons throughout the image.

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