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Old February 13th, 2005, 02:14 AM   #1
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Lenses Lenses Lenses! Help!

Hey guys, I just finished buying my on 300series converter. Now my cinematographer and I are looking to start renting the lenses. Neither of us have much experience with this equipment. I'm using an XL1s
I understand the lenses create similar properties and textures to that of film, yet I was wondering if I should look out for any limitations or problems when looking to rent lenses. Any advice would be helpful. It would save me much time and money.
Does anyone have any suggestions of where to start?

One other thing one of my good friends has a zoom lens he can ship me from europe. It's a Cooke 18-80mm T2.8. Should I have him ship it out or is it not worth the trouble? Is T2.8 not good enough for reasonable lighting conditions?

Any input would help,
Thanks
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Old February 13th, 2005, 09:21 AM   #2
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from my expirience with the mini35 youll need fast lenses, i would say nothing above T2.0 unless you have lots of good lightning equipment. what lens adapter do you have? i have found that still lenses are a good choice if they are prime not zooms like canons or nikors here are some still shots from a short i did testing the camera in my house with a friend , i used a canon 50mm T1.8 only($70.00)new and as it was a fast and unshedule test i only used a 1k lowel softbox to light it.

http://www.enterthereload.com/images/call/call.jpg
http://www.enterthereload.com/images/call/call1.jpg
http://www.enterthereload.com/images/call/call2.jpg
http://www.enterthereload.com/images/call/call3.jpg
http://www.enterthereload.com/images/call/call4.jpg
http://www.enterthereload.com/images...rackfocus1.jpg
http://www.enterthereload.com/images...rackfocus2.jpg
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Old February 13th, 2005, 10:26 AM   #3
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J.F., the 300 Series Mini35 "likes" the lens to be around an f/T2.8 or less, or you risk seeing the "spinner" (the swirling vortex caused by the rotating ground glass). You could potentially get away with your zoom, but you would have to shoot generally wide open (not the sharpest place optically on that lens) to be safe. Also you would be sacrificing some of the shallow depth of field that led you to the adaptor in the first place. It still will look shallower than DV however. And yes, you will need to considerable amount more light than your DV camera alone, somewhere on the order of 3-4 stops more (as an experiment, try stopping your DV camera down that amount and shoot some tests to see what will be involved).

I agree with Rafael that primes are a good way to go, but I would personally use cine lenses if you can possibly afford it. Pulling focus with still lenses is much more of a crap shoot, and you will need additional modification to adapt a follow focus etc. If your cinematographer comes from a film background and intends to use a camera assistant to pull focus, he will likely be frustrated by the still lenses. From an optical standpoint, there's nothing wrong with the still lenses (although they may have a tendency to breathe aka appear to zoom slightly during a rack focus) but they are harder to work with in a motion picture environment.

If money is the biggest concern, check to see if you can rent an older series of Zeiss Superspeeds. Although a few generations old, they are good, sharp lenses and usually the most inexpensive option at a rental house.
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Old February 14th, 2005, 04:30 PM   #4
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What do you think?

Thanks very much guys. This info has helped very much because funding for this project is coming from two credit cards that still have a few bucks left in them before they explode.
The use of still lenses has never occured to me as an option, thanks! (By the way nice shots Rafa)
With this new information do you think it would be wise to combine both Cine lenses and Still-lenes. In other words, do you think I could get away with using Still-lenses for longer “establishing shots” and Cine-lenses for closer shots where I need to follow focus? Or do I have it backwards?
If I can get away with doing this, and if you had a choice of only THREE Cine-primes which would they be?
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Old February 14th, 2005, 06:41 PM   #5
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Probably the 35, 50 and 85.
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Old February 15th, 2005, 02:20 AM   #6
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Thanks

I take that as a yes! Thanks!
35, 50, 85

Thanks
Your input is greatly appreciated Charles.
By the way, I'm a big fan. I've seen what you've done with this equipment and it's very impressive. It has pushed me to make the extra effort with my existing equipment and motivated me to purchase my Mini35. Take good care and I look forward to seeing more of your good stuff.
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Old February 15th, 2005, 10:36 AM   #7
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Thanks J.F.

I was just discussing the still lens vs cine prime issue with Eric Maciver, who runs Indierentals.com and has the Mini35's, lens and accessories for rent in LA. He has a set of Nikons that are geared to work with a conventional follow focus as well as Zeiss primes, so I was discussing the merits of the Nikons as a low cost alternative. He pointed out that they all have different minimum apertures, so you run into an issue where on a given set you would need to work at the common minimum aperture available for the set of focal lengths you are intending to use. In other words, you may have an f1.8 50mm, but if you want to switch to a 180mm for tight coverage and it happens to be an f3 lens, you have to shoot the 50mm at f3 to keep the footage consistent. That, and the markings on the still lenses are all but useless to a focus puller.

Switching between still and cine lenses may result in a perceptual shift, particularly in color and contrast, but this could likely be managed with some color correction.

As far as what kinds of shot require the focusing advantages of a cine lens, the problem is that you may just use the same lens for intimate close-up and an establishing shot! It's certainly easier to manage focus with wider lenses because they have more forgiving DoF, which is why I suggested the longer mid-range primes to you. However, if you were looking to achieve the classic compressed telephoto lens shot down a city street as a character runs towards you, it could be an exciting debacle to manage on a still lens, where a fraction of an inch of rotation on the barrel means the difference between the actor being in focus or not.

best of luck with all this,

Charles
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