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Old October 29th, 2006, 08:07 AM   #1
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I need urgent advice on the lens please!

Hi there,

I am going to order in a few days the JVC GY-HD251E Camera and I still don't know which lens to go with, everyone is suggesting something different which isn't helping... What I would like to obtain is a lens that would give maximum film look, in order to produce better documentaries and films. Now since I don't know much about lenses I have contacted Technik in Germany and this is what they have suggested:

"18000
MINI35 Digital "Oszi" basic adapter module-400 series; including 2 handles (top and side)
support bridge
provided for 15mm LWS rods interface for 35mm bridge plate for a complete systerm lens mount and connecting kit is necessary

21034
MINI35 connecting kit for JVC HD 100U, incl. intermediate lens support bridge with fixing plate for video camera, adapter for JVC battery, cover plate, non lanc cable

18431
MINI35 PL-Mount

18381
MINI35 Nikon Mount

18382
MINI35 Canon Mount
(EF Mount)"

Now my question is, do I need all these things??? If not which should I leave out??? They haven't included the lens have they? As such which lens should I go with and from where?

Is there any other lens alternatives that would give me similar film-look results with a good rate?

Thanks for taking the time to read and respond...
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Old October 29th, 2006, 05:31 PM   #2
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Are you looking for a lens or a 35mm lens adaptor here?
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Old October 29th, 2006, 07:08 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hamad Abdulla
What I would like to obtain is a lens that would give maximum film look, in order to produce better documentaries and films.
"Film Look" means different things to different people. To me, it means 24P @ 1/48th or higher shutter acquistion, film-like gamma response, film-like dynamic range or "latitude," and 35mm format depth of field characteristics. The first three in my list are, for the most part, achievable with a camera like the HD100.
However, since the CCDs are only 1/3", which is much much smaller than the gate size of a 35mm or even 16mm motion picture camera, there is no single lens you can attach to obtain shorter DOF.
Of course, there are little tips and tricks that you will read about (opening the aperture, using longer focal length than normal) but they really are not ever going to give you a nice wide shot with selective focus.
That's where "re-imagers" like the mini-35 come into play.

The items in your list amount to a P+S Technik mini35 system - but no lenses.

The person around here with the most experience with the mini35 and HD100 seems to be Brian Duke. Nate Weaver also used the mini35 on the HD100 for his Static-X "Dirthouse" video.
I won't pretend to be an expert with using the mini35 with the HD100, but I'll tell you some things I've heard.

This system has its advantages and disadvantages when used with HDV.

Advantages:
  • 35mm depth of field and field of view characteristics
  • ability to use professional PL mount lenses - the same lenses used on professional 35mm film cameras
  • direct connection of relay attachement to bayonet mount of the HD100
  • non-inverted image recorded to tape on HD100 or HD110
Disadvantages:
  • Grain structure of oscillating ground glass can have a negative impact on the mpeg2 encoder.
  • Extra weight and and power consumption of the unit can limit its use on Stedicam or even handheld
  • Ground glass relay system loses up to 2 stops of exposure (Duke, maybe you can confirm this for us.)
  • Potentially reduced resolution over using just a glass lens.
  • High expense

There are alternatives to the P+S system that have hit the market recently, but the consensus seems to be that the German engineering of P+S beats them all hands down.
However, JVC is working on a re-imaging system designed for 16mm PL lenses that directly attaches to the JVC HD series cameras. A mock-up of this system was shown at NAB06, but there is no ETA from JVC. From what I gathered at NAB, it does not use a ground glass reimager, and is completely optical. This is an exciting proposition because it may not lose as much light as the mini35 or similar devices.

We have a forum on dvinfo dedicated to discussions of the various available 35mm re-imagers.
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/forumdisplay.php?f=70

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hamad Abdulla
Now my question is, do I need all these things??? If not which should I leave out??? They haven't included the lens have they? As such which lens should I go with and from where?
They have included all three mount adapters in the quote. If you only plan to use PL mounts, then just buy the PL adapter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hamad Abdulla
As such which lens should I go with and from where?
With the mini35 your options are open to a wide range of prime and zoom lenses used by professional filmmakers. Of course, these lenses are very expensive, but easy to rent at places like Panavision, Clairmont, etc.
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Old October 30th, 2006, 02:24 AM   #4
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Hi guys,

Tim has kindly asked me to share some of my experience with the Mini35 and HD100 so here are some comments:

First, I would recommend getting the set up. It just shoots some really cinematic images combined with the proper HD100 settings.

I tested different lenses for focus and DOF, mainly Nikon and Arri Zeiss prime lenses. We did a test using the focus and DOF charts and found that, at least in our opinion, that the Nikon seemed just as good if not better than the Prime lenses. Don't ask me why, but the Nikon lenses seemed to have better sharpness and better DOF. So my conclusion is that Nikon are very viable lenses to shoot with. The only drawback is the internal breathing when, and if, you use follow focus system, but I can live with that for now. Obviously price is a major factor. A set of Nikon lenses could run about $5000 against a set of Zeiss, which could run you $20K.

Second, I shot both with the HD100 by it self and with the Mini35 and there just donít seem to be any comparison between the footage. Without the Mini35 you get nice looking footage and, have course, more latitude with light, but still very videoish footage, which I am no fan of. However, with the Mini35 you get very cinema looking footage, but on the downside you lose about 2 stops of light, which isnít a problem during daylight.

Thirdly, the potential problems from my experience, and please read carefully, are the following:

A. Do NOT use the iris on the lens to lower the f-stop. Use the Mini35 Glass control to control the amount of light. I found that lowering the lensí f-stop adds more grain, distorts the image and puts it out of focus. My only conclusion is that if you cut out the light at the lens that needs to reach the Mini35 you end up with very little light being able to enter the Mini35ís ground glass. However, if you let as much light in from the lens and let the Min35 control the amount of light going to the camera (HD100) you end up with much more latitude of light than cutting it at the front. Remember, the light has to travel through two pieces of glass to reach the camera. The lens and then the Mini35 ground glass. If you need less light use a filter to lower it, or use the Mini35 to control the light.

B. Donít turn DETAIL up on the HD100 to get more sharpness. It increases the grain. Use the back focus to get as much sharpness BEFORE you shoot.

C. Make sure you have at least a 20Ē monitor when you shoot, or you will risk out of focus or soft footage almost guaranteed. (I made that mistake several times and will never shoot without my 23Ē HD monitor)

D. Make sure the Mini35 is ON all the time when shooting or you will end up with ground glass on your footage. At least on my Mini35 the battery is not always securely connected and can switch off the power and you will not see that on a small monitor, less than 17inches

Hope this helps.
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Old October 31st, 2006, 03:49 AM   #5
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Thanks a lot guys for all your advice, it really helped me decide and know what I need to go and get!!!

Thanks a million!
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Old October 31st, 2006, 12:58 PM   #6
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Great advice guys. Brian and Tim, given some of the great images/footage that have been produced with the stock lens &/0r the wide lens, are the various 35mm adapter worth all the fuss/cost?

It seems fairly easy, due to the relatively long focal length on the stock lens, to achieve selective focus (ie -foreground or background out of focus), esp. in a large room or out of doors.

john
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Old October 31st, 2006, 01:08 PM   #7
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A couple of other thoughts on the Mini35 and 35mm adapters in general.

We were one of the first Mini35 producers in the US and probably the first to research and utilize Nikons on professional shoots. I worked with Guy at ZGC in initial testing and determined that (with DV resolution at the time) the good Nikon primes were indistinguishable from the best cine primes in terms of image quality.

I also had the advantage of having a set of new Nikons and comparable Zeiss Super Speeds to shoot side by side.

Having shot with the Mini and Nikons exclusively for a couple of years, I can tell you that it was a great setup.

Unfortunately I can't give specific comment on the look with HDV, but I did just have a Letus HD100 made and regarding the comment on German engineering - it cost about $10k for the basic Mini35 setup with Nikon mount, and cost les than $1k for the Letus with Nikon mount.

Is there a difference in build quality? Certainly, but not $9k worth. The big question is comparative image quality and I'd love to test the two side by side, but I can tell you that after inital tests, I've got images that blow away what we were shooting with the XL2 and Mini35. In fact I did the next best thing recently and shot a scene on the same location and time of year as done with the Mini 35 setup and the Letus footage was in a whole other league.

Now granted, the Letus footage is HDV and I have no way of knowing objectively what the true comparison would be but after hundredes of hours of footage with the Mini 35 I can tell you that the Letus with Nikons is every bit as good if not better to me subjectively.

I'm still working to keep any "grain noise" from moving shots and I'm not sure if this is a function of MPEG compression and the GG that I heard was an issue with the Mini and HDV, but from pure image quality the Letus and the HD100 are beautiful.

I've also tested and customized settings that equal the resolution of the Letus/Nikons and the stock Fuji glass.

Regarding the $5000 figure above for Nikon lenses - that's really exaggerated. You can build a brand new set of top of the line Nikon primes - 20mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, 105mm for half of that and Nikon AIS lenses in mint or excellent condition are on ebay everyday for much less than that.

I just put a full set of Nikons on the Letus, all in excellent to mint condition for less than $1k.

Two last thoughts - the Letus HD100 does have a 1.9 x mag., which changes the lens situation in terms of actual FOV, and in fact a 20mm, 24mm, 35mm, and 50mm, is all I've practicaly needed (giving an effective 35mm, 45mm, 65mm, and 95mm coverage).

Also I believe we're looking at a bout a one stop loss of light with the Letus which is a plus, and it is direct mount and upright image.

Kudos to Quyen for engineering a nice little peice of technology.

I do have some test footage with a series of shots doen at our farm in Fall recently that, unfortunately, I can't upload for viewing. I'm in the mountains on satelite connection and .mac and Direcway don't jive...at least not with 95meg files.
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Old October 31st, 2006, 01:38 PM   #8
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A good wide lens (14mm) on eBay runs around $1200-1400 and the 85mm can run up to $800, but yes if you really do a lot of looking you can save some dollars and maybe get away with $3000, but I was trying to be conservative and giving numbers to what they cost retail. Not everyone enjoys eBay.
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Old October 31st, 2006, 10:52 PM   #9
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Again, these are available for less than half of that in perfect condition from a number of national used camera shops as well as regular ebay dealers for far less. I set up 3 of these systems - two with full sets of the fastest brand new Nikon AIS', for less than $2500 and one with used Nikons of the exact quality for less than $1000.

I never needed anything as wide as a 14mm and that certainly isn't a standard lens in a cine lens kit which ususally will run: 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm as a good basic film making set and you might add one on either side, but those four are certainly standard and I've rented and used 35mm, 50mm, 85mm Zeiss kits before that certainly did the job.

It's only the 1.9x mag with the Letus HD100/XL that would require a Nikon that wide and even with that you could put a first rate lens kit together for under $2500.
That's a lot less than $5k let alone $8-10k.

There are a lot of questions here over what lenses, how fast and how to maximize them (I've been getting a lot of private emails with these questions) and I want people who are buying a sub $1000 adapter to know that they can get a world class set of primes that give image quality comparable to $15k cine primes for far less than $500 each used and little more than that new...and which lenses those are.
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Old October 31st, 2006, 11:32 PM   #10
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Jim,

I didn't want to start an argument over lenses. I was trying to help out by giving information in favor of the HD100 and Mini35. In any event, you are under the presumption that people would buy used lenses on eBay or even know how to buy there. I know a lot of people that don't and wouldn't even consider eBay as a viable source of electronics.

I have several lenses. One is here for $799 http://www.amazon.com/Nikon-18mm-2-8.../dp/B00005NPWB here is another for over $1000 (excluding tax) I have http://www.amazon.com/Nikon-Nikkor-L...e=UTF8&s=photo

More than two of my lenses ran me between $800-900 USED on eBay and I DO research the best prices. Add tax at your local store and you are close to $1000, then add 4 more lenses and you are close to and maybe over $5K. NOW, that doesn't mean you can't find used for 1/2 the price, but again you assume that people would buy on eBay or even do the reeacrh you and I may do. Most people buy their electronics at their local store. So I was not so far off if you were to buy a set of NEW lenses at your local electronic store, which most people do.
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Old October 31st, 2006, 11:50 PM   #11
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Brian I'm not being argumentative at all.
I'm being factual as someone that has produced extensively with two Mini35 systems and now a Letus.
And I'm trying to give some practical advice to people who've spent around $400-900 for their Letus
The lenses I described are absolutely the fastest and best Nikons available in their focal elngths.
The four piece lens kit I've setup for three packages and that are the common range that you'll find in any cine prime lens rentals, can be purchased from B&H brand new for less than $2500.

That's simply fact and again, they are the four lenses that would comprise most peoples prime kit.

You could buy others but you can't get better glass than these in the core focal lengths used for film making and they are available everyewhere new for that price.

Regarding ebay, because some people may not use it certainly doesn't mean most people don't and as someone who has built several multi media studios for my company as we've grown, I've bought and sold tens of thousands of audio and film making gear there with no problem, and spent 7 figures on new gear at places like B&H month in month out, year in, year out.

Do it both no probelm and anyone can setup a perfect Letus/Nikon lens setup for $1000 - 2500.

Of course you can spend more if you want and can afford, but again, I'm assuming that most people spending a few hundred dollars on an adapter like this is looking to get their glass for a lot less than $5k, and I'm trying to get help them the best lenses available with confidence.
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Old November 6th, 2006, 02:47 AM   #12
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"I never needed anything as wide as a 14mm and that certainly isn't a standard lens in a cine lens kit which ususally will run: 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm as a good basic film making set"

Let me see if I got this, you get the LETUS adaptor and you can then remove the lousy stock lens and use nikon primes? Where do you get these letus adaptors? They're about 1000 bucks?

Will the 24mm give you a wider field of view than the stock fuji? that thing isn't the greatest for wide shots...
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Old November 6th, 2006, 05:01 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Giberti
I'm being factual as someone that has produced extensively with two Mini35 systems and now a Letus.
.
Hi Jim. You know, I've been contemplating getting a Letus instead of a RedRockMicro M2. Tell me Jim, how do you find the image quality of the Letus compared with that of the Mini35. And does the LEtus invert the image like the M2 does, 'cause that's an editing pain in the anus. Thank you in advance.
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