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Old July 14th, 2012, 02:59 AM   #1
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PL Lens VS B4 Lens

I am new to cinematography and have no any past experience in this field of art. I am trying to aquire knowledge through websites and forums to enhance my knowledge about cinematography at least theoratically if there is no any real life practice. One of the questions that have bothered me since long is the lens mount. There are various types of lens mounts used on film camera, but the most common ones are PL lenses and B4 lenes. What characteristics does each lens carry over another lens? What are the differences between these two types of lenses?
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Old July 15th, 2012, 03:17 AM   #2
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Re: PL Lens VS B4 Lens

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Old July 15th, 2012, 12:40 PM   #3
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Re: PL Lens VS B4 Lens

B4 mount lenses are video lenses intended for use on 2/3" 3 sensor video cameras - these are commonly zoom lenses.

PL mount are cine lenses intended for use on 35mm film or digital sensors (Super 35mm in the case of the latter) or Super16 film cameras. These are used on single sensor cameras.

To use the B4 mount lens on a single sensor camera you need to use an optical adapter, they're not directly interchangeable.
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Old July 16th, 2012, 04:07 AM   #4
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Re: PL Lens VS B4 Lens

And what make a cinematograhper decide which lens to choose for film shooting?
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Old July 16th, 2012, 07:49 AM   #5
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Re: PL Lens VS B4 Lens

The decision will come to the type of camera they're using. For broadcast TV 2/3" cameras are pretty common and these use large zoom range lenses.

If a shallower depth of field or other aesthetic decisions point to a large sensor camera they'll use PL mount lenses, assuming they got the budget. Large zoom range lenses are pretty large on these cameras, so sometimes they use an adapter for the B4 on the Super 35 sensor cameras.

The current fashion is for the large sensor cameras, ten years ago it was for 1/3" sensor cameras.
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Old July 16th, 2012, 09:03 AM   #6
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Re: PL Lens VS B4 Lens

All solid info Brian, although--amazingly--1/3" cameras were the go-to only five years ago. Most users here were into the HVX200, EX1* or XLH1; RED was just beginning to ship and existing large sensor cameras like the Genesis and Dalsa were still exotic birds. It's been a busy five years!!

*admittedly, 1/2 chip but close enough
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Old July 16th, 2012, 09:39 AM   #7
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Re: PL Lens VS B4 Lens

True, but I thinking more of the 1/3" itself being the fashion statement, before the 35mm adapters become more the fashion. The small sensors still continue in daily use as workhorses on many productions, but less so dramas. Just reminded of this over the weekend at a film festival where "Festen" was being screened.
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