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Sony XDCAM PMW-F3 CineAlta
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Old March 25th, 2011, 03:25 AM   #1
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Mid-Range Zoom

Looking for a lightweight mid-range zoom lens in the sub $2000 range for event/doco and pickup work. Not sure what others are using.

The offering appears to be quite small.

Nigel mentioned a Tokina. But I can't find one used or new. Nikon has the 24-70 f2.8 (Gelded) without the visable aperture ring and there is the older 28-70 with an aperture ring. I was hoping to get one that stretched to 85mm but there doesn't seem to be lens design that does that, at least one that is extant.

There are cine lenses. Most notably the Red Pro 18-85 but it weighs 10 pounds so it isn't great for moving around the dance floor.

Thoughts, suggestions.
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Old March 25th, 2011, 08:35 AM   #2
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Re: Mid-Range Zoom

I like my Tokina 28-70mm AT-X Pro Mk 1. Can't get em new anymore. It's f2.6 although it works best at f3.5-f4. Does not telescope when you zoom or focus, proper iris ring, built like a tank for a stills lens. They do pop up on ebay etc from time to time.
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Old March 25th, 2011, 10:05 AM   #3
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Re: Mid-Range Zoom

A Nikon 24-70 2.8 has been giving me great results. Only shortfall is the lack of an iris ring, but that has been discussed in another thread. With a 77mm(ID) front end, it works well with the rails and matte box I used with the EX1/3..
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Old March 25th, 2011, 02:40 PM   #4
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Re: Mid-Range Zoom

I hunted down a Tokina 28-70mm AT-X Pro Mk 1 on Ebay after Alisters recomendation and I am very excited about it. I'd say it's as close as you can get to a PL-zoom without getting the real thing. I found it in a German e-bay store at a fixed price of €320. It is very well built, image quality is great and best of all it does not breath at all! It also seems to hold focus when I zoom. Yesterday I used it on a job for the first time. Here are some ungraded screen grabs from an interview I made using it.
It's all natural light with a little boost of key light from my Lite panel Micro pro.
Sharpness is at -17 and I used CG4. The shots are not graded.
Attached Thumbnails
Mid-Range Zoom-tokina-wide.jpg   Mid-Range Zoom-tokina-closer.jpg  

Mid-Range Zoom-tokina-closest.jpg  
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Old March 25th, 2011, 04:53 PM   #5
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Re: Mid-Range Zoom

I have the Tokina 28-70mm AT-X Pro Mk ll with my F3. Don't you find it pin-sharp at 5.6 but soft as hell with CA when wide open? I'm looking at the equivalent Nikon as a replacement.
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Old March 25th, 2011, 05:07 PM   #6
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Re: Mid-Range Zoom

I have not tried it enough to tell, only one day of serious shooting. The images above are taken wide open or close to it and they look good to me. Have you found it soft when taking stills or shooting video. The resolution needed for HD video is, after all, not very high compared to stills.

Also - I managed to get hold of the first version of the lens that is supposed to be identical to Angineauxs original design. I've heard that it does a little bit better than the Mk2.
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Old March 25th, 2011, 05:10 PM   #7
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Re: Mid-Range Zoom

Virtually no CA with mine. Yes it's a little soft at f2.6, but at f4 it's tack sharp. With any lens CA should be minimal when fully open and get worse as you stop down, if it's the other way around then I expect the collimation is off. Not as good as my primes, but that's to be expected, it is a zoom after all. I have a modern nikon 18 - 135 and its rubbish compared to the Tokina. The Mk1 first version is the one to get if you can, this is the Angineaux based design.
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Old March 25th, 2011, 05:22 PM   #8
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Re: Mid-Range Zoom

Hmmm.... maybe it's the MkII thing. I didn't realise they were seperate designs. We tested it on 1080 video against the Nikon 24-70. I'm hoping to look at some zooms at NAB, but the still need to build a good range of still lenses.

I got an email from Allstar who makes the multi adaptor for the RED, and he says he will have an F3 adaptor out by the end of April. He will also have the mount with a C/Y fit so I will be able to use my Contax lenses.
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Old March 25th, 2011, 09:15 PM   #9
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Re: Mid-Range Zoom

Sorry mixing my f-stops there with CA - shut down, not wide open. I might have a go at a MkI if I can find one on eBay.
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Old March 26th, 2011, 12:00 AM   #10
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Re: Mid-Range Zoom

I've got a 28-70 Nikon in the mail so I'll post when I get it. I was not thrilled with the Tokina when I had one a few years ago , but it may have been contrast more than sharpness. I think I have a friend who has one so 'll try to compare with my Nikon. It was smaller and lighter which is an advantage for sure.
Alistar - What's the difference between the Mark I and Mark II. ? As I understand you wanted to get the one that was f2.6 -2.8 but that's all I ever heard about.

So far I have a Tomina 11-16 which oddly seems like it might be parfocal or close to it. A 17-35 Nikon that's supposed to be parfocal but isn't on the MTF adapter at least, and an 80-200 ED that looks pretty parfocal though I just got this camera and haven't tested it carefully yet. I dig it so far though.

I'm going kind of nuts here and also getting the 28-70 and then an 18-200 as a runaround lens.

I better make money with this thing.
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Old March 26th, 2011, 12:03 AM   #11
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Re: Mid-Range Zoom

Andrew, with the F3 being as fast as it is you might consider the 18-135 or 18-200 for that docco work though Alister doesn't have high marks for the former. As I recall Ken Rockwell really likes the 18-200 and gave it higher marks than the 18-135. Also was faster at 135 as I recall. I 'll post when I get it next week,
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Old March 26th, 2011, 04:23 AM   #12
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Re: Mid-Range Zoom

The better of the Tokina's is the Pro 1 which has a screw on hood, then comes the Pro 2 which has a bayonet hood. You definitely don't want the SV (Special Value) version as this does not has the low dispersion elements that reduce CA. The web site has details of the various models: NIKON GLASS: Tokina AT-X Pro 28-70mm f/2.6-2.8

The 18 - 135 Nikon is hard work to use and not as sharp as the Tokina. There is no iris ring, so you have to use the adapter to control iris, so you have no idea where your aperture is set. The focus ring is very thin and not calibrated, it also tends to be sticky so precise focusing is tricky. It also telescopes as you zoom and at long focal lengths the wind can blow and wobble the end of the extended lens barrel. The 18 - 200 is supposed to be a slightly better lens but this telescopes even more and has the same horrid focus ring.

Found some useful Info on Nikon lenses: "G" Gelded means no iris ring and cheaper manual focus control, ED is the obvious Enhanced Dispersion for less CA, IF is Internal Focus.

Sadly the Nikon 24-70 Telescopes a lot when you zoom, but it is supposed to be very sharp.
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Old March 26th, 2011, 12:25 PM   #13
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Re: Mid-Range Zoom

Thanks everyone. Good information here for people in the future looking for an affordable and decent midrange zoom lens.

The Tokina mk I sounds intriguing but the practicalities of getting on with have forced my hand so I just secured a Nikon 28-70 F2.8 via eBay. It should match my Nikon 17-35 and hopefully play nicely in terms of color matching with the Tokina 11-16 2.8 I picked up yesterday. We'll see.
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Old March 26th, 2011, 12:37 PM   #14
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Re: Mid-Range Zoom

Thanks for the link Alister. The section comparing the Nikon with the Tokina fits with my experience though was really comparing in general the Tokina with my 80-200 Nikon performance.

I shoot lots if interviews and clients want low DOF at 2.8. I could use primes but zoom is more convenient.
So I was most concerned with 2.8 performance and that was not as good as my Nikon. Likewise I noticed the contrast difference and thus saturation. Needed to intercut better with the 80-200. I always thought it was pretty sharp though above wide open. Its lighter that's for sure. I'll get my 28-70 next week & check it out. I thought about the 24-70 but wanted f stops and it was pricey enough.
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Old March 26th, 2011, 04:03 PM   #15
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Re: Mid-Range Zoom

There is really a need for mid-range fast zooms for APS-C sensors. Something like 24-100 or 24-120 F2.8 or even 50-200 F2.8 would be great. For ENG, I was looking for a light zoom lens for GVs and I got a Sigma 70-300 APO 4/5.6 Macro and I have to say that for the price, it is a very decent lens. Holds up sharpness pretty well, super light and has a decent, not great, focus ring.

Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 APO DG Macro Autofocus Lens 5A8306 B&H

T.
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