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Sony XDCAM PMW-F3 CineAlta
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Old May 23rd, 2011, 10:12 PM   #1
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RED PRO 18-85mm (BT) with F3

I am still looking around for what initial lenses to pair up with the F3. I came across the RED PRO 18-85mm T2.9 battle tested for $6000. This seems like quite a deal.

My question is; who has any experience with this lens and would you all recommend it as an all around first lens (quality, sharpness, breathing, etc), given that any other lenses needed can be rented and such.

Thanks in advance.
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Old May 23rd, 2011, 10:56 PM   #2
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Re: RED PRO 18-85mm (BT) with F3

As I ponder whether I can - or should- buy the F3, the Red Pro BT zoom is also a consideration.

I cannot speak from shooting with the lens. What I think is worth considering is that it is a very heavy lens-- about 10 pounds-- and would require support. Optitek makes support ring for it for $345 and you will also need a heavy-duty bridge plate for your rails, which could run $500. The Duclos support is $325 and they sell a heavy duty bridge for $525. I do not know whether their $275 bridge plate would support the lens. So that $6K lens is now closer to $7K. That's still a considerable savings over a new lens.

You certainly can't beat the value in a PL-mount zoom lens.

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Old May 23rd, 2011, 11:59 PM   #3
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Re: RED PRO 18-85mm (BT) with F3

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ned Soltz View Post
As I ponder whether I can - or should- buy the F3, the Red Pro BT zoom is also a consideration.

I cannot speak from shooting with the lens. What I think is worth considering is that it is a very heavy lens-- about 10 pounds-- and would require support.
It's a lens for studio days, or when you have an AC. I wouldn't recommend this lens if you are one-man-banding it.

You'd need:

-15mm studio or 19mm Arri style baseplate ($600-$800)
-a way to spacer that above baseplate down, which would likely be a 15mm lightweight baseplate ($300-$500)
-12" Arri dovetail to put that Arri baseplate on. ($500)

-bridge support to go on rods ($450)
-custom support that goes from above bridge support to the lens (the Duclos piece mentioned by Ned above)

and then a head and sticks heavy enough for your now 25lb camera. Wouldn't recommend anything less than a Sachtler Video 18 or equivalent.

Other than the commitment to working studio style (or having ACs), it's a great lens for the price.
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Old May 24th, 2011, 02:55 AM   #4
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Re: RED PRO 18-85mm (BT) with F3

I pondered it for a while but abandoned the idea for the reasons Nate has issued. The lens weighs 10 pounds. Still a fantastic deal/option given the right circumstances.

Angenieux is releasing a 4lb full range fast zoom but it is going to cost 50 grand. They had a prototype of it at NAB. Spectacular.
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Old May 24th, 2011, 03:19 AM   #5
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Re: RED PRO 18-85mm (BT) with F3

If it's the one I've seen, it's a limited range 45 to 120 T2.8, which would work in well with their Optimo 16-42. They also have a 30-80 zoom
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Old May 24th, 2011, 03:32 AM   #6
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Re: RED PRO 18-85mm (BT) with F3

Actually the 45-120 is in the original Optimo family (15-40 and 28-76) compatible with 35mm film and digital cameras, while the two you listed are in the Optimo DP (formerly Rouge) series of less expensive lenses made solely for digital cameras. I considered investing in the original short and medium zooms four years ago but while I deliberated, the dollar lost enough ground that the lenses shot up 25% in price and I gave up on them. If I owned them now and they were paid off...well, what can you do.

Love those baby Optimos.
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Old May 24th, 2011, 03:39 AM   #7
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Re: RED PRO 18-85mm (BT) with F3

They must be doing a new version of the lens,

http://www.angenieux.com/file/PRESS_...ease_final.pdf

Approx 3 to 1 zoom range at f2.8 seems to be a sweet spot before the glassware starts getting large and heavy.
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Old May 24th, 2011, 03:45 AM   #8
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Re: RED PRO 18-85mm (BT) with F3

I have been tempted by that same lens but sadly it is a huge beast to deal with and they are all right, you're going to be spending around 800+ dollars just to be able to mount that thing properly.

I want the lens pretty bad, specially at that price, but I dont believe its a good lens to start with, specially if you cant do a simple hand held shot (which would be hell with that lens).
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Old May 24th, 2011, 03:54 AM   #9
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Re: RED PRO 18-85mm (BT) with F3

The concept of an "affordable" Super35 sensor camera came about so quickly that it's created quite a pricing gap between body and lenses. I imagine there are more than a few F3 early adopters who are sitting around scratching their heads, wondering what they are going to do about zoom lenses. I'm sure we are going to see a slew of cut-price entries emerging from around the globe, and it will be interesting to see how the folks who carry their performance expectations of still camera lenses learn to compromise at the price points they desire.
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Old May 24th, 2011, 04:05 AM   #10
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Re: RED PRO 18-85mm (BT) with F3

I love my compact RED 18-50 and its perfect for run and gun situations when you really need a zoom, but for me Primes are much more of a stable investment anyway. I hope in the next few years more lenses will be made. I honestly see a horrible void in the lens department all over the world. There are really expenses glass and then cheap crap.. There really isnt a middle ground for lenses for the "new wave" of s35mm cameras. The prices are still up there for zooms or prime sets. I'm hope some new lens companies emerge or old lens companies figure out just what Sony did when they made the F3... If theres a spot in the market thats bare and empty, if you build it they will buy.

A full set of 5 prime PL lenses 18,25,35,50,85 with tstop of 2.1 with made for the budget friendly with a price range of $8,000 for the set would be the ultimate midway point. If a lens company figured that out and actually made them they would be backordered for months with everyone trying to buy them (thats a good thing).

I know zeiss wont do it, because they are protecting their higher end, but a new company or possibly photo Still lens company like Canon or Nikon making PL mount rehoused versions of their already amazing glass with those much lower price ranges would KILL the market. It would be the best of both worlds for middle of the road glass... which right now there really isnt. The cheapest you'll find a new set of primes is around 17,000 and up for a set of 5.
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Old May 24th, 2011, 08:08 AM   #11
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Re: RED PRO 18-85mm (BT) with F3

Well, if you buy the F3 with Sony PL lenses, you get 3 PLs for 6K, not too far off the 8K for 5 lenses you are thinking off. Although, there is certainly a void in affordable PL lenses, there is plenty of offerings of high quality glass in the non-PL world. For people who do not need the PL form factor, I challenge anyone to point out differences in picture quality between Zeiss CP.2 or ZF.2 series and most PL lenses. Following that blunt statement, I am ducking down for flying bullets...

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Old May 24th, 2011, 09:22 AM   #12
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Re: RED PRO 18-85mm (BT) with F3

It's not so much the optical quality as the mechanics (for the larger focus scale) and how much breathing you get when pulling focus.

Given Alan Roberts' comments on the subject during his test I suspect the the F3 wouldn't really get everything the really high end cine lenses have to give anyway, A sort of law of diminishing returns.
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Old May 24th, 2011, 10:08 AM   #13
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Re: RED PRO 18-85mm (BT) with F3

I've chosen for now to go the SLR lens route. No doubt there are compromises BUT what I'm thinking is I have those cost effective lenses to use for projects where the budget doesn't support having $20k+ in glass on set. If I get a job of that caliber I have a local source to rent good cinema lenses from.

Its the best of both worlds in my opinion.

Image wise I am finding my Canon FD 85mm f/1.2L to be absolutely gorgeous on the F3. The color and contrast is excellent and if you need to go razor thin DOF its just a twist of the iris away.
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Old May 24th, 2011, 03:46 PM   #14
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Re: RED PRO 18-85mm (BT) with F3

Wow. Thank you all for your input. It seems as if the lens will be a bit much seeing as I tend to be a one or two man crew. Perhaps the 17-50mm which is still $6000 could suit my needs better and I could add in an 85mm (CP.2) for the longer lengths. Any recommendations?

Also, I am considering the Zeiss ZF lenses along with the MTF nikon mount. 25,35,50,85 for around $5000 isn't a bad start. I hear these lenses focus in the opposite direction (atleast the 100mm makro and 25mm from the pictures ive seen on zeiss) Can anyone confirm?

Last edited by William Graydon; May 24th, 2011 at 06:19 PM.
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Old May 25th, 2011, 01:04 PM   #15
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Re: RED PRO 18-85mm (BT) with F3

I would never go the stills rout for many issues:

Mechanics, if you really want to work on actual productions, you will need to pull focus and have accurate and repeatable focus with a long throw.

Breathing, even if the CP.2's are the same exact optics as the ZF lenses, they arent the same quality when it comes to breathing, the CP's have been rehoused to eliminated the breathing.

Longevity, if you want to make an investment that will still be worth the price you paid for it, PL lenses will always retain their value. Not to mention they can work on any camera you might grow into later down the road. You may pay 5k for a bunch of nikon mount lenses, but they will only work on lower end cameras. There is no way to use those on higher end cameras (except RED) and then again if you ever wanna sell them they are worth much less already.

Being taken serious, well lets face it, clients who are looking for higher end production will not want to hire out nikons, you just wont find anyone looking for that. Sure its ok to have a super telly lens like a nikon 300 or 500 with an adapter for the F3, heck even film guys like using PL mounted Nikon 300's. But for any productions down the line that are bigger you'll wish you spent that money on higher end glass that can be up to par with other professional PL glass.
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