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Old March 17th, 2016, 06:09 AM   #1
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How much does Lens quality really matter in wedding video?

I've been debating this for some time. I recently discovered that Nikon glass has backdoor access to manually control aperture. Up to that point, since I'd been using a 'dumb' Holymanta VND adaptor, my options were limited to manual aperture lenses.

Great I thought! I can now get a top quality lens in Nikon mount, and manually access the aperture with another little adaptor.

The Sigma Art 35mm f1.4 was finally mine!

I few weeks ago I wanted to see how much superior my lovely shiny new lens was - so I set up various scenes and snapped away on both my Sigma and Samyang 35mm, then back to the PC and pixel peeped. Zoomed into 100% I was happy to see that my new and pricey lens was superior as it should be, and yes the bokeh balls were lovely and round even stopped down.

But something was bothering me - I shoot video - and wedding video at that! Not stills. I don't use all those megapixels. Heck, I'm not even shooting my weddings in 4k yet...

So did my pixel peeping superiority really hold up in the reality of the work I do?

I decided... there's no point in comparing stills - let's compare video. (I even shot 4k!)

I decided to throw in my Carl Zeiss Jena just for interest.

So first of all, your task is to decide if the IQ difference is obvious and apparent - here we go...



Now, secondly you will have to debate and discuss if the IQ difference outweights the other factors such as price, weight, size and form factor.

Here's the key info:

Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Flektogon 35mm f/2.4
Price 100 ($140) (used), Weight 254g (9oz), Height 5cm, Diameter 6cm

Sigma Art 35mm f/1.4
Price 600 ($850), Weight 689g (24.3oz), Height 9cm, Diameter 7.5cm

Rokinon/Samyang 35mm f/1.4 (Photo version)
Price 375 ($530), Weight 674g (23.8oz), Height 11cm, Diameter 8cm

And here is the visual aid. Needless to say, the Sigma and Samyang are rather front heavy, and the Jena Flek feels much more balanced and comfortable to hold.



Of course... the Jena Flek is only f2.4 max, where the others are f1.4. But personally, I feel wider than f2 should be used sparingly in video anyway - and with a sony a7sii - low light is not an issue.
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Old March 17th, 2016, 07:44 AM   #2
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Re: How much does Lens quality really matter in wedding video?

I have owned a set of samyang primes with a sony mount and eventually sold them all when I switched from sony to panasonic, I did get a chance to compare the lenses to a few m4/3 Panasonic lenses and the difference in detail was most obvious on the 14mm samyang lens which was in comparison quite soft to the sharp panasonic lenses and this applies to the 24, 35 and 85mm Samyang lens though to a bit lesser extent, none resolved the same amount of detail as their panasonic counterparts.

This doesn't mean I don't like the samyang lenses, their bit softer image has a more "character" compared to the sometimes oversharp panasonic lenses, but I much prefer the very lightwheight and tiny size panasonic lenses, just as example, my favorite lens is a panasonic 15mm f1.7 (30mm full frame equivalent), has a iris ring, wheighs 115gr and is only 3,5cm long, almost like a pancake lens. I have had occasions at weddings where someone came up to me thinking I had some special lens on and wanted to know what it did, they are ofcourse used to seeing these nikon and canon full frame lens bricks and then see me walking around with my toy camera :)

For weddings it wouldn't matter if I used a samyang or a panasonic lens though, the client won't know the difference eventhough they have a different "look" but for ease I much prefer the small and light lenses.
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Old March 17th, 2016, 08:01 AM   #3
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Re: How much does Lens quality really matter in wedding video?

Hi Clive,

Great idea for a thread. My 2 cents worth. I found particularly on the 2nd video that the 1st camera delivered poor results in comparison to the other 2. Noticeable CA's on the trees when against the bright background - stronger flare though trickier to be totally judgemental on that given the brevity of the clips.

I confess I do push beyond f2 when shooting on my GH4, but only for either effect or to combat low light situations. Its useful to have if available and perhaps more so for micro 4/3s I shoot in.

I'm looking to add a couple more primes to my lineup and like you am weighing in size, cost and results. Obviously you pay more for functional things like auto focus, IS and clickless aperture. Quality control, centre to corner edge sharpness and build quality can all make a difference. Weather sealing too for that matter. How important these things are to you depends on how you shoot. I find clickless aperture to be less important, but IS in my 42.5 was very important. IS on my run n gun Panasonic 12-35 made that lens preferable to the Olympus 12-40 despite the extra reach and sharpness in that lens. Its trade offs and no lens is perfect for every scenario. I try to ensure I have some lenses in my lineup that have auto focus but happily trade that for quality low light performers like the voigtlander.

I am not of the mind to spend a fortune on lenses, so have avoided the expensive cine lenses that some manufacturers do. However some of the cheaper lenses can suffer from quality issues that would impact on my filming. There are reasons some lenses are more expensive and its not just about how sharp they are.
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Old March 17th, 2016, 08:43 AM   #4
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Re: How much does Lens quality really matter in wedding video?

Thanks guys!

One thing I noticed about teh CA test in second video - the sun seems to have popped behind a cloud just after the first lens was tested. I'm not sure if this maybe plays a part in increasing CA. It is the cheapest and oldest lens though so doesn't surprise me that it shows the worst.

Basically... I'm not saying the Flek is the lens I want to use, but it's size etc certainly really makes me want to question my choices. I could sell the Sigma and Samyang and gain myself maybe 600/700.

What it does do though is make me question if we video guys need to be bothering with smart adapters at all - Metabones IV is just shy of 400.

For a little wider aperture, no doubt better quality, and a good bit more, I'm really considering something like the Voigtlander 35mm 1.4 Nokton m-mount.

Either way, not sure I can justify the price of the Sigma over the Samyang. I do like taking pictures occasionally - but not professionally.
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Old March 17th, 2016, 08:52 AM   #5
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Re: How much does Lens quality really matter in wedding video?

I prefer to work with native lenses, often adapters mean loosing autofocus or stabilization and both are not a luxury to be missed at a wedding shoot.
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Old March 17th, 2016, 09:09 AM   #6
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Re: How much does Lens quality really matter in wedding video?

hmmmm.... yea.... I'll throw in a native lens sure for comparison... but it really is a different league. :-)

Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Flektogon 35mm f/2.4
Price 100 ($140) (used), Weight 254g (9oz), Height 5cm, Diameter 6cm

Sigma Art 35mm f/1.4
Price 600 ($850), Weight 689g (24.3oz), Height 9cm, Diameter 7.5cm

Rokinon/Samyang 35mm f/1.4 (Photo version)
Price 375 ($530), Weight 674g (23.8oz), Height 11cm, Diameter 8cm

Sony Distagon 35mm f/1.4
Price 1500 ($2170), Weight 630g (22.3oz), Height 11cm, Diameter 7.5cm
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Old March 17th, 2016, 12:14 PM   #7
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Re: How much does Lens quality really matter in wedding video?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
I prefer to work with native lenses, often adapters mean loosing autofocus or stabilization and both are not a luxury to be missed at a wedding shoot.
This. As soon as I read about adaptors, losing an f-stop, auto-focus not compatible etc... it's all just mumbo-jumbo to me. As I tend to buy most of my stuff online, there's nothing worse than ordering an expensive item, testing it, and finding out 1 or 2 major features aren't compatible. I've tried nickel & diming it all along, and I feel I'd have been better off buying 1 sick power zoom lens, and a 1.4mm 35mm.


That said, I don't think there's a massive difference in Samyangs, Rokinon, but personally I have a Samyang 14mm fisheye, which I rarely use anymore. The color seems off, different from most other lenses. If you stick with the brand it's worth it, maybe I'm wrong but I feel mixing up brands of lenses does make consistency difficult. imho at least.

One lens I don't regret is my cheap ole russian Helios 44-2 or something. Great old lens, only cost about $50 on ebay plus a cheap $20 adaptor. No regrets.
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Old March 17th, 2016, 12:44 PM   #8
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Re: How much does Lens quality really matter in wedding video?

Samyang and Rokinon is the same, just the name is different, not sure why but they use different names depending in which countries they sell.
I also have some old tamron adaptall lenses, they also have a specific look which is because they don't have the same sharpness and color accuracy as panasonic ones, on a resolution chart I noticed a larger difference in sharpness and black surfaces had blue in them on the edges.
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Old March 18th, 2016, 03:12 AM   #9
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Re: How much does Lens quality really matter in wedding video?

Don't forget that not only are the native Panasonic lenses so much smaller & lighter but that they are 'smart' & communicate with the M4/3 cameras & enable correction for lens flaws like Chromatic Aberration.
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Old March 18th, 2016, 11:00 AM   #10
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Re: How much does Lens quality really matter in wedding video?

Yet more sample footage and followed by frame grabs.

Really don't know if there is any need to shoot with either the Sigma or the Samyang unless somebody tells me I'm mad!!

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