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-   -   Picking Decent Stop-gap Zoom Lenses (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/sony-xdcam-pmw-f3-cinealta/490764-picking-decent-stop-gap-zoom-lenses.html)

Peter Corbett January 27th, 2011 05:31 AM

Picking Decent Stop-gap Zoom Lenses
I bought one of the Tokina 28-70mm ATX Pro MkII zooms this week - $322 on eBay. I was thinking of picking up a Tokina 11-16mm and a longer Nikon zoom. The two I'm looking at are the 70-200mm in VRI or VRII flavour, or the older 80-200 ED zoom.

The f/2.8 80-200 (non G Model) has manual aperture and no VR which suits me just fine for video. Assuming MTF ship the adaptor soon, is this a good range of cheap zooms for hum-drum F3 jobs that doen't require a PL hire?

Dave Sperling January 27th, 2011 10:18 AM

Hello Peter,
A couple of comments...
I happen to use a Tokina 11-16 on my canon stills (dslr) camera, and I'm very happy with it. It's quite sharp and of course very wide. It's great for foreground/background perspectives, and at 2.8 and minimum focus the background does actually get soft. But remember, it has a minimal zoom range of only 1.5x.
Which brings up the point that I really wanted to mention -- that you might want to think about your needs for a zoom before trying to pick specific lenses. I know this was the problem I would have on film jobs if I used the Variable Primes - even though I was pretty much covering the spectrum of focal lengths that I needed, an individual lens might not have the full range that I needed for a shot.
I'm going through some of the same thinking as you regarding the F3, but one of my main potential clients for the camera does primarily corporate interviews - some greenscreen, some with cloth backdrops, and some in real offices. Probably 20-30 days a year will involve teleprompter. I know from experience that dealing with lens changes in a teleprompter setup while a CEO or Company President is waiting in the interview chair does not make for happy clients, so I know that I need to have in my kit a zoom that will cover the range of focal lengths needed for medium wide through closeup. Obviously I want a lens that looks good, but between the teleprompter glass and a little skin tone detail tweaking, I'm less worried about the 'amazingness' of the lens than its applicability for my needs. I have to figure out the range first (for me, I'm thinking around 40mm on the wide end and 135 0r 150 on the tight) before starting to shop.
I don't know what you shoot, but my suggestion is to really analyze your needs first, since there really are a lot of good stills lenses out there to choose from.
And of course I'm open to suggestions as well :)

Bruce Schultz January 27th, 2011 11:48 AM

I agree that the Tokina 11-16mm along with many other Nikon and Canon lenses are fine SLR lenses, but will you be happy with their ramping and breathing artifacts on a motion camera like the F3? Also, will you be OK about jerky non-electric zooms during shots?

Just curious

Peter Corbett January 27th, 2011 03:17 PM

Thanks guys for the replies. We mainly do commercials, either on an EX1R/Letus Ultimate with Zeiss or Nikon primes, or we use a Varicam P2 2700 with EFP lenses. But there are also corporates and lower-budget TVC's where we have to move quickly and need the speed and flexibility of cheap zooms on the adptor system or Panasonic GH13. I want to put funds away for a set of Zeiss CP2 if possible, hence the search for a small range of economical zooms. I've love to get the $25K Alexa zoom that Jeff Regan just bought, but no go :(

As for zooming mid-shot with these lenses, that's usually something I don't do if I'm not using the EFP lenses. You just have to change you style. Sometimes we shoot in 1080 and post in 720 and I can apply small digital zooms later.

On our TVC's and music clips I use my large collection of fast Zeiss Contax primes, but I haven't found a way to reliably adapt them to Nikon mount.

So I guess I'll keep looking around while eyeing off the Arri zoom.

Peter Corbett January 27th, 2011 03:18 PM

I should add that I'd love to hear any suggections at all from prospective F3 users. Cheers.

Jim Tittle January 27th, 2011 07:15 PM

Nikon makes a 24-120 f4 that's supposed to be sharp. It's fairly new, and I've only played around with one in a store. As an interview lens, I think I'd be happy with the range, but I don't think f4 is going to cut it. Too much depth of field. When the camera finally gets here, I'll do some tests with the 35-70mm f2.8 Nikkor I already own. It's a sharp lens, but doesn't hold focus when you zoom.

Thierry Humeau January 27th, 2011 10:28 PM

That Sigma 17-55 f2.8 EX could be an interesting zoom on the wide end. It's an APS-C lens for nikon DX so that is a perfect match for the F3.
Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM Zoom Lens for Nik 583306 B&H

Also, the Nikon DX 17-55 f2.8
Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S DX Lens 2147 B&H Photo Video

Unfortunetely and unlike full frame sensor DSLRs, there is no such good offering for longer focal zooms for APS-C sensors. Everything I have seen is rated F4 and above.

But I guess this Sigma 70-200 F2.8 could work pretty well (would equal a 100-270 in APS-C world) on the long end for a fast zoom.


Thierry Humeau January 27th, 2011 10:31 PM

BTW, does anyone knows if Sigmas focus rings works in a normal fashion or is do they rotate backwards like the Nikons?


Chuck Fishbein January 28th, 2011 02:15 PM

[QUOTE=Jim Tittle;1612058]Nikon makes a 24-120 f4 that's supposed to be sharp.

I own a Nikon 24-120 and find it a bit of a dog for sharpness unless it's stopped down past 5.6.
paparazzi love it for the range, but they usually shoot with strobe. The 24-70 2.8 on the other hand is razor sharp and very neutral. Then again it's more than twice the price.

Jim Tittle January 28th, 2011 06:32 PM

That's interesting. The older $600 lens, f3.5-5.6, is supposed to be a real dog. But I've only heard good things about the new $1200, f4 version.

Leonard Levy January 29th, 2011 03:53 AM

I've owned both the Tokina 28-70 f2.6-f2.8 and 80 -200 f2.8 and they are the best of the "second tier" cheap zooms. But the modern Nikon f2.8 zooms in the same range are very sharp - excellent lenses and I think well worth the modest additional expense ($800-$1500) when ponying up for a $14K camera. I have the ED 80-200 and its as good or better than primes. Then there are also the Canon's ( which you'll need a Birger adapter for). They are also very good.

Peter Corbett February 5th, 2011 06:52 PM

Is anyone considering using the Red 18-50 or the newer 17-50? I read very mixed reports on them. Some users think they are quite sharp, yet most general lens rental companies seem to avoid them. There doesn't seem to be an economical solution for a reasonable native PL-mount standard zoom. You get what you pay for I guess.

Nate Weaver February 5th, 2011 10:15 PM


Originally Posted by Peter Corbett (Post 1615059)
Is anyone considering using the Red 18-50 or the newer 17-50? I read very mixed reports on them. Some users think they are quite sharp, yet most general lens rental companies seem to avoid them. There doesn't seem to be an economical solution for a reasonable native PL-mount standard zoom. You get what you pay for I guess.

I know you've heard me say this before, but...

They avoid them because they got a well-deserved bad name early on for their inconsistent mechanics. Some are loose, some are tight. But they're all rehoused Sigmas, and sharp. Rental houses avoid them because there is no demand for them...there is no shortage of them out in the wild. That and they don't hold up to the daily bash and grind of rentals so well. Rental 35mm optics get thrashed, ask any owner of a set of Zeiss Standards or Speeds.

You'll never get a solid consensus online except to avoid. I suggest you find one locally, shoot some with it, and make your own decision. For the $2800 they are going for used, they're a bargain. You can spend a lot more on a worse lens, and a lot of people did in the first year the Red was out...people were paying $4K for old coke bottles from 1962 that said Angeniuex on them.

Steve Kalle February 12th, 2011 04:34 AM

Just a heads up: Canon, Leica and Zeiss are raising prices on still lenses by roughly 10%. This also means that Nikon is probably close behind but has not announced it yet.

Alister Chapman February 12th, 2011 04:37 AM

You could use a 2/3" B4 Broadcast lens with one of AbelCine's HDx2 PL adapters. It doubles the FL of the lens and expands the image to fit a 35mm sensor. I know Mitch has one working on an AF100, perhaps he'll get one on an F3 soon. It's $5,500 USD so not cheap, but could be worth it if you already have decent 2/3" glass. I'd love to see one of these in the flesh, can't help but think it's going to degrade the image a bit, but a 20x servo zoom (or more) is an attractive proposition.

Using 2/3″ Lenses on the Panasonic AF100 | CineTechnica

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