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35mm lenses vs 16mm lenses for investment on super16mm gear package?


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#1 Jack Lam

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Posted 07 February 2006 - 05:26 PM

As a beginning DP, I'm debating on whether I should buy a camera or not.

I'm more leaning towards a super16 camera. Now here comes the question of what kind of lenses I should buy for super16.

Some people say 16mm lenses are optimized for the smaller image size in terms of lens resolution. Also, it doesn't project too much light outside of the aperture area as a 35mm lens does, and that prevents excessive reflection and flare within the camera.

On the other hand, some people say 35mm lenses are well-researched and well-developed enough that it gives similar, if not better, performance - especially at the center of the frame. (I'm not sure if that claim only refers to new lenses like the ultra prime or cooke S4. But I certainly can't afford those).

Obviously, my reason of buying 35mm lenses is being able to use the same set of lenses if I move up to 35mm / add a 35mm camera to my arsenal. I want to make my investment as versatle for the future as possible.

thanks
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#2 Robert Edge

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Posted 07 February 2006 - 09:48 PM

Some people say 16mm lenses are optimized for the smaller image size in terms of lens resolution. Also, it doesn't project too much light outside of the aperture area as a 35mm lens does, and that prevents excessive reflection and flare within the camera.


People both here and on cinematography.net have claimed that 16mm lenses perform better than 35mm lenses when one is shooting 16mm film.

About three months ago, I raised this question with someone who designs cine lenses. He said that there is no truth to the claim. I suppose that one could argue, given that very few 16mm lenses are being produced, that a lens designer has a vested interest in that view. However, I feel confident that he was giving me his professional opinion. You will note that the people who express the contrary view never seem to offer evidence to back up what they are saying.

The designer went on to say that if one is using a 35mm lens on a 16mm camera, one should use good mattebox practices precisely to avoid the flare issue that you mention.
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#3 Mitch Gross

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Posted 08 February 2006 - 10:03 PM

It could be true in theory, but any testing on a lens projector will quickly show it not to be true in practice.

The rear pupil on 35mm coverage lenses are generally much larger than 16mm format lenses, and in certain cameras with certain optics this can produce flaring problems. Take a look on eBay right now at two different styles of Nikon-to-Aaton adapters. One is a simple ring with flange and the other has a large casing painted black on the inside and a small exit pupil, all to control this flaring. I own one of the better adapters, and it prevents light from hitting the fibre optic directly and reflecting into the gate.
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#4 Stephen Williams

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Posted 09 February 2006 - 10:34 AM

It could be true in theory, but any testing on a lens projector will quickly show it not to be true in practice.


Hi,

Thats true, on lenses of 25mm or wider its very obvious. On lenses of 35mm and above the theory seems to work!

Stephen
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#5 Max Jacoby

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Posted 09 February 2006 - 01:01 PM

Both Zeiss and Cooke offer Super16mm versions of their wider lenses, to be used in conjuction with their longer 35mm equivalents (Ultra Primes and S4s):

The Zeiss Ultra 16 lenses are T1.3 with focal lenghts of 6mm, 8mm, 9.5mm, 12mm and 14mm and the Cooke S4s are a 9.5m and a 12mm T2.

Considering that there are 35mm lenses available as well in the above focal lenghts (up to 8mm for Ultra Primes and 12 mm for the Cooke S4s) that leads to suggest that for the wider end one is better off to use lenses designed especially for Super 16.
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