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Please recommend me a lens


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#1 Marco Leavitt

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Posted 28 July 2006 - 11:25 AM

We're gearing up to shoot an 18 minute short using Silicon Imaging's rockin' new digital camera. The camera is designed to use existing 16 mm film lenses and has a PL mount. I've checked rental prices, and it looks like it will be cheaper for us to buy a used lens and sell it after the shoot. Money's a little tight on this, as we have just completed two other projects recently. Can someone recommend me a nice sharp all-purpose zoom in our price range ? about $1,300? I would rather go with something more on the wider end of the spectrum, rather than telephoto. The image area of the camera is pretty close to 16mm, by the way. It is a 2/3 inch CMOS sensor, so it's a tiny bit smaller. Also, where is a good source? I'd be willing to pay a little more to buy from someplace more reliable than eBay.

Thanks much to anyone who can help me. By the way, if you haven't checked out the Silicon Imaging camera yet you really should. It's killer.
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 28 July 2006 - 12:01 PM

A sharp PL-mount zoom for $1300?
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#3 Mitch Gross

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Posted 28 July 2006 - 12:08 PM

Such a creature does not exist. But raise that number to something more like $2000 and you should be able to find a Cooke 9-50 or maybe a Canon 7-56. Maybe even a Zeiss 10-100 T2. These lenses will likely not come in PL mount at that price but the mount can be changed, usually for only a few hundred dollars.

While the SI camera is very nice, too many people make the mistake of putting cheap lenses on the front of expensive cameras. A camera is a box with a sensor. The image is only as good as the glass.
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#4 Marco Leavitt

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Posted 28 July 2006 - 01:20 PM

Well, okay, I know. Is there at least a passable lens (used) in the $1,300 range?
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#5 Chance Shirley

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Posted 28 July 2006 - 03:43 PM

You could probably get the infamous Angenieux 15-150 for that price. I have one, and it works, but it's not sharpest lens around, especially wide-open. But it is affordable.

How many shooting days do you have scheduled? If you're shooting consecutive days, I think you'll be better off renting. For example, you could get a nice, modern Canon zoom for around $500/week.
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#6 Michael Nash

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Posted 28 July 2006 - 04:01 PM

I'm with Mitch on this. The quality of the glass is paramount with smaller formats (16mm and 1/3 or 2/3" chips).

Think about what would be better for your project -- renting the best glass you can afford, or buying the worst glass you could shoot with?
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#7 Robert Glenn

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Posted 28 July 2006 - 06:04 PM

an angenieux HEC coated 9.7-57 should be in that range
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#8 Chris Keth

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Posted 28 July 2006 - 07:17 PM

I'm with Mitch on this. The quality of the glass is paramount with smaller formats (16mm and 1/3 or 2/3" chips).

Think about what would be better for your project -- renting the best glass you can afford, or buying the worst glass you could shoot with?


Listen to this. You should really rent a good lens for the job. The zoom that you'll be able to afford will be used on the lower end of the spectrum. Now think, if a lens is kind of soft on 16mm, it will be very soft-looking on 2/3" video.
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#9 Robert Hughes

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Posted 29 July 2006 - 10:34 AM

You also might consider an older SD television lens such as a Canon or Fujinon 14x. They were designed for 2/3" sensors.
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#10 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 29 July 2006 - 04:25 PM

You also might consider an older SD television lens such as a Canon or Fujinon 14x. They were designed for 2/3" sensors.


The SI is a single sensor camera, so 2/3" lenses aren't suitable without an adapter that allows you to use these lenses on 16mm cameras.

It's better for the film to rent a high quality lens rather than buy a lens that wasn't that good in the first place. Although, assuming the SI takes regular 16 lenses, one that might come in that price range would be a Zeiss T3 10mm to 100mm, they were a lot better than the old Angenieux zooms.

You can get adapters to mount Arri Bayonet mount lenses into the PL mount. However, you can't go cheap on these because they have to be accurately manufactured.
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#11 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 31 July 2006 - 01:37 PM

We're gearing up to shoot an 18 minute short using Silicon Imaging's rockin' new digital camera.


---How does one control the rocking?

---LV
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#12 Marco Leavitt

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 02:00 PM

Smart alec. :) Okay, I've expanded the budget to about $2,600. Again, can anyone recommend a good rental/sales house? The only one familiar with is Birns and Sawyer and I'd like to comparison shop.

---How does one control the rocking?

---LV


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#13 Rik Andino

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 03:20 AM

Smart alec. :) Okay, I've expanded the budget to about $2,600. Again, can anyone recommend a good rental/sales house? The only one familiar with is Birns and Sawyer and I'd like to comparison shop.


Since you're in NY
Check out Du-all Camera's sale dept.
http://www.duallcamera.com/

You might be able to find a Canon 7-56 for around that price...
You can haggle a bit if possible.


Good Luck
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#14 Carl Durrenberger

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 01:19 PM

Hi Marco,

I actually am selling off two of my better 16mm zooms as of last night (on that famous auction site). Both are in Arri Bayonet mount, which can be adapted to PL with one of the several adapters available (Whitehouse AV sells one, and I believe there might be one mf'd. by Optex available as well at ZGC).

The two lenses I have for sale are:

Cooke 9-50 T2.5 - in perfect optical condition, Arri-B mount, with zoom and focus gears and a step-up ring (custom-made, anodized) that is set-screwed onto the front in order to adapt for use with the standard 105mm mattebox opening size. Lens was last colimated in 2003, when I had the mount converted from Aaton to Arri-B. Focuses down to 1.5 feet from the film plane, or just 6" or so from the front element, allowing for close-up photography with beautifully blurred backgrounds.

Angeniuex 12-120 T2.1 HEC - in perfect optical condition, Arri-B mount. Lens colimated in 2003 when I had the mount converted from Aaton to Arri-B. Babied and used as Backup to the Cooke since then. This lens is the completely redesigned optical formula that was only for sale during the last couple years of the 12-120's availability from Angenieux. Plus, it has the high-efficiency-coatings (HEC) that Angenieux developed to reduce flare and increase contrast and color rendition. It is significantly better than the other HEC 16mm lenses that just merely added the HEC coating to the old optical formulae (such as the 10-150mm and the 9.5-57mm). Very sharp, contrasty, almost as good as the Cooke. And very fast at T2.1!

Both are very good lenses, reaonsably fast, in outstanding shape, and are likely to have closing auction prices within your budget, possibly even within your initial budget. All you would have to do is find the adapter to allow you to go from the Arri-B lensmount to your camera's PL mount, which shouldn't be too hard.

I apologize for posting this self-promoting plug for my two lenses here. As a contributing member of this forum and an independent filmmaker/cinematographer, I would like to see these lenses go to help out folks in the same way that the DP who sold these lenses did back in 2002.

Good luck!

Edited by Carl Durrenberger, 08 September 2006 - 01:20 PM.

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#15 Marco Leavitt

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 12:27 PM

Thanks. Very tempting. Is this the auction?

http://cgi.ebay.com/...1QQcmdZViewItem

Edited by Marco Leavitt, 13 September 2006 - 12:27 PM.

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#16 Carl Durrenberger

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Posted 14 September 2006 - 08:18 PM

Yes, that is the very one.
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