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Super 16 lenses to use with Cooke S4s


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#1 Doug Hostetter

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 02:06 PM

I'm shooting a Super 16 short film and plan on using a 35mm Cooke S4 lens set (14mm-100mm). I will also need some Super 16 lenses for wider shots (8mm, 9.5, 12mm). I'm looking for input as to which S16 lenses might match up best with the Cooke's overall. I realize that the Cooke SK4 lenses would be the best bet but cost and availablity seem to be an issue. The film will be going through a DI so I'm mostly concerned with overall look thinking that slight color differences can be tolerated. We are planning on finishing to a film print.

I am going to shoot some tests but was hoping someone might have some experience or thoughts as to what should be tested (Zeiss, Elite, Illumina??).

Thanks,

Doug Hostetter
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#2 Mitch Gross

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 08:53 PM

I would say that the Elite and Illumina lenses would be a bit closer in color to the Cookes, with the Elites possibly being a bit better in contrast and sharpness.
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#3 Max Jacoby

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Posted 05 August 2007 - 05:22 AM

Joe Dunton, who has rehoused the 35mm Elite lenses (and rents them out under the name Xtal Express) says that they give a look similar to that of Cooke lenses.
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#4 MatthewJClark

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Posted 06 August 2007 - 04:45 PM

What have other DP's been using when they shoot on Super 16 and need wider lenses? The wide zooms from Canon are nice, but between resolution and contrast, they woudn't match the Cooke's very well.

I'd be curious where people are getting their Super 16 Cooke lenses from. I'm sure they look great, but Doug is righ...expensive and hard to find.

Surprised more people haven't been down this path.

Matthew Clark
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#5 Michael Nash

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Posted 06 August 2007 - 04:59 PM

What have other DP's been using when they shoot on Super 16 and need wider lenses? The wide zooms from Canon are nice, but between resolution and contrast, they woudn't match the Cooke's very well.

I'd be curious where people are getting their Super 16 Cooke lenses from. I'm sure they look great, but Doug is righ...expensive and hard to find.

Surprised more people haven't been down this path.

Matthew Clark


I think often times the choice to shoot Super 16 is about saving money -- meaning the money isn't there to spend on newer, sharper lenses like the SK4's. So it's been popular for a long time to use the Zeiss Superspeeds or Canon zooms for the main set, and supplement the wide end with things like the Century 6mm or Elite 7mm. It just depends on what's in your local rental houses.

Not saying this applies to everyone. I'm sure you'd find a wide variety of lens sets in use for Super16, depending on the needs of the shoot.
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#6 Max Jacoby

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Posted 06 August 2007 - 07:22 PM

I spoke to an AC who did a Super 16 feature recently and he tested all the different lenses. Basically he said that there is a big difference between the brand new Zeiss Ultra 16 lenses and the older Superspeeds. The Ultra 16s are also visibly sharper than the Cooke S4 16 lenses, more pronounced than on 35mm.

Even if I was squeezed for money I'd still try to get the best lenses possible, even if I had to take a cheaper/older camera, because lenses are the most imortant component of the whole system.
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#7 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 07 August 2007 - 02:22 AM

I spoke to an AC who did a Super 16 feature recently and he tested all the different lenses. Basically he said that there is a big difference between the brand new Zeiss Ultra 16 lenses and the older Superspeeds. The Ultra 16s are also visibly sharper than the Cooke S4 16 lenses, more pronounced than on 35mm.

That's funny... I'm about to start working on a Super16 short, and we're using the Ultra 16 lenses (6mm-14mm) and supplementing them with a set of Superspeeds. I spoke to the DP about it, and he said he really wanted Ultra Primes, but the rental house wouldn't break up a set for him, and the Ultra Prime set was too expensive. So I suggested to him that we test diffusion filters to make the Ultra Primes at least match the Superspeeds, but of course he wants the look of the film to be as crisp as possible. Any other ideas? The film will be finished in HD and a filmout is unlikely. Also, what circle of confusion would you recommend for pulling focus? 1/2000"?

Even if I was squeezed for money I'd still try to get the best lenses possible, even if I had to take a cheaper/older camera, because lenses are the most imortant component of the whole system.

Well, the DP got the most expensive camera, the Arri 416! He'd be better off with an Aaton and the Ultra Primes, but oh well.
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#8 Michael Nash

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Posted 07 August 2007 - 03:05 AM

I'm about to start working on a Super16 short, and we're using the Ultra 16 lenses (6mm-14mm) and supplementing them with a set of Superspeeds.


When you consider that you probably want the sharpest resolution for the widest shots, it may not be too bad to use the Ultra's between 6-14mm. That's assuming of course that you'd use the wider lenses for wider shots, and not to get in close but with wide focal lengths. Check where the "overlap" in focal lengths between sets is the least objectionable -- maybe you'll event want to use the Zeiss 16mm instead of the Ultra 14 if it makes the change in sharpness less noticeable (just guessing; you'll have to test).

Since it's for an HD finish you could always soften a little in post -- but I suspect it wouldn't be necessary. Color correction should smooth out any contrast and color differences.

This is kind of the opposite of the problem of the O.P., having the sharper S4's for the longer focal lengths and trying to find something as sharp or sharper for the wide end.
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#9 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 07 August 2007 - 03:54 AM

Hey thanks, Michael! Good call on the overlap.:) Actually, we're using the ultrawide lenses because the set we're shooting in is tiny. Here are some stills so you can see what I'm talking about.

http://www.flickr.co...os/7950092@N03/

I suspect we'll be shooting CUs with the 14mm, and save the longer lenses for inserts and such, but you never know. There is a female lead, so the 14mm might not be too flattering on her. If we use the Superspeeds, we won't shoot them at T1.3 at least.
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