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Primes choice for short film on S16: Elites or Zeiss ultra or superspeeds?


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#1 Tomas Koolhaas

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Posted 15 August 2007 - 05:50 PM

Hello all,
I am shooting a short very soon on S16, some interiors that are to be "Low key" and some "hot" looking exteriors. Probably quite a lot of wide lenses used. I have been offered a set of S16 elites by a rental house, I have never used them and was planning on testing them this weekend, my other choice ws going to be Zeiss superspeeds, I dont think we can afford ultra primes but I may be wrong. What has evryone experienced with Elite S16 primes, and specifically are they sharp (thats very important to me). How much of a difference do you think (in sharpness mainly) would there be between Elites, Superspeeds and Ultra primes.....and where on the scale of sharpness would a set of 35mm S4's used on S16 Cam. be in comparisson??
Thanks you very much.

Edited by Tomas Koolhaas, 15 August 2007 - 05:51 PM.

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#2 Mitch Gross

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 02:56 AM

I think the Elite lenses are very nice. Sharpness is just oneof several cr iteriafor measuring lens performance, but if that's all you're asking I'd rate them this way:

UltraPrimes
Elite 16
Cooke S4
SuperSpeeds
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#3 Michael Nash

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 04:15 AM

I tend to agree with Mitch. Remember that the perception of sharpness is related to contrast, which is one reason why some people prefer Zeiss over Cooke for a more "snappy" look. A lens that resolves more finely (a "sharper" lens) may not look as sharp at some focal lengths as a lens that's more contrasty, but of equal or even lesser resolving power.

That said, I've been very pleased with the wide Elites in 16mm. I'd use the Elite 7mm over the Century 6mm any day of the week. In wide shots that have a lot of small detail, I'd pick the lens that has the higher resolving power and use lighting or color correction to control contrast, if necessary.
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#4 A. Whitehouse

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 08:58 AM

I turned down the elites, for a set of superspeeds, on a music video last year. Mostly because I hadn't heard of them; and am now prepping something else and regret not having given them a go. I'd like to hear some more peoples experiences with them. I know this sounds odd but one thing that put me off them was their size, from memory them seemed smaller than zeiss lenses but that may have been because I was shooting with a mix of 16mm lenses and 35mm superspeeds, I cant quite remember. I thought they might be a bit finicky on the front of a A-Minima.
I would like to do tests with them when we check the camera and stocks but time is so compressed it never seems to happen till like a day before. Are they pretty consistent through out the whole range? The superspeeds can be a little weird. Does anyone know whats been shot with them? The website is pretty spartan.
I can generally see the difference on the big screen when something is shot with Zeiss or Cooke but with the SD telecines I finish on I wonder if its worth the X2.5 in rental price?

Sasha
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#5 Tomas Koolhaas

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 12:51 PM

Thanks guys, and especially Mitch for the list, thats pretty much what I was after! I am going to HD so contrast/color correction is no problem hence my focus on "Actual" sharpness/ resolving power rather than apparent sharpness. The question gets a little more comlplex since today I went over some shots with the director and I think we might need one VERY long lense, so I might need to supplement the elites with a 35mm lense (probably an 85mm), what do you guys think would be the best match for the elites form a 35mm package (reasonably priced, ultra primes not included).
Cheers.
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#6 Mitch Gross

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 02:46 PM

Uh, how about an Elite 35 format lens? Check out Slow Motion, Inc. for a complete list.
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#7 Tomas Koolhaas

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 04:31 PM

Haha yeah of course that would be the best, but I am limited to one rental house and they dont have 35mm Elites, only S16 and then 35mm S4's or Zeiss superspeeds.
Cheers.
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#8 Mitch Gross

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Posted 17 August 2007 - 10:47 AM

In my experience the Cookes rent for the same or close as the UltraPrimes. The SuperSpeeds are significantly less expensive. The SuperSpeeds are probably fine.
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#9 Tomas Koolhaas

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Posted 17 August 2007 - 11:59 AM

Cheers mitch, I think I will try and test both the 35 S4 and super speed today with the elites, I think they may give me the one cooke for a decent price so we shall see, I will post again after I see my test!
Thanks everyone.
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#10 Tomas Koolhaas

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Posted 21 August 2007 - 12:00 AM

Hello Guys,
Just screened my test at Fotokem...The results: I Really like the Elites A LOT, they seemed to be quite noticably sharper than the superspeeds, especially in the sense that the didnt become milky in any dramatic way when light hit the lense or when I had very hot highlights in the background! the superspeeds tend to get milky when ANY light hits the lense, and if you have VERY hot highlits in frame they tend to get a bit milky/streaky although some people may like this effect, I think it may be more suitable for music videos or something! The Elites looked a tiny bit warmer too. The Zeiss did have a seemingly sharper contrast between in and out of focus objects giving them a more shallow DOF look even when the DOF was actually similar. All in all the director and I decided to use the entire set of elites and a 35mm format 85mm Zeiss superspeed for extreme close ups and inserts, I think in the HD CC we will be able to get rid of any of the more negative differences (Milkiness in the shadows mainly) leaving us with a subtle dreamy type effect for certain shots when we use the Zeiss 85 (certain scenes/Shots are supposed to have a dreamy quality in the script).
thanks for everyones comments!! Especially you Mich!
Cheers.
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#11 David Auner aac

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Posted 21 August 2007 - 04:24 AM

Would you mind, if possible, to post a couple of frames for comparison?

Thanks, Dave
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#12 Tomas Koolhaas

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Posted 21 August 2007 - 12:16 PM

Dave,
I would love to but we had a print made so we could screen our test for free at Fotokem, so theres not digital footage for me to post a still from, failing that I guess if I had a negative scanner I could do it but unfortunately I dont!...Sorry mate.
Cheers.
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