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Nikon Vs. Zeiss


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#1 Benjamin Smith

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Posted 30 October 2007 - 08:49 AM

I am going to be renting the P+S mini35 adaptor for either the HVX or the H1. I called up my local gear rental to find out more about what they had. Thay said they have the adapter and they have a set of Zeiss primes T.3 super speeds, but not Nikons. I have not worked with Zeiss primes any tips on if they are better than Nikons. If you know a good comparison bettween the two let me hear it please.
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 30 October 2007 - 08:56 AM

As much as I like Nikon Glass for still photography work, I have to say the Ziess are pretty much top of the line. If you're talking the T1.3 super speeds, I would, and this is just my personal preference, go with them as they are proper cine lenses. But that's just me.
Also, they should have the right itch gears on them for follow focus etc.
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#3 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 30 October 2007 - 10:26 AM

+1 on that. Plus the extra speed of the Zeiss lenses with the P+S mini35 adaptor will be very much appreciated.
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#4 Phil Savoie

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Posted 30 October 2007 - 11:24 AM

I have not worked with Zeiss primes any tips on if they are better than Nikons.


Hello,

I'm not sure if 'better' is the correct term. It's important that you recognize that most Nikon lenses are designed for still photography and many Zeiss lenses are designed for motion picture work. The main difference being in the fine-tuning and fine detail during assembly. Cine lenses like the Zeiss primes also get more polish time on the individual lens elements, they are shimmed and centered with much more care as the lens is required to focus (and zoom if it's a zoom) during the image recording process. Still lenses are made in a much larger production run and are made to be focused critically and then the image is captured.

For the most part still lenses don't get the same level of craft in manufacture - film lenses due to their much smaller production runs and end cost are subjected to more stringent quality control. This difference comes into play of our use when one follow focuses with a still lens - at times the lens may shift focus and or center while operating. The same is true when using still zoom lenses - they often exhibit zoom drift, the image loosing/moving center during the zoom. I own a 50-300mm ED Nikon in a PL mount that I use on 16/35mm. I treat it like a variable prime and don't ever zoom on a running shot as the image shifts significantly. With the focal length set it produces outstanding images easily cut with my Zeiss Super Speeds.

Having said all that the longer telephoto ED Nikon or L series Canon still lenses (300,400,500,600,800mm) are commonly refitted with PL and other motion picture mounts providing outstanding results. These large telephotos use excellent glass and are subject to stricter quality control due to their smaller production runs. One does pay for this as the lenses are significantly more expensive and in line with cine lens prices. Additionally certain lenses like the 180mm 2.8 ED Nikon and many still macros like the Nikon 55,105 & 200mm are known to be exceptionally sharp and make wonderful cine lenses.

I've been told that some of the Panavision Primos use Nikon glass but have never investigated this to get the facts. Maybe another list member can comment on this? I do know that Centry made some lenses for cine using Leica glass. It is generally viewed that the Japanese glass has a colder look to it, and that lenses like Zeiss with their T* coating are a bit warmer as well as exhibiting exceptional color fidelity.

Its also important for you to recognize that every lens is an individual, as such it?s a good practice to get to a rental house and project each one before shooting. Projecting them allows one to record optimized aperture for each optic as well as pointing out any problems before the job.

All of the above mentioned lenses will record brilliant images, still or cine, the choice is up to you.
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#5 Benjamin Smith

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Posted 30 October 2007 - 12:04 PM

Thanks fo rthe input guy it is much appreciated.
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