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Where Nikons fall into the food chain.


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#1 Paul Bruening

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Posted 25 December 2007 - 05:43 PM

Hey folks,

I do know that there are a variety of opinions about Nikons here including beefs about their focus rings, breathing, et al. What I'd like to get is an opinion from folks who have actually shot through them or seen results projected. How do they rank compared to premium cine lenses? I'd appreciate if the presentations could concentrate on their look and related aesthetics. I'm hoping to get a fuller, more refined understanding of their visual qualities through other peoples' eyes.

Thanks in advance,
Paul
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 25 December 2007 - 10:43 PM

i've used nikons with different adapters to video cameras. They're alright; but the issue i've seen most with them is that they are not in focus across the lens; eg the center will be focused fine but it will trail off towards the edges. They seem pretty good, overall, in terms of color rendition; but since i've only seen this on video; it's really hard to judge. In the end, cine lenses are far better, as you already know, but nikons aren't bad either. A few of them have even been rehoused for cine use and of those i have heard, but not seen, of good results.
a lot depends on the application; for video, ok go for it; but if you're shooting on film i'd strongly recommend getting proper cine lenses.
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#3 K Borowski

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Posted 26 December 2007 - 03:26 AM

i've used nikons with different adapters to video cameras. They're alright; but the issue i've seen most with them is that they are not in focus across the lens; eg the center will be focused fine but it will trail off towards the edges.


Since they are designed for 35mm 8-perf. (I am speaking of the pro models, not the shoddy amateur ones in plastic barrels), they should be sharp from edge-to-edge. As an F4 owner, I have had no problems with the two Nikkor lenses I own, one a zoom, one a 50mm, both shot wide-open.

If anything, you'll see problems with focus breathing, Paul. I'd say that you really would have to examine on a model-by-model basis, or even a lens by lens basis, as this is something that Nikkors really weren't designed for, staying in focus during a zoom. The only time that most Nikkors have ever been used to take a picture during a zoom, a little breathing would probably be a good thing to add to an abstract effect that was being attempted.

Maybe you'd be best-off taking the fall and buying one good cine zoom and then maybe using Nikkor primes as a cheaper alternative to cine primes. I'd think there'd be less of a disparity in primes than in zooms, as obviously you aren't dealing with any zoom issues in this scenario.

Just as a side note, you may wish to be less colloquial when you are posting. I can only imagine what an ESL forum member must think with a title like "Where Nikons fall into the food chain". I was scratching my head myself ;-)

Merry Christmas everyone.

~KB
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#4 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 30 December 2007 - 10:20 PM

They really don't compare to the contrast and sharpness of cine lenses. They're really only worth using if you wanna impress someone with shallow DoF on a DV camera. But that's just my opinion.

Edited by Jonathan Bowerbank, 30 December 2007 - 10:21 PM.

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#5 Chris Keth

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Posted 31 December 2007 - 12:21 AM

They really don't compare to the contrast and sharpness of cine lenses. They're really only worth using if you wanna impress someone with shallow DoF on a DV camera. But that's just my opinion.


That's about where I stand. I did some tests in school with an adapter system and the nikon primes I tested were softer than a set of old Cooke series IIs, which I consider to be pretty soft for cinema lenses.
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#6 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 31 December 2007 - 03:07 AM

Since they are designed for 35mm 8-perf. (I am speaking of the pro models, not the shoddy amateur ones in plastic barrels), they should be sharp from edge-to-edge.

Actually, when Nikkors are used with 35mm lens adapters like the Brevis and Redrock, the video camera is often rephotographing most of the image circle off of the ground glass, just cropping enough to avoid vignetting, so whether the lenses were designed to cover 4 perf or 8 perf is irrelevant in this case. On the other hand, if you wanted to use Nikkors on a 4-perf 35mm camera, then you would probably be right. Also keep in mind that most people will be using the older all-manual Nikkors with their 35mm adapters which are generally not as contrasty (which aids perceptual sharpness) mainly due to the lack of modern lens coatings. The biggest problem I've found with these lenses is a significant amount of portholing at f4 and beyond, although that might have something to do with the design of the adapter.

The focus breathing on most of the older Nikkor primes are not bad at all, I can think of quite a few 16mm zoom lenses which are far worse in that respect. But you do get what you pay for when it comes to glass - if you have the option of using cine lenses, then go that route by all means.
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