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SLR "still" Lenses with 16mm cine cameras


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#1 Joe Briggs

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 03:57 PM

My apologies if this topic has been brought up many times in the past. I am delving more deeply into the field of filmmaking and my current knowledge is quite limited.

I have been doing research into the possibility of using quality SLR lenses on my K3 16mm camera. From the information that I have been able to garner, I have noticed many conflicting arguments. Some say that you cannot use SLR lenses for shooting motion picture film because of the many inherent difference between "still" and "cine" lenses. The differences being: wrong focus direction and lack of focus pulling gears, incompatability with the 16mm negative size, possibility of "lens breathing", lack of color correctness, and the general lack of sharpness.

Others remark that they have achieved amazing with results with SLR lenses in shooting motion picture film and that relatively few expendable ammenities offered by cine cameras just does not justify the immense price tag.

The FAQ section on the website for NCS Products, which is considered to be the homepage for the K3 camera, mentions the use of SLR lenses for shooting 16mm.

"Q: What other lenses can I get besides the one it comes with?
A: The zoom lens it comes with is of extremely high quality and will suffice for just about every shooting situation. Any Pentax-screw mount lens will work on the K-3, so you can get a lens for a 35mm SLR camera and use it on your K-3." (www.k3camera.com/k3/k3faq.php)

NCS doesn't mention any of the drawbacks that so many others claim with the use of such a lens with motion picture film.

I am ultimately looking for a good quality prime lens (50mm) to use with my K3. The cost of a prime cine lens is worth more than my life, so obviously that is out of the question.

Edited by Briggs Geddis, 09 January 2008 - 03:59 PM.

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#2 Sir Alvin Ekarma

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 04:25 PM

The stock meteor zoom lens is very underrated; I tested it at f4 against some takumar, russian and bushnell SLR primes and it totally held up. I'd stick with the meteor and get an 8mm Peleng if you're on a budget or this faster (but pricier) 10mm sigma lens http://cgi.ebay.com/...1QQcmdZViewItem
although I don't know if there's an adapter you can get to have it fit on an M42 mount. Also, chances are that you'd need any SLR lens recollimated so they can focus to infinity on the K3 but I'm not a 100% on that.
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#3 Joe Briggs

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 06:44 PM

Thanks...

Obviously one of my primary concerns with the footage from the K3 is clarity and sharpness.

Every one of the videos that I have seen posted on youtube shot with a K3 look like crap. I know that some of this has to do with the particular telecine process used as well as the compression involved with internet posting, and even the type of film stock used.

Overall though, the image results leave much to be desired (I thought it had to do with the stock lens people are more apt to use). The videos I have seen are out-of-focus, washed out, no defined depth of field, and just generally quite poor.

If anyone has any link to some quality K3 footage, please post. I would be interested in seeing if this camera is actually capable of this.

Anyways, if I were to use some prime (fixed focus) lenses for the K3, what are some of the things I should look for in the lens (other than the obvious- screw mount, manual focus).

Edited by Briggs Geddis, 09 January 2008 - 06:45 PM.

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#4 Sir Alvin Ekarma

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 08:10 PM

Every one of the videos that I have seen posted on youtube shot with a K3 look like crap.


When I did my tests, I had the roll processed and projected so your mileage may vary. Also, I forgot to mention my K3 was converted to S16.

Anyway, you may want to consider having the lens collimated to make sure it's up to spec and then shoot some test footage. You'll need to run tests with the SLR lenses you'll be getting anyway so you can use that as a baseline, comparing the SLR lenses and Zoom lens at their respective focal lengths..
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#5 Jason Debus

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 08:36 PM

Every one of the videos that I have seen posted on youtube shot with a K3 look like crap.

...

The videos I have seen are out-of-focus, washed out, no defined depth of field, and just generally quite poor.

...

If anyone has any link to some quality K3 footage, please post. I would be interested in seeing if this camera is actually capable of this.

Hi Briggs,

I've been happy with the results from my K3 projects at school. We viewed each others projects in class, probably around forty total (shot with 7285 or 7265/66 and projected). The projects that stood out had one thing in common: they were photographed well from an artistic and technical point of view. Lighting, composition, and subject matter made the difference (as well as getting a good exposure and focus of course). Since they were all shot with K3's I don't think the camera or the lens is to blame for the bad films! The fact that we were shooting reversal probably helped keep the images from looking washed out since reversal is inherently contrasty.

The stock lens is OK, my main gripe with it is the minimum focus distance (2 meters). On my second project I used an adapter so I could focus closer, but it was so powerful that the subject had to be one foot away for decent focus. I was able to get the shots off but I had no way to focus on subjects in between 1 foot and 2 meters. Even though you get better depth of field in 16mm than 35mm, it is still critical that you nail focus or your images will be soft.

Just my point of view, but I think you would be better off investing in a few adapters to cover focusing closer than 2 meters and some 77mm filters (pola's, NDs, etc.) rather than a still photography lens.

When I get home tonight I'll post some screen caps.
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#6 Joe Briggs

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 10:09 PM

Thanks Jason,

I look forward to seeing those.

A problem that I always see with cheapo 16mm footage is that it nearly always shows no real depth of field. Obvioulsy this has to do with the lens.

DV users take an adaptor and put 35mm SLR lenses on the video cameras to produce the amazing depth of field.

Check out some of these videos:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3dRM1hkMms

www.youtube.com/watch?v=eT2WT-6sjbY

Now I know these are shot on video, but speaking purely from a depth-of-field standpoint, I have never seen footage from the stock K3 lens that can produce a depth of field like this.

The footage that I have seen (from various focal lengths on the zenit zoom lens) never create that sharp delineation between the plane that is focused and background and/or foreground. The depth of the shot is never created, and thus, the image almost appears flat.

I am hoping to achieve this DOF with some nice prime lenses.

Edited by Briggs Geddis, 09 January 2008 - 10:11 PM.

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#7 Sir Alvin Ekarma

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 02:05 AM

IMHO, I think you'd need a tilt-shift camera lens (here's DIY version http://www.creativep...owto/25432.html
I don't think you're going get that extreme DOF without something like that. Since the sweet spot of most lenses are around 5.6 generally, you'd need to open all the way which is going to affect image quality adversely (unless its a really primo, pricey lens). Also, if you're outdoors, you'd need to have a bunch of ND filters, what with an average exterior day being around F11 and you'd have a hell of a time seeing anything.

Edited by Sir Alvin Ekarma, 10 January 2008 - 02:10 AM.

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#8 Jason Debus

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 02:20 AM

Hi Joe,

Here's the K3 screen captures:

Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image


I understand what you mean about getting shallow depth of field. 16mm faces similar challenges as DV in that regard. Out of the screen caps above #7 shows what a K3 can do in that regard, zoomed in and I think the f-stop was around 5.6.
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#9 Sir Alvin Ekarma

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 03:35 AM

I just had a brainstorm and I think I know how you could get exactly the same effect as those DV camera SLR adapters-- except you'd need a whole new camera. The idea is simple: get a c-mount camera with a c-mount lens (let's say 10mm) attach a DV camera SLR adapter, and then the SLR lens of your choice. Theoretically, it should work; it's the same set up as it would be with a DV camera, right? But of course you'd need to rent or borrow a bolex, beaulieu, eclair, etc. (and the SLR adapter, and an SLR lens) to see if this gets you what you want, and then purchase a whole new camera. Whichever way you decide to go, expect to do a lot of experimenting....
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#10 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 07:17 AM

I just had a brainstorm and I think I know how you could get exactly the same effect as those DV camera SLR adapters-- except you'd need a whole new camera. The idea is simple: get a c-mount camera with a c-mount lens (let's say 10mm) attach a DV camera SLR adapter, and then the SLR lens of your choice. Theoretically, it should work; it's the same set up as it would be with a DV camera, right? But of course you'd need to rent or borrow a bolex, beaulieu, eclair, etc. (and the SLR adapter, and an SLR lens) to see if this gets you what you want, and then purchase a whole new camera. Whichever way you decide to go, expect to do a lot of experimenting....


I'm not quite sure about this 35mm DOF fetish that people currently have. Some of the most cinematic film ever made don't have a shallow DOF. The current fashion is rather like the excessive use of the zoom in the 1960s (often combined with a flare). A 35mm adapter is also going to add diffusion, a side effect that you mightn't want. This helps to five video a bit more of a filmic feel, but you don't always need that diffusion on a film camera, especially on wide shots when shooting 16mm.

OK I'm just being provocative and I'm really asking you to think more and not just to follow the latest fad.

I've used 35mm stills lenses on Bolexes and my Aaton, apart from the 35mm f1.4 Contax Zeiss they've been longer focal lengths, usually telephoto. The quality from most 35MM lenses is pretty good: the Zeiss lenses are very good to excellent as are the Nikon lenses.

You can't tell anything quality wise from looking at YouTube video, the online images are so compressed as to be useless for telling anything about a camera or the lens. The best way is to project a test print onto a large screen, then everything is revealed.
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#11 Joe Briggs

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 12:27 PM

I'm not quite sure about this 35mm DOF fetish that people currently have. OK I'm just being provocative and I'm really asking you to think more and not just to follow the latest fad.


Boy, you make me sound like a photographic pervert! I also like to wear a tight pleather bodysuit and be walked around by a dog leash while I shoot film. Nobody seems to think that this is odd, so it never dawned on me that I might have a fetish.

Well, I am not trying to follow any particular fad- I am looking to create a shallow depth of field for some shots. The fact that this may be the "latest fad" is coincidental, it is not my reason for trying to ascertain this aesthetic.

I happen to like footage that creates a very real sense of depth, rather than having look totally flat and static with very little visual delineation of distances. I guess shooting DOF footage is now in the same category as skinny jeans and faux-hawks.


You can't tell anything quality wise from looking at YouTube video, the online images are so compressed as to be useless for telling anything about a camera or the lens.


I understand that. That means ALL of the images are compressed, so that is true for all of them in that regard. With that in consideration, I can still find some footage that is of better quality than others. If footage A looks nice and sharp as compared to footage B, and they are both under the same amount of compression, it is basic deductive reasoning to assume that footage A is better footage. It is impossible to see the "final print" quality of footage on youtube, but it is very easy to compare relative quality (one footage compared to another) since they are all under the same constrictions.

With that being said, I was never comparing the visual "quality" of the youtube videos to K3 footage. I guess you misunderstood me there. I was speaking merely of the sharp shallow focus of these videos and how I have never seen anything remotely close to anything like this ever acheived with a K3 stock lens.

"Bring out the gimp..."

Edited by Joe Briggs, 10 January 2008 - 12:29 PM.

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#12 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 12:30 PM

I've never really had any trouble with DoF on S16mm. You just have to know how to modulate the light in your scene as well as the proper lens to use in order to achieve it.
Fort myself on S16mm, I often shoot my wides with a 16mm T1.3 lens and then move in for close ups with a 25mm or a 50mm, depending. Or i might do the reverse, shoot wides with a 25mm then go in close with a 9.5 for special shots where I need deep focus. It's all about field of view firstly; once you figure out what area you want in the shot, and then what focus you want in the shot, you can run though a DoF chart to find the stop you want in the shot; then light for that.
Maybe i'm doing it all wrong; but it's just how I work.

As for the 35mm adapters. . . I don't like them too much overall. I'd rather spend $1000 on filters/lenses (still lenses being pretty cheap overall) than on 1 adapter for which I'd still have to buy lenses.
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#13 Joe Briggs

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 12:38 PM

I just had a brainstorm and I think I know how you could get exactly the same effect as those DV camera SLR adapters-- except you'd need a whole new camera. The idea is simple: get a c-mount camera with a c-mount lens (let's say 10mm) attach a DV camera SLR adapter, and then the SLR lens of your choice. Theoretically, it should work; it's the same set up as it would be with a DV camera, right? But of course you'd need to rent or borrow a bolex, beaulieu, eclair, etc. (and the SLR adapter, and an SLR lens) to see if this gets you what you want, and then purchase a whole new camera. Whichever way you decide to go, expect to do a lot of experimenting....


Thanks Sir Alvin...

I have a C-mount beaulieu 6008 super8 camera. I could try your theory on that camera first and see if I can achieve that shallow focus. So, you think that it is the combination of the DV lens and the 35mm lens that ultimately creates the shallow focus?

Some people think that the shallow field create is created by the 35mm prime lenses, but I guess it would make sense that it is ultimately the compounding of the two lenses creating a "hybrid" image.
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#14 Joe Briggs

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 12:59 PM

Sir Alvin,

Do you think that my results would be the same with a Nikkor to C-mount adaptor and and good prime nikon?
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#15 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 01:28 PM

Well, I am not trying to follow any particular fad- I am looking to create a shallow depth of field for some shots. The fact that this may be the "latest fad" is coincidental, it is not my reason for trying to ascertain this aesthetic.


The most obvious way to get that look from 16mm is to open your lens' f stop all the way and shoot it that way. That'll definitely give you shallow focus. You are going to have to carefully design your lighting situation/ setups and stock choices. Also you may try arranging the subjects in the picture so that they are in different focus planes and then change focus between subjects, rack focusing and so on, which can be hard for an operator without a follow focus attachment and/ or video assist, especially if the subjects are moving. Or just shoot 35mm and stop trying to make something behave like something else entirely. It's like trying to make champagne out of beer. ;)

Edited by saulie rodgar, 10 January 2008 - 01:28 PM.

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#16 Kristian Schumacher

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 01:50 PM

Hi,

I had my K-3 converted to Nikon mount and s-16. I have only shot one test roll so far, and I thought it looked quite nice. Here it is in youtube quality:



The fogging was discussed here:

http://www.cinematog...mp;#entry196679

I have no 16mm experience prior to this, but wil be using this camera on a music video soon, including some underwater scenes. I will let you know if it lets me down then ;-)

Kristian
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#17 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 02:27 PM

I happen to like footage that creates a very real sense of depth, rather than having look totally flat and static with very little visual delineation of distances. I guess shooting DOF footage is now in the same category as skinny jeans and faux-hawks.


The best ways of achieving a sense of depth is to move the camera or through composition. "Citizen Kane" has more depth in its shots than most shallow DOF films I've seen. Shallow DOF give a sense of planes, rather than of depth.

On 16mm you can use the high speed lenses rather than the 35mm adapters for a shallower DOF.

The shallow DOF for effect isn't that new, it's been around for quite a few years.
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#18 John Sprung

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 02:30 PM

Do you think that my results would be the same with a Nikkor to C-mount adaptor and and good prime nikon?

No -- It's important to get clear that there are two very different kinds of adapters.

A simple adapter that just puts an SLR lens on a C mount camera uses that lens to make an image directly on the film. That'll give you exactly the same DOF as you'd get with a C mount lens of the same focal length made for the 16mm format.

The "make it look like 35" type of adapter uses the large format lens to form a 35 mm sized image on a ground glass, either stationary or spinning to hide the grain of the ground glass. Then inside the adapter there's another lens that transfers that image (with an extra inversion) to the film.




-- J.S.
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#19 Joe Briggs

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 02:30 PM

...Or just shoot 35mm and stop trying to make something behave like something else entirely. It's like trying to make champagne out of beer.


Well, that all comes down to budget, doesn't it. I am definitely on a beer budget- actually, more like a malt liquor budget.

Hey, you can't blame someone for trying to get the absolute best out of what ever medium they are shooting. I just want to see what is possible- the farthest extent I can exploit this small gauge format.
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#20 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 02:48 PM

I'd stick with the meteor and get an 8mm Peleng if you're on a budget or this faster (but pricier) 10mm sigma lens http://cgi.ebay.com/...1QQcmdZViewItem
although I don't know if there's an adapter you can get to have it fit on an M42 mount.


There doesn't seem to be an F/stop ring on the Sigma 10mm.
Many digital SLR lens have the f/stop controled by the cmaera. Seems so with this one.
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