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35mm Glass Insanity


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#1 Tim Carroll

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 06:30 PM

Is anyone else blown away by the insanity of the 35mm lens market now that the RED camera has been introduced?

Beautiful sets of Zeiss Standard Speed Primes (16, 24, 32, 50, 85) and the like, were selling just last summer for $7500. See below:

Zeiss Standard Speed Lens Set

Now another set of Zeiss Standard Speed Primes (again a 16, 24, 32, 50 and 85), that someone bought from a rental house where the lenses had been left in a case in a very damp warehouse (as noted by the rust covering the whole case), and there is visibly fungus or mold on some of the lens rear elements, is going for $21,100 on eBay and the auction isn't even over yet. I wouldn't be surprised if it topped $25,000 or higher:

Same Group of lenses on eBay

I find it really ridiculous. Talking to the guys at Isaia and Company, they had that lens set that was listed for $7500 for years and no one wanted to buy it, then this last fall every 35mm piece of glass they had sold out within weeks.

Anyone else find this amusing?

Best,
-Tim
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#2 Max Jacoby

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 06:33 PM

A couple of years ago Arri gave you a full set of Super Speeds when you bought a 235...

I guess some companies making affordable 35mm cine primes, like Elite for instance, will make some good business.
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#3 Michael Nash

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 06:39 PM

Is anyone else blown away by the insanity of the 35mm lens market now that the RED camera has been introduced?


It's not just the RED but the popularity of 35mm lens adapters for video cameras (especially for fast Zeiss primes). We've had a few threads about the speculation of a temporary spike in lens prices and shortage of availability. Inevitably the market has to level out because the demand for paid productions won't increase just because there's an new, cheaper camera on the market. Someone has to keep paying for the lenses to keep the price up.
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#4 Paul Bruening

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 08:33 PM

Do I recall correctly that lower cost, used cine lenses was one of the reasons why RED wasn't going to make lenses for their cameras? Ironic that it has caused such a rise in costs of those very lenses.
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#5 Tim Carroll

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 09:12 PM

$27,100

Twenty Seven Thousand, One Hundred Dollars!!!



That's the final selling price for that Zeiss Standard Prime Lens set in the rusty case with the visible fungus or mold on the rear elements.

Let's think about this for a minute. Besides the fact that you could get a really nice car for that price, as opposed to five moldy lenses, let's look at other camera packages that could be had for much less than those five lenses.

I know of a Super 16 Arriflex 16SR with Axel Broda conversion, PL mount, SR3 Super 16 gate, SR3 Super 16 fibre optics screen, CE built in speed control, two mags, on board batteries, lightweight rods, freshly overhauled, with a mint Zeiss 11-110 T2.2 Super 16 zoom lens(the real Super 16 Zeiss, not the Optex converted one) that the asking price was $19,999, so you would have had a really nice Super 16 package that was ready to go, and $7100 left over for film.

I know of a Super 16 Aaton XTRPlus with a PL mount, two mags, on board batteries, video tap, B&W video camera, that the asking price was $15,999 and a very nice recently overhauled Cooke VarioKinetal 10.4 - 52 zoom lens (the real Super 16 Cooke, not the Optex converted one) that had an asking price of $4150, so you would have had a really nice Super 16 package that was ready to go, and $6951 left over for film.

It just seems insane to me to spend $27,100 on five lenses that may need serious work to fix the fungus/mold issue.

Best,
-Tim
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#6 Paul Bruening

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 09:34 PM

Lens recoating is $195.00 per surface. Let's say, a five element lens times two surfaces... hmmm, that's about $1,950.00 per lens to get rid of the fungus. That puts the purchase closer to $37,500.00 if they are really funged-up.
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#7 K Borowski

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Posted 10 April 2008 - 07:00 AM

That puts the purchase closer to $37,500.00 if they are really funged-up.


Brilliant play on words ;)

Meanwhile, in 35mm and MF stills world, you can't practically GIVE away Hasselblad Lenses, cannon primes of any kind.

Everyone wants zooms that have the 1.4 conversion factor for APS-C-sized sensors. . .
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#8 Hal Smith

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Posted 10 April 2008 - 08:26 AM

I bet those lenses are relisted in a week or two. One of the huge problems with high dollar items on eBay is the wannabees who bid on things they can't pay for.
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#9 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 10 April 2008 - 08:50 AM

I guess the 35mm lens prices will settle down again once RED's own primes start delivering. On a chart, they look good at f5.6, nothing so far wide open.
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#10 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 10 April 2008 - 08:53 AM

Twenty-seven grand for a set of five lenses.

Of course, Red owners are not insipid fanboys with the fiscal responsibility of a loose stool.

P
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#11 Max Jacoby

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Posted 10 April 2008 - 09:17 AM

I guess the 35mm lens prices will settle down again once RED's own primes start delivering. On a chart, they look good at f5.6, nothing so far wide open.

The posted charts are useless when it comes to judging the performance of their lenses. Like you're suggesting, wide-open is where you see how a lens really performs. T2 or T2.8 are more commonly used shooting stops and that's where you start to perceive differences in lenses. At T5.6 almost any prime lens will look good.

On top of that they only posted charts for the 50mm and 85m. Long lenses are easier to design and they always look sharper with less chromatic abberation than wider lenses (because they cover a more narrow filed of view). Let's see what the 15mm looks like, now that's a lens that's much harder to design...
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#12 Fran Kuhn

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Posted 10 April 2008 - 12:40 PM

Lens recoating is $195.00 per surface. Let's say, a five element lens times two surfaces... hmmm, that's about $1,950.00 per lens to get rid of the fungus. That puts the purchase closer to $37,500.00 if they are really funged-up.


Hi Paul,

I'm wondering if the lenses can be repaired at all.

I had some old Angenieux prime lenses that had fungus damage. When I asked about cleaning and/or re-coating them, the lens tech told me it was pointless because the acids produced by the fungus actually etch the surface of the glass and permanently ruin it. He did attempt to clean one of the lenses that had only a small amount of damage around the edges, but the damage was still visible even after the cleaning. The fungus acids gave the glass the appearance of having been sandblasted.

Also, I recall Stephen Williams posting something here a while back about fungus/mold being dangerous because it can spread to other lenses. When I read that I tossed those old lenses as fast as I could!

-Fran
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#13 Tim Carroll

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Posted 10 April 2008 - 01:28 PM

I was always under that same impression, once a lens had been attacked by fungus, it was pretty much toast. And I had heard the same thing about the fungus etching the glass.

-Tim
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#14 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 10 April 2008 - 02:48 PM

I was always under that same impression, once a lens had been attacked by fungus, it was pretty much toast. And I had heard the same thing about the fungus etching the glass.

-Tim


I better start getting Silica gel bags into the lens cases QUICKLY!
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#15 Christopher Bell

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 11:39 AM

Actually, the buyer of those lenses got a good deal. The buyer had first hand knowledge that the lenses were in NEW condition. No mold, no problems. New old stock. They will benefit from a relube. Considering the price of a set of S4s or Ultraprimes, 30K for a nice set of standards speeds is a fair price.


Chris Bell
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#16 Stephen Williams

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 12:50 PM

Actually, the buyer of those lenses got a good deal. The buyer had first hand knowledge that the lenses were in NEW condition. No mold, no problems. New old stock. They will benefit from a relube. Considering the price of a set of S4s or Ultraprimes, 30K for a nice set of standards speeds is a fair price.


Chris Bell


Hi Chris,

They look like crap to me nothing like NEW! FWIW every lens I bought from Ebay was in some way mis described by the seller.

Did you use them with your RED?

Stephen
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#17 Christopher Bell

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 02:07 PM

I am going off what the buyer told me. He's a smart guy. It's a rare ebay purchase where the seller had no idea what he had. Rarely is anything that good on ebay... except for the cherry BMW I bought a couple of years ago on ebay.

While I can't vouch for that set, my set of Zeiss T2.1 primes look fantastic on my Red. I've shot 2 commercial spots with them, and could not be happier. They match nicely with my Angenieux 10-1 HR as well. Modern Zeiss glass will have a long shelf life.

Shameless plug:

My friend Charles Pickel has both a set of std ziess T2.1 primes and a set of T1.3 superspeeds for sale. They are in nice shape and just serviced.
www.seriousgear.com

Chris Bell
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#18 Tim Carroll

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 03:09 PM

Chris,

What part of these rear elements look like new old stock to you?

Posted Image

Are you talking about the same auction we are? It just ended a few days ago, how could your buyer know what shape the lenses are in, how could he have them already?

Best,
-Tim
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