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Quality Prime Arri standard mount lenses


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#1 Steve Goodloe

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 07:31 PM

Ok, so this might be an oxy-moron but what do people think are the highest quality prime lenses for an Arri M. Ive been looking at the Cooke Kinetal lenses, they look nice. What do people think?

Thanks for the input

Steve Goodloe
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#2 Jean-Louis Seguin

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 08:07 PM

Hi Steve,

Optically, they are fine but I hate the way focusing is accomplished.
Even with well greased mounts, there is always a rough feeling in my opinion.

Cheers,
Jean-Louis
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#3 Tim Carroll

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 08:09 PM

Steve,

You can see clips shot with many different lenses with ARRI standard mount at the web site below:

Film Clips from ARRI standard mount lenses

Lenses in ARRI standard mount included in the tests were; Angenieux 12-120, Zeiss 8mmT*, Schneider 16mm, 25mm, 50mm, Cooke Kinetal 12.5mm, 17.5mm, 25mm

You can also see these clips of the Kinetals:

Kinetal 9mm
Kinetal 12.5mm
Kinetal 17.5mm
Kinetal 25mm

That should give you some idea of the quality. The last four clips were shot with an Arriflex 16M. The first set of clips were shot with an Arriflex 16S.

Best,
-Tim
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#4 Tim Carroll

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 08:15 PM

Optically, they are fine but I hate the way focusing is accomplished.
Even with well greased mounts, there is always a rough feeling in my opinion.

Cheers,
Jean-Louis


Jean-Louis,

You must have had a worn mount on the camera or a bad barrel on the lens, or you were using the wrong lubricant. I have been shooting with the Kinetals for three years now and when lubed properly they focus as smooth as silk. Just shot with my 12.5 earlier this afternoon, works like a dream. And I always use straight petroleum jelly on them, commercially known as Vaseline.

Best,
-Tim
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#5 Jean-Louis Seguin

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 08:55 AM

Jean-Louis,

You must have had a worn mount on the camera or a bad barrel on the lens, or you were using the wrong lubricant. I have been shooting with the Kinetals for three years now and when lubed properly they focus as smooth as silk. Just shot with my 12.5 earlier this afternoon, works like a dream. And I always use straight petroleum jelly on them, commercially known as Vaseline.

Best,
-Tim



Hi Tim,

You're right in that the majority of cameras and lenses that have passed through my hands have been pretty beat up. I don't think I've ever seen an Arri-S or Kinetals for that matter in pristine condition. A properly maintained camera and lens kit should be fine. Which is the point of my comment: older equipment badly maintained often gives you unsmooth movement in the focusing.

The disadvantage of the focusing system used on the Cookes is this: when users often change the lenses on the turret, dust sticks to the exposed grease on the barrel and inside the turret cavities. If not cleaned and regreased regularly, those gritty particules end up causing scratches and burrs on the lenses and the turret which leads to unsmooth focusing.

I still have a personal preference for lenses that use a real double-helical movement for the focusing. Even if the lens mount or the turret cavity is scratched up, it doesn't matter as the mount does not rotate inside the turret opening when focusing.

Cheers,
Jean-Louis
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#6 Tim Carroll

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 12:21 PM

The disadvantage of the focusing system used on the Cookes is this: when users often change the lenses on the turret, dust sticks to the exposed grease on the barrel and inside the turret cavities. If not cleaned and regreased regularly, those gritty particules end up causing scratches and burrs on the lenses and the turret which leads to unsmooth focusing.

I still have a personal preference for lenses that use a real double-helical movement for the focusing. Even if the lens mount or the turret cavity is scratched up, it doesn't matter as the mount does not rotate inside the turret opening when focusing.

Cheers,
Jean-Louis


Jean-Louis,

I totally agree. And I much prefer the way the Zeiss and Schneider lenses in ARRI standard mount focus.

I do happen to have a very nice set of Cooke Kinetals, and since I service and "restore" Arriflex 16S and Arriflex 16M cameras, the ones I use are in really nice shape, so the Cookes work fine for me.

As much as I don't like the Cooke focus design, I much prefer the image quality of the Cooke's compared to the Schneider and Zeiss glass. So much so that I spent WAY TOO MUCH TIME remaking a Cooke Kinetal 9mm housing because when it came to me the glass was pristine, but the housing was a mess. It is a personal lens now, but two weeks of re-machining and re-aligning a lens is pretty impractical.

So yeah, if you can get a good set of Cooke Kinetals, and your Arriflex camera is in good shape, they are wonderful. If you get a beat up set, and your camera is beat up, they are probably going to be unpleasant.

Best,
-Tim
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