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Canon EF still photog. prime and redrock adaptor on HVX200


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#1 Tomas Koolhaas

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 05:16 PM

Hi Guys,
I am shooting (as a favor) an ultra low budget music video and we managed to get a camera package of HVX200 w/redrock adaptor but the guy only has Canon EF 1.8 primes 50mm and 85mm I know this is far from ideal but it seems we really cant afford any other lenses (there's no insurance so we probably couldnt even get them from a rental house!). The whole thing is one continuous steadicam shot with focus changes, I know this lense will breath but how badly is what I am wondering? anyone who has used these lenses for motion picture please fill me in on anything I should know, particularly in terms of practicality and how bad the breathing will be.
Thanks very much.
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#2 James Martin

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 05:30 PM

Hi Guys,
I am shooting (as a favor) an ultra low budget music video and we managed to get a camera package of HVX200 w/redrock adaptor but the guy only has Canon EF 1.8 primes 50mm and 85mm I know this is far from ideal but it seems we really cant afford any other lenses (there's no insurance so we probably couldnt even get them from a rental house!). The whole thing is one continuous steadicam shot with focus changes, I know this lense will breath but how badly is what I am wondering? anyone who has used these lenses for motion picture please fill me in on anything I should know, particularly in terms of practicality and how bad the breathing will be.
Thanks very much.


I haven't shot any motion pictures with them, but I have been shooting EF primes for three years, including the 50mm f/1.8. It will breathe a bit, however how noticeable that will be really does depend. The depth of field changes, depending on your shot, may detract you from any breathing that is happening at the same time. The smaller screen you will show your work on will also make a difference (hence TV lenses breathing more than cine lenses). My primary concern for you would be how the heck are you focusing the thing? The Mark II version of the lens has a very, very poor and rudimentary focusing system - I don't know if the Mark I is any better but I would NOT want to pull focus with it...

As far as the 85mm goes, I've no experience with it I am afraid.
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#3 Tomas Koolhaas

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 08:14 PM

I haven't shot any motion pictures with them, but I have been shooting EF primes for three years, including the 50mm f/1.8. It will breathe a bit, however how noticeable that will be really does depend. The depth of field changes, depending on your shot, may detract you from any breathing that is happening at the same time. The smaller screen you will show your work on will also make a difference (hence TV lenses breathing more than cine lenses). My primary concern for you would be how the heck are you focusing the thing? The Mark II version of the lens has a very, very poor and rudimentary focusing system - I don't know if the Mark I is any better but I would NOT want to pull focus with it...

As far as the 85mm goes, I've no experience with it I am afraid.


Thanks james,
Yeah the focus is definately going to be a problem, it would have been even with good motion picture lenses, due to the MANY shifts in focus that have to be timed to the song/Action/steadicam moves! But I havent used the Canon's (or any other Still lenses for that matter) for motion picture so maybe I'm being Naive in thinking we can make it work eventually, as I said since I've never used them I dont know. Just for the record I think we will be using the 85mm not the 50mm.
Cheers.
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#4 Mike Williamson

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 09:16 PM

FYI, you can rent Canon still lenses fairly cheaply from Samy's Camera in LA. Doing a long steadicam move on an 85mm may be what you're going for, but don't do it because you feel that it's a budget restriction. Here's a link where you can download the rental catalog:
http://www.samys.com/rentals.php

Any of the Canon EF lenses are going to be tough for manual focus pulling, as they're designed to work primarily as auto-focus lenses. The best option I'm aware of is the new Zeiss manual focus still lenses, a few of which are now available in Canon EF mount. I'm not sure if they're available for rental anywhere but it would give your focus puller a fighting chance. Here's a link to the Zeiss website, click on "SLR lenses", the ZE mount works with Canon EF:
http://www.zeiss.com/photo
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#5 Tomas Koolhaas

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 11:13 PM

FYI, you can rent Canon still lenses fairly cheaply from Samy's Camera in LA. Doing a long steadicam move on an 85mm may be what you're going for, but don't do it because you feel that it's a budget restriction. Here's a link where you can download the rental catalog:
http://www.samys.com/rentals.php

Any of the Canon EF lenses are going to be tough for manual focus pulling, as they're designed to work primarily as auto-focus lenses. The best option I'm aware of is the new Zeiss manual focus still lenses, a few of which are now available in Canon EF mount. I'm not sure if they're available for rental anywhere but it would give your focus puller a fighting chance. Here's a link to the Zeiss website, click on "SLR lenses", the ZE mount works with Canon EF:
http://www.zeiss.com/photo


Thanks Mike,
Yeah those Zeiss's look much more suitable, but I think I i'm going to try and insist on getting some propper motion picture glass! This will just be too hard with a unfocusable lenses! I just cant imagine they cant afford even one prime! (I only need an 85mm) but we shall see.
Thanks for you replies guys.
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#6 James Martin

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Posted 21 January 2009 - 07:13 AM

Not just that, but you should make sure that whoever your focus puller is has some sort of experience. The only problem I can think you might have is that stills lenses tend to be geared backwards compared to cine lenses. Don't bank on being able to get proper motion picture glass, that is very big money. But, good luck anyway!
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#7 Mike Williamson

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Posted 21 January 2009 - 02:26 PM

The only problem I can think you might have is that stills lenses tend to be geared backwards compared to cine lenses.


The bigger problem in my mind is that the barrel on a still camera lens has a much smaller distance between the different focus points, so the entire focus range may be marked over only 1/8th or so of the barrel. As I understand it, this makes it faster for the camera to autofocus by reducing the distance it has to move the lens barrel.

With a motion picture lens, the focus scale will be spread out over a larger portion of the lens barrel, making it easier to pull focus because you can actually find 9' 6" for example. My still camera lenses each have probably three or four focus marks total, something like 3', 6' and infinity. So finding precise marks has to be done by eye and then marked on a follow focus, and making mistakes with the physical pulling becomes easier because there is no margin of error for missing a mark. Every time I've worked on set with a still lens system we spend an awful lot of time getting focus marks by eye (not tape), then doing camera rehearsals for focus, so be ready for that.
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#8 Morgan Lowndes

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Posted 21 January 2009 - 05:36 PM

Hi Tomas

EF lenses don't have proper teeth, so you might need a geared ring adapter to be able to run a follow focus motor.
are you using a wireless follow focus?
im sure the breathing will be hardly noticeable when you've got the stuff happening in the frame and the camera is moving...

morgs
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#9 Tomas Koolhaas

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Posted 21 January 2009 - 10:03 PM

Thanks very much guys,
Yeah these are all the problems I feared! the short spread of the focus marks would be a big issue, as would be getting a follow focus to engage the teeth on the lense! the breathing as Morgan said would probably be able to live with since we would have movement and action to hide it a bit, but the other issues make using these lenses for my purposes a VERY unwelcome prospect. I will try to convince a rental house to break up a set of Zeiss primes to give me an 85 (they dont really like doing that, especially on the weekend it seems!) the daily rental rate of the lens isnt the main problem, its the fact that the shoot has no insurance and rental houses usually want a massive deposit if you dont have insurance. Anyways I will make do no matter what, it may just take twice as long if we do end up using the EF.
PS Morgan we would be using a standard follow focus, not remote (budget reasons again) another annoying factor since my AC is going to have a hell of a time staying out of the way of doors, actors the steadicam and still pull focus!!!! (I usually wouldn't accept this kind of situation on a shoot, but its a favor to a mate of mine).
Cheers.

Edited by Tomas Koolhaas, 21 January 2009 - 10:04 PM.

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