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35mm Zeiss Distagon vs Canon 35mm USM L Series


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#1 Kirk Anderson

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 06:21 PM

I'm looking to build a lens kit for a Canon 7D. Because it has a 2/3 chip sensor I need to scale down to get a traditional 50mm prime.

I love Zeiss Super Speeds and used them with a P+S and an HVX a year back. I can't get over the look. I guess that's why I'm drawn to the 35mm Zeiss.

http://www.bhphotovi...2.html#features

My producer really wants to keep the auto focus feature because he could use the camera for stills as well.

He really wants to buy this.

http://www.bhphotovi...le_EF_35mm.html

What do you guys think?

If we're speaking purely in shooting cinema and not stills, which lens do you choose?

Reasons? Experiences?

Thanks!
kirk
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 09:40 PM

The 7D doesn't have a 2/3" sensor. Instead it's closer to 35mm motion picture film (it's an APC-C if memory serves) so it's great because that 50mm lens will look as a 50mm lens would on a 35mm camera (about)... so don't change anything, meaning that 35mm Zeiss will look as it did on the adapter (assuming you had it set up to be about where a motion picture 35mm negative would be).
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#3 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 02:32 AM

Hi Kirk,

1. Adrian is right, the 7D sensor is not 2/3". It's very close to Academy 35mm size. Therefore, a 35mm lens will have approximately the same field-of-view in Academy 35mm and on the 7D.

2. The new Zeiss ZE primes will not have exactly the same look as the Super Speeds because they are a newer design. The Super Speeds were first made in the 70's. The new Zeiss Compact Primes are optically the same as the ZE's, that would be a more accurate comparison.

That said, I've put the 18mm Compact Prime side-by-side with the 18mm Super Speed on a Red, and with the former wide open at T3.6 and the latter stopped down to T2.8, they are similar in look. Note that the Super Speeds are very soft at T1.3 and moderately soft at T2. They look sharp at T2.8. The CPs are sharp wide open. The Canon 35mm L is also a nice lens. I don't think you'll go wrong either way.
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#4 Kirk Anderson

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 05:44 PM

Thanks for your help guys! As you can see I'm a little bit of a noob with using DSLR as a video camera. I'm so used to Panasonic and super16! ha ha ha.

So if you were to choose a lens in the 35mm range what would you go for personally and why?

Right now our package has:

Tokina 11-16, which is sick.

Canon 50mm USM, fast at 1.4.

Canon 18-135 zoom, probably up for sale soon.

I'm looking to build a kit with three primes and one zoom. Enough to shoot a bunch of specs and music videos.

Also, I might be looking for a DP in January for a spec I'm directing. Looking for a DP who specializes in DSLR, but mainly outdoor natural lighting.

Thanks again!
Kirk

PS. Hey Satsuki! Hope you're doing well! You still up in San Francisco?
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#5 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 07:34 PM

Honestly, for shooting on a DSLR it'll be a bit problematic with an autofocus lens.... the barrel throw isn't very far at all so racking will be.. well a pain. I like the manual lenses, but I'm a Nikon man, so can't help much with Cannon glass. That said, if you can somehow PL mount onto a DSLR, dunno if you can or not, I'd look into renting some Cookes, or, some PL mount Lomo lenses (I really like the Lomos I used and they're cheap!).
If you wanna go Nikon, I had good experiences on my FM10 with their "e series" lenses, which were actually cheaper built than their better glass, but suited my own tastes just fine. It was a little "softer," and more "romantic" rather like Cookes are often decribed. Zeiss, I would say has a more clinical look to them, not that that's a Bad thing at all, I just used their UltraPrimes on a BL4 and I really liked them, especially the 14mm, but I'm a wide lens type of person.
The only Canon lens I've used was one of their zooms awhile ago for S16mm. I liked the lens just fine, it was "fast," for a zoom at T2.6, I think and looked good, but I don't think I'd've used it again instead opting for the Cooke 10.8-60.

Now you might not need 3 primes and a zoom if you can find a fast enough zoom that covers the range of primes you'd normally use. Then you can use it as a variable prime lens, cover your bases with less lens, and go for a fast wide lens (15mm if you can find one for the Canons, F2.8 is the fastest I've seen for Nikons) and a good fast F1.4 50mm and perhaps a 35mm lens, if you can find it too. my 2 cents.
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#6 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 03:06 AM

Hey Satsuki! Hope you're doing well! You still up in San Francisco?

Yep, it's been pretty busy up here the last few months, but very slow in December. Will be shooting an SFSU short in January on the Panavision Elaine, so prepping for that right now. Hope LA is treating you well, Kirk!

As for 7D lenses, my current kit includes an old Sigma 18mm f/3.5, a new Sigma 24mm f/1.8 Aspherical macro, a Pentax SMC 50mm f/1.4, and an Bower/Samyang 85mm f/1.4. I'm looking to replace the 18mm with the Tokina zoom and maybe get a fast 35mm, otherwise I feel I've got the basics covered - the 24mm and 50mm are the workhorse lenses. Aside from the 18mm which is soft, low-con, and flarey, the lenses all cut together fine. The focus ring on the 24mm sucks, it is an AF lens.

If you want to get primes, I would look for fast manual focus Pentax or Nikon and use an adapter. It's much easier to focus with a nice metal focus ring with a long throw. The Nikon 35mm f/1.4 is quite nice: http://www.bhphotovi...35mm_f_1_4.html. Ridiculously expensive at B&H, but you might find one on ebay for a lot less. Zeiss ZE 35mm is also obviously an option. I've had good luck with Fotodiox adapters.

For zooms, the shoots I'm on typically rent the 16-35L, 24-70L, and 70-200L. Since you already have a wide zoom and a fast 50mm, I would probably get 24mm and 35mm primes, then a 70-200L zoom.
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