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Opinions needed Nikon Ai vs Canon USM glass


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#1 samuel phibbs

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 03:03 AM

Hey guys,

I know, I know just looking for opinions. I have an eclectic mix of Canon and M42 lenses so far:
Canon 24-105L F4 IS Reasonably sharp and has IS but focus ring is pretty damn short.
Canon 50 F1.4 USM Sharp!!!!! Nice colour and contrast, just the focus ring from *!
Vivitar 28 F2.5 M42 Pretty soft til F4, vignettes, and flares but cool and retro lens
Mir 37mm 1B F2.8 M42 Pretty sharp at F4 but crazy hotspotting
Pentacon 50mm F1.8 M42 Soft till about F4
Jupiter 85 F2.0 M42 Soft wide open, but sharper as you stop down, nice CU lens
Pentax 135 F3.5 M42 Pretty sharp just flares like a * and pretty low contrast outdoors.

Now what I wanted to know is I love all my lenses for their idiosyncracies, but I am gearing up for a feature and I want to add to my lens kit, I want lenses that match and that are sharp for the big screen. Canon glass is cool, but expensive and the manual focus is pretty rough for focus pulling, however love the look of that 50 1.4!( I was initially just going to add a 28 or 35 and 85 in canon to my kit). However, I am rethinking now and leaning towards building a Nikon AIS kit from scratch after hearing such rave reviews from Shane Hurlbut. Are they as sharp as their canon counterparts?
I like the idea of having a set of lenses that have long focus throws, are matched and have a solid build quality I just dont want to start plopping down cash if it is not really worth it.

What are people's thoughts? Any help is much appreciated.

Cheers
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#2 Paul Bruening

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 03:40 AM

I've got all Nikon for my 35R3 (20, 24, 35, 50-1.2, 50-1.4, 85, 105, 135, 180 and 300 mm's). I was pleased to find out, while I was up at Visual Products, that the guys there had rather high opinions of Nikon lenses. If you have to go SLR lenses, they're the most respected. But, they aren't the quality of proper (I mean expensive) cine lenses. Get all MF, metal bodied, AiS (or Ai if that's all you can find) and best if ED glassed. Factor in the cost of getting them tuned up at a lens bench like VP. Some percentage of used lenses will be a little rough. It's all a pig-in-a-poke on Ebay. All-in-all, Nikons are the cheapest way to get yourself into a large array of cine useable lenses.
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#3 samuel phibbs

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 04:18 AM

Thanks for your response Paul, much appreciated do you have any experience with Canon glass?
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#4 Paul Bruening

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 02:21 PM

Yea. 16X auto lens for my XL1s. 14X manual for my XL2. MP-E 65mm variable macro. 50mm f1.8 AF. 50mm compact macro. An older metal bodied FD 50mm f1.8.

The MP-E 65mm is the only famous one of the bunch getting rave reviews to this day. Though, I usually see good things about the 14X manual lens. It seems to be a workhorse in the XL camps. I hate my 16X with the focus and zoom servos in the rings. I'm afraid I don't know that much about the rest of them. They service my needs. The 50mm compact macro is the lens I use for my 35R3's, XL2 video tap. The 50mm f1.8 AF is what I use on my XL2 for telecine transfers on my scan rig. I definitely don't like the direction of plastic in everyone's lenses these days.

There are rehoused Canon's that enjoy a good reputation. I don't know which glass they robbed, though:
http://www.visualpro...t...t=8&Cat2=22

Here's a Ken Rockwell comparison that might help:
http://www.kenrockwe...on-vs-canon.htm

He also tests and compares individual lenses on that site.
http://www.kenrockwe...ikon/nikkor.htm
http://www.kenrockwe...enses/index.htm

I trust his assessments. I like his photographic examples.
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