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Nikon Primes vs. Arri standard mount primes


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#1 Bryce Lansing

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 10:41 PM

I've decided to buy a used Arri IIC pretty soon, but I'm having trouble deciding which route to go for mount/lenses.

I've got full set of Nikon primes (16, 24, 35, 50, 85, 105) that all give me sharp images when shooting 35mm photos. I can get a IIC at a decent price, and have the mount converted to Nikon, and I'll be ready to shoot.

My other option would be to wait for a IIC package with a few Arri Standard mount lenses. I've heard they're not the sharpest, possibly less sharp than the Nikons, but they have the advantage of being Cine lenses that were built for the camera.

I'm buying this camera mostly for the purpose of shooting tests, getting familiar with 35mm workflow, practicing, and occasionally shooting low budget work that may be able to afford 35mm, but not a package rental. For my purposes, what would be the best way to go?
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 11:47 PM

Film lenses are better. What would be best would be to spend the money for a PL mount for the camera and then RENT the lenses you need.
Aside from that, my experience with nikons on sets is that they generally don't hold up well, or interface nicely with the rigors of film work. You also get into issues of matching lens to lens, edge to edge sharpness, follow focus (throw and direction of throw), chromatic aberration, and overall build quality. Now, I have and love my nikon still lenses for stills, but when it comes to put something on a camera, I'd say even older film lenses will give you better bang (though at a higher buck.)
Consequently, should you PL mount the camera, a great low cost lens are the Russian made Lomos in PL mount. I have a nice set of Lomos for my Konvas 2M (not PL mount) and though they are also a little bit of pain to interface with a follow focus, they're nice lenses and give very pleasing pictures to my eye. Though, like most Russian gear, it's hit or miss.
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#3 Chris Keth

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 01:58 AM

I would definitely go with a PL mount camera. The arri standard are also the better lenses. Film lenses are always going to be built to better sharpness standards purely because motion picture negative is subjected to HUGE enlargement factors, many times more than making prints from a 35mm negative.
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#4 Paul Bruening

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 02:00 AM

I may the last person on the cinema planet who has anything nice to say about Nikons for cine use. I guess I'll end up eating my prior defense of them.
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#5 Bryce Lansing

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 02:25 AM

As for the PL mount, I know it's the best option, but even if I got a 2C with a PL mount, there's no way I could afford even the cheapest Angenieux zoom, let alone a good set of Zeiss primes.

I'd like to have at least three primes... So for sure I won't be disappointed with the results of Arri Standard Mount primes? I don't want to go through all the trouble of buying a 35mm camera, spending more on film/processing, then end up with slightly soft results that aren't much sharper than my Bolex 16mm or HVX200 footage. I know old Arri Standard mount lenses can't match a set of PL mount Cooke S4 primes or anything, but will they at least blow me away from what I'm used to with my HVX/Letus/Nikon set up?
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#6 Chris Keth

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 02:50 AM

As for the PL mount, I know it's the best option, but even if I got a 2C with a PL mount, there's no way I could afford even the cheapest Angenieux zoom, let alone a good set of Zeiss primes.

I'd like to have at least three primes... So for sure I won't be disappointed with the results of Arri Standard Mount primes? I don't want to go through all the trouble of buying a 35mm camera, spending more on film/processing, then end up with slightly soft results that aren't much sharper than my Bolex 16mm or HVX200 footage. I know old Arri Standard mount lenses can't match a set of PL mount Cooke S4 primes or anything, but will they at least blow me away from what I'm used to with my HVX/Letus/Nikon set up?


The results will be better. Arri standards are very nice lenses.
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#7 Robert Hart

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Posted 27 February 2010 - 02:43 PM

When testing rather unthoroughly I admit, some Nikons against CP Ultra T* lenses on a SI2K, the ones which came closest were the 28mm f1.4 and 58mm Noct Nikkor f1.2 and surprisingly a 55mm? Micro-Nikkor f3.5. This not to say that other Nikon lenses are less sharp but that is how it panned out for me with the specimens I had access to.

An older Cooke Speed Panchro Series 2 50mm, effectively a ruined lens due to tropical fungus, after being pulled apart by myself and cleaned, came up to the sharpness of the Noct-Nikkor.

It seems that by the time you get into the zone with 35mm stills lenses it seems that you are approaching the cost ballpark of cine lenses and you still don't get lens gears or long control throw on the focus rings and of course they spin the wrong way as well.

Edited by Robert Hart, 27 February 2010 - 02:44 PM.

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#8 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 27 February 2010 - 07:40 PM

I would definitely go with a PL mount camera. The arri standard are also the better lenses. Film lenses are always going to be built to better sharpness standards purely because motion picture negative is subjected to HUGE enlargement factors, many times more than making prints from a 35mm negative.

You can always use Arri standard mount lenses on a PL mount camera with an adapter, you can probably find aan adapter for Nikon lenses as well. An adapter usually goes for about a hundred buck
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#9 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 27 February 2010 - 10:55 PM

As far as I know you can't adapt Nikon mount to PL. not sure about Nikon to Arri bayo or standard.
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#10 John Sprung

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Posted 28 February 2010 - 05:22 AM

I'm buying this camera mostly for the purpose of shooting tests, getting familiar with 35mm workflow, practicing, and occasionally shooting low budget work that may be able to afford 35mm, but not a package rental. For my purposes, what would be the best way to go?


The Arri lenses are what you want. That's the price/performance point you describe.





-- J.S.
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#11 Marc Roessler

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Posted 28 February 2010 - 11:59 AM

Maybe it is just me... but the old Arri standard mount lenses (we are talking Cine-Xenon, Cinegon etc here?) are somewhat softer. At least that's my experience with those lenses on 16mm. They look nice, no doubt. But it depends on whether this the look you are going for. It will probably not be a razor sharp snappy look. Also they are VERY soft when opening them up, and have lots and lots of veiling when lights hits them or when you film someone in silouette against a bright background.
But they are fast (T1.4 if I remember right?) whereas the typical Nikon photo glass tends to be much slower.

It all depends on the look you are after, and what you are going to with them. Will you need to pull focus using a follow focus? Will you do this yourself or will you have a focus puller? Will you use this in harsh environments? Do you want to shoot in low light levels with the lens wide open (spell: available light/night)?

I suggest to find someone who owns such a kit where you can play a bit and look at the results.

PL mount is the most desirable, no doubt. But also the most sought after and thus the most expensive. Arri IIcs with standard mounts are the easiest to find and thus the cheapest.

Greetings,
Marc
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