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primes vs zooms


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#1 Michael Kubaszak

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 10:39 PM

I'd like to get some opinions on this.

I am shooting a short next month on 35 and am wondering which would be a better choice in regards to quality of image. The stop loss and extra weight of zooms don't bother me.

Which would be better or which would you choose a set of super speeds or 2 angenieux optimo zooms (15-40 and 24-290)?
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#2 Alexander Disenhof

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 11:23 PM

Honestly either choice gives you the opportunity to make exceptional images. There are plenty of great looking films out there that were shot on prime lenses, and there are also many that use zooms. Ultimately your choice should be made with consideration of your shooting conditions, the amount of time you have, the space you are in, and your own personal preference! Zooms often save time because you can avoid changing lenses so often, and they can be more conducive to on-the-fly shooting, while primes can give you that extra stop when you are shooting in low light.
Good luck!
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#3 Chris Keth

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Posted 27 February 2010 - 12:15 AM

Zooms often save time because you can avoid changing lenses so often, and they can be more conducive to on-the-fly shooting


This also has to be taken in the context of the style of the show and the camera support you have available. Many zooms are so large that camera position changes on sticks are a little slower because of the weight and bulk of the camera. Without a dolly, I can move a camera around by myself if it has a prime on it. I can't do that with a big zoom unless it's just a little shuffle over a few inches or something like that.

Personally, I would tend to take the zooms you listed over a set of super speeds. If your primes option were ultraspeeds, I would have to think harder.
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#4 John Sprung

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Posted 27 February 2010 - 01:55 AM

If you really have to move fast, you forget about sticks and live on the dolly all day. Dolly and zoom was the formula for low budgets.



-- J.S.
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#5 chrisssteeven

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Posted 27 February 2010 - 02:54 AM

A zoom lens provides more flexibility than prime, it can replace the function of 3 or 4 prime lenses and can stay on the camera full time. If you are in the field, not having to carry a kit bag full of lenses is a benefit. For action you can avoid having to swap lenses repeatedly for close and distant subjects.

Edited by chrisssteeven, 27 February 2010 - 02:55 AM.

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#6 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 27 February 2010 - 03:52 AM

Which would be better or which would you choose a set of super speeds or 2 angenieux optimo zooms (15-40 and 24-290)?

If those are your only choices, the Optimos will be technically superior. They are top quality modern lenses, the Superspeeds are a 1970's design. Ultra Primes, Master Primes, and Cooke S4's are on par with the Optimos but they are all faster with better close focus. These lenses are intercut all the time.
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#7 Michael Kubaszak

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Posted 27 February 2010 - 11:43 AM

Would intercutting between the optimos and superspeeds be acceptable?
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#8 William Coss

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Posted 27 February 2010 - 12:49 PM

I'd like to get some opinions on this.

I am shooting a short next month on 35 and am wondering which would be a better choice in regards to quality of image. The stop loss and extra weight of zooms don't bother me.

Which would be better or which would you choose a set of super speeds or 2 angenieux optimo zooms (15-40 and 24-290)?


I would go with the 17-80 instead of the 15-40 and get a 14mm prime for the rearly used wide angle shots. Unless you plan a lot of really wide shots, that is. It will keep you off the big gun more often.
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#9 Chris Keth

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Posted 27 February 2010 - 01:29 PM

If you really have to move fast, you forget about sticks and live on the dolly all day. Dolly and zoom was the formula for low budgets.



-- J.S.


True, but more often I see low budget shows without a dolly and only sticks. Somebody sees the equipment rental savings and doesn't consider the time between camera positions that is saved.
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#10 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 28 February 2010 - 12:33 PM

Would intercutting between the optimos and superspeeds be acceptable?

There are a lot of factors to consider here. It will partly depend on how you are finishing, and at what stop you will be shooting at. If you are making 35mm prints, then you'll see a bigger difference than if you go through a telecine. If you're going to mix them, then shoot the Superspeeds at T2.8 or higher for a sharper, more contrasty look. The Superspeeds have a lot more chromatic aberration than the Optimos. The more you push the lenses to perform (flaring in backlight, shooting wide-open, big focus racks, straight geometric lines, practical sources in frame) the more obvious differences you will see.

*A Cooke 18-100 may match the Superspeeds better optically. But the Optimos are much better lenses. BTW, I don't see how you can have the budget for two Optimos but not for a set of Ultraprimes (at least)!

Edited by Satsuki Murashige, 28 February 2010 - 12:37 PM.

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#11 Michael Kubaszak

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Posted 28 February 2010 - 01:24 PM

There are a lot of factors to consider here. It will partly depend on how you are finishing, and at what stop you will be shooting at. If you are making 35mm prints, then you'll see a bigger difference than if you go through a telecine. If you're going to mix them, then shoot the Superspeeds at T2.8 or higher for a sharper, more contrasty look. The Superspeeds have a lot more chromatic aberration than the Optimos. The more you push the lenses to perform (flaring in backlight, shooting wide-open, big focus racks, straight geometric lines, practical sources in frame) the more obvious differences you will see.

*A Cooke 18-100 may match the Superspeeds better optically. But the Optimos are much better lenses. BTW, I don't see how you can have the budget for two Optimos but not for a set of Ultraprimes (at least)!



I was going to try to keep it around 2.8 or 4 for the whole movie. Thanks for that advice. I am doing an HD telecine and the movie will more than likely live digitally forever after that.

I'm still not sure if I'm going to shoot only Optimos or both...not sure how wide I'll want to get....

Also the camera is gonna live on a dolly.

A rental house is doing me a HUGE favor and giving me the package for free, those are the lenses available for my particular shoot date. I have production insurance and have all pros working on it as well and I'm a 1st so I'm going to take care of gear(it's in my blood :) ).
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