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ZEISS 35mm ULTRA'S ON 16mm ?


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#1 Marco King

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 11:17 AM

Hi all

I have a super 16mm shoot coming up in the next month and a half that has a ridiculously low budget. I am trying to find a way to get the best possible quality out of the format for cinema viewing without eating my way into the catering budget in my search. So far this is what I have come up with:

Using an inexpensive Arri SR2

lighting with tungsten rather than HMI's

spending the majority of the budget on better glass!!


I was planning to shoot on Zeiss 16mm ultra's but since there is only one set in the country, this may not be the best option. My other option is to shoot on Zeiss 35mm ultra's as they are cheaper but here is where my question lies.

Does shooting on 16mm with 35mm lenses have a negative effect on the depth of field? What happens with circles of confusion when a lens designed for a larger format is used in this case?

And one final question. Would it even be beneficial, quality wise, to shoot on ultra's as opposed to standard super speed 16mm primes on a small format like this?



I will be testing the Zeiss 35mm ultra's this weekend but opinions would be great.
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#2 Stephen Williams

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 01:11 PM

Hi all

I have a super 16mm shoot coming up in the next month and a half that has a ridiculously low budget. I am trying to find a way to get the best possible quality out of the format for cinema viewing without eating my way into the catering budget in my search. So far this is what I have come up with:

Using an inexpensive Arri SR2

lighting with tungsten rather than HMI's

spending the majority of the budget on better glass!!


I was planning to shoot on Zeiss 16mm ultra's but since there is only one set in the country, this may not be the best option. My other option is to shoot on Zeiss 35mm ultra's as they are cheaper but here is where my question lies.

Does shooting on 16mm with 35mm lenses have a negative effect on the depth of field? What happens with circles of confusion when a lens designed for a larger format is used in this case?

And one final question. Would it even be beneficial, quality wise, to shoot on ultra's as opposed to standard super speed 16mm primes on a small format like this?



I will be testing the Zeiss 35mm ultra's this weekend but opinions would be great.



For the very wide lenses the Zeiss Ultra 16 are very much better than the Older 16mm lenses. For longer focal lengths the Ultra Primes are as good as they get. As the Ultra primes will out resolve older 16mm there is nothing to loose
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#3 Rob Vogt

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 01:03 AM

Hi all

I have a super 16mm shoot coming up in the next month and a half that has a ridiculously low budget. I am trying to find a way to get the best possible quality out of the format for cinema viewing without eating my way into the catering budget in my search. So far this is what I have come up with:

Using an inexpensive Arri SR2

lighting with tungsten rather than HMI's

spending the majority of the budget on better glass!!


I was planning to shoot on Zeiss 16mm ultra's but since there is only one set in the country, this may not be the best option. My other option is to shoot on Zeiss 35mm ultra's as they are cheaper but here is where my question lies.

Does shooting on 16mm with 35mm lenses have a negative effect on the depth of field? What happens with circles of confusion when a lens designed for a larger format is used in this case?



Really the main things that will decide your Dof is your focal length and aperature. The CoC is the same if you're shooting S16 with a 25mm lens that has an image circle meant for S16 than one that has an image circle that can cover S35. The problem with using 35mm lenses is finding wide lenses. Have you considered Cooke 16S4s?
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#4 Vincent Sweeney

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 02:17 AM

I think you should maybe step back and think about the whole approach. I'm one of the last guys on earth to favor shooting digitally, usually, but in this case if you are changing things like HMI's to tungstens (which might cause you more trouble than its worth) and worried about food, etc. you might be spending money in the wrong places.

If you insist, finding a set of super speeds or Optars (which are made for S16) will give you a nice result. Spend what you saved on your sets, costumes and telecine/grading upgrades.
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#5 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 04:27 AM

Oh, I'd make sure about the food, an army marches on its stomach. Changing from HMI's to tungsten depends on your lighting requirements and how much power you have available because you require higher wattage lights for similar daylight lighting levels. Lots of smaller tungsten with CTB may not be the same lighting effect as less HMIs that have more light output per unit.

You must make sure that you can cover all your onscreen costs and have a quality telecine before leaping up the lens cost spectrum.

Edited by Brian Drysdale, 19 August 2010 - 04:28 AM.

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#6 Marco King

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 04:52 AM

I think you should maybe step back and think about the whole approach. I'm one of the last guys on earth to favor shooting digitally, usually, but in this case if you are changing things like HMI's to tungstens (which might cause you more trouble than its worth) and worried about food, etc. you might be spending money in the wrong places.

If you insist, finding a set of super speeds or Optars (which are made for S16) will give you a nice result. Spend what you saved on your sets, costumes and telecine/grading upgrades.



I have considered the digital route but since this film is a period drama piece we found the look of 16mm to be much more suitable and, with some very helpful connections at telecine offering us processing for next to nothing, not too expensive either.


Rob. I have thought about the problem of wide lenses and decided that, along with primes, 10, 25, 35, 50, 85 , i will complement my lens set with a S16 zoom as well that covers most of my focal lengths, especially the wides; the 11.5 - 138mm Angenieux perhaps? haven't had any experience with the cooke S4's. Think i'll test one this weekend as well and see how the look compares to Zeiss. Any personal preferences? Zeiss or Cooke?
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#7 Marco King

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 05:22 AM

Oh, I'd make sure about the food, an army marches on its stomach. Changing from HMI's to tungsten depends on your lighting requirements and how much power you have available because you require higher wattage lights for similar daylight lighting levels. Lots of smaller tungsten with CTB may not be the same lighting effect as less HMIs that have more light output per unit.

You must make sure that you can cover all your onscreen costs and have a quality telecine before leaping up the lens cost spectrum.



We only have one day exterior scene, the rest being interior and exterior nights, shooting on tungsten stock; Vision3 200T and 500T, and Fuji VIVID 500T for another period in the narrrative. However, if shooting on better lenses means that we have to compromise on other factors affecting the overall look, from lighting to wardrobe, then yes I think i will have to just settle for a simple lens package and make it work.

I was only kidding about eating into the catering budget, we will be well fed.
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#8 Rob Vogt

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 09:19 AM

Oh, you say its a period piece. Which period? That might help with the lens choice...
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#9 Marco King

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Posted 21 August 2010 - 04:16 AM

Oh, you say its a period piece. Which period? That might help with the lens choice...



late sixties, then late seventies and finally present day.
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#10 Jaron Berman

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Posted 21 August 2010 - 03:35 PM

Back to the original post (how your run your production is up to you).

To my recollection, the only disadvantage to using 35mm optics on s16 is possible flare off the rear of the lens - the larger image circle will be spilling light all over the place, so certain cameras are more susceptible to picking up this flare. For the life of me I can't recall which cameras in particular are better or worse. That said, if you use cooke sk4's, the s16 sk4's are ONLY to cover the ultra-wide end that the s4's don't cover. So clearly cooke don't feel there's anything wrong with mixing a few wide s16 primes with a 35mm prime set.

You mentioned a zoom too - take a peek at the newer Canon zooms - based on their HD lenses and pretty gorgeous! Obviously you lose a little stop compared to superspeeds, but you also gain operational SPEED, which is not to be laughed at...and they are SHARP! I had a couple rental houses talk me out of Angenieux or Zeiss zooms to the cheaper Canon because the performance is flat-out better. Look at it on a projector, it's true. Oh, and going back for a second - if you've never used s16 superspeeds - as I recall they have triangular iris patterns in ALL later generations.... I believe MkI had round iris, but other issues that make them less attractive than the later triangular versions. It's not awful, just something to beware of - it looks very distinctive in out of focus highlights. (see slumdog)

Are the Ultra 16 lenses better? Yes. Without a doubt. The ultra 16's are some of the sharpest lenses I've ever seen. I think they look as clean if not cleaner than Master Primes- they have to on the smaller format. I recall seeing a demo side-by-side between the SSmk3's and the Ultra 16's - The SS's which are good lenses looked HORRENDOUS in comparison - like someone smudged vaseline across the front element. If the goal is to look like 35mm, Ultra16's and slow vision 3 will certainly put up quite a fight.

But here's the kick - I hate to be a proponent of digital....but with limited lighting and budget, it will certainly make a cleaner picture to begin with, which may help you get a better look in the end. If the idea is to use the sharpest cleanest lenses ever made for s16 to get a period look... it's your project. But 2/3" HD can look pretty incredible in the right hands, and can be dirtied up enough in the grade to get the look you want. The ONLY reason it could make sense for you is because you're in essentially controlled lighting situations where you likely won't need the extreme range of film. With good gamma curves and even modest lenses, 2/3" HD can give you a base 800iso CLEAN and some very nice extension into both shadows and highlights.

A friend of mine was looking to do an HD feature a while back, and for kicks and giggles we took a look at the Zeiss Digiprimes next to the Fujinon HD primes... both are INCREDIBLE lens sets - both outresolve the Ultra16's (I could be completely full of it but I believe the Ultra 16's were based on the digiprimes). For whatever reason, most people instinctively go for the Zeiss glass... but the Fujinons were nothing short of jawdropping. Wide open, ABSOLUTELY perfect field flatness out way past the HD image circle AND perfectly sharp as well. Plus, what tiny bit of CA the zeiss lenses had was completely non-existent. If I were going for a clean look in controlled lighting - s16 w/ compromised lenses or HD w/ Funjinon primes? I love film, but those Fujinons steal my heart.

Back on topic - look at your options and budget and make the decision you feel is best for the project, not necessarily your reel. Yes, you have to stand behind your work, but I know too many guys who would gut the production budget to get gear which, in the end, only makes the rest of the project suffer. Good luck
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#11 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 22 August 2010 - 12:34 AM

Back to the original post (how your run your production is up to you).

To my recollection, the only disadvantage to using 35mm optics on s16 is possible flare off the rear of the lens - the larger image circle will be spilling light all over the place, so certain cameras are more susceptible to picking up this flare. For the life of me I can't recall which cameras in particular are better or worse. That said, if you use cooke sk4's, the s16 sk4's are ONLY to cover the ultra-wide end that the s4's don't cover. So clearly cooke don't feel there's anything wrong with mixing a few wide s16 primes with a 35mm prime set.


Cooke provide front masks for the S4s for S16 use, to reduce the image circle.
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#12 Matt Pacini

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 05:20 PM

Check out the CP Ultra Primes (9mm, 12.5mm, 16mm, 25mm)

I have a set, and I LOVE them!
Very sharp, and very fast, and they are not that rare!

(Sorry, mine are CP mount, so you can't use 'em! - There are some out there that have been converted to Arri mount though).

Matt Pacini
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#13 Tom Jensen

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 06:19 PM

I can't remember but do Ultra Primes even fit on an SR? The eyepiece could get in the way or the follow focus may not fit. 35mm lenses are generally overkill for 16mm. If you are going to use 35mm why not just use a set of speeds or superspeeds. You cannot tell the difference if you are going to video and if going to print, the speeds are fine. They are less expensive too! The Cannon zooms are very good and worth checking out.
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#14 John Sprung

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 08:13 PM

To my recollection, the only disadvantage to using 35mm optics on s16 is possible flare off the rear of the lens - the larger image circle will be spilling light all over the place, so certain cameras are more susceptible to picking up this flare.


If you have a matte box you can get rid of all that extra image light before it reaches the lens. It's only an issue if you're in run and gun mode, and can't bother with the matte box.

As for DOF, it makes absolutely no difference. A 50mm lens made for 35 film will give you exactly the same DOF as a 50mm made for 16mm film.

The problem area is wide angle. Lens designers have to jump thru lotsa hoops to make wide lenses, so for instance, a 12mm that covers the 35 frame will have a lot more compromises than one that only covers S-16. It'll also be more expensive, so wide is the region to stick with glass that's made for your format.



-- J.S.
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