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RED Primes Kit, Compact Primes .2 or what else?


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#1 Francesco Chiari

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 11:59 PM

Hello everybody.

I am currently part of a group of young filmmakers that want to open a new production company, aiming to produce short and feature films. Since we have a pretty good budget to get started, the idea was to buy a digital cinema camera and the first choices (at the moment) are the ARRI Alexa or the RED Epic, that we will test in order to make our decision.

What we are unsure about are the lenses. I have used RED primes kit before and I wasn't really happy about it. I also used Compact Primes .2 and although they're not as fast as the RED kit, I like the overall quality for that price.

What would be the best choice for a kit of primes (around T2 or faster) that would be affordable for a small newborn production company? We're talking about $20.000-40.000 for lenses only.
Also, would you maybe recommend to buy a decent zoom lens instead?


Thanks a lot.
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 05:26 AM

Cooke has their new Panchros out, and when it comes to lenses, Cookes are fantastic. There's used lenses, you can get a nice set for around 20~40K of super speeds, if you look around. Leica is also bringing out film lenses soon, comperable in price to the Panchros/Compact primes ect.
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#3 Francesco Chiari

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 09:54 PM

Thanks that is definitely worth checking.
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#4 Francesco Chiari

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 02:57 AM

What's the difference in quality between the Panchro primes and zoom lenses like the Fujinon Alura 18-80mm T2.6 or the Angenieux Optimo DP Rouge 16-42mm and 30-80mm T2.8?
At times zoom lenses can be very useful.
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#5 Adam Brown

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 05:50 AM

Leica is also bringing out film lenses soon, comperable in price to the Panchros/Compact primes ect.


Hey Adrian,

I hadn't heard anything about Leica releasing a second set of cine lenses? Do you have any links about that announcement or details on these lenses? I tried searching and found nothing.

However, if you were referring to the Summilux-C lenses, then those in no way would be comparable in price to the Panchro/CP.2 sets, as you could get an entire set of those Panchro/CP.2 lenses for less than one of the Summliux-C's.

Just curious, because if they're planning on releasing cine lenses at the same cost as their stills lenses, then I have to seriously reconsider my spending habits. ;)
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#6 Markus Rave

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 06:32 AM

I have shot numerous commercials and a feature using Zeiss CP1. We matched them with Ultras and you can´t tell a difference. They are breathing when you go through focus though. Talking to a sales rep from Zeiss on a recent trade show he aussured me the CP2 do not breathe anymore. I have not shot with Red´s primes but was told that the craftsmanship is not as one would wish. Since you may be able to use the CP2 on all DSLR and they are very light they offer the best bang for the buck in my eyes. A full set of 7 lenses is 17000 Euros which is approx. 22400 USD. Cookes will be about twice that price. The CP´s T-stops won´t matter so much when we are talking about 800 or even 1600 ASA with Epic or Alexa.

My 2ct.
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#7 Jaron Berman

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 08:02 PM

I own a set of the CP.2's and I love them and to the eye they don't breathe. I've never put them to a chart and I'm sure numerically they aren't perfect but they look pretty excellent in use, FAR sharper (contrastier) and less prone to flare than Canon lenses when shooting on Canon bodies. For me the selling point over panchros/rpp/schneiders is this - the CP.2's are very versatile in mounts, very well built and are "zeiss" - i.e. if you're ever looking to rent them out, you'll make your money back. I have yet to meet someone who would pay to rent RPP's, yet guys who own those rent my CP.2's - because they can share the set across multiple bodies (A-cam red, B-cam canon, etc).

There are lots of lenses I rent for specific purposes, but for a catch-all set to own AND rent out with the 800iso cams and rentability - I think the CP's are excellent. Many people seem happy with RPP's, but I haven't met anyone that has them that is able to rent them outside their own projects.

As for zooms - the next on my list is the LWZ.2 - its a pretty incredible piece of glass with INSANE coatings - it's about $29,000 but try it side-by-side with near competitors (angenieux, rpz, etc) - quite impressive.
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#8 Matthew Rogers

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 10:50 AM

I have not shot with Red´s primes but was told that the craftsmanship is not as one would wish.


Whoever told you that either hadn't used them or was actually referring to the original 18-50 zoom.

The RPP's are extremely well made. The feel of the lenses in general are top notch and so are the mechanics-very smooth and with the right amount of dampening in the focus. Optically in sharpness they are somewhere between Ultra and Master primes according to resolution tests. They are much faster than anything else in their price range (the CP2's 18mm is a T3.6 and the 28 in that set is the first lens going up that starts at T2.1.)

The bad things about them are... They are huge lenses. The 50, 85, & 100 aren't so bad, but the 18, 25, & 35 are rather big lenses (if you are used to lenses like Standard or Super speeds.) Of course, often I like that because the mattebox and follow focus aren't jammed within microns of each other (or don't simply fit with some lenses.) But because they are big, they are heavy. The 50-10 range is 4.25-4.5 lbs and the 18-35 is 6-6.5 lbs a piece. So yeah, handheld kinda sucks because a rig can get very front heavy with the lens, matte box, follow focus, etc (can we say easy rig???) And lastly, the focus marks suck. There aren't that many of them, they can be slightly off, and the marks themselves are kinda wide. But if that's an issue Duclos lenses offers a service to remark the lenses with more, accurate marks.

So really the only advantage I see in the Cp2's is size. Otherwise if you are buying a set, you are paying for 2 odd MM lenses (21 and 28), not getting a 100mm (which I find to be useful), and getting 3 lenses that are slower T-Stops.

Let's put it this way. I've had a set of RPP's since Septemeber 2009 and I haven't one client complain about them. Yes, they have all said, "wow those are big" when I pulled them out. But once they play with them, seeing how smooth they feel and great they look, they are sold.
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#9 Jonas Fischer

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 07:16 AM

I've used the RPP AND the CP.2s on my last shoot and besides what Matthew already pointed out, I found that the flares the RPPs produce are pretty ugly (somehow rainbow like) whereas the CPs produce much nicer flares.
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#10 Jonas Fischer

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 07:34 AM

Additionally, the CPs have 14 diaphragm blades, producing an almost perfectly round and in my opinion more beautiful bokeh than the RPPs with only 7 blades (if I remember correctly).

Edited by Jonas Fischer, 28 February 2012 - 07:34 AM.

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