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Master Prime Vs Super Speed


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#1 Evan Andrew John Prosofsky

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 01:53 AM

Hi everyone!

I'm shooting a music video in Miami this coming weekend on 5219/arri 435. The film is to be shot entirely at night under minimal lighting conditions (neon signs, etc.), because of this I want a lens with the widest stop possible. My choices are the master primes or the super speeds, both 1.3. Now heres my problem:

I want the sharpness of the Master Primes, but they don't flare whatsoever. I really love the way the super speeds flare when a point source hits them. They have this white/blue ethereal glow to them that I think will help this music video. But they're not sharp enough. So I guess my questions are:

- Can I attain a "super speed flare" (or just a pretty flare/glow effect in genereal) by using Master Primes and some form of filtration? And if so what? I was thinking maybe a fog filter? I know kaminski uses these but I have absolutely zero experience with any form of filtration. And -- will using some form of filtration negate the sharpness of the master primes anyway and then I might as well just rent superspeeds?

- I've heard the superspeeds aren't a true 1.3, though both sets of lenses open to 1.3 are the masterprimes actually more sensitive? If so is there a drastic difference? (shooting on film lowlight I'd really like to avoid much underexposure so this is really important to me)

- Last question (unrelated) , I was considering shooting some night exteriors that don't involve acting at 12fps so that I could get an extra stop of exposure. I can't imagine there being any problem with this but I figured I'd throw it out there incase anyone has any advice/horror stories etc.

Hope that all made sense, sorry for the long post. Cant wait to hear what y'all think. As always -- thankyou!

Cheers,

Evan
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#2 Stephen Williams

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 03:55 AM

Canom K35's are sharper than Super Speeds wide open & they will flair, give them a try.

Shooting at 12 fps will be fine if nothing is moving in frame.

Hi everyone!

I'm shooting a music video in Miami this coming weekend on 5219/arri 435. The film is to be shot entirely at night under minimal lighting conditions (neon signs, etc.), because of this I want a lens with the widest stop possible. My choices are the master primes or the super speeds, both 1.3. Now heres my problem:

I want the sharpness of the Master Primes, but they don't flare whatsoever. I really love the way the super speeds flare when a point source hits them. They have this white/blue ethereal glow to them that I think will help this music video. But they're not sharp enough. So I guess my questions are:

- Can I attain a "super speed flare" (or just a pretty flare/glow effect in genereal) by using Master Primes and some form of filtration? And if so what? I was thinking maybe a fog filter? I know kaminski uses these but I have absolutely zero experience with any form of filtration. And -- will using some form of filtration negate the sharpness of the master primes anyway and then I might as well just rent superspeeds?

- I've heard the superspeeds aren't a true 1.3, though both sets of lenses open to 1.3 are the masterprimes actually more sensitive? If so is there a drastic difference? (shooting on film lowlight I'd really like to avoid much underexposure so this is really important to me)

- Last question (unrelated) , I was considering shooting some night exteriors that don't involve acting at 12fps so that I could get an extra stop of exposure. I can't imagine there being any problem with this but I figured I'd throw it out there incase anyone has any advice/horror stories etc.

Hope that all made sense, sorry for the long post. Cant wait to hear what y'all think. As always -- thankyou!

Cheers,

Evan


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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 10:25 AM

Master Primes wide-open with a #1/8 White Frost or #1/8 Fog would still be sharper than a Super-Speed wide-open, which can get fairly mushy at T/1.4. But it's a different look, the Super-Speed will still get more flares, the diffusion on the Master Primes will just get you halation around a point of light.
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#4 Freya Black

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 04:48 PM

There are those strange filters that give fake blue anamorphic flares on flat lenses tho.
I know nothing about those filters but I'm just throwing it into the mix so people can discuss it!

Evan, please post the music video here when you finish it! It's rare to see 35mm music videos these days.
Would love to see it!

love

Freya

Edited by Freya Black, 05 June 2012 - 04:48 PM.

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#5 Evan Andrew John Prosofsky

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 10:00 PM

Master Primes wide-open with a #1/8 White Frost or #1/8 Fog would still be sharper than a Super-Speed wide-open, which can get fairly mushy at T/1.4. But it's a different look, the Super-Speed will still get more flares, the diffusion on the Master Primes will just get you halation around a point of light.

Thanks as always for your expertise David. I tested both the white frost and fog filters and in the end decided to shoot clean. I've always been a bit afraid of filtration though I know I shouldn't be. It was my first shoot using Master Primes and I thought it would probably be smarter to see what they can do without filtration before I go messing around too much. Though the idea of adding a fog effect in post makes me sick.. hah
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#6 Evan Andrew John Prosofsky

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 10:19 PM

There are those strange filters that give fake blue anamorphic flares on flat lenses tho.
I know nothing about those filters but I'm just throwing it into the mix so people can discuss it!

Evan, please post the music video here when you finish it! It's rare to see 35mm music videos these days.
Would love to see it!

love

Freya

Thanks for the tip Freya :) I've seen those filters used once on a RED shoot and I didn't find the effect very convincing.. though its definitely an interesting look...I'd love to know if I could tell the difference or not when push comes to shove had I not been there to see things firsthand.

I will definitely post the finished music video when all is said and done, thanks for the interest! The song is by Sebastian Schuller and titled "Nightlife".

I'm glad you appreciate that it was shot on film...I love film and try to push extremely hard for it on any project I do. if you're interested, heres a link to the last two music videos I did, shot on super35 5219 and zeiss super speeds.

Cheers!

E

Links: Grimes - "Oblivion" , Cadence Weapon - "Conditioning"
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#7 Adam Brown

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 08:32 PM

Nice work, Evan! That stock/lens combo works great on music videos...

And you turned me on to Cadence Weapon, so cheers for that!
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#8 Evan Andrew John Prosofsky

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 10:53 PM

Thanks Adam!

I just have one last question that remains unanswered, it was : "- I've heard the superspeeds aren't a true 1.3, though both sets of lenses open to 1.3 are the masterprimes actually more sensitive? If so is there a drastic difference? (shooting on film lowlight I'd really like to avoid much underexposure so this is really important to me) "

If someone happens to have any info regarding this that would be wonderful! Thanks again,

E
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#9 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 03:00 AM

I just have one last question that remains unanswered, it was : "- I've heard the superspeeds aren't a true 1.3, though both sets of lenses open to 1.3 are the masterprimes actually more sensitive? If so is there a drastic difference? (shooting on film lowlight I'd really like to avoid much underexposure so this is really important to me) "

If someone happens to have any info regarding this that would be wonderful! Thanks again,

E


Hi Evan,

Zeiss lenses are always accurately marked, Super Speeds are most definitely f/1.2 lenses at their widest geometric aperture. In pristine condition that translates to T1.3, though i guess if the element coatings have deteriorated (multiple fine scratches on the front element for example) some of the light that would have passed through will be reflected back instead, fractionally altering the T stop.

The main difference is that wide open, Master Primes retain much of their contrast and clarity, while with Super Speeds some of the light passing through gets scattered into flare, veiling glare and halo, resulting in less contrast and definition. But it's pretty much the same overall amount of light getting through. Some of the scattered light is absorbed by the black walls inside the lens, but it wouldn't be much.
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#10 Stephen Williams

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 02:54 PM

Hi Evan,

Zeiss lenses are always accurately marked, Super Speeds are most definitely f/1.2 lenses at their widest geometric aperture. In pristine condition that translates to T1.3, though i guess if the element coatings have deteriorated (multiple fine scratches on the front element for example) some of the light that would have passed through will be reflected back instead, fractionally altering the T stop.


If only that were true, if you test a set of SS, some but not all of the set are as fast as they say.......Even when new!
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#11 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 17 June 2012 - 08:54 PM

are the masterprimes actually more sensitive?


Point of order here. Lenses are not sensitive to light, they transmit and focus it.
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#12 Evan Andrew John Prosofsky

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Posted 18 June 2012 - 08:36 PM

If only that were true, if you test a set of SS, some but not all of the set are as fast as they say.......Even when new!

Thanks Stephen, you seem to reflect what I've heard others say in the past. But can you be more specific about how much slower they can be than a 1.3? I mean, are some a half or even full stop slower? If its something like 1/8th of a stop I really can't be bothered to care. But if some super speeds are more like a 1.8 or 2 it really does help effect my decision towards something like the master primes.

I get the footage back this Friday, fingers doubly crossed...I'll be sure to post some stills. Thanks everyone
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#13 Claude Mangold

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 04:17 PM

Evan, for what it's worth, Leica has a 50mm M-Series photo lens out which is an unbelievable f 1:0.95 (they don't publish T values since it's a photo lens). The latest Noctilux. I saw it in Berlin last week.

Now I realise that adapting 35mm lenses to PL mounts is not possible with most cameras, and they are difficult to focus etc. but if you do much lowlight work it may be worth investigating. For flare & bokeh you'd have to test, unless someone has already gone through this.

Also - DPs please correct me if I'm wrong - some Mitchell cameras used to come with a T 1.0 lens. Since this would be an old lens, it may well flare.

Beware, though - we just used a very fast older Zeiss 35mm lens - forget which one - which had been re-housed for 16mm and lost some T in the process and had a zillion other problems such as some vignetting. But gave a very nice «sharp yet soft» picture when fully open.
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#14 Stephen Williams

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 04:30 PM

Thanks Stephen, you seem to reflect what I've heard others say in the past. But can you be more specific about how much slower they can be than a 1.3? I mean, are some a half or even full stop slower? If its something like 1/8th of a stop I really can't be bothered to care. But if some super speeds are more like a 1.8 or 2 it really does help effect my decision towards something like the master primes.

I get the footage back this Friday, fingers doubly crossed...I'll be sure to post some stills. Thanks everyone


IIRC 1 or 2 of the lenses in the set were about 1/4 to 1/3 stop slower than they should have been.
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#15 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 12:56 AM

IIRC 1 or 2 of the lenses in the set were about 1/4 to 1/3 stop slower than they should have been.


I don't have a T stop tester in my lab, but my Zeiss MTF machine can read the difference in light transmission from stop to stop. The difference in transmission from wide open to T2.0 on Super Speeds is exactly the same as on Master Primes - 1 1/4 stops - except for the 50mm SS which actually opens a little more, and the 25mm SS which opens a little less (but it's still under T1.4). So by my testing they're all at least T1.3 except the 25mm which is somewhere between 1.3 and 1.4.

Out of curiosity I did a comparison test between some Master Primes and Super Speeds shooting a grey wall at T1.3 on an Alexa. There were subtle differences in the screen shots, mainly in colour rendition I think, and the Super Speeds porthole a little more (the Master Primes started to porthole at T2, Super Speeds at 2.8). We're talking very subtle darkening in the corners. Otherwise nothing between them really. Pretty controlled test though, under stronger lighting I wouldn't be surprised if Super Speeds lost some speed to flare and stray light absorbed by the black walls inside of the lens.
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#16 Evan Andrew John Prosofsky

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 09:07 PM

I don't have a T stop tester in my lab, but my Zeiss MTF machine can read the difference in light transmission from stop to stop. The difference in transmission from wide open to T2.0 on Super Speeds is exactly the same as on Master Primes - 1 1/4 stops - except for the 50mm SS which actually opens a little more, and the 25mm SS which opens a little less (but it's still under T1.4). So by my testing they're all at least T1.3 except the 25mm which is somewhere between 1.3 and 1.4.

Out of curiosity I did a comparison test between some Master Primes and Super Speeds shooting a grey wall at T1.3 on an Alexa. There were subtle differences in the screen shots, mainly in colour rendition I think, and the Super Speeds porthole a little more (the Master Primes started to porthole at T2, Super Speeds at 2.8). We're talking very subtle darkening in the corners. Otherwise nothing between them really. Pretty controlled test though, under stronger lighting I wouldn't be surprised if Super Speeds lost some speed to flare and stray light absorbed by the black walls inside of the lens.

Really good to know! Thanks so much for the interest and comprehensive test Dom, thats incredible of you.

To anyone interested, the director just received the footage yesterday and sent me some screen grabs. I can definitely say master primes were the right choice, and I do seem to notice a small increase in sensitivity when compared to super speeds, which very well may be attributable to what Dom characterizes as loss of speed under stronger lighting, as I shot under a lot of hard backlight and harsh neon/street light. I'll share the finished edit when all is said and done :)
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