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Prime lens options for s16 Arriflex SR2 (PL)

Prime Lenses Arri Arriflex SR2 Super16mm PL mount SRII Zeiss Schneider

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#1 Kane George Jason

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 06:10 AM

First off, I want to say thank you to all the people who contribute to this forum - I’ve been lurking around for quite some time without posting much. You know the old adage... “If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all”... Well, by nice I mean something that could further the discussions - but quite often I find the answers before needing to ask!

 

Anyway, I just got myself a s16mm Arriflex SR2 (PL mount), and I'm looking into prime lens options. I have a collection of 35mm and above format primes, but none suitable for this smaller gauge (they can obviously cover it but finding a good wide/normal lens out of my collection is a stretch).

 

I’ve read in various places that some 16mm format lenses aren't compatible - they cover it but don’t physically fit with the Arri SRII or SR1. My question; what prime lenses which cover and/or are designed for super16 are compatible with my SR2 in the wide to normal focal lengths.

 

I'm not looking for the newest and greatest optics available, but instead some quality vintage glass with character. Old lenses from the likes of Cooke, Schneider, Zeiss, Meyer, and probably any old German or Russian knockoff's interest me.
 

Any help or direction would be greatly appreciated.


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#2 Will Montgomery

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 10:33 AM

The Illumina S16 lenses are a great deal for the price (brand new full set in the $16k range). Their 35mm cousins went up against the heaviest hitters in a recent test conducted by Dulcos and came out great. They definitely have a unique look to them and flare more than modern Zeiss glass but that's one of the great things about them. You can always rent perfection if you need it but you probably want something with more character for daily use.

 

You can always take the older Schneider and Zeiss standard 16mm lenses and throw on cheap PL adapters but they wouldn't hold a candle to the Illuminas. I have a mixed set of Schneider and Zeiss glass made for the 35mm Arri 2C and love them until I compare them to almost any other lens  :) .

 

I've been pleasantly surprised recently by an older Zeiss 10-100 T2.8 lens on my Standard 16 SR2. I may have just gotten lucky but it's an incredibly sharp lens on this camera. Unfortunately not PL Super 16.

 

Another option is to pick up a Zeiss 10-100 T2 and convert it to PL Super 16. Serious Gear is still doing this and mine should be arriving this week.

 

 

http://www.lumatechinc.com/16.html

 

I know Charles at Serious Gear is selling these and working great deals.

 

http://www.seriousgear.com/


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#3 Kane George Jason

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 11:26 AM

@Will:

 

My SR2 actually came with a similar lens to your zoom suggestion... a Zeiss 12-120 T2.4 (converted from 10-100 1.8). So I definitely don’t need to look for another zoom, but that was a bonus really. I'm a prime guy - this 12-120 will be my first zoom i own! I love what primes can do and I like the work flow and discipline of using them in production.

 

You suggest old standard 16mm Zeiss or Schneiders - but I've heard there's issues with some of them - I'm not sure which ones will/wont physically fit/cover... This Schneider Arriflex 25mm Xenon for instance would be an ideal standard lens for me... But without access to actually try these lenses myself, I'm not sure if they'll be compatible.

 

The Illumina's look interesting - i'll have to do a little research on them, although i am more comfortable with older Zeiss/Schneider.


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#4 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 07:32 PM

It's worth tracking Zeiss super speed prices on eBay.  Worth looking at German eBay. 


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#5 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 10:08 PM

I have the optars, for my SR3. They're ok. I am not a fan of the 9.5 mm in the set; but the 12,16, and 25 are very nice.


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#6 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 02:09 AM

A lot of older 16mm primes were designed for the Arri 16 St and 16 M cameras, which had more mirror clearance than all the later 16mm Arris. So from the 16 BL onwards you can't use most Cooke Kinetals or the early 16mm Schneiders (10, 16, 25) on Arris as they will hit the mirror or baffles. Schneiders are a bit tricky as there were several versions, but I've definitely tested an f/2 16mm and f/2 25mm and they did not fit an SR.

 

The list of compatible (in terms of clearing the mirror) prime lenses in the 16 BL manual includes only a few lenses actually designed for 16mm: the Schneider Cinegon f/1.8 10mm as from 1967 (which is I believe serial no 9861936 and up) and the Zeiss Distagon f/2 8mm. Neither of those cover S16 however. The rest of the lens list are 35mm format lenses:  Schneider Cinegon and Cine-Xenons (18, 28, 35, 40 etc), Zeiss Standard Speeds (16, 24, 32 etc), Cooke Speed Panchros (18, 25, 32 etc) and a couple of lenses by Kilfitt.

 

Later 16mm Schneiders (16 and 25) apparently fit, like the post-'67 10mm, but I don't know the serial numbers, or whether they're f/2, f/1.4 or f/1.5 versions. Anything in Arri Bayonet mount should fit. Other old lenses by the likes of Meyer, Kilfitt, Astro-Berlin, Kinoptik etc that you might find in Arri Standard mount will most likely be 35mm format lenses which should all clear an SR mirror. 

 

Cinema Products Ultra T lenses (by Kowa) will fit but the 9mm vignettes on S16.

 

The Kinoptik Tegea f/1.8 5.7mm fits an SR and just covers S16, the Angenieux 5.9 fits but vignettes (unless you get a modified one). 

 

You're fine with more modern S16mm lenses like Zeiss Super Speeds and Ultra 16s, Cooke SK4s, Illuminas etc. 


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#7 Kane George Jason

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 02:39 AM

@Greg: Super speeds... definitely a good option - I've never had the pleasure - they aren't super sharp are they? I like a bit of soft rawness :-)
 

@Adrian: The Optar's, another lens i haven’t had my hands on! 9.5mm is probably a little wide for my taste too... but the 16 & 25mm seems interesting. They work on your SR3, does the same go for the SR2?


Edited by Kane George Jason, 15 May 2013 - 02:41 AM.

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#8 Kane George Jason

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 03:09 AM

@Dom: Thank you for that bunch of valuable information!

 

It's a real shame those old Cooke Kinetal's & Schneider’s won't work - I was super keen on those two Schneider’s you mentioned... until now! Although you later said anything in Arri Bayonet mount should fit... Is this in relation to the 'later' Schneider's only, or all? If it's just later versions, do you have any idea of when/what year they started being compatible?
 

In regards to the 35mm Schneider Cinegon, Cine-Xenon's, Zeiss Standard Speeds, Cooke Speed Panchros... they of course cover the s16 format, but it sounded like you said that if it's a 35mm format lens in a Arri mount, it should physically fit (via adapter of course) – is that right?


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#9 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 06:58 AM

The f/1.5 25mm Schneider you're looking at may well fit, it has a different rear (with bevelled edges) than the f/2 25mm I tested, but I can't honestly say for sure. I think the problem with early Schneiders was the first large diameter step behind the mount being too wide and deep, later ones were bevelled to clear. Perhaps Schneider can date the serial number, I presume the change came around late 60s or early 70s, after the 10mm was modified in '67. 

 

Any lens in Bayonet mount should work on an SR since the Bayonet mount was introduced with the 16 BL, so lenses in that mount needed to be compatible with the new smaller clearance dimensions. 

 

35mm format lenses don't protrude as far behind the mount as 16mm ones, so should be OK even in Arri St mount. That's why the 16 BL lens list included mainly 35mm format primes.


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#10 Will Montgomery

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 09:51 AM

What price range are you looking at?

 

As Dom said the older Zeiss and Schneider 35mm lenses meant for the 2c's will work fine with an adapter and can be had for around $500 (sometimes less) each.

 

 

 

@Will:

 

My SR2 actually came with a similar lens to your zoom suggestion... a Zeiss 12-120 T2.4 (converted from 10-100 1.8). So I definitely don’t need to look for another zoom, but that was a bonus really. I'm a prime guy - this 12-120 will be my first zoom i own! I love what primes can do and I like the work flow and discipline of using them in production.

I'm a prime guy too, but that zoom lens you have will look sharper and give better results than most of the older Zeiss & Schneider glass you're talking about. While the "character" of those lenses might be appealing for some projects, newer lenses will push the capabilities of Super 16 to the max. Some new lenses like the Illuminas will give you that character you're probably looking for without the downside of old glass.

 

That 10-100 was the "kit lens" of the SR2; kind of the defacto standard in the U.S. While it breathes while focusing quite a bit, you'll get amazing results. Here's a little trick, just set the zoom to whatever focal length you want and pretend it's a prime.  :D

 

To get better results than that lens in primes, you'll be looking for Zeiss Super Speeds, (most of) the Illuminas, modern Cooke's, ect. which will cost you large amounts of money.

 

Rent some of those Super Speeds and do a test...a rental house may even be able to put a kit together of several 16mm lenses for you to shoot with over a weekend so you can see what you like/don't like about each. Rental houses always have dusty 16mm lenses sitting back in the corner that never get rented.


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#11 Kane George Jason

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 01:44 PM

@Dom: I thought I’d ask the seller of that 25/1.5 Schneider - he actually knew and said it won't fit. But it's good to know about the bevelling - at very least I can eliminate some lenses off my list that are obviously wider/deeper than the Schneider above.

 

It's also a great help to know that all Arri Bayonet mounts should work!

 

@Will: I'm actually only looking at getting one (a 'normal' lens) for the moment, as I’m playing with the idea of using one focal length for the whole project I’m currently working on. Not having to invest in a whole set of primes, obviously means I can pay a little more for my 'perfect' lens. I guess a couple thousand would be my limit at the moment - but at the same time, if I can find it for $500 like you mentioned above, then I would be happy!

 

In terms of character, sharpness, etc... I'm into realistic drama's, and for me, that character you say might be appealing to some projects, probably applies to all my productions.

 

What a smart trick - it's like having 100 prime lenses in one :-) But I’m yet to test the SR2/zoom combo - so who knows, when I do, it may surprise me! But at the same time, a faster prime could come in handy, plus it would weight a little less which can be a positive with handheld!


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#12 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 04:13 PM

There is a perception that 16mm Zeiss super speeds are expensive.  Over the last couple of years I've seen 16mm Zeiss suoer speeds on eBay sell quite cheap.  But price and value is all relative I guess. 

 

I've seen sets of MK I sell for US$2400.   MK i sets brocken up selling for under US$600 each,  with PL adapters and fitted gears.   Surprisingly,  they didn't sell imediately.   About a year ago I saw a complete MK II set incl 50mm,  Arri B mount,  ex German TV,  German eBay,  sold individually for a total of US$5500.

 

This set of MK II / MK III,  PL mount,  recently sold.  Ex German TV,  sold as singles on German eBay.    Can't remember if there was a 16mm as well.  Total of US$5307.

9.5mm
http://www.ebay.com/...#ht_1114wt_1198

12mm
http://www.ebay.com/...#ht_1053wt_1198

25mm
http://www.ebay.com/...#ht_1053wt_1198

50mm
http://www.ebay.com/...#ht_1059wt_1198

And this set of  3  MK I lenses US$2180
http://www.ebay.com/...#ht_1888wt_1168

 

I guess if people use these lenses for BMCC or BM pocket cam or GH the prices may go up again.  

 

Thinking of Kane choosing a single normal or standard lens for a project.  What do people call standard for 16mm or S16mm.  When we were young,  shooting stills with SLRs,  we saw the world through a 50mm lens.  For me the standard or norm is probably wider than the formula might give.


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#13 Kane George Jason

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 09:00 PM

@Greg: I guess I’ll have to wait it out until the time is right then - I wouldn't mind a 25mm SS for $600!

 

As for what a standard lens is for me - on 35mm it's a 50mm, so on 16mm it's 25mm. Although at the same time, I agree with you - if there's a focal length a little wider than a 25 (or even a little longer), I’d also consider it. But neither should encroach on the wide/long ends of the spectrum.


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#14 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 09:16 PM

Yes old 16mm lenses are still relatively cheap compared to their 35mm brethren - when REDs first appeared 35mm Super Speed sets nearly quadrupled in price.

 

The one exception seems to be C-mounts, which have been discovered by digital stills shooters keen for a 'vintage' look. Try getting a pre-set Switar for a Bolex these days for under $700. This Meyer Kino-Plasmat from the 30s recently went for over $12000! 

http://www.ebay.com/...utorefresh=true

 

But I have a feeling pro 16mm lenses will start to go up in value as more S16 sensor size cameras appear.

 

One note about old lenses like the Schneiders and Zeisses, there can be tremendous variation in quality depending on their state and service history. Many will have a severe image shift when the focus direction is changed, which can only be cured by rebuilding the helical threads. Some of them don't have focus stops so you can unscrew them completely from the mount. They can have a yellowish cast and sometimes strong veiling glare that completely reduces the contrast. So it can be a gamble to invest in them, unless you're OK with that. I would second the advice to rent first and try out some different lenses.

 

FWIW, I dug up some 16mm format Arri St mount lenses we have here at Cameraquip:

 

16mmarrist.jpg
 
From left to right:

Angenieux f/3.5 14.5mm  which fits an SR and covers S16.

Schneider f/1.8 10mm (post '67) which fits but doesn't cover S16.
Schneider f/2 16mm which doesn't fit. (#8998356)
Schneider f/2 25mm which doesn't fit. (#10359692)

 

The Schneiders that don't fit still have a bevel, so I guess I was wrong about that as an indicator.

 


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#15 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 10:03 PM

You may have to be patient with eBay,  and learn some German,  like what they are calling these lenses in the auction title.  Actually those MK I lenses for under US$600 were sold from the USA I think.   Note that the MK I is not as tough mechanically,  maybe the focussing thread is too fine or something,  and everyone complains about the focus markings.  Maybe there aren't enough and the barrel is a lot smaller.

 

The 35mm stills frame was say 36x24mm,  diagonal 43mm.  The S16 frame is say 12.4x7.5mm,  diagonal 14.4mm.  So the S16 lens that might. feel like the SLR's 50mm   would be the 16mm.   (50 x 14.4/43 = 16.7).   After writing that I rappidly got confused wondering what really should define a standard or normal focal length.  Google gave some interesting comments from Rojer Deakins,  but I think he admitted he was maybe confused too.

http://www.rogerdeak...c.php?f=2&t=427

 

Maybe one of the rental companies will give you some free time to look at their primes on your SR.  


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#16 Kane George Jason

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 11:35 PM

@Dom: Yep, demand can have some negative affects!

 

As for c-mounts... I like vintage, but their pretty much out of the questions for my SR2 PL, aren’t they? For a reference of how much I like the vintage – I recently wrote a blog post about my vintage glass on digital camera's...

 

I'm not sure about the the s16 glass going up much more with new camera technology. Most new camera technology, along with all the buzz, is 4k. I don’t really see many more 16mm digital sensors coming out which will create more buzz than the already Black Magic camera's... but in saying that, I'm sure ill be proven wrong! When the pocket rocket is released, i guess that will be the peak for 16mm lens prices.
 

@Greg: Yes, there is a little confusion around about what a 'standard' lens is... I agree with Roger's explanation - the fact a lens doesn’t present any distortions. I also believe that there is also a subjective opinion that has to be taken into account here, as everyone sees the world a little differently with their own eyes.

 

I haven’t used 16mm as much as other formats, so I'm not going to pretend I know everything – it's only relative for me at the minute. For 16mm glass, I guess somewhere between 16-25 will be my main focus.
 

As for renting glass – not an option! I’m from Western Australia, which isn't really know for its film industry. The couple places which do rentals, have nothing I would like to test. The main place only has Zeiss UP & CP's, a few Sony's, a Red and a few other miscellaneous pieces...


Edited by Kane George Jason, 15 May 2013 - 11:39 PM.

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#17 Will Montgomery

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 08:55 AM

As for renting glass – not an option! I’m from Western Australia, which isn't really know for its film industry. The couple places which do rentals, have nothing I would like to test. The main place only has Zeiss UP & CP's, a few Sony's, a Red and a few other miscellaneous pieces...

You might be surprised, most rental places will ship within the country and there has to be some older camera houses in Australia with a wealth of old 16mm lenses laying around. Try them and if you like them make an offer to buy; they'd probably be happy to get rid of them.


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#18 Kane George Jason

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 09:33 AM

@Will: Thanks for the tip - I hadnt thought of the possibility of rental's shipping their gear! Will have to look some up!


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#19 Kane George Jason

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 11:34 PM

I've been checking out a PL mounted Cinema Products Ultra T 16/1.1 - seems real nice. The seller also says it doesn’t have the most modern coatings - what characteristics could I expect from one of these?

 

I'd guess it would be low in contrast and not so flare resistant... But as I understand, these Ultra T's are supposed to be super sharp...

 

Anyone had experience with such CP Ultra's?


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#20 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 01:59 AM

There will be some other threads that might give some ideas.  This was a recent one.  The link to reduser may then point back to some interesting links here.

http://www.cinematog...showtopic=58769

Dom may pop back and he will probably know how these look on the projector.

 

 

 

Although there may not be rental companies with the lenses you want in WA,  is it possible that there are some privately owned.  Find the friendly people.


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