I'm strongly considering moving from a set of CP.2 primes to a pair of compact zooms to speed things up on set (I'm generally shooting single-camera narrative, with a bit of commercial work here and there), and I was wondering if people could share their thoughts on the options out there at the moment.
We seem a little spoilt for choice with 'affordable' compact zooms at the moment, there's:
- Angenieux DPs 16-42mm and 30-80mm
- Zeiss Compact Zooms 15-30mm, 28-80mm and 70-200mm
- Arri Alluras 15-45mm and 30-80mm
- Canon CN-Es 15.5-47mm and 30-105mm
Each seems to have their pros and cons:
- The Angies are lovely, but top out at 80mm.
- The Zeisses cover vistavision, but 15-30mm is a bit limited and would require more frequent lens changes than other options, and as nice as having 28-200mm covered in just two lenses would be, I think I'd feel limited on the (28mm) wide end at times with that combo.
- The Alluras seem nice, but a little clean/uninspiring optically for my tastes
- The Canons cover the most appealing focal range of the lot, but their combination of warmth and high contrast seems like it would be hard to match with a set of conventional cine primes.
Haris, unfortunately those are all way outside of my price range, two $20k lenses is where I top out (which is why the range of the Canons is extra appealing).
How much time does a lens change typically take?
A lens change is generally 1-2 minutes depending on how much crap is hanging off the camera, but it's not just lens changes, it's being able to fine-tune framing without constantly having to move the tripod/slider/jib around. Anything that gives me more time to light and acquire additional coverage is a big deal for me.
Do these zooms have to intercut with your Compact Primes? If so, then the Zeiss zooms are prob your best bet. I like the 70-200, haven't really tried the others. You could just get the medium and long zooms, and supplement the wide end with Compact Primes.
I chose the Canon cine zooms; in my opinion they are the best bang for the buck. What ended up swinging my decision was the Duclos mod for a universal mount, adapting easily to EF, PL, and PV. Being able to use the lenses on any camera, including film cameras with reflex viewfinders, makes a big difference.
Also, I find because of the focal length range, I rarely have to switch back and forth. I almost never need anything wider, and 15.5-47 is great range for handheld. The 30-105 is a better looking lens with less distortion, so I prefer to use that one as much as possible unless I need to go super wide. As for the warm look, I really like it. Sharp but still flattering on faces. I just wish the long zoom was a little bit longer. Would love to see the Canon equivalent of Fujinon's 75-300.
2 years ago I bought the 2 compacts zooms from Canon. I have to say that they perform amazingly. Just stellar piece of glass. And also very underestimated by the industry so far. But it should change because there is nothing better on the market for the buck. I also had problem color matching with my set of standard primes. After some research, I know the color match pretty close with Cooke and... The Canon Cine primes perfectly. Another well kept secret and unevaluated tools in the film industry. After testing them, I sold my standard set and bought a complete set of Canon primes. Such a good price for the buck. Yes they just make them in EF mount but you can modified them PL at Duclos Lens.
Canon make amazing glass. All color match perfectly. I'm very impress with them. Here are 2 interested links:
Thanks for your thoughts Alexis, I had the Canon CN-E primes in mind for a possible future addition (if I go with the Canon zooms), it'd be a nice combination to have the two compact zooms and the four 'superspeed' Canons for times when you need the extra couple of stops or the smaller size/weight of a prime lens.
Thanks Satsuki! Some great looking stuff there. Wow... they really are bitingly sharp lenses - even through heavy diffusion like a net they don't let up.
How do you find distortion on the 15.5-47mm? The only thing I'm not too fond of in the samples I've seen so far, is the apparent barrel distortion on the widest shots. Is there a focal range at which that more obvious wide-end distortion goes away?
There's definitely some weird distortion going on in the 15.5-47. When I was looking to purchase, I took a trip down to Duclos Lenses and had Matthew put them up on the projector for me. There's some barrel at 15.5, then as you zoom in it lessens and becomes 'mustache' distortion at some point, sort of a combination of barrel on the perimeter and pincushion on the inside. In real world shooting, I don't find it to be a big issue but if I was doing a lot of VFX shots, I might choose to go with different lenses. I suspect it's pretty hard to design a lens with that wide of a focal length in that small size and weight without those compromises. It's kind of shocking to actually see lenses projected, as you will see all of their flaws and what they can get away with on a daily basis. I highly recommend it before purchasing. I did consider looking at the Optimo 16-42 and the Zeiss 15.5-45 but in the end I wanted a matching set and I don't regret it.
Sorry the link didn't work for you. I have not had any issues while watching the film, very weird.