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canon lens primes zoom upgrade

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#1 Sam Oddo

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Posted 22 October 2015 - 09:33 AM

Hey Guys,

I'm looking to increase the visual quality of my work by upgrading glass. Right now, I'm primarily working with Canon stills glass (24mm, 50mm, 85mm, 70-200mm), but i want to get a new lens set to take me to the next level. Just for discussions sake, my budget for each lens would be anywhere from $2-5,000. Do you guys have any suggestions? I'm open to either primes or zooms.

Thanks,

Sam


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#2 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 22 October 2015 - 03:42 PM

What do you feel is missing with the lens selection you have now? Focal length, fast aperture, sharpness and contrast, maybe better manual focusing mechanics? What is your total budget for the whole lens set?
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#3 Sam Oddo

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Posted 22 October 2015 - 03:48 PM

Hey Satsuki,

All of my lenses are pretty fast (f1.4-2). Also, I have a good focal range (24mm; 30mm; 50mm; 85mm; 70-200mm). I guess I'm really just looking for an upgrade in mechanics/build quality, less lens breathing, and definitely more sharpness and natural contrast. I'm pitching the new purchase to my boss; however, I don't see us spending more than $4,000 per lens. 


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#4 Sam Oddo

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Posted 22 October 2015 - 03:51 PM

I'm thinking it would be nice to have upgraded primes in a wide and medium (normal) focal length, while reserving a high quality zoom for the telephoto range. Any thoughts between cine and still lenses? I'm currently exploring Zeiss CP.2s, Canon CN-Es and Schneider Xenons.


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#5 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 22 October 2015 - 04:09 PM

The reason I asked about the total lens budget is because if you were looking to get a set of 4-5 primes, then you might be able to instead get one nice zoom that covers the same range for the same price. Other factors would be the type of lens mount you need and which cameras you are going to use them on (larger sensors with no cropping features will limit your options).

Mainly though, the most important consideration is the kind of shoots will you be doing. If you're primarily doing run and gun and interviews, you'll probably be better served with a zoom (or two). If you're doing gimbal work, then you'll definitely want primes. If you'll be shooting often in existing light with a less sensitive camera, you'll definitely want fast apertures. If you're doing narrative with a 1st AC then you definitely want cinema lenses with gears and accurate focus marks. So it all depends.
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#6 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 22 October 2015 - 05:54 PM

Aren't the Schneider Xenon FFs about that sort of price?

 

I just had the Veydra mini-primes, too. Not as much as our correspondent wants to spend, but mechanically nice.


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#7 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 22 October 2015 - 08:16 PM

Aren't the Schneider Xenon FFs about that sort of price?


Yes, they are just about $4k US each. They have a noticeable amount of chromatic aberration and distortion with a medium amount of contrast, but are consistent in look across the set. Comes as either EF or PL, not switchable.

The Zeiss Compact Primes are have more contrast due to the modern Zeiss coatings but vary in stop and performance across the range. Large housings but very lightweight. Don't know if I would refer to them as a 'set' as they're kinda all over the place. The Xenon mechanics feel better to me. EF/PL user switchable, though really best done by a lens technician.

There are also the Sony Cinealta primes - I've only used the Mk1's which are have horrible mechanics and plastic-rubber feel but I've heard the current Mk 3's are actually very good, both optically and mechanically. From what I recall of the Mk1, the look was kinda meh - sharp but without much personality. Looks like B&H is selling a 6 lens PL set for $13k US.

I wouldn't use primes for primarily run and gun shooting or interviews though, but that's just me. There's a guy selling a pair of used Optimo DPs (16-42, 30-80) in the classifieds here for $25k. If you're ok with PL mount and Super35 sensor coverage, that would be my recommendation. Lots of big films shot on these lenses, so they're quite versatile. And they will likely hold decent resale value because they are well known and respected lenses.
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#8 Sam Oddo

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Posted 23 October 2015 - 08:26 AM

Satsuki,

What lens options would you utilize for run-n-gun and interviews?


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#9 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 23 October 2015 - 10:07 AM

Anything run and gun kinda presupposes zooms.


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#10 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 23 October 2015 - 12:09 PM

All I'd say is that you can shoot anything on a zoom; you can't shoot everything on a prime.

 

P


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#11 Sam Oddo

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Posted 23 October 2015 - 02:28 PM

Ok, given a budget of $4,000 (or less) per lens, what zooms would you fellas recommend?


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#12 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 23 October 2015 - 02:54 PM

Do you want one zoom for $4000 (which will be difficult) or one zoom instead of a lens set of six, so you may have $20-30k to play with?

 

P


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#13 Sam Oddo

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Posted 23 October 2015 - 03:00 PM

Hey Phil,

I was thinking one zoom for $4,000... or the best option within a few thousand dollars of that mark.


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#14 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 23 October 2015 - 03:25 PM

That's kind of a hole in current availability. The only zooms that exist for that money are stills types of the sort you aren't that interested in.

 

P


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#15 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 23 October 2015 - 04:00 PM

Were you only planning on getting one prime? $4k cine zooms don't really exist yet. You could look into rehoused stills zooms done by Chinese companies like GL Optics. I've only played with them at trade shows, but as far as I know the only thing avail in that price range.

The other thing you could do if you are really set on an A7S MkII is to go with Sony's E-Mount autofocus stills zooms. I've seen some impressive gimbal work done with that combination. You won't be able to use them on any other cameras, but the autofocus in video mode seems to work decently well. Have not used it myself, but I have to say I'm intrigued.
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#16 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 23 October 2015 - 11:31 PM

There are the old cooke zooms which'll sometimes go for around that price, or an old old Foton zoom. Though not the best idea.


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#17 Mark Kenfield

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Posted 24 October 2015 - 04:37 AM

For run & gun, loosely shot, grab whatever you can style work, I really agree with Satsuki and Adrian, cine zooms are really the only way to go. But they aren't cheap. The Fujinon 19-90mm and Canon 17-120mm really seem like the most appropriate options for that style of work on S35mm sensors, but I doubt they fall within your budget.

 

Prime-wise, at the moment we're really spoilt for choice (for the first time in history) in the affordable end of the cine-lens market. Zeiss CP.2s, Canon CN-Es, Schneider Xenons, Sony Cinealtas, Rokinon Xeens all seem to offer solid optics in proper mechanical housings. None really stand out from the others as they all have their own little quirks and weaknesses here and there. But a set of any of them will offer nice images and the kind of mechanics you need to work smoothly and efficiently on a professional set.


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#18 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 24 October 2015 - 05:16 AM

cine zooms are really the only way to go

 

Obvious as it is to most, I think it's worth pointing out the difference between cine and broadcast zooms in this sort of context. Cinema-oriented lenses tend to have excessive focus rotation and may be too big and heavy for running around with, making even quite heavy cameras rather nose-heavy (they showed Amira with a Fuji 19-90 on it, which was very front heavy, and that's not a light camera). Put it on an FS7 and it's a case of "nice camera you've got dangling from that lens."

 

Broadcast zooms intended for 2/3" video cameras, in B4 mount, tend to be smaller, lighter, faster, cheaper, and with a greater zoom range, especially with optical extenders. 19-90 is only 4.7:1. Broadcast zooms go up to 18-20:1. They also tend to have considerably poorer optical characteristics, but then again, those're the breaks. You can get adaptors to put them on modern big-chip cameras. The adaptors themselves can be expensive and you usually have to operate with the extender in, meaning you don't get the speed, but it can be cheaper than a Fuji or Canon CN and usable for some sorts of work. A decent B4 broadcast zoom, even used, will be US$10k plus, but that's a lot less than a 19-90.

 

There's not so much a gap in the market here as there is a yawning void. With the B4 zoom you're paying a lot of money for optics that you don't need and which sap a lot of light. The world needs a reasonable 8:1-or-so zoom intended for single-chip cameras. It wouldn't need to be the best lens Fuji or Canon had ever made, it doesn't need to be blindingly fast, and it doesn't need an epically long long end, but it does need to be about US$10k.

 

Currently it does not exist.

 

P


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#19 Freya Black

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Posted 24 October 2015 - 06:01 AM

 

Obvious as it is to most, I think it's worth pointing out the difference between cine and broadcast zooms in this sort of context. Cinema-oriented lenses tend to have excessive focus rotation and may be too big and heavy for running around with,

 

Heh heh! I like this! :)

 

Phil you are totally into the shoulder mount TV News camera workflow of old but your outlook on all this is refreshing!

 

Freya


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#20 Freya Black

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Posted 24 October 2015 - 06:09 AM

There are also the Sony Cinealta primes - I've only used the Mk1's which are have horrible mechanics and plastic-rubber feel but I've heard the current Mk 3's are actually very good, both optically and mechanically. From what I recall of the Mk1, the look was kinda meh - sharp but without much personality. Looks like B&H is selling a 6 lens PL set for $13k US.

 

YES! I know what you mean about the look and actually the latest versions still have that kind of look. I actually really like them because I think there is something oddly really pastel-y about them in an strange way. Especially anything even slightly out of focus. Normally I hate bland lenses with no personality but these seem to take it so far that it kind of IS their personality. Only trouble is that I wouldn't want to live with them as my only set of lenses. It would be like only being able to do watercolour paintings. However I'd much rather shoot with the Cine Alta lenses than the Zeiss CP2's which seem to make almost everything look a bit horrible.

 

Freya


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