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Huge Vintage Lens Test

canon nikon cooke leica lomo kowa arri zeiss superspeeds masterprimes

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#1 Brent Barbano

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Posted 30 August 2016 - 12:43 PM

Hey guys! My company, ShareGrid, collaborated with Duclos Lenses and other independent DP's to build one of the largest vintage lens test library. Set to release next month, you can check out our teaser below:

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=gJZWUT1q3Vs

 

We'll have side-by-side players so you can view almost an focal length of any set of lens and really see the differences. As well as stats, testimonials and R3D files to download. Here are the lenses we tested:

 

VINTAGE

-Canon K35s

-Cooke Panchros

-Kowas

-Leica Rs

-Lomos

-Nikon AI-S (Duclos Cine-mod)

-Zeiss Super Speeds MKIII

 

MODERN

-ARRI Master Primes (as our control)

 

I'd love any testimonials from any DP's who have shot with any of these lenses before. We want to include as many professional opinions as possible on this test page! Let me know if you'd like to be involved.


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#2 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 30 August 2016 - 01:15 PM

This sounds awesome. Will there be price tags aside each name as a sort of economic ranking?


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#3 Brent Barbano

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Posted 30 August 2016 - 01:19 PM

Great idea! I'll be sure to try and include that. The problem is, vintage lenses can vary a lot in price. Based on condition, and which series they are. So we'll probably have to provide a price range rather than a hard price. Master Primes will be the only set that we can accurately provide a price on because they are not vintage. But I'm open to suggestions on how to best display this.


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#4 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 30 August 2016 - 02:02 PM

I once made a small video on DSLR video for beginners and every price I displayed for bodies and lenses was designated as "eBay's BUY IT NOW rate as of December 2015". Your price range idea also works, could be a reveal to which vintage lenses have become overrated relative to price.


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#5 Brent Barbano

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Posted 30 August 2016 - 02:03 PM

Yea that's very true. Prices are so inflated right now bc they are in such high demand...


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#6 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 30 August 2016 - 09:00 PM

Something of a mishmash of lenses there, proper cinema glass with MkIII Zeiss Super Speeds and the older Cooke Panchros, 80s anamorphics in the Kowas and Lomos (I assume they're anamorphics?), and then still photography lenses with the Leica Rs and Nikons. Widest apertures ranging anywhere from T1.3 to what T3.5?

I guess tests like these are helpful to get a general sense of how some lenses can look, which usually means what aberrations they exhibit at full aperture. But there's always the complications of what the particular camera sensor adds, what grading might have been applied, the condition of the individual vintage lens and the problems inherent in comparing different wide apertures, or anamorphic to spherical. Plus the mechanics of still lenses can sometimes limit what kinds of shots are repeatable, or how well they can be focussed, which is something these sorts of tests don't usually address but can certainly impact the look in real world shoots.

These are just observations on lens tests in general, not meant to be disparaging. Well done organising the shoot. Some Super Baltars would have been nice to include, but I know it can be tricky getting that many lens sets together at once.
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#7 Brent Barbano

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 12:32 AM

All valid points Dom. I agree completely. It's never a perfect test. Old glass will vary from set to set. Luckily, all of our sets were in pretty amazing condition. We sadly had to limit our shoot to what we could accomplish in two days but I wish we could've shot more. Super Baltars were on the list! Trust me! I wanted them. But our provider fell through at the last minute and with the shoot set in place, we had to forge ahead and do with out them. :-(

 

We shot them all wide open (T1.3 for example) and then at their next aperture (so T2.8 or sometimes T4) to show the differences.

 

We tried to cover some of the popular lenses used now in cinema...whether they were cinema lenses from the start or cine-mod from stills. Leica Rs seem to be pretty popular in the indie world right now so we thought it'd be nice to throw them into the test.

 

And Lomos are the only anamorphics actually. We originally we're going to stick to only sphericals for this test and focus on vintage anamorphics next time, but once we had the opportunity to shoot with these, we had to do it. FYI Master Primes are only in there as a foundation to compare to which can seem a bit random at first.

 

I'd love to hear what you'd like to see in the next round, if we ever get the chance to do this again!


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#8 Jay Young

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 04:25 AM

All valid points Dom. I agree completely. It's never a perfect test. Old glass will vary from set to set. Luckily, all of our sets were in pretty amazing condition. We sadly had to limit our shoot to what we could accomplish in two days but I wish we could've shot more. Super Baltars were on the list! Trust me! I wanted them. But our provider fell through at the last minute and with the shoot set in place, we had to forge ahead and do with out them. :-(

 

We shot them all wide open (T1.3 for example) and then at their next aperture (so T2.8 or sometimes T4) to show the differences.

 

We tried to cover some of the popular lenses used now in cinema...whether they were cinema lenses from the start or cine-mod from stills. Leica Rs seem to be pretty popular in the indie world right now so we thought it'd be nice to throw them into the test.

 

And Lomos are the only anamorphics actually. We originally we're going to stick to only sphericals for this test and focus on vintage anamorphics next time, but once we had the opportunity to shoot with these, we had to do it. FYI Master Primes are only in there as a foundation to compare to which can seem a bit random at first.

 

I'd love to hear what you'd like to see in the next round, if we ever get the chance to do this again!

 

Hearing this leaves me somewhat disappointed.  As someone who almost never shoots wide open, that part of the test is not so important to me. I wonder why these tests are never done at a decent shooting stop.  I assumed this would just be another wide open test, like everything else on Vimeo these days, but no T5.6?  

 

And I am bummed about the Baltars, as probably my favorite vintage lens set, it would be nice to see them in a side by side. Again, they don't look their best wide open. 

 

Did you really shoot the anamorphics wide open?  What is the actual purpose of that then?

 

Did you do any tests with motion in the frame, as I suggested on your Reddit post?


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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 08:40 AM

I think the idea is that today, most people who choose old optics are deliberately using them for their defects and artifacts -- at f/5.6, most lenses look similar in quality, at least in terms of sharpness.


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#10 Brent Barbano

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 01:27 PM

Jay,

 

Not sure what Reddit post you're referring to. Perhaps someone else shared it there? And I'm sorry you're disappointed before ever seeing the final product.

 

As David pointed out, vintage glass has a resurgence because of their defects...and sometimes, you cannot highlight some of those defects at a T5.6.

 

All of that being said, I appreciate your feed back Jay and will certainly take that into account the next time we do a test. Maybe you can fly out to Los Angeles and help us do it. We aim to do modern lenses soon which will be a different test.

 

We had our model turn her head to either side and we also panned the camera left to right to show off vignetting and distortion as well as movement.

 

We shot close to 50 lenses and had limited time and money to do it. So shooting at another stop just wasn't in the budget as we made new clips for every aperture. We hope this will be useful for some filmmakers out there...


Edited by Brent Barbano, 31 August 2016 - 01:27 PM.

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#11 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 06:26 PM

I'll say this much, I think seeing a lens wide open is far more important then a lens closed down. It really tells you how good the glass is. As David points out, glass becomes more similar when stopped down. The need for good/high speed glass is really only warranted when near to all the way open.

Whenever I do a shoot, first thing I do is test lenses all the way open and figure out how much they can be pushed.

Looking forward to seeing the test! Thanks for sharing. :)
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#12 Jay Young

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 07:17 PM

Jay,

 

Not sure what Reddit post you're referring to. Perhaps someone else shared it there? And I'm sorry you're disappointed before ever seeing the final product.

 

As David pointed out, vintage glass has a resurgence because of their defects...and sometimes, you cannot highlight some of those defects at a T5.6.

 

All of that being said, I appreciate your feed back Jay and will certainly take that into account the next time we do a test. Maybe you can fly out to Los Angeles and help us do it. We aim to do modern lenses soon which will be a different test.

 

We had our model turn her head to either side and we also panned the camera left to right to show off vignetting and distortion as well as movement.

 

We shot close to 50 lenses and had limited time and money to do it. So shooting at another stop just wasn't in the budget as we made new clips for every aperture. We hope this will be useful for some filmmakers out there...

 

Brent, 

I'm sure the test will be of great benefit to myself and many others!  I may, perhaps, be confusing two different tests and for that I apologize if I am.  I would love to be a part of the next test, maybe I can throw in a couple hundred to rent that elusive Baltar set for the day.  I'm sorry if I sound condescending,  sometimes I come across that way and don't mean to be.   

 

I'll say this much, I think seeing a lens wide open is far more important then a lens closed down. It really tells you how good the glass is. As David points out, glass becomes more similar when stopped down. The need for good/high speed glass is really only warranted when near to all the way open.

Whenever I do a shoot, first thing I do is test lenses all the way open and figure out how much they can be pushed.

Looking forward to seeing the test! Thanks for sharing. :)

 

 

I guess I can understand that, Tyler - its just that I've never ever seen a test that took different brands of the same focal length and compared them side by side at a decent stop.  Perhaps I'm one of the few that doesn't shoot wide open all the time.  Or, maybe I'm just wrong. 

 

Anyhow, sorry to ruffle the feathers. 


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#13 Brent Barbano

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 08:11 PM

I'll say this much, I think seeing a lens wide open is far more important then a lens closed down. It really tells you how good the glass is. As David points out, glass becomes more similar when stopped down. The need for good/high speed glass is really only warranted when near to all the way open.

Whenever I do a shoot, first thing I do is test lenses all the way open and figure out how much they can be pushed.

Looking forward to seeing the test! Thanks for sharing. :)

Tyler I agree. Thanks for chiming in!

 

 

Brent, 

I'm sure the test will be of great benefit to myself and many others!  I may, perhaps, be confusing two different tests and for that I apologize if I am.  I would love to be a part of the next test, maybe I can throw in a couple hundred to rent that elusive Baltar set for the day.  I'm sorry if I sound condescending,  sometimes I come across that way and don't mean to be.   

 

 

 

I guess I can understand that, Tyler - its just that I've never ever seen a test that took different brands of the same focal length and compared them side by side at a decent stop.  Perhaps I'm one of the few that doesn't shoot wide open all the time.  Or, maybe I'm just wrong. 

 

Anyhow, sorry to ruffle the feathers. 

Jay, it's all good! I know where you're coming from. Constructive input is always welcomed on this forum. Regardless, I'm excited to get this test out for all of us to use. And from there, hopefully we can do more and refine the process. And yes to the Baltars. Let's do it :-) I'll be sure to post here once its done.


Edited by Brent Barbano, 31 August 2016 - 08:12 PM.

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#14 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 08:36 PM

It's a valid question, Jay. If no test shows you what a lens looks like stopped down, you might conceivably think that the aberrations visible wide open could still be there at a deeper stop. And in fact 2 out of the 7 main lens aberrations are unaffected by aperture - distortion (barrel, pincushion or a mixture) and lateral colour (one of the 2 chromatic aberrations). Some other aberrations, like astigmatism, are also slower to correct by stopping down than spherical aberration, or coma, which improve quite quickly. Sometimes the apparent contrast improves more with one lens than another.

 

So you have a point that testing at the sweet spot of a lens can still tell you something, especially with vintage lenses. It's just that testing wide open will reveal much more about the fundamental "character" of a lens, and helps to differentiate between them. As others have said, in a lot of cases there is not much difference to be seen between lenses at T5.6, except perhaps the iris shape in out-of-focus highlights.

 

When I check a lens on a test projector, I always start wide open, to reveal all the flaws and to check the focus scale where the DOF is shallowest. Stopping down then tells me when certain aberrations are minimised. Almost always the most apparent ones diminish about 2 stops down. Some lenses improve dramatically (particularly older or high speed ones), others (like Master Primes) hardly change at all. Sometimes, like with older anamorphics, the corner resolution lags far behind the improvements in the centre, and even 3 stops down it can still be a bit mushy in the corners. 

 

As an aside, a few years back I did a quick comparison of the bokeh of some vintage lenses - Speed Panchros, Super Baltars, Super Speeds, Schneiders, a few very old 30s and 40s cine lenses, and some more modern examples in Ultra Primes and S4s. It was actually surprising how different the bokeh sometimes looked, with each lens set to around T2. The Super Baltars in particular had an almost watercolour blobbiness to them. Go to the Alexa screen shots at the end of the post:

 

cinetinker.blogspot.com/2013/10/comparing-lenses-blur-characteristics.html


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#15 Brent Barbano

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Posted 28 September 2016 - 03:29 PM

Hey guys. It is finally here! Our Ultimate Vintage Lens Test. With 40 lenses, 8 sets ranging from, ARRI, Canon, Cooke, Kowa, Leica, Lomo, Nikon and Zeiss.

 

We have stats, a bokeh chart, R3Ds, fun videos, behind the scenes and most importantly, a 4x side-by-side player where you can view 4 of the 80 test videos at one time! Enjoy! Special thanks to Duclos Lenses and Old Fast Glass.

 

http://blog.sharegri...inema-lens-test


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#16 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 29 September 2016 - 04:14 AM

You're a god, been waiting for a free resource center like this for years.

 

Will this be a "fashion never finished" sort of deal where lenses keep getting added to the selection?


Edited by Macks Fiiod, 29 September 2016 - 04:15 AM.

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#17 Brent Barbano

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Posted 29 September 2016 - 11:55 AM

Macks, Thanks so much! That's very nice of you. 

 

Yes, That is the hope! We want to keep adding, including more anamorphics, both modern and vintage, high-end modern and mid-level modern lenses. Cheers to hopefully more!


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