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Cinematic stills project, need proper lens rendition.


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#1 Austin Dudley

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 03:24 PM

Hello all,

 

I'm a student, embarking on a project to shoot cinematic stills. The film stock will be vision3. The cameras are nikon f2, topcon exa mount, and a icarex m42 mount.

 

I would like to imitate the look of Cooke lenses but surely dont have the money for actual cine lenses. Im not opposed to zeiss's cooler look either. I dont know how my that lenses effect colors, outside of the coating, Im ignorant of a good amount of technical bits of what absolutely the lenses can effect other then sharpness contrast and the color effect of coatings. 

 

My question is what lenses will deliver a good cinematic rendition. I understand that the lenses can only deliver a cinematic look as long as the lighting,composition and scene are on par. With that said, alot of cinema I have seen, doesnt depend on ultra sharpness, so Im not hellbent on razor sharp if the lens renders wonderfully. Many of the scenes will be darker lit so Ill be looking at a bit faster lenses. Prefer to shoot wide angle 25-35 maybe 50 for portraits.

 

I have a few lenses Im looking at but thought I would see what more knowledgeable folks had to say about it. 

 

Thank you 


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#2 Dan Hasson

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 03:36 PM

Vision3 still film? Is this cinestill film?


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#3 Austin Dudley

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 04:21 PM

http://www.ebay.com/...BoAAOSw5cNYWKuy

 

I bought a non-expired 100ft roll, its just leftovers from recent movies shot in 35 film.


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#4 Daniel Klockenkemper

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 01:02 AM

Hi Austin, 
 
There are a lot of ways to define "cinematic", and in my opinion the character of a lens is only a very small part of it.  To me, if the choices that were made in creating the image support the narrative of a film defines whether the image is cinematic or not.  Do you have an overarching narrative or theme beyond a "cinematic look"?  
 
For a photo stills project, lighting (hard/soft shadows, contrast ratio, etc.) and compositional choices (deep or shallow focus, depth in staging, proximity of the camera to the subject, etc.) will be the elements that you can apply from cinema, while things like camera movement and editing which derive from the temporal dimension of motion pictures - in my opinion these are much more defining of "cinema" as a medium - are less applicable.  Do consider the "editing" of your project, though, as the order of your images can create an impression on your viewers as much as narrative cinema can.  
 
With all that said, I've certainly tested lenses to find the set that has a rendition that feels right for the project I'm shooting.  I don't know if anyone can tell you what lens will feel right to you; the best way is to handle the lenses in person, put them on a camera, and look through the viewfinder yourself.  Seattle certainly has its share of camera stores that you could visit; and while it's a bit far away, Blue Moon Camera in Portland, Oregon might be worth looking into as well.  
 
There's sometimes a snobbery about prime lenses, in both cinema and still photography, but you could find countless examples of cinematic imagery created with zoom lenses as well, so don't rule them out - the Pentax K 35-105/3.5 is a zoom with wonderful rendering that comes to mind.  
 
Don't get caught up in numbers or technical specifications.  When you put your eye behind a lens and it feels right, you'll know it.
 
Good luck, 
 
Daniel

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#5 Dan Hasson

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 03:19 AM

Daniel's right about defining 'cinematic'.

 

I don't think making something look cinematic is a good way of working when trying to tell a story either through stills or moving image. Unless there is no way you can change your projects theme.

 

As for the lenses - stills lenses are different to cine lenses and so it can be hard to find what you're looking for. I've had some Zeiss P2 lenses on an A7s on a job. We used it to take a group photo at the end of the shoot and thats only because we didn't have any stills lenses. It didn't make the photos seem 'cinematic'.

 

But you should look at other stills photographers work. See if there is anything that you think looks 'cinematic' and would be something that you'd also like to achieve in your own project. 


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#6 Austin Dudley

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 10:53 AM

Agreed!

 

That 35-105 is quite a lovely rendering lens. I like primes for the speed mostly but was looking at the angenieux, leica r, and contax 35-70s(or there about) So not opposed to zooms. The old topcor 58 1.4 renders in a way that Im looking for.

 

The pentax looks like it renders in color, saturation, and contrast a bit like the nikon 35 1.4 ais/af-d

 

The color photos from this guy, render quite wonderfully, tho it looks like he is using quite a thin depth of field, but with the leica m6's max shutter of 1/1000 i cant imagine, in day light, that it was shot wide open, maybe with filters tho. The lenses used in these were voigtlanders. rangefinder of course changes the game a bit. film is vision3t.

 

https://www.flickr.c...s/25825073@N04/

 

Thank you chaps greatly.


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#7 Robert Hart

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Posted 27 August 2017 - 02:55 AM

If your local hock shop or eBay has a Nikon f2.8 45mm prime like this one, maybe give it a try. It is near enough to being a normal lens field-of-view on a 35mm motion picture sized frame. It confers a different "look" to other Nikons. I am not clever enough to analyse that look or what the lens does. It is sometimes referred to as a "pancake" lens.

http://www.ebay.com/...MUAAOSw4GVYSBNT


Edited by Robert Hart, 27 August 2017 - 02:56 AM.

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#8 Bruce Greene

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Posted 27 August 2017 - 12:28 PM

There have been a wide variety of cinema and still lenses manufactured over the years. What the lens was made for doesn't really matter at all.

 

Unless the lens has some obvious imperfections or defects, you'll not notice much difference, if any, between lenses. (aside from focal length).

 

In short, a "cinema" lens does not give a "cinema" effect. 

 

Besides what you put in front of the camera, the film stock or capture medium (digital) and reproduction techniques define how the image will look.  I wouldn't worry much about a lens unless you're looking for some really antique lens with very distinct qualities.


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