Jump to content


Photo

HD Lenses


  • Please log in to reply
24 replies to this topic

#1 Jayson Crothers

Jayson Crothers
  • Sustaining Members
  • 351 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, CA

Posted 29 June 2005 - 06:09 PM

I've been hired to shoot an HD feature (my first feature in HD) and the producers have an agreement with the financiers that we be able to make a print of the film when it's completed. Given that my HD experience has been limited to productions staying on various video formats, the tolerance for lens performance has been a bit lower - additionally, I've always been at the whim of what was available, and now there's a bit of money to go after the equipment I want/need.

So, I'm looking for input on HD lenses to look at and ones to avoid. I'm meeting with Band Pro next week to discuss the digi-primes, but with our short schedule, the director has specifically asked me about shooting on a zoom to help speed things along, so I'm really looking for thoughts on the various zooms available out there.

I appreciate all thoughts - thanks!
  • 0

#2 Elhanan Matos

Elhanan Matos
  • Sustaining Members
  • 432 posts
  • Digital Image Technician
  • Santa Monica, CA

Posted 29 June 2005 - 07:48 PM

The only lenses you should really avoid are the Angenieux HD lenses. The Canons are decent, but not great if you're going to be projecting your movie, the Fuji lenses would be my second choice. I think you'll find the Digiprimes to be great lenses. Make sure to check out the 3.9mm and our Digizoom.
  • 0

#3 Tomas Koolhaas

Tomas Koolhaas
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 334 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • los angeles

Posted 29 June 2005 - 08:03 PM

Hello Jayson,
I rented a good Cannon "Cine Style" Zoom from Birns and Sawyer for an HD short I shot, we were originally using the digiprimes but the director wasn't very sure about the framing he wanted so he wanted to use a zoom lense instead of having to change lenses all the time. The footage from the digiprimes is noticabley cleaner and a bit sharper than the Cannon zoom (on a 17" HD monitor, I haven't seen it on a big screen yet) but I really think that the difference was very slight and the cannon held up pretty well. I actually liked the warmth of colors on the Cannon lense.
Good luck.
Tomas.
  • 0

#4 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19769 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 29 June 2005 - 08:10 PM

There are some early generations of Canon and Fujinon zooms in the roughly 7.8 to 144mm range that breathe like HELL so I'd avoid these. Otherwise, I've been fine with the quality of the newer Canon and Fujinon HD zooms.

There's always a trade-off in zooms; the best optically are large and heavy, so I've been willing to live with something less than the best just for a more manageable size & weight.
  • 0

#5 Tomas Koolhaas

Tomas Koolhaas
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 334 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • los angeles

Posted 29 June 2005 - 08:13 PM

Hello,
I can't remeber the range that the cannon zoom was but I remember that me and my 1st AC were very impressed at how little it breathed, especially for an HD zoom lense, it was also VERY big and heavy.
  • 0

#6 Mike Brennan

Mike Brennan
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 581 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • London

Posted 30 June 2005 - 10:45 AM

By and large 1st Generation lenses are to be avoided.

The Fuji super zooms have combination of high quality and fast stop, high weight and that is reflected in rental rates.


Other Fujis are on a par with the 2nd gen T2 Canons in my view.
Zeiss zoom is as good as any.


Colour fringing from the prism is a particular concern to me recently something that effects the picture, regardless of lens. It varies betweeen cameras.

The new Canon primes should also be considered, Panavision in France brought a truckload.





Mike Brennan
  • 0

#7 Elhanan Matos

Elhanan Matos
  • Sustaining Members
  • 432 posts
  • Digital Image Technician
  • Santa Monica, CA

Posted 05 July 2005 - 03:27 AM

" The Canons are decent, but not great if you're going to be projecting your movie"

I take back everything I said about the Canon cine style lenses... I just got through a week as the First AC and DIT on a short film shooting on the F900 with two Canon zooms, the HJ11x4.7 and the HJ21x7.5, and from now on I will do my best to AVOID these lenses as much as I can! They're atrocious lenses... every single aspect of the lenses were terrible, barrel distortion occured all the way up to about 15mm (thats equivalent to a 40mm in 35), they vignetted at every focal length, color fringing was so bad on the wider side of the lense I was able to notice it on our 9" monitor, they were soft on all the edges, we lost about a stop at the longer focal lengths (about 30mm-52mm on the HJ11x4.7), and finally the back focus ring is the exact same ring that's on the ENG lenses, turning the ring 1/1000th of a nanometer will throw your back focus completely out, making it very time consuming to set your backfocus.

Sorry about the rant, but i've never been so frustrated with a lens before.

We're going on a four day break before we finish up next week, and I'm going to make sure to switch those lenses out for some Fuji's during the next prep (unfortunately the rental house doesn't carry Digiprimes).
  • 0

#8 Kevin Zanit

Kevin Zanit
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1223 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • LA

Posted 05 July 2005 - 03:47 AM

Although I have never worked with the Canon's before, I will second Elhanan's comments on them for the simple reason that almost every day this week that I talked to Elhanan, he was bitching about these lenses :) - thus I tend to believe him.

All that said, I was definitely test all your options yourself just to see for yourself.


Kevin Zanit
  • 0

#9 Mike Brennan

Mike Brennan
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 581 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • London

Posted 05 July 2005 - 05:27 AM

" The Canons are decent, but not great if you're going to be projecting your movie"

I take back everything I said about the Canon cine style lenses... I just got through a week as the First AC and DIT on a short film shooting on the F900 with two Canon zooms, the HJ11x4.7 and the HJ21x7.5, and from now on I will do my best to AVOID these lenses as much as I can!  They're atrocious lenses... every single aspect of the lenses were terrible, barrel distortion occured all the way up to about 15mm (thats equivalent to a 40mm in 35), they vignetted at every focal length, color fringing was so bad on the wider side of the lense I was able to notice it on our 9" monitor, they were soft on all the edges, we lost about a stop at the longer focal lengths (about 30mm-52mm on the HJ11x4.7), and finally the back focus ring is the exact same ring that's on the ENG lenses, turning the ring 1/1000th of a nanometer will throw your back focus completely out, making it very time consuming to set your backfocus.

Sorry about the rant, but i've never been so frustrated with a lens before.

We're going on a four day break before we finish up next week, and I'm going to make sure to switch those lenses out for some Fuji's during the next prep (unfortunately the rental house doesn't carry Digiprimes).

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



Wait a minute so what zooms have you been using?
I've been using the 11x and 21x for 4 years.
There is serious colour fringing on similar priced wide angle Fujis and yes also the much more expensive Zeiss!
Fuji lenses of similar price have the same backfocus ring.
Zero breathing on the Canon 21x.

Lose a stop at the end of the lens? Canon and Fuji have always gone the route of giving max focal length range, rather than constant stop. Its their choice of design for a market segment that (apart from you) understands that the last 10% of focal lenght is better having portholed and a stop slower than not at all.
The market uses video monitorig and exposure measurement.
Film market expects the lens to be same stop as they set by exposure meter and tend not to have means of riding the exposure during a shot. So Fuji super zooms and new Canons, which stop short of max zoom range to enable constant stop are designed/marketed for this market segment.


Its not a fault!

If you want a lens that has constant stop and less focal lenght range then use the other Canon wide the 6 x 8.
Vignetted at every focal lenght? Soft on all the edges?
Not quite as bad as that!
Gee I've done many test charts shot at 15mm or so and they are dead square.

Your frame of reference seems to be Zeiss primes which is fine but unrealistic. Your frame of reference for zooms should be Fuji super zooms.

I for one would be pretty pissed off if my 1st AC wanted to change lenses for the reasons you give above, if he could persude the producer to rent Super Zooms then he would have my vote.


Sure a prime will always be better than a zoom, so what else is new?





Mike Brennan
  • 0

#10 Phil Rhodes

Phil Rhodes
  • Sustaining Members
  • 11944 posts
  • Other

Posted 05 July 2005 - 06:33 AM

Hi,

> they vignetted at every focal length

Did you set the lens shading on the camera? It will tend to counteract this as much as is possible for a single adjustment for every focal length.

As for losing stop at the long end... well, yeah, it's the least objectionable compromise. At least you can see it happen on video.

Shouldn't fringe though.

Phil
  • 0

#11 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19769 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 05 July 2005 - 11:39 AM

Canons and Fujinons are similar, but there have been a couple of generations of HD zooms since 2000, so you have to choose carefully. Do your research. Talk to the manufacturers -- they know the strengths and weaknesses of each model.

And generally the best zooms optically are either very short in range or if not, very large and heavy (like the Ang. Optimo HD, for example.) Or expensive, like the new Fujinon E-Series. Or all of those.
  • 0

#12 Elhanan Matos

Elhanan Matos
  • Sustaining Members
  • 432 posts
  • Digital Image Technician
  • Santa Monica, CA

Posted 05 July 2005 - 01:45 PM

Did you set the lens shading on the camera? It will tend to counteract this as much as is possible for a single adjustment for every focal length.


Phil,

I have to admit I didn't do any lens shading myself for this shoot, for two reasons, the rental house didn't provide me with the proper environment to do this and the lens files were already there for the two lenses I was using.

Your frame of reference seems to be Zeiss primes which is fine but unrealistic. Your frame of reference for zooms should be Fuji super zooms.


Mike,

You're absolutely right about everything you said. For the past year or so I have been working exclusively with the Zeiss Digiprimes, mainly because I had access to three sets of primes and the Digizoom for months before it was released, so it's only natural for me to use those lenses as a reference.

I'll try to get a few stills of some of the wider shots with the vignetting and color fringing. If you're saying these lenses aren't that bad then my guess is this particular lens has some major problems with it.
  • 0

#13 Mike Brennan

Mike Brennan
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 581 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • London

Posted 05 July 2005 - 03:26 PM

Phil,

If you're saying these lenses aren't that bad then my guess is this particular lens has some major problems with it.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


At 4.7mm T2.1 the fringing on the edges is very noticable to us, oddly enough the audience do not notice it.

Its effect variers from camera to camera too, which could be differences in optical block alignment.

At 5.5mm it is much better.
The regular HD Fuji zooms and even the zeiss zoom at the wide end are the same.

I recently returned a f950 and two Fuji lenses due to colour fringing. We had a viper as a comparison to check the lenses.

The point is to tune your eye in to what to expect from these lenses before the shoot, so you know ahh yes this is normal! (usually worse on left side of frame)

Anything wider than 6mm on a zoom is apparent, to us at least.
If it remains the same on tighter focal lengths its an optical block/ lens mount problem... or a monitor problem.


Mike Brennan
  • 0

#14 Elhanan Matos

Elhanan Matos
  • Sustaining Members
  • 432 posts
  • Digital Image Technician
  • Santa Monica, CA

Posted 05 July 2005 - 04:59 PM

If it remains the same on tighter focal lengths its an optical block/ lens mount problem... or a monitor problem.


I know the monitor is fine because we had two and they both matched perfectly. The vignetting was so apparent that it showed up on our shitty onboard monitor. I wouldn't be able to tell if it was the lens or the optical block though, I didn't really get a proper prep for this show, the rental house is Wexler Video and is a great place to get a camera for run and gun ENG work, but isn't really that great for anything else.
  • 0

#15 Markus Rave

Markus Rave
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 103 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Frankfurt, Germany

Posted 06 July 2005 - 03:31 AM

I have been shooting HD using Fujinon Zooms a couple of months ago. We had a HD ENG style wideangle and a cinestyle 7.8 - 144. Comparing the 2 lenses on the monitor I found the wideangle to be much softer and of less detail than the cinestyle. Time goes on and there seems to be a lot of movement on the market. Has any of you guys had the chance to compare if there still is a significant difference between the ENG and cinestyles of the newer series of lenses?

Markus
  • 0

#16 Xander

Xander

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 1 posts

Posted 08 July 2005 - 01:10 AM

Has any of you guys had the chance to compare if there still is a significant difference between the ENG and cinestyles of the newer series of lenses?

Markus

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



I just recently asked that question at NAB and was told that the glass used in the cine lenses and the ENG lenses can be identical- depending on which lenses you compare. There are some basic cine versions of lenses that are no different than simply removing the servo control (zoom, aperature) from the typical ENG lens- same size and function. Then there are the more expensive cine versions that are heavier, longer in physical length, large front elements, sharper, no focus breathing, etc. I dont think any of the cine zooms made by Cannon or Fuji have T-stops like the Zeiss DigiZoom and possibly the Angeniux Optimo. T-stop zoom lenses are in their own price bracket to themselves. Someday we'll have an affordable option...

I will say that I recently purchased the new Fuji super zoom 7.3-160mm 22x lens and think it looks incredible. It does fall off over a stop if your shooting below a 2.5 and on the very end of the lens, it's a little heavier, and physically longer, but it's razor sharp throughout. I can see a difference between this new lens to some first generation HD lenses for sure.

Alexander
  • 0

#17 Kai.w

Kai.w
  • Guests

Posted 08 July 2005 - 03:12 PM

I've seen some serious color fringing (what's the word "aberration"?) issues in footage shot with zeiss digiprimes.
Took some really delicate color correction to get rid of it.

Resolution seemed good though.

-k
  • 0

#18 Mike Brennan

Mike Brennan
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 581 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • London

Posted 08 July 2005 - 07:20 PM

..... There are some basic cine versions of lenses that are no different than simply removing the servo control (zoom, aperature) from the typical ENG lens- same size and function. 
.....I dont think any of the cine zooms made by Cannon or Fuji have T-stops like the Zeiss DigiZoom and possibly the Angeniux Optimo...

Alexander

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Alexander, the above is a little confusing. There are no HD Video style lenses that are marketed without the servo.
Lenses that are available in cinestyle may use same glass but have completly different mechanics that provide improved functionality for "film style" use namely improved focus barrell rotation.

Second part of the post is also vauge. What do you mean by Cannon and Fuji have no t stops like Zeiss zoom? Do you refer to speed? Fuji has faster zoms than the Zeiss for 20% more, Canon and Fuji both have slower zooms for 50% less.

Please clarify.


Mike Brennan

Edited by mike, 08 July 2005 - 07:20 PM.

  • 0

#19 Elhanan Matos

Elhanan Matos
  • Sustaining Members
  • 432 posts
  • Digital Image Technician
  • Santa Monica, CA

Posted 09 July 2005 - 10:40 PM

I've seen some serious color fringing (what's the word "aberration"?) issues in footage shot with zeiss digiprimes.
Took some really delicate color correction to get rid of it.

Resolution seemed good though.

-k

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



Kai,

Every lens will have some color fringing. I will guarantee you if you take any other lens and put it on that same camera in the same situation, you will have the same, but most likely worse color fringing. If you want to test the performance of a lens put it on a lens projector that way you can actually measure how much color fringing you will have. I've spent countless hours projecting the Digiprimes, the Canon Primes, and the Fuji E Primes. There is a big difference between the three, the most prominant being resolution.
  • 0

#20 Mike Brennan

Mike Brennan
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 581 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • London

Posted 10 July 2005 - 03:31 PM

Kai,

Every lens will have some color fringing.  I will guarantee you if you take any other lens and put it on that same camera in the same situation, you will have the same, but most likely worse color fringing.  If you want to test the performance of a lens put it on a lens projector that way you can actually measure how much color fringing you will have.  I've spent countless hours projecting the Digiprimes, the Canon Primes, and the Fuji E Primes.  There is a big difference between the three, the most prominant being resolution.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



Test the lens on a camera too because lens manufacturers design the lens to work with CCDs.
The bottom line is what ends up on screen.
Elhanan, have you made a comparative test to
1/ HD video
2/Film out to

I know a publication that would be interested in publishing such a test



Mike Brennan
  • 0


Broadcast Solutions Inc

Ritter Battery

Opal

Aerial Filmworks

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Metropolis Post

Wooden Camera

Rig Wheels Passport

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Glidecam

Tai Audio

Visual Products

The Slider

Willys Widgets

Paralinx LLC

Abel Cine

CineLab

CineTape

Technodolly

rebotnix Technologies

FJS International, LLC

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Opal

CineLab

Technodolly

rebotnix Technologies

Abel Cine

Aerial Filmworks

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Metropolis Post

Glidecam

Willys Widgets

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

The Slider

Rig Wheels Passport

Paralinx LLC

Visual Products

FJS International, LLC

Ritter Battery

CineTape

Tai Audio

Wooden Camera