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Are Lomos a bad choice?


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#1 Adam Paul

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Posted 07 September 2005 - 06:03 PM

I?m a film student and want to buy a 35mm camera. I?m thinking Konvas or an Arri. The cameras are not really the problem, since they are both quite affordable. The problem is with the lenses, because I would like to get primes instead of a zoom. I can?t afford UltraPrimes or S4?s and I don?t want to go for the older Schneider or Angenieux stuff. I was advised Lomos are much better and they seem to be fairly affordable.
But a very good friend told me Lomos are not good. I should stay away from the Russian stuff. He said if I want to go Lomo, I might as well shoot with high quality still primes and would get better results. He says Lomos are soft. But softer than still lenses?
So what?s the general opinion on that?
I would also like to ask, what would be an useful set of primes for feature production? I can?t afford a 6 or more set, so I might have to do with 3 or 4 Lomos. Is it possible going through a whole feature with 3 or 4 lenses? Should I go for the fastest ones? Old and newer Lomos are same quality? Newer meaning 80's or so. Can't afford the very new ones.
I don't want the anamorphic ones by the way.
Thank you.

Edited by Adampaul, 07 September 2005 - 06:11 PM.

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#2 Nate Downes

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Posted 07 September 2005 - 06:05 PM

I've used russian lenses before, found them on-par with quality Japanese and German glass.

My Meteor and my Lomo have never let me down for sharpness.
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#3 Adam Paul

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Posted 07 September 2005 - 06:07 PM

Thank you. Would you have any remarks about my other questions?
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#4 Nate Downes

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Posted 07 September 2005 - 06:12 PM

Alright, one at a time:

>I would also like to ask, what would be an useful set of primes for feature production?
I can?t afford a 6 or more set, so I might have to do with 3 or 4 Lomos. Is it possible going through a whole feature with 3 or 4 lenses?

I've done most of my work with only 4 primes: 8mm, 24mm, 50mm and 85mm


>Should I go for the fastest ones?

Only if you like a shallow DOF. Also, they tend to be a bit soft above f2 in general if you get ones older than 1975.


>Old and newer Lomos are same quality? Newer meaning 80's or so. Can't afford the very new ones.

Mostly, just see my comment about softness above f2.
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#5 Adam Paul

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Posted 07 September 2005 - 06:29 PM

There are Lomos f/1.2 and f/1.4. Would those be soft at f/2 as well, even though they would have to be stopped down to get f/2?

Edited by Adampaul, 07 September 2005 - 06:32 PM.

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#6 Nate Downes

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Posted 07 September 2005 - 06:30 PM

I ment if you shot wider than f2 (say at f1.8) they'd be softer. Not noticably unless you project, but it is there.
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#7 Adam Paul

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Posted 07 September 2005 - 06:34 PM

But a F/2 lens shot wide open would be softer than a F/1.4 stopped down to f/2?

How 22mm, 35mm, 50mm and 100mm look like? To big of a gap? I found a nice set with those.
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#8 Nate Downes

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Posted 07 September 2005 - 06:35 PM

I didn't mean an f2 lens, I ment an f1.4 lens shot at f2 would be sharper than it would be at f1.4

And a good range if that's your style.
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#9 Adam Paul

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Posted 07 September 2005 - 06:40 PM

The 50mm and 100m in that set are f/2. Think it's too slow? I would probably have to step in down to f/4 not to be soft, wouldn't I.
Thanky ou for you fast replies downix.
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#10 Michael Maier

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Posted 07 September 2005 - 08:40 PM

Yeah, I also heard of the lomo lenses. I would be interested to know if they would be better than Nikons to use with a Mini35 adapter?
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#11 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 05:15 AM

Lomos are good. All russian optics are pretty good, actually.

Haven't compared Lomo to Nikon but I have compared Nikon to Zeiss - and the film lenses win hands down. So I'd go for Lomo or other film lenses. Nikons are made for a negative that's twice as large - i.e. they can have half the resolution and yet look comparably sharp on stills.
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#12 Nate Downes

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 04:21 PM

The 50mm and 100m in that set are f/2. Think it's too slow? I would probably have to step in down to f/4 not to be soft, wouldn't I.
Thanky ou for you fast replies downix.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Depends on the lens. In the one I own (the 85mm) it is too soft at f1.8, but perfectly sharp at f2. Experiment to your liking is my recommendation.
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#13 Charles Haine

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 06:57 PM

I picked up three Lomo primes and a Foton zoom on eBay awhile back, and have been incredibly happy with the results, but I picked them up specifically with music video/student film work in mind. While a lot of student films make prints, there are also a lot that don't, and it's incredibly rare for a commercial or music video I work on to do a print. I've been incredibly happy with the lens's for telecine resolution work, and since that's where most of this footage ends up (most small films really live on DVD), they are great to have.

That said, when I made my thesis, I rented some S4s, and whenever I shoot and there is even the slightest possiblity the director/producer is going to go for a print somewhere down the road, I rent something nice, SuperSpeeds if there isn't a budget for S4s.

Also, it's not that difficult with faster film stocks to light to a 2.8, so with the older lens's I tend to do that to be on the safe side in terms of sharpness.

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#14 Adam Paul

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 08:55 PM

Charles, which Lomos did you pick up and how fast are they? The thing is that the very fast ones like f2 and under are very expensive. The F2.2 and up are much cheaper. I wonder if they are less sharp or if it's just speed, which you can compensate with light. Althought would they be bad for night shots?

About Lomo being inferior to Cooke, yesterday, I got a nice reply from a Lomo user regarding this very same issue. He said something like " Well, I don't think Tarkovsky's Solaris looked any worse than any new film shot on S4's."
Food for thought maybe?
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#15 Robert Edge

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Posted 09 September 2005 - 01:31 AM

Nikons are made for a negative that's twice as large - i.e. they can have half the resolution and yet look comparably sharp on stills.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Adam,

Are you saying that Nikon lenses in particular, or 35mm still lenses in general, have half the resolution of 35mm cine lenses? If so, do you have information that supports that statement? I'm not asking that question because I want to disagree with you, but rather because I want to know what the basis is for it if it is true.

I have seen this kind of statement only once before. It was a South American photographer on cinematography.net who said that a lens designed for 16mm or super 16 is superior in performance, on a 16mm camera, to a lens designed for 35mm, because it has been designed for more limited coverage. If you check the cinematography.net site, you will find this statement easily enough.

If this kind of thinking is correct, it would seem to mean that a still photography lens designed to cover 8x10 is inferior in terms of resolution to a lens designed to cover 4x5, which in turn is inferior to a lens designed to cover 2 1/4 x 2 3/4, which in turn is inferior to a lens designed to cover 35mm. In cine terms, it would mean that the resolution of a lens designed to cover 35mm is inferior to a lens designed to cover 16mm. It would also mean that the claim, on this site, that Zeiss Superspeeds and certain Contax lenses are the same, is either false or (i) that purchasers of Superspeeds for use on a motion picture camera are buying an inferior product or (ii) that users of Contax cameras are getting demonstrably better resolution, and demonstrably better photographs, than users of Leica or Nikon cameras.

I would like to know what the basis is for your statement, and I would like to run this idea, and whatever support there is for it, by the people who participate in www.apug.org and www.largeformatphotography.info. It is an intriguing idea, that is either absolutely correct or spurious. I'm quite interested in knowing in which category it falls.
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#16 Nate Downes

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Posted 09 September 2005 - 11:56 AM

Actually, this reminds me, does anyone know where I could get an OCT-19 mount? I'm building 3 cameras out of old traffic camera mechanisms, and need to get lens mounts for them. I've been debating on Nikon, Pentax, Leica, Contax and even Minolta, but a PL or OCT-19 might be a better fit considering these are movie cameras.
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#17 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 09 September 2005 - 12:05 PM

No, this is not correct for all lenses, maybe not even for any. It's just a qualified guess on my part. I was just saying that there's some leeway when you're working with a larger neg - you can get away with more. For instance the Pentax 6x7 lenses are famous for being quite soft - that's one of the reasons so many people like them - but on the large neg they don't look soft. That is, until you compare them to a Hasselblad with Zeiss lenses.

All I can say is that my personal experience is that Nikon is less sharp than MP Zeiss, but this was on 16mm which pushed those lenses to the limit - i.e. just using the very central part of those lenses. I also seem to remember reading a MTF test done - film lenses resolve more, generally.
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#18 Matt Pacini

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Posted 09 September 2005 - 05:07 PM

I would like to know the truth about this as well.

I've heard both that the cine lenses are higher res, and also that this is BS; good glass is good glass.
Does anyone have REAL DATA to back either viewpoint up?
(Not just supposition, i.e. "it HAS to be better because the format is smaller")

Also, if this is true, then these $12,000 re-housed Canon lenses that Century is selling are cheap, inadequate substandard resolution lenses, RIGHT????:
http://www.centuryop..._primes/200.htm


MP
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#19 Robert Edge

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Posted 09 September 2005 - 08:28 PM

Adam,

Thanks. I do want to run this idea by apug.org and the large format site, because your hypothesis intuitively makes some sense, but as far as I know has rarely been discussed. I'll get back to this website with the results of my inquiry. Meanwhile, as Matt says, any light on this subject from cinematographers would be appreciated. Enlightenment from Cooke, Zeiss or a lens technician would be even more appreciated :)
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#20 Nate Downes

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Posted 09 September 2005 - 09:17 PM

Something I've found with Canon lenses in particular is that they *can* be sharp if collated properly, but as they come from the factory, their resolution leaves a lot to be desired. The modified Canons I've worked with are pristine sharpness, far more resolution than the bog standard ones. My thinking is that for motion picture lenses, they do the little bit extra work to sharpen it up.
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