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Super Speeds vs Ultra Primes and Cooke Primes


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#1 Aleksandar Bracinac

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Posted 13 October 2005 - 10:03 AM

I have to shoot some commercial soon and I have a choice to use Super Speed MK III lenses together with ARRI 35-III camera. Is there a visible difference in sharpness or abberation between SuperSpeeds MKIII, UltraPrimes and Cooke lenses for standard definition transfer? I will shoot with ETERNA 500 at night with T-stop from 2 to 4.

Thank you!
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#2 Charles Haine

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Posted 13 October 2005 - 10:35 AM

The short answer is Yes, of course, otherwise why would anyone pay to rent S4s?

The longer answer is that for an SD finish, it probably doesn't matter a tremendous amount. The Quality of the Super Speed MK III is very high, so, while you'll probably notice more visual distortion on the 18mm Super Speed than you would on a Ultra Prime (or especially the Master Prime), they are still high quality Zeiss cinema lens's capable of delivering professional grade images.

The look is less "creamy" than Cooke, more crisp, but if that fits the look you are going for, then you are gold.

My only personal warning would be avoiding shooting all the way open at T1.4, since I have noticed a slight decrease in image quality, even at SD resolution, all the way open, and generally try and shoot those lens's at a T1.4/2 split at minimum or a T2 to be safe. This has been more apparent to me in Super16 work than 35, but I think it's a safe bet for 35 as well.

If you really think you'll be living in the T2/4 range, have you thought about standard speeds? The rental might be slightly less, and their look is slightly softer than the Super Speeds (almost intercuttable with the Cooke's, in my experience).

chuck
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#3 Eric Steelberg ASC

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Posted 13 October 2005 - 12:03 PM

You'll notice a difference in contrast, not so much in sharpness (though the contrast has involvement with a lens' sharpness). I'd say it depends what you're shooting. If it's lots of close-ups on people, I'd go Cooke. Anything else SS. Ultra Primes, for me and the way I light, tend to be too contrasty. They do seems to look really good on natural light day exteriors.
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#4 Joseph White

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Posted 13 October 2005 - 05:22 PM

yeah i've been shooting a handful of low-budget commercials and music videos on an arri-3 with zeiss lenses and i have been really pleased with the results. when using the Super Speeds, sometimes i'll throw on a 1/8 Black Pro Mist to soften them up, or shoot on a less contrasty stock - like 5229. since you're shooting Eterna, you're already using a pretty creamy stock - it has a look somewhere inbetween 5218 and 5229 in my humble opinion - I'd say go with the Super Speeds. But don't be afraid of the Standard Speeds just because they're a little older, cheaper, and well, tiny - i just used them this past weekend on a video with older 5289 and the results were really nice - especially on the 85mm - i lit some high speed (72fps) close-ups to a t2.8/4 split and it looked gorgeous.

don't get me wrong, I love s4's if they're right for the job - ive shot a bunch on them and think they're lovely, but if you can't always afford a 435xtreme and s4's, it doesn't mean that your work won't stand up. and remember - its all about the lighting anyways!

best of luck!
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#5 Aleksandar Bracinac

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Posted 13 October 2005 - 08:04 PM

Thank you guys!

I've been ask about the SuperSpeeds MK III because I have this set available 24/7 with ARRI 35-III with very good price. I can also use Cooke S4's but I have very small budget and trying to fit in everything we need. If Cookes gives noticable difference I will use them.
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