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Best Diopters for AG-LA7200


teh
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While there are various topics here and on other forums discussing for anamorphic adapters and the AG-LA7200 I thought it would be a nice idea to create a collection of knowledge about the best diopters to use with the Panasonic.

 

From what I have read so far diopters of strengths below +1 seem to suit the ag-la7200 the best in improving the overall image quality. +1 or greater diopters are used when even closer focus is needed.

 

+0.5 or similar diopters seem to be rare, even more at large diameters. 105mm seems to be the perfect size, because these can be simply "locked" in the ag-la7200s own lens hood. smaller or bigger diopters will require some sort of mounting solution. 

 

There is a thread about using cokin P filters with velcro on to the lens hood. this seems to be a nice and cheap solution but cokin doesn't over diopters below +1 and because of their size you will be limited in focal lengths  (I believe one of the best thing about the panasonic is that you can use wide focal lengths...)

 

There is a +0.4 Tokina diopter at 72mm which seems to be pretty good but again this will limit you in focal length choice. 

 

There is also a 105mm Kenko 0.5 diopter which seems like the perfect fit for the ag-la7200, but gain very rare...

 

Schneider and Tiffen make 138mm 0.5 diopters which can be bought new, pricy and these also need some sort of mounting solution. 

 

Andrew made a post about a Foton-a-diopter +1 made for a lomo lens. Seems to be great paired with the Panasonic, quite similar form factor. but seems to be bloody rare...

 

 

Please share your experience with diopters on the Panasonic Ag-la7200! I'm sure there are more that could be used. Maybe you even know places to get them?

 

Thanks a lot.

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don't let smaller size dictate your diopter options. a 72mm diameter wont vignette on any usable focal length. if it vignettes with a 72mm diopter it means you are using too wider taking lens and likely will be full of CA and edge softness anyway.

a nice rule I feel should be made testament when using any anamorphic adaptor (based on the fact that panavision offer 35mm widest option (designed for 4 perf 35mm film). If panavision and users of panavision dont feel the need for wider than 35mm on anamorphic then why would anyone else?:-

s35 or aps-c:- no wider than 35mm taking lens
m4/3:- no wider than 25mm taking lens (providing similar field of view to a 35mm lens used with s35 sensors)
s16mm:- no wider than 16mm taking lens (as above)

if making decisions like using a 12mm taking lens are dictating your diopter choice your priorities are wrong. Just because people dont see vignette when using a gh2 with a 20mm pancake doesnt mean the images are lacking in other nasties like CA and horrible soft edges. Id rather use a longer taking lens, get less edge distortion/CA and be able to use magic diopters like the +0.4 than use a wider taking lens and have to invest £350 in a century diopter of 105mm.

just my take.

re. attaching diopters. buy some panels of balsa wood, 10mm thick (easy to cut with a scalpel), cut a 72mm hole in it so the tokina sits in snug (use the outside edge of the tokina as your stencil). cut the balsa wood so it is the same size as the front of the la7200. glue some neodymium magnets or velcro to the balsa wood and the la7200. remove the diopter and then stain the balsa wood with a wood stain that dries hard - so it absorbs into the wood and wen dry adds strength. in order to ensure you get as little possible vignette you want the diopter to be as close to the front element of the la7200 as possible
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a nice rule I feel should be made testament when using any anamorphic adaptor (based on the fact that panavision offer 35mm widest option (designed for 4 perf 35mm film). If panavision and users of panavision dont feel the need for wider than 35mm on anamorphic then why would anyone else?:-

 

This isn't true.   Their more recent Primo line may only offer a 35mm but that's not the widest offered by Panavision now or historically.   In fact, their wider offerings are in their smaller, lighter line for use in applications like hand-held, steadicam, etc.  Sounds like DSLR territory to me.

 

Diopter diameter may not be the most appropriate way of determining widest taking lens but neither is personal bias.

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This isn't true.   Their more recent Primo line may only offer a 35mm but that's not the widest offered by Panavision now or historically.   In fact, their wider offerings are in their smaller, lighter line for use in applications like hand-held, steadicam, etc.  Sounds like DSLR territory to me.

 

Diopter diameter may not be the most appropriate way of determining widest taking lens but neither is personal bias.

 

it's a bias I have come to based on personal experiences.  My reference to Panavision just became moot on paper since you found some specialist lens they offer, but in the real world, just because they offer a few specialist wider lenses doesnt mean someone with an LA7200 or Century (which are limited as they are) should go to lengths to achieve non standard wides which lack usability and cost the earth to undertake due to needing diopters costing £350+.  If someone is considering spending £350 on a single diopter specifically for an la7200 or century they must be mad because the obvious step would be to just get an Iscorama which is sharp out of the box.   105mm diopters are very specialist with limited userbase meaning they dont come up preowned on ebay very often, and dont sell for much when they do.  so you lose lots of money when that huge diopter is no longer needed when you realise the only option is to upgrade the anamorphic part.  

 

The fact remains that if a taking lens choice disallows you use of a tokina +0.4 within the combo, the extra width is moot due to the fact that in order to clean up the ghastly edges and CA you need to invest in a bigger diopter (and you cannot get +0.4 diopters in 105mm)

 

in another topic it was brought up that a +0.4 diopter on a -0.4 anamorphic (such as the la7200 or century) bring the lens back to 0 - hence why you can still acheive infinity focus when using a tokina with the century or la7200.  i am not aware of the specific reasons why the tokina improves these anamorphics in this way but I cant stress enough how important it is that the use of the tokina is factored in when deciding on taking lens width.

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it's a bias I have come to based on personal experiences.  My reference to Panavision just became moot on paper since you found some specialist lens they offer, but in the real world, just because they offer a few specialist wider lenses...

 

I'll stop quoting there, because you're wrong again.  The C-Series is still widely used, as is their other, non-"Primo" lenses, including their Super Speeds.  Why?  If you did some more research you'd see that loads of DPs prefer these older lenses due to their smaller size, lighter weight and character versus the engineering darlings that are the Primos.  

 

Discerning DPs, if you do some more research, are so smitten by these classic series of Panavision lenses they keep track of specific serial numbers so that they can use them again and source them from the US when travelling abroad (since there's evidence that Panavision USA cherry picked the best, gave the rest to the UK who cherry picked from there and so on, plus they've already done their tests for color and distortion uniformity).  In fact when you read about these lenses it begins to sound an awful lot like the commonly echo'd love certain other lensophiles have for certain Russian and Japanese glass around here.  Specifically because of their character relative to modern, over-engineered glass that strives to remove character as much as possible in exchange for clinical reproduction.

 

Cooke and Zeiss both offer anamorphic primes much wider than 35mm and I'll just make an assumption here that Hawk does as well.

 

These aren't specialist lenses.  They're appropriate lenses for the complete grammar of filmmaking and the myriad of challenges faced by filmmakers to tell a visual story with similar specificity to the written word. 

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The Hawk V series go down to 25mm with a horizontal FOV of 92 degrees. 

 

see here:

http://www.vantagefilm.com/en/equipment/hawk_anamorphic.shtml

 

If you want to see the full range of Hawks in action - mostly wide open, check out this movie which is a Hawk showcase

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1297919/technical

 

Jason and Paddy clean up the east end of London...

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It's not all related to this topic but here's John McTiernan illustrating composition and film grammar:

 

http://vimeo.com/56000479

 

...through all these anamorphic scenes the long lens stuff is a minority and pretty easy to pick out.  What's also interesting here is he illustrates and explains why he likes composing wide with wide angle lenses versus his reference to Tony Scott who will often compose a wide shot with a telephoto lens, even when he's shooting anamorphic.  Totally different feel.  Affects the viewer in a totally different way.

 

Telephoto shots are, generally speaking, in the minority for actual motion picture production unless the filmmaker has a specific affinity for compressed, telephoto composition (whether or not this is motivated or necessitated by having multiple cameras constantly running) like a Tony Scott or Peter Berg.  They're the special cases though and not reflected in the bulk of anamorphic cinema that's 99.999% of the reason why we're even here talking about this stuff.

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I have a Kenko +.3 105mm close up filter which is almost fused to my 7200 now [it cost approx $270US new on ebay 12months ago].

 

But I think you cant just talk 7200 & diopter combo's - the taking lens figures hugely in this equation[from my experience anyway].

 

My favourite combo: Kenko +.3/7200/Voigtlander 17.5mm f.95 [other fav combo: Kenko +.3/7200/Olympus 14-35mm F2 [crops around 20mm] cam: GH2/AF102

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It's not all related to this topic but here's John McTiernan illustrating composition and film grammar:

 

http://vimeo.com/56000479

 

...through all these anamorphic scenes the long lens stuff is a minority and pretty easy to pick out.  What's also interesting here is he illustrates and explains why he likes composing wide with wide angle lenses versus his reference to Tony Scott who will often compose a wide shot with a telephoto lens, even when he's shooting anamorphic.  Totally different feel.  Affects the viewer in a totally different way.

 

Telephoto shots are, generally speaking, in the minority for actual motion picture production unless the filmmaker has a specific affinity for compressed, telephoto composition (whether or not this is motivated or necessitated by having multiple cameras constantly running) like a Tony Scott or Peter Berg.  They're the special cases though and not reflected in the bulk of anamorphic cinema that's 99.999% of the reason why we're even here talking about this stuff.

 

 

what you disregard is that when he talks of wide lenses, the 35mm anamorphic is considered wide.  with a 2x squeeze he is effectively getting 17.5mm wides.  35mm is wide.  not one of the true anamorphic shots in the McTiernan documentary is shot with a wider lens than 35mm from what I can see.  

 

I challenge anyone to provide a sample of good quality footage they have shot using any anamorphic lens available on any large sensor camera (m4/3'rd and up) using a lens wider than the equivalent of a 35mm on aps-c.  When I say good quality footage, I mean footage that exhibits image sharpness up close and at distance with distortion and CA levels which warrant the use of a setup that will require a diopter set costing £350.

 

I'm not saying you can't shoot with wider than 35mm (or equivalent), but what I am saying is that the results wont be worth the outlay you'll have to put down to make it work.  and even then it wont be usable for anything other than random footage.     

 

@ ZMU   re. your comment:- My favourite combo: Kenko +.3/7200/Voigtlander 17.5mm f.95 [other fav combo: Kenko +.3/7200/Olympus 14-35mm F2 [crops around 20mm] cam: GH2/AF102

 

please post up some samples.  if they prove me wrong i will shut up:)

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I'm not saying you can't shoot with wider than 35mm (or equivalent), but what I am saying is that the results wont be worth the outlay you'll have to put down to make it work.  and even then it wont be usable for anything other than random footage.     
 
please post up some samples.  if they prove me wrong i will shut up:)

 

Excuse the crappy family day out video. A lot of this was shot at 28mm with a Tokina 28-80 and the Bolex 16/32/1.5x. My Kowa 8Z doesn't perform this well, and I've not even seen ISCO render detail as good as it either. Feel free to download the 1080p MP4.

 

https://vimeo.com/48683270

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Excuse the crappy family day out video. A lot of this was shot at 28mm with a Tokina 28-80 and the Bolex 16/32/1.5x. My Kowa 8Z doesn't perform this well, and I've not even seen ISCO render detail as good as it either. Feel free to download the 1080p MP4.

https://vimeo.com/48683270


thats a gh2 so in effect your 28mm turns to a 37.24mm lens when compared to an aps-c sensor camera (this is what I am using as my benchmark.

nice footage too. but you got the upper hand by using a bolex, when the brunt of my argument is in regard to the la7200 and similar. your little bolex is not so dependent on diopters either so is not really a good example. I would still say I would certainly not consider the image quality worthy of use on a low budget production as a replacement for a set of good normal primes which could be bought for the same money. I don't think the sharpness would stand up when projected. Just to point out I am not trying to be-little or have a go at anyones work. My main reason for joining this discussion was to try and make a point against all these people who are forever trying to change the rules of physics and causing confusion to people who might be looking for information. My demands are high and maybe I am in the minority, but just because a lens doesnt vignette doesnt mean it is creating good quality images.


a 25mm on the gh2 is a good match for a 35mm on a nikon/sony aps-c. So any examples where a gh2 is used will need to be shot using a taking lens wider than 25mm before i consider it proof that using wide angle lenses and losing ability to use the affordable tokina 72mm is a worthwhile setup. I'll also need to see footage which has been shot at f4 or wider to f2.8 ideally. width is only useful if it is of a high enough quality IMO. if you cant use the tokina +.4 on the la7200 and your desiered taking lens, it is not worth spending the £700+ the la7200 commands because though it is anamorphic, it dont look good enough for anything except toying around.
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ps.  this was a 28mm on a century + tokina on aps-c.  aperture was opened up to f2.8.  literally no natural light.  iso was about 1600 so blacker were horrid hence the crushing.

 

vimeo.com/52579247

 

no vignette, but it's pushing it.  without tokina it wouldnt have been half as sharp.

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GH2, 28*1.83 = 51.24 vertical equiv

Sony APSC, 35*1.5 = 52.5

 

Trust me, the image with the hacked GH2 with a Bolex in front stretched out 1.5x is as detailed as it gets. It's got more detail than any native spherical Canon DSLR at 1080p. Sharpness is false, detail is king. Projected, these little super anamorphots hold up incredibly well.

 

I think I need to repeat. I see absolutely no degradation in image detail using the Bolex 16/32/1.5x on any of the primes/zooms I've used it on, all the way up to wide open aperture. Obviously apart from the horizontal softness that is introduced by stretching, and the difference in out of focus rendering. It definitely can add extra blooming, so hood/mattebox very useful.

 

I think you're getting hung up on focal lengths. I know a good range is important, but making comparisons across the range of sensor formats doesn't really say much. In most cases you're talking stepping a foot back or a foot forward, with very little change in image geometry. Only time I need wide for establishing shots, I'm usually quite happy switching back to spherical (Tokina 11-16), which needs a bit of work to match the anamorphic effect.

 

Nice truck shot by the way, really nice. You can still see the astigmatism at the edges of your image, which no amount of diopters is going to rescue. It's just flawed glass for large sensor. Just the same as my Optex 16:9 and Panasonic LA7200. I also have the Tokina ATX +0.4 Achromat, Heliopan +0.25, Cokin P101.

 

The quality of the shot distracts you from edge softness, so it still wouldn't be a stopper for me. Plus, filming talking heads, edge softness is rarely a problem. Still, Bolex, ISCO and Kowa are in a different league. I've tried them all.

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please post up some samples.  if they prove me wrong i will shut up:)

 

ROFL

 

You can't prove you're right and can't post samples or references to support any of your claims.  You've been doing nothing but guess work on this subject and making the fatal internet mistake of assuming your experience or expectations are true for the world.  Not trying to beat you up here but you've not presented anything compelling at all or consistent with information that's a google away, if not already known through experience.

 

 

edit: the harsh reality is not everyone will be able to afford or support their interests.  They should design their projects according and work within their limitations.  They shouldn't be telling themselves or other folks stories so they feel better about it.

 

 

edit2: also, 35mm is considered medium focal length for 35mm-gauge photography (35mm - 50mm) and under this is considered "wide angle".  This does not change "because anamorphic".  The reason?  The same reason cropping and clever filters will never recreate the true magic of anamorphic photography.  Stop thinking two-dimensionally.  

 

While you must be aware of what happens in the two-dimensional frame, a choice of lens, and the fact of its existence as "wide angle", "medium/normal" or "telephoto", you should also consider its handling of depth, perspective and relative shape and movement.  None of that changes based on sensor size or anamorphic attachment.

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anyway.  my point was to make people aware that choosing a taking lens so wide it cannot be used with 'la7200/optex/century +tokina achromat' combo is a bad mistake.  My other comments were to fortify this.   

 

it's been blown out of all proportions now.  IMO, in anamorphic terms, 35mm is a wide angle, 50mm is normal, 85mm is long.  simple. 

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I'll work on getting some 7200/Voigt 17.5mm & Oly 14-35mm footage up on my very neglected Vimeo page

 

meanwhile here's some footage I shot & graded for a TVC using the Voigt 25mm f.95 with a [cheap&nasty]Soligor 1.33x adaptor - without the Tokina +.5 Achro the Soligor is completely unusable for anything  ...far far worse than a 7200 with no diopter. 

https://vimeo.com/37659517

Both m4/3 Voigts [17.5mm & 25mm] are my fav's by far - they have an 'organic' character about them - most importantly of all is perhaps the fact that they can focus slightly beyond infinity [which is apparently not unique] I think these lenses are beautiful when used with a 7200 & +.3 105mm c/u filter.

The BMCC m4/3 version is gonna be an interesting addition in this formula.

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anyway.  my point was to make people aware that choosing a taking lens so wide it cannot be used with 'la7200/optex/century +tokina achromat' combo is a bad mistake.  My other comments were to fortify this.   

 

it's been blown out of all proportions now.  IMO, in anamorphic terms, 35mm is a wide angle, 50mm is normal, 85mm is long.  simple. 

 

No.

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meanwhile here's some footage I shot & graded for a TVC using the Voigt 25mm f.95 with a [cheap&nasty]Soligor 1.33x adaptor - without the Tokina +.5 Achro the Soligor is completely unusable for anything  ...far far worse than a 7200 with no diopter. 

https://vimeo.com/37659517

 

Very nice looking indeed for imagery we're being led to believe in this thread isn't to be expected or, worse, even attempted.

 

;)

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Very nice looking indeed for imagery we're being led to believe in this thread isn't to be expected or, worse, even attempted.

;)

in that light, set at f8 (or more closed down which i imagine it was) id cover a soligor/century in vaseline and still get it the same sharpness. i've got this sharper at f8-f11 from 300mm focus distance on a 28mm lens on the century. show me something with some selective focus. some talking heads? that footage is ok, but it wont cut it anywhere other than a vimeo test shoot. set it to f2.8-f4 and come back with something. anyway, 25mm on gh2 is within my criteria so again you are yet to prove me wrong. 25mm equates to roughly 35mm on aps-c.

seems like mr rhodes wants to prove me wrong for some reason. I'd like him to prove me wrong with his footage but this wont happen
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