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Vintage lens help needed (35mm, 50mm, 85mm) for photo + cinematograpghy


iR3jected

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Hello fellow filmmakers,

I am feeling confused and overwhelmed by the information there is out on vintage lenses and I have spend so much time my head is feeling to explode. I've come to the part where I need your help.

I am looking to build my first lens kit for cinematography (and a little bit photography) on my apsc sized sensor camera, mainly for vimeo style shorts.

The focal length I am currently searching for are 35mm, 50mm, 85mm but don't feel strictly to these if you have a great lens tell me.

So here is the criteria I looking for (2.8 and faster):

sharpness (if possible right from wide open, as much as the limitations following allow)
good color renderition
bokeh (good bokeh is a question of taste I know)
price (below 130€, cheaper price to performance beasts are much appreciated)
(5. radioactive lenses should be marked as such, please )

If you know what you are talking about I would greatly welcome you if you could spend the time and post a top 3 of lenses to look for for each of the categories above. Sorry for taking your time, I know there are a lot of threads around this online, I have read many, but I came to the point where I just need the help of some smart people.

Thanks for your time. Have a great day. Your expertise is much appreciated.

Jan

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You're aware of the fact that on APD-C, 35mm is normal focal length while 50mm and 85mm are tele lenses?

For vintage lenses, the standard recommendations are Contax/Zeiss, Leica-R or Nikon lenses, alternatively any other quality Japanese camera brand (Pentax, Olympus, Fuji, Yashica, Minolta, Ricoh, Konica, Canon...). I would stick to only one brand for optical consistency.

Alternatively, you could buy modern Samyang lenses or the excellent Sigma 18-35 and 50-100mm APS-C zooms.

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What cantsin said.  And remember, when putting together a prime kit, grab those focal lengths you want from a single manufacturer/era.  That way you get image rendition uniformity.  I'd really doubt that you'd want a 1950's 35mm Nikkor and a 1990's 50mm Nikkor, for example.

I'm using mid-generation Canon FD (1980's) lenses at the moment, FWIW.

As for all that other stuff, you'll have to put in the footwork.  The market is pretty firm these days from what I can tell.  If you want old fast glass, you pay for it, doesn't matter who made it or when.

If you want to get weird and cheap, the best value I would suggest would be the prime lenses of the goofy (but super cool) Pentax a110 camera.  You can get a 4 lens set for under $200.  They're all f2.8 lenses too

-- but never mind, they only work on M43 and I see you want stuff for a s35mm sized sensor. 

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11 minutes ago, fuzzynormal said:

What cantsin said.  And remember, when putting together a prime kit, grab those focal lengths you want from a single manufacturer/era.  That way you get image rendition uniformity.  I'd really doubt that you'd want a 1950's 35mm Nikkor and a 1990's 50mm Nikkor, for example.

I'm using mid-generation Canon FD (1980's) lenses at the moment, FWIW.

As for all that other stuff, you'll have to put in the footwork.  The market is pretty firm these days from what I can tell.  If you want old fast glass, you pay for it, doesn't matter who made it or when.

If you want to get weird and cheap, the best value I would suggest would be the prime lenses of the goofy (but super cool) Pentax a110 camera.  You can get a 4 lens set for under $200.  They're all f2.8 lenses too

-- but never mind, they only work on M43 and I see you want stuff for a s35mm sized sensor. 

The Pentax 110 lenses work on aps-c, as long as it's a mirrorless. 

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This person over on cinematography.com polled 25 of their DP friends.

Quote

The poll was simple:

 

Considering the range of Ultra Primes only, what six focal lengths would you select for a starter set?

The results were:

50mm - 23 votes

24mm - 21 votes

32mm - 21 votes

85mm - 22 votes

16mm - 17 votes

135mm - 15 votes

20mm - 11 votes

14mm - 10 votes

100mm - 10 votes

12mm - 7 votes

40mm - 7 votes *

28mm - 7 votes

65mm - 4 votes

10mm - 3 votes

180mm - 3 votes

8mm - 2 votes

 

http://www.cinematography.com/index.php?showtopic=59222

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10 hours ago, iR3jected said:

Hello fellow filmmakers,

I am feeling confused and overwhelmed by the information there is out on vintage lenses and I have spend so much time my head is feeling to explode. I've come to the part where I need your help.

I am looking to build my first lens kit for cinematography (and a little bit photography) on my apsc sized sensor camera, mainly for vimeo style shorts.

The focal length I am currently searching for are 35mm, 50mm, 85mm but don't feel strictly to these if you have a great lens tell me.

So here is the criteria I looking for (2.8 and faster):

sharpness (if possible right from wide open, as much as the limitations following allow)
good color renderition
bokeh (good bokeh is a question of taste I know)
price (below 130€, cheaper price to performance beasts are much appreciated)
(5. radioactive lenses should be marked as such, please )

If you know what you are talking about I would greatly welcome you if you could spend the time and post a top 3 of lenses to look for for each of the categories above. Sorry for taking your time, I know there are a lot of threads around this online, I have read many, but I came to the point where I just need the help of some smart people.

Thanks for your time. Have a great day. Your expertise is much appreciated.

Jan

That cute !!! I have a drawer full, I wait I see!

Seriously, all the old lenses you mentioned, they have the f-stop blocking the iris, so no film lenses.
Your real question was: What are the old camera lens to make the video, if anyone gives me?

10 hours ago, cantsin said:

Alternatively, you could buy modern Samyang lenses or the excellent Sigma 18-35 and 50-100mm APS-C zooms.

 Like this

ok, for you

or http://www.fjsinternational.com/vintage.html

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@maxmizer I am not sure where your problem is? Are you the nitpicker guy, that crys "uh pros use t-stop lenses, if you can go with master primes"? I even wrote about my budget, but you didn't even read my post, did you?

 

Yes, I know the fact that I am on APSC since I already mentioned it in original post. However since this is similar to super 35 with is the reference for dops when talking about focal length and the fact that 3 of the lenses I was asking for are in this top 4 I have am surpised why you keep telling me that.

13 hours ago, Flynn said:

The results were:

50mm - 23 votes

24mm - 21 votes

32mm - 21 votes

85mm - 22 votes

http://www.cinematography.com/index.php?showtopic=59222

 

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Quote

However since this is similar to super 35 with is the reference for dops when talking about focal length 

I'm not sure what you're saying here. Do you believe Super 35 is similar to what is commonly referred to as Full Frame- like a 5D? The sensor in a Super 35 camera like the Arri Alexa, at least as I understand it, is almost identical to APS-C in terms of field of view. I simply mentioned those focal lengths because I figured you and other folks would find it interesting, the focal lengths that other DPs tend to find most useful.

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@Flynn We are on the same page Flynn :), I couldn't understand why the others where giving me a hard time about my focal length selection while your post showed they are the most popular.

 

But BTT please. I don't know why this again developed to a sensor size discussion. I really think people like to talk about it, even if everybody understood it already.

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as an extra alternative lens for occasional use I would consider a Helios 44 (there are various versions) which is awesome for portraits. f2.0 (but you must stop down to get it sharp so think of it as a 2.8 or 3.5 lens, but with the option to push it if you really must have that extra bokeh), 55mm focal range, less saturated compared to other lenses but if you shoot RAW photos no problem, if you shoot video just dial up the saturation a bit. The benefit of this lens is the unique and beautiful bokeh. These are some of the most mass produced lenses ever made and therefore cost very little on eBay. Available on various mounts with a cheap adapter- maybe $30-40 total?

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18 minutes ago, iR3jected said:

@Flynn We are on the same page Flynn :), I couldn't understand why the others where giving me a hard time about my focal length selection while your post showed they are the most popular.

 

But BTT please. I don't know why this again developed to a sensor size discussion. I really think people like to talk about it, even if everybody understood it already.

I gotcha! Was not giving you a hard time. :)

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As @Geoff CB asked... What camera are you using? I understand it's an aps-c sensor, but the specific camera, or camera line could mean the world of difference as to which lenses will work with your camera.

There are already some great suggestions, so I will add Pentax-M lenses, very inexpensive with some of the best mechanics around. The focus rings on Pentax lenses are just a dream.

With that I'll also suggest Pentax's older lenses the Super Takumar. They also have that Pentax, buttery smooth focus ring. The 35mm f2 is a gorgeous lens but I believe that one is radioactive. If you would accept slower, and cheaper, the 35mm f3.5 is a stunning lens. Most people would rather have that slower lens because the IQ is just simply gorgeous.

Then for your 50, there's the 1.4 (radioactive) or jump up to a 55mm and you can get the 1.8 or f2 models... Both beautiful lenses and both dirt cheap on the used market.

And then I think they have an 85mm 1.9 which will be teetering on your higher price range, they sell for about $200 USD. I am not sure if they are radioactive but I think I noticed some yellow glass when I just had a quick look on eBay, so they probably are...

Of course, as you probably already know, you would have to grind up the glass elements and eat the dust for there to be a medical concern.

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I like keh.com for browsing and finding deals. Takumars and Nikons are what I'd recommend for lower budget. That's about the same focal range I always use, nothing wrong with that at all.

22 minutes ago, Mat Mayer said:

There was talk of some or all vintage lenses having an issue with the NX1 I believe. So I would search for that before making any choices.

^this had some of that discussion. Could be a good resource for the OP as well. 

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I have the NX1, mainly I shoot weddings, corporate stuff, and small commercials. The Sigma 18-35 lives on my camera, absolutely stellar lens. When I need wider, the Rokinon 12mm f/2 is very small, very light, and very sharp. Mid range, I'm in love with the Zeiss/Contax 50mm f1.7, which has a certain je ne sais quoi that renders things so, so beautifully. Long end, the Rokinon 85mm T1.5 gives that jaw-dropping, ultra-shallow look, awesome for narrative stuff too.

As far as vintage lenses go, I'm not sure why some posters above have said the NX1 has a "problem" with them. 95% of the time I use the lenses mentioned above, but once I get my hands on one of those new dream-come-true NX-L speedboosters Lucubutera has been cooking up, I'll be using my full frame vintage glass much more. I own the Nikkor 28mm f2.8 AIS, gorgeous, extremely sharp lens. Minolta Rokkor 40mm f2 looks great, Zeiss Jena 35mm f/2.4 is on point, Canon FD 50mm 1.4 looks great, Tokina 24-70 f/2.6-2.8 has a very distinct, vintage glow to it with the NX sensor... let's see, what else... Ah yes, the above-mentioned Helios-44 is awesome, 58mm is kind of interesting focal length to play around with, and that signature swirly bokeh is super cool.  

I can go all day, I've got way too many lenses, I'm afraid it's a bit of an addiction at this point. But the take-away is, there is an absolute wealth of great, affordable glass to be had for the NX1 (or any mirrorless camera for that matter) that can fit a wide variety of looks you might be after, whether it be the ultra-contrasty/ultra-sharp modern look, low-con vintage haze and dreaminess, vintage swirly bokeh... There's not really any "right or wrong" answers, it just comes down to the look you're after, and how much you're willing to spend to get it. 

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