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How to vintage-ize modern lenses?


Inazuma
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For me, the character of vintage lenses give footage much more feeling to them. I would use them more but I like the conveniences that modern lenses give. For example, I just got an Aputure DEC Lensregain which allows me to control aperture and focus remotely for a relatively small sum. The catch is that it only works with Canon EF lenses.

So I'm looking to vintage-ize modern lenses. The softness or diffusion can easily be achieved by smudging the front element or adding a diffusion filter. But things like bokeh shape and harshness, chromatic aberrations and flares are harder to achieve. I was thinking about buying a load of UV filters and stacking them on top of one another in front of the lens. Has anyone ever attempted this or done anything else to try to achieve the effect (of basically inferior optics)?

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How about using some of the very early EF lenses with the lens regain as an alternative half way house?

Things like this 35-70 from 1989 have a certain, erm, 'charm' to them 

https://www.flickr.com/groups/605152@N24/pool/

And the 35-105 from a couple of years earlier as well

https://www.flickr.com/groups/2049731@N22/pool/page1

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You may also want to check some early EF 3rd party lenses... like the Kendy Sigma 30mm. Or one of the earlier Tokina zooms. The Tokina Angenieux lens may be perfect for what you're looking for.

Tokina also made a 19-35mm that has a little bit of a cult following and is often referred to as The Plastic Fantastic. The build quality is kinda cheap and it's a variable aperture zoom but man it's a pretty sharp lens and a decent wide to normal zoom range when speed boosted. 

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  • 2 years later...

Filters make the bokeh dirty, usually add nasty flare, that not really desirable, and everything they do can be done in Resolve quite easily.

The bokeh , natural looking flares and complex distortions are really the only thing you cannot recreate in post easily.

The issues I have with vintage lenses is that a lot of them have a strong color cast and poor color separation that make them look muddy. ( I have tested a lot of different sets/brands, only the Contax Zeiss don t suffer too much from it)

Vintage wide angles ( usually from 25mm ) also tend to have very large amount of chromatic aberration and I find that often problematic.

Overall I like using the 35mm to 85mm for fashion work and full sets for black and white work, and I usually go for Russian glass wide open, as they have the most extreme bokeh.

But a sigma 18-35 with some distortion + vignetting + exponential glow + a film stock emulation will give you a nice vintage look if you want it, without all the issues of using vintage glass. ( and with much better colors )

 

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Look at some of the older EF lenses sounds like a good idea.

How about the 20-35 2.8 L?   Replaced by the 17-35 2.8 L which was replaced by the 16-35 2.8 L which was replaced by the 16-35 2.8 L ii which was replaced by 16-35 2.8 L iii.

Mine is falling to bits but i still like it (for a zoom...not a huge user of zooms).

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9 hours ago, Laurier said:

But a sigma 18-35 with some distortion + vignetting + exponential glow + a film stock emulation will give you a nice vintage look if you want it, without all the issues of using vintage glass. ( and with much better colors )

I'd love to see some suggested workflows for this lens. I bought it based on all the praise, but on my original Pocket Cinema Camera and the Micro Cinema Camera (with or without speedbooster) I almost always end up hating the look, even with Hollywood Blackmagic filters applied. Harsh, too contrasty, etc., at least outdoors. I've gotten some lovely indoor shots with controlled lighting. Maybe I should just forget about the filters and focus on what I can do in Resolve. I have the Tokina Angenieux model and like it much better but sometimes I need the low-light benefits of the Sigma.

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2 hours ago, bjohn said:

I'd love to see some suggested workflows for this lens. I bought it based on all the praise, but on my original Pocket Cinema Camera and the Micro Cinema Camera (with or without speedbooster) I almost always end up hating the look, even with Hollywood Blackmagic filters applied. Harsh, too contrasty, etc., at least outdoors. I've gotten some lovely indoor shots with controlled lighting. Maybe I should just forget about the filters and focus on what I can do in Resolve. I have the Tokina Angenieux model and like it much better but sometimes I need the low-light benefits of the Sigma.

In resolve, with modern Sigma lenses, assuming the shoot is correctly exposed, start by reducing the contrast ( probably by around 20%) , then use a bit of color boost to compensate the lost of color contrast ( also Sigma lenses tend to render skins a bit pale by default) , then lower the shadow only to get proper blacks.

You should get a more pleasing look, less harsh on the skin.

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48 minutes ago, Laurier said:

In resolve, with modern Sigma lenses, assuming the shoot is correctly exposed, start by reducing the contrast ( probably by around 20%) , then use a bit of color boost to compensate the lost of color contrast ( also Sigma lenses tend to render skins a bit pale by default) , then lower the shadow only to get proper blac

Thank you! I'll give that a try.

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Well that makes my whole kit is basically inferior optics 🙄  7 pentax m42  lens and 4 fd lenses. Since i like them and i dont know any better i really cant complain 😀 Actually thinking about it i'm vintage as well but lets not go there.  Without frankinsteining your lenses i dont think theres much you can do to change a look apart from filters.  you could try some of @Tito Ferradans mods that might help but it probably easier to search different lenses till you find a look you like and buy one. most are reasonably priced unless you want some thing at the really wide or telphoto end of things

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Filters and processing in post (as others have previously stated) can get the job done pretty well.

Here's a quick attempt to match a Samyang to a Lomo in Resolve - IIRC it was only a few minutes work.  Filters would be even better as they emulate flaring from off-camera light sources better, which can't really be done easily in post.

Before: 

vlcsnap-2019-10-30-19h56m40s970.thumb.png.02f7a2742420721e069488ff60275022.png

After:

775877557_Kyetry2.4_2.1.2.thumb.jpg.edd27278e549f5a8683f39e2f6773f70.jpg

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