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nathanleebush

Lens collection flexibility/future-proof/price point sweet spot

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Hi all, I've been hesitating forever of even thinking about starting the long process of collecting lenses, due to the inertia that the neverending onslaught of new technology brings. There are so many promising directions this whole world could go, from the super-16 BMPC to the full-frame Canon 5D Mark III RAW, so my current thinking is that it's most sensible to go with the largest coverage format (full frame) and collect lenses from there, and then if the market settles anywhere (super 35, full frame, APS-C), you won't have obsolete glass lying around. I'm looking for as many people as possible to poke holes in the intuition or offer different plans as my current one:

 

I've been thinking lately about collecting Nikon AI-S lenses, since they are the final (and presumably, best?) generation of Nikon manual focus glass.

 

Some advantages as I see it are:

  • adaptibility to the largest range of lens mounts
  • long-focus throw
  • age-related image character je ne sais quoi
  • good build quality
  • relatively cheap
  • relatively compact
  • Nikon quality (perceived? Is Canon just as good/better? Does Canon have an equivalent AI-S-era option that would work on current Canons?)
  • Nikon-optimization, as I prefer Nikon for stills work
  • Cheap adapters can control aperture, as opposed to Canon mount
  • Fast

 

Some disadvantages that I would imagine:

  • Breathing and every other problem inherent in stills-optimized/non-cine lenses
  • Difficulty finding cheap super wide options that would translate to normal lenses on much smaller sensors (Super 16, M43, BMCC, 1")
  • Futility of collecting for BMPC when you end up settling on a 5DIII and have all these useless super-wides

 

I'm sure a lot of people on here have thought a lot harder than I have about this quandry, or have skin in the game already, so if anyone has some personal experience or insight on how the filmmaking community is currently addressing this issue, please contribute any and all wisdom! What are general lens collection strategies to maximize utility and minimize cost? Is it presumed that lenses will hold value, so you can just sell them off with minimal long-term losses? Are there lenses that better meet ones needs? Would Canon make more sense, since a follow focus will allow for long focus throws anyway? Are there cheaper options (Contax (Zeiss), for example?)

 

One caveat:

 

I shoot stills as well. Is it ridiculous to think that shooting manual focus on all my various stills cameras (NEX-7, GH2, frequent Nikon rentals) is possible, and that I'd need to invest in a second set of AF stills camera (obviously this is a nuanced question, as different photography genres have different needs, but my work does include street photography).

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