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kye

The SINGLE SOVIET PRIME LENS challenge

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It's challenge time again.  Behold....   

The SINGLE SOVIET PRIME LENS challenge!!

Dog-Schidt-Optiks-Custom-Bokeh.jpg?itok=

Based on your replies on my poll, here is the next challenge.

RULES:

  1. The entire film must be shot with a single Soviet fully-manual prime lens (they're cheap and there are heaps to choose from - more detail below)
  2. You must include at least one person in your film.  It can be yourself, a friend/relative, a model, or a complete stranger, but there has to be someone in it.
  3. You must include the following shots:
    1. A wide, showing a landscape of some kind (it's advisable to have at leas one of these as an establishing shot).  If there are people in it, they must fit completely within the frame, head-to-toe.  ie, go really wide
    2. A medium shot (showing the persons chest, shoulders and head)
    3. A close-up shot (the persons face must be more than half the height of the frame)
    4. Bonus points for low-angles, high angles, extreme wides, or other types of shots
  4. Timing:
    1. Films are to be posted in this thread by 1st November (this allows time for equipment, shipping, shooting, editing, grading, etc)
    2. Judging will occur from 1st November to 8th November (see below about judging)
    3. No talking about any equipment until after judging.  ie, until after 8th November
    4. This timing won't change, so plan accordingly.  Remember, you can enter as soon as you like.
  5. The prize is eternal fame and glory
  6. Everyone is a judge, and can present any award they think is well deserved.  To present an award you must say what the award is ("best cinematography", "best sound", "best Dalek cameo", etc) who the winner of the award is, and what the winner did to deserve the prize (why they are the winner).

What lenses am I allowed to use?

  • Any lens from Helios, Mir, Tair, Industar, or Jupiter, or any other lens you can prove was made in USSR / Russia (eg, Dog Schitd lenses are fine).  They are common, easily available, cheap, and adapt to almost any camera, so no excuses.
  • Each of these brands made a full set of FF lenses in the soviet era, so you can choose any brand or any focal length you like.
  • This thread here has more information than you could possibly want about Russian lenses: http://www.reduser.net/forum/showthread.php?152436-Russian-Soviet-USSR-Lens-Survival-Guide
  • Remember that you need to get wide, medium, and close-up shots, so try not to choose a lens with too long a focal length, but remember that you have to get a close-up, so unless you know someone who will get quite close to the camera, you should also avoid a lens that is too wide.  
  • Remember to take into account your sensor size, a 58mm Helios on MFT is the equivalent of a 116mm lens on a FF camera!  (note: speed-boosters are also allowed)
  • I'd suggest something in the range of 28-60mm FF equivalent, and if you're not sure then go with something around 30-40mm equivalent.
  • The most common mount is m42 (which I'd recommend if you're new to adapting) but they also come in other mounts, so be sure to check before ordering.
  • If you're not familiar with Russian lenses, they have a vintage look with heaps of character, but can be super-sharp stopped down a bit, so I'd encourage you to think about the lens as a lens you might use in the future, not just for this competition.
  • You can use a Soviet lens you already own, however I'd encourage you to buy a new one for this challenge in a focal length you don't already have, this way you will still learn something from the challenge.

f0zXQo

 

FAQ:

  • Why only one lens?
    Many famous directors made entire films with only a single prime lens.  Noam Kroll wrote an excellent article about why this is a good idea - check it out: https://noamkroll.com/many-iconic-directors-have-shot-their-feature-films-with-just-a-single-prime-lens-heres-why/.
     
  • Why do I have to get specific shots?
    To understand that even without a zoom or a kit of lenses, you can still get a variety of shots.  ...and even moreso than that, a film with a variety of shots is far more interesting than one where all the shots are POV mid shots (like many lazy YT film-makers do).  The article above lists lots of benefits to this approach.
     
  • Where do I find more info about different types of shots?
    This might be useful: https://www.careersinfilm.com/types-of-shots-in-film/
     
  • Why does it have to be a fully-manual lens?
    The first reason is to experience using manual focus and the aesthetic that comes with it.  Many people are frustrated with AF (as I was) but are afraid to tackle manually focusing a lens, however the learning curve isn't that big and the aesthetic of pulling focus manually is better than any AF.  This is because when you pull focus you get the speed and transition that feels right just by doing it, whereas no camera can read your mind about how fast to transition etc.  The second is to get exposure to using older prime lenses.  These lenses (assuming you don't get a lens that has been heavily abused) will feel great to use in the same ways that only modern lenses costing many thousands of dollars do.  There is a reason that people on reduser.com who own high-end 4K/6K/8K RAW shooting cinema cameras have multiple threads talking about cheap vintage lenses, and why the USSR lens thread has over 90K views, the Contax Zeiss thread has 1.4M views, and the Minolta thread has 131K views.
     
  • What camera can I use?
    Anything, as long as it's not a potato.  (oh, ok, those are allowed too).
     
  • Can I.... use Speed-boosters?  use wide-angle adapters?  use creative filters (Black Pro Mist, etc)?
    Absolutely.
     
  • Can I....  shoot 6K 60fps RAW?  shoot 8K RAW?  shoot 120fps?  deliver in 2.35:1?  deliver B&W?  use my Soviet lens in an anamorphic rig?  Stand on one leg?  Use The Force?
    I don't know if you can do those things, but if you can then you're welcome to do so.  Like they say - "if you've got it, flaunt it!".
     
  • What other equipment can I use?
    Whatever you like.
     
  • What if I'm no good at film-making?  Just beginning?  Don't know anyone?  Live in a cave?
    Just get a Russian lens, an adapter and any camera.  Go to a city or where people are and shoot people.  Shoot people in the distance, shoot people walking past the camera, put the camera on a ledge and shoot yourself walking past to get the close-up.  If you live in a cave then just take shots of yourself - I'm sure that living so far from the rest of us probably means you have beautiful scenery so be sure to include that.  Look at all your footage and choose the best shots, making sure to include the required shots.  Put music over the top and post it.  There is beauty in simplicity, and beginners luck really exists.  Just give it a try, if you do something you've never done you will learn something new - I guarantee it.

[Edit: you can also enter as many times as you like.  You can buy as many lenses as you like too, but the limit is that each entry can only be shot with one lens.  If you wanted permission to buy a whole set of vintage soviet lenses, this is your excuse!!]

If you have questions then fire away, but otherwise, gentlemen (and Kaylee!) start your engines!!

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

A few thoughts:

There are heaps of cool and interesting lenses available!!

I've placed (at least) one order ???

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And for those who have a bit more to spend and want something truly special, there are things like the Jupiter-9 85mm f2 lens with its many (15?) aperture blades:

s-l1600.jpg

 

s-l1600.jpg

and here's one of the early m39 versions that are supposed to have the better optical quality than the later m42 ones for US$129:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/1965-Jupiter-9-85mm-f-2-M39-to-M42-SLR-lens-85-2-Canon-Pentax-GOOD/303104196284?hash=item46926afebc:g:if4AAOSwZmJclNiV

Think about what modern lens you can buy for $129 - basically nothing worth having, so try to keep this in perspective for what you're getting! :) 

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I feel like an intruder perhaps going to a reduser.net site. Like I should put on some Ppe gear ? in case I catch something. The 85mm is tempting then I could do the anamorphic thing again. I was looking at something Russian but couldn't  seem to find an adapter for it. So I'll keep searching 

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3 hours ago, leslie said:

I feel like an intruder perhaps going to a reduser.net site. Like I should put on some Ppe gear ? in case I catch something. The 85mm is tempting then I could do the anamorphic thing again. I was looking at something Russian but couldn't  seem to find an adapter for it. So I'll keep searching 

lol..  the lens sub-forum should be relatively safe :)

Remember to take crop factor into account, 85mm is pretty long to begin with.  Unless the anamorphic adapter will make it wider?  I'm not so sure how these things work :) 

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On 9/22/2019 at 3:19 AM, kaylee said:

u had me at single soviet prime

Then it went to bride.ru and now it's no longer single anymore.

Sorry, I'll show myself out. ?

__

But yeah, awesome challenge. Been a huge proponent of vintage Zenits! Especially the elusive 'Red 'P'' ones with focal length in 'cm' and special coatings.

Xt0L2nq.jpgFezYYmS.jpg

There's a good joke that 'when you see Red P, please go to the doctor!'. xD

But indeed. The Jupiter-9 is dope!

zT3uSw3.jpgtumblr_inline_pk4cucq6vk1rj3z3j_500.jpg

That's a wicked aperture. So is that of the TAIR-11A. Blades for days! But 135mm on a crop... good luck with that here. ?

 29dw2lU.jpg4mqogj1.jpg

You know, both that TAIR-11 and MIR-1 won Grand Prix awards back in the day.

UKhGcdE.jpg

Nice starry aperture formation on the Industar-61 L/Z 50mm f/2.8 Macro.

vd4aMtl.jpg

If you really want something hilarious, get the tiny Industar 50-2. A 50mm f/3.5, it's sooo cute and inexpensive.

Really always wanted the Helios 40-2... and they started making new batches again. But... 85mm (f/1.5).

Used to shop a lot at my go-to Zenit dealership if you will, a well-kept secret for many years: https://www.ebay.com/usr/artemstore , but sharing is caring, no? Always superb condition, great details and info with the listings. Like... who knew about the 16-bladed Helios 44-3? I love browsing that place and learning a thing or two every now and again. You'll also still find a bunch of NOS (New Old Stock) lenses around on eBay. If you need adapters, I'd suggest Kent&Faith:

On 1/17/2018 at 2:47 AM, Cinegain said:

[..] on eBay and look for listings with an adapter and that black/orange box, Leinox in black/brown are pretty great as well (in the early days I had Fotga ones, but e.g. missed a ridge on one of the adapters that pushed in a pin to pinch the aperture to the set value; of course you might be able to find decent Pixco, Kiwi Fotos, Fotasy, Vizelex and Kipon adapters as well):

laPN7KX.jpgSTAHWb7.jpg

Works a charm.

 

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1 hour ago, aaa123jc said:

Sounds like a very fun challenge. Is there a restriction on which camera body to use? 

@kye did an amazing job on the openingspost. It's got all the info!

Quote

Q What camera can I use?
A Anything, as long as it's not a potato.  (oh, ok, those are allowed too).

 

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3 hours ago, aaa123jc said:

Sounds like a very fun challenge. Is there a restriction on which camera body to use? 

Absolutely not!  Bonus points for interesting and strange choices!!

If you're super-keen, there are medium-format lenses available (and even large format lenses too!!) so you could get a medium-format to FF speed-booster or even a medium-format camera :) 

10 hours ago, Cinegain said:

 

That's a wicked aperture. So is that of the TAIR-11A. Blades for days! But 135mm on a crop... good luck with that here.

Oh, I don't know...  put 135mm on a FF and make it part of a 2X anamorphic setup (I have no idea if this can happen, but I'm telling this story so whatever...) and you'll have a widescreen 67.5mm horizontal FOV.  Sounds pretty good to me!

@leslie might do it!!

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2 hours ago, kye said:

Absolutely not!  Bonus points for interesting and strange choices!!

If you're super-keen, there are medium-format lenses available (and even large format lenses too!!) so you could get a medium-format to FF speed-booster or even a medium-format camera :) 

Oh, I don't know...  put 135mm on a FF and make it part of a 2X anamorphic setup (I have no idea if this can happen, but I'm telling this story so whatever...) and you'll have a widescreen 67.5mm horizontal FOV.  Sounds pretty good to me!

@leslie might do it!!

what is this might business   ?. if my tax return comes in  and the stars align i hope to have an 0.64 metabones speedbooster to throw into the mix as well. i know that there are plenty of  0.71  available but im holding out for a 0.64. 

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I have a lens and it's coming from Russia so you can't say it's not Russian. Thought about the 85mm but I have the Pentax 85mm 1.9 so I wasn't keen to get another. got something else something a little different a little out there I hope.

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On 9/25/2019 at 10:49 PM, Cinegain said:

But indeed. The Jupiter-9 is dope!

zT3uSw3.jpgtumblr_inline_pk4cucq6vk1rj3z3j_500.jpg

That's a wicked aperture.

You have no idea how many times I've almost bought a Jupiter-9...  I'm talking put one in my ebay cart and everything.

One of those times was yesterday!!

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Let's get this party started! 

Not the best thing I've ever made, but in the spirit of quantity over quality (and of making things and publishing even if they're not perfect), here it is.

This is lens #1 - I may make more than one film with each lens.  

I think I followed all the rules.... someone made so many of them!! ???

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