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What is your lens kit strategy?


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I have 2 bodies so 2 lens 'strategies'.

XT3A on tripod with Fringer adapter with main choice being Canon 50mm f1.8. Options are Canon 85mm f1.8 if I need longer or Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 if I need wider. This is my 'static' for wedding ceremonies, speeches and dancing.

XT3B on monopod with Fuji 50mm f2 which goes everywhere with me all day as my principal tool.

In summary, APSC 50mm ie, full-frame 75mm, is my principal chosen focal length for as much coverage as possible.

I've chosen them as the best compromise of fast aperture and size/weight.

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I just buy a lot of lenses and then only use one or two of them.

Yep, because you wouldn't want to risk any of it being out of focus.

Yes, otherwise known as the empty bank account strategy, AKA: homeless man strategy.

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I'm rather simple when it comes to lenses.

70 - 300 G for sports/action

18 - 105 F4 for any other general video

70 - 210 if I am in the mood to manually focus for sports. 

Both are rather light, autofocus well, and have image stabilization. I prefer to shoot around around F4 - F5.6 for things anyways. 

 

I plan on upgrading the 70 - 300 to either the new 200 - 600mm or the 100 - 400mm G master. 

And to the 24 105 G from the 18 - 105 if I switch to a full frame body. 

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5 hours ago, Thpriest said:

I'd love a longer lens like the 10-25. Maybe 35-90mm f1.7 or 2 (but constant).

I think we will see more and more of these more exotic (and expensive) MFT lenses as we already have an extensive lineup of glass from first party to third party.

We will also have more people crying about it “expensive lenses”, forgetting the fact they have many many more options that they probably already own. How many 12-35 f2.8 lenses do you want? ?

I would love to see more f/2 zoom lenses. Maybe f/0.95 primes with autofocus.

I also don’t mind variable apertures if they allow the lens more reach, smaller size, and a lower base aperture.

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I was on a study visit at a tv station while in film school, where in the basement they still had two old Arriflex 16S sitting. They were the 3-lens turret kind. If my memory serves me correct they were equipped with 16, 25 and 50mm Schneider-Kreuznach Arri-s lenses, and that is what they used to shoot reportages and the like with. I've tried to adopt this simple 3-lens setup a couple of times. For my BMPCC I only have the 16mm so far, but I am aiming to complete the same set as on the arri at some point.

For super35/APS-C I aimed for 28, 50 and 85 or 100 mm. Obviously Both longer and wider lenses would prove to be useful, but the idea is that these 3 focal lengths would suffice MOST of the time.

One big problem, especially when shopping for old vintange stills lenses is the matching of aperture while still keeping the price down. I was shooting quite a bit with the canon FDn 28mm f/2.8, 50mm f/1.4 and 100mm f/2.8, and with a cheap chinese speed booster I could match everything at f/2.8 (effectively f/2.0).

That brings me to my next problem, which I don't see many talking about - Aperture blades. The 28mm 2.8 has 5 blades, the 100mm 2.8 has 6 blades and the 50mm 1.4 has 8 blades. And it would show! When shooting everything at f/2.8 (2.0), thinking it would match pretty well, the background blur would have - in my eyes - wildly different characteristics.

Long story short; if the FDn 50mm 1.4 is the center piece of the set, the 28mm f/2 and 100mm f/2 would be better matches as they all have 8 aperture blades.

(don't get me started on weight and size)

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49 minutes ago, meudig said:

I was on a study visit at a tv station while in film school, where in the basement they still had two old Arriflex 16S sitting. They were the 3-lens turret kind. If my memory serves me correct they were equipped with 16, 25 and 50mm Schneider-Kreuznach Arri-s lenses, and that is what they used to shoot reportages and the like with. I've tried to adopt this simple 3-lens setup a couple of times. For my BMPCC I only have the 16mm so far, but I am aiming to complete the same set as on the arri at some point.

For super35/APS-C I aimed for 28, 50 and 85 or 100 mm. Obviously Both longer and wider lenses would prove to be useful, but the idea is that these 3 focal lengths would suffice MOST of the time.

One big problem, especially when shopping for old vintange stills lenses is the matching of aperture while still keeping the price down. I was shooting quite a bit with the canon FDn 28mm f/2.8, 50mm f/1.4 and 100mm f/2.8, and with a cheap chinese speed booster I could match everything at f/2.8 (effectively f/2.0).

That brings me to my next problem, which I don't see many talking about - Aperture blades. The 28mm 2.8 has 5 blades, the 100mm 2.8 has 6 blades and the 50mm 1.4 has 8 blades. And it would show! When shooting everything at f/2.8 (2.0), thinking it would match pretty well, the background blur would have - in my eyes - wildly different characteristics.

Long story short; if the FDn 50mm 1.4 is the center piece of the set, the 28mm f/2 and 100mm f/2 would be better matches as they all have 8 aperture blades.

(don't get me started on weight and size)

In general I have found that audiences notice differences in color far more than differences of the background blur or object separation. 

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2 hours ago, meudig said:

I was on a study visit at a tv station while in film school, where in the basement they still had two old Arriflex 16S sitting. They were the 3-lens turret kind. If my memory serves me correct they were equipped with 16, 25 and 50mm Schneider-Kreuznach Arri-s lenses, and that is what they used to shoot reportages and the like with. I've tried to adopt this simple 3-lens setup a couple of times. For my BMPCC I only have the 16mm so far, but I am aiming to complete the same set as on the arri at some point.

That’s a cool strategy for the BMPCC. Did you buy a Schneider 16mm for it, or are you just following the same focal length strategy? If you did get the Schneider, how do you like it?

Some of those old lenses look so great on the Pocket/Micro. This BMMCC short was shot on a S16 Zeiss Superspeed...

2 hours ago, meudig said:

That brings me to my next problem, which I don't see many talking about - Aperture blades. The 28mm 2.8 has 5 blades, the 100mm 2.8 has 6 blades and the 50mm 1.4 has 8 blades. And it would show! When shooting everything at f/2.8 (2.0), thinking it would match pretty well, the background blur would have - in my eyes - wildly different characteristics.

Yeah, I agree with this. I think the audience may not realize what’s off, but some will feel that something is different, so unless the story, or intent of the shot, can utilize the jarring effect, it is a problem, in my opinion.

With that said, this is one of the reasons, other than being lazy, that I moved to shooting with single prime lenses. I think it was Polanski that believes you shouldn’t change your focal length during a scene because the change in angle affects perspective, which could take the audience out of the dramatic effect of the scene.

3 hours ago, meudig said:

Long story short; if the FDn 50mm 1.4 is the center piece of the set, the 28mm f/2 and 100mm f/2 would be better matches as they all have 8 aperture blades

This is definitely an option, the 28mm f/2 isn’t too expensive if you can find a good copy. I haven’t priced the 100mm but I assume it’s a bit more. 

And with that said, there’s a good likelihood that most people won’t even notice or care, so it really depends on how much it bothers you.

On a different note, that FD 50mm is probably the best bargain vintage lens out there. I found a copy that was converted to the Nikon F mount, so I can adapt it to EF on my 5D3.

If I was a smarter person, I could probably sell every lens I own and just use that lens. As you know, that’s how good it is.

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9 minutes ago, mercer said:

That’s a cool strategy for the BMPCC. Did you buy a Schneider 16mm for it, or are you just following the same focal length strategy? If you did get the Schneider, how do you like it?

I found the Schneider 16mm f/1.9 in stellar condition locally at an auction at the beginning of the year. I had already sold my pocket but that time though.

However, I've recently bought another pocket v1 and I am about to order an Arri-s adapter. I'll let you know how I like it!

That's a gorgeous short by the way, thanks for the link.

22 minutes ago, mercer said:

With that said, this is one of the reasons, other than being lazy, that I moved to shooting with single prime lenses. I think it was Polanski that believes you shouldn’t change your focal length during a scene because the change in angle affects perspective, which could take the audience out of the dramatic effect of the scene.

That makes a lot of sense. I don't know if I've ever thought about it that way.

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I've built a Canon FD set with 20/2.8, 28/2, 35/2, 50/1.4, 85/1.2 and 135/2 that I use for all my professional shoots which are mid-tier commercials mostly. If I can get away with the characteristics I keep them wide open and if I need sharpness I stop down to an F4 or so. Long-term plan is to have them re-housed to PL by P+S Technik. I like the look and they cover FF to follow the camera trend.

Edit: ...with focusgears from followfocusgears.com and fronts from Simmod to make them somewhat usable in a professional setting. Only downside is the fiddly process of swapping lenses ?

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1 hour ago, meudig said:

I found the Schneider 16mm f/1.9 in stellar condition locally at an auction at the beginning of the year. I had already sold my pocket but that time though.

However, I've recently bought another pocket v1 and I am about to order an Arri-s adapter. I'll let you know how I like it!

That's a gorgeous short by the way, thanks for the link.

That makes a lot of sense. I don't know if I've ever thought about it that way.

Yes, please let me know when you get a chance. I ended up buying a Micro a couple months ago but haven’t done much with it. I have a couple c-mounts (Cine-Nikkor 10mm & Zeiss Tevidon 10mm) so I’m going to test them out first, once I get the rig situated and an IR Cut Filter. If I don’t like the c-mounts, I may get a speedbooster for my Rollei Zeiss 25mm. Which brand of speedbooster do you use? And how do you like it?

I decided to take a minimalist approach to filmmaking going forward, but the Micro’s crop factor makes it difficult to get anything wide with what I currently own. 

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35 minutes ago, mercer said:

Which brand of speedbooster do you use? And how do you like it?

I use the Roxsen/Pixco FD-m4/3 Focal Reducer. I've heard people saying it has had some play/sloppiness on the body mount as well as not mounting the old FDs properly. I've only used it with FDn glass and it's been a treat!

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10 hours ago, Jacek said:

16mm Sigma 1.4 (on bmpcc4k)

Minimalism!  I love it :)

That's the ultimate way to get around matching of shots...  I'm not familiar with that lens in particular, but I'm imagining it's not perfect when wide open, so do you specifically shoot a film at the same aperture settings to keep the look consistent?

As I've said before, my main lens (maybe 75% of screen-time in final edit) is my 17.5 and I love that focal length.  I'm also curious to know what you shoot and how you get around the challenge of only having one focal length.

9 hours ago, Video Hummus said:

I think we will see more and more of these more exotic (and expensive) MFT lenses as we already have an extensive lineup of glass from first party to third party.

We will also have more people crying about it “expensive lenses”, forgetting the fact they have many many more options that they probably already own. How many 12-35 f2.8 lenses do you want? ?

I would love to see more f/2 zoom lenses. Maybe f/0.95 primes with autofocus.

I also don’t mind variable apertures if they allow the lens more reach, smaller size, and a lower base aperture.

It would be logical for Panasonic to release a longer companion lens to the 10-25, similar to how the Sigma 18-35 has the longer companion zoom.

I wouldn't hold your breath for a f0.95 zoom - even if they could figure out how to do it I suspect almost no-one could lift it!

7 hours ago, meudig said:

I was on a study visit at a tv station while in film school, where in the basement they still had two old Arriflex 16S sitting. They were the 3-lens turret kind. If my memory serves me correct they were equipped with 16, 25 and 50mm Schneider-Kreuznach Arri-s lenses, and that is what they used to shoot reportages and the like with. I've tried to adopt this simple 3-lens setup a couple of times. For my BMPCC I only have the 16mm so far, but I am aiming to complete the same set as on the arri at some point.

For super35/APS-C I aimed for 28, 50 and 85 or 100 mm. Obviously Both longer and wider lenses would prove to be useful, but the idea is that these 3 focal lengths would suffice MOST of the time.

One big problem, especially when shopping for old vintange stills lenses is the matching of aperture while still keeping the price down. I was shooting quite a bit with the canon FDn 28mm f/2.8, 50mm f/1.4 and 100mm f/2.8, and with a cheap chinese speed booster I could match everything at f/2.8 (effectively f/2.0).

That brings me to my next problem, which I don't see many talking about - Aperture blades. The 28mm 2.8 has 5 blades, the 100mm 2.8 has 6 blades and the 50mm 1.4 has 8 blades. And it would show! When shooting everything at f/2.8 (2.0), thinking it would match pretty well, the background blur would have - in my eyes - wildly different characteristics.

Long story short; if the FDn 50mm 1.4 is the center piece of the set, the 28mm f/2 and 100mm f/2 would be better matches as they all have 8 aperture blades.

(don't get me started on weight and size)

Lots of good points here.  I subscribe to the 3 lenses will cover MOST of what you want strategy, and I just deal with the times when they won't - you rarely have to go wider than 16 and you can digitally zoom quite a bit before adding additional sharpening won't match the footage.  

Getting a fast lens set while keeping the price down is a real challenge - one thing I've noticed is that the fastest lenses are the ones coveted by collectors and the slower ones seem to be far less in demand, so knowing what you shoot can possibly save you huge amounts of money if you're able to compromise.  

I also pay attention to bokeh, at least to the extent that I'm very interested in a bokeh that's not distracting.  Therefore I'm absolutely not a fan of any bokeh that attracts attention, for example star-shaped bokeh / 'bubble bokeh' / swirly bokeh etc are not desirable.  However if you get a bokeh that is unremarkable then matching the things like aperture blades becomes a non-issue for me, as it's not something that will get much critical attention.  [Edit: shooting on a cropped sensor also helps with this as the bokeh, and also lens issues in general, tend to be worse at the edges of the image circle which gets cropped by the smaller sensor]

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On 10/3/2019 at 6:34 PM, kye said:

I totally agree.  Once I worked out the focal lengths I use and why I use them and how they suit my shooting style I felt so much more free.  Being able to go and shoot and not have doubt in the back of my mind about if I was messing up the situation and later on would curse myself for not having chosen different lenses.

Same. This is one of the few reasons I decided on a single prime or a zoom for any given film. You can’t really second guess yourself if you don’t have the options, it becomes about composition, lens placement, or thinking about the shot from an entirely different way than how I envisioned it when I wrote it.

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39 minutes ago, kye said:

I wouldn't hold your breath for a f0.95 zoom - even if they could figure out how to do it I suspect almost no-one could lift it!

I wouldn't either!

In my original post I was asking for f/0.95 primes with autofocus and OIS for the longer focal length varieties.

Maybe an updated 42.5mm f/0.95 Nocticron, for example.

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Just now, Video Hummus said:

I wouldn't either!

In my original post I was asking for f/0.95 primes with autofocus and OIS for the longer focal length varieties.

Maybe an updated 42.5mm f/0.95 Nocticron, for example.

Ah!  That makes more sense :) 

46 minutes ago, kye said:

and you can digitally zoom quite a bit before adding additional sharpening won't match the footage

I'm thinking this might deserve more investigation.  Hmmm.

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For my personal photo stuff I am using 35 and 90 summicrons, with the vast majority being on the 35 ( both on an M6 so full frame ), I find anymore choice than that and I get a bit of decision paralysis. It also helps that the photos don't really matter - if I get the shot I get the shot and if I don't I don't have a client asking why. I used to use a 5D and zooms but found I wasn't really present for the event that I happened to be photographing because I was thinking about it too much, it just wasn't fun anymore - I had become a bad event photographer. 

My "professional" work is training videos that I am in and I use a GH3 and 12-35 but probably soon to be a C300 with something like the 24-105 and 16-35. I like having lots of options when I'm doing videos that are a pain to reshoot and my performance is far more important than the cinematography in this case. The zooms really help because I shoot in a workshop and often can't get the camera where I would like it so the zoom really helps to get the 

So I suppose my strategy is to limit my variables so I can't get too distracted, in the first case the lenses and in the second limiting what is important to me.  It seems to be quite a common theme in this thread to limit the variables, which is encouraging!

Pretty sure I'd curl up in a little ball with a full set of cine primes with a new focal length every 2mm !

I think it's interesting that the professionals who have to get the shot and can't control all the variables need technology to help them with RAW, higher dynamic range and, for some, autofocus. I have read a few things recently that joke about how the people who can afford cameras with RAW and massive dynamic ranges and amazing autofocus are often exactly the people that don't need them because they have a crew that can control all the variables and a focus puller.

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