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kye

What is your lens kit strategy?

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On 10/3/2019 at 6:51 AM, kye said:

We all talk about lenses on an individual basis, but what is your strategy for putting multiple lenses together into a kit?  

How many lens kits do you have?  How close are the focal lengths?  What aspects do you think matter when matching lenses?  I've heard on reduser that people often want a modern kit for some projects and a more vintage looking kit for other projects.  

My personal strategy is:

  • I have about a 2.3x ratio - so FF equivalents of 16mm, (16mm x 2.2) = 35mm, and (35mm x 2.3) = 80mm.  I used to have a 116mm instead of the 80, and it was too far apart at 3.3x the 35mm
  • They are 8mm F4, 17.5mm F0.95, and 40mm F1.8 and I'll be upgrading the 8mm to a 7.5mm F2 lens this year, so they'll all be under F2 for use in low-light if required
  • They're all full-manual lenses, so I can have full control and also nice MF with decent focus-throw.  This combined with IBIS gives me the perfect combination of stabilised manual lenses
  • I chose a 35mm equivalent as I like how the 35 is wider than a 50mm and longer than a 28mm, both focal lengths I don't think I like that much

What is your style?  Why have you chosen the lenses you use?

3 rules:

1. Must be adaptable to EF mount and shorter. Gotta be able to use it on at least a C200/F3/UMP.

2. Must focus the "correct" (non-Nikon) direction with hard stops. Anything else messes with my muscle memory (or my AC's) and creates problems with remote follow focuses.

3. Must have appeal beyond just my taste: ie, should be desirable to clients who hire me, directors I work with, and other shooters who might rent them. Otherwise I'm just spinning my wheels.

 

Personally I prefer a ~1.4x ratio between focal lengths, but I can make do with 2x in a pinch. In tight spaces it matters a great deal.

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On 10/5/2019 at 10:04 PM, Otago said:

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.

If you're talking professional commercial sets, raw and autofocus are actually not used that much. Most commercial shoots using the Alexa shoot in Prores4444 rather than raw, as do a great deal of feature films. Of course there's Red, but r3d is the only option available (for all res/frame rates) so you don't have a choice but to shoot raw.

And autofocus is very rarely used on professional productions. It's more in the domain on hobbyists, or single-man shoots like weddings. Even for gimbal work, pros generally use a follow focus, or deep focus + careful blocking, rather than AF.

We hear a lot more about raw, AF, IBIS, 6K/8K etc on forums than you do on real productions because the people on forums are largely opinionated tech nerds with G.A.S!

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2 minutes ago, barefoot_dp said:

If you're talking professional commercial sets, raw and autofocus are actually not used that much. Most commercial shoots using the Alexa shoot in Prores4444 rather than raw, as do a great deal of feature films. Of course there's Red, but r3d is the only option available (for all res/frame rates) so you don't have a choice but to shoot raw.

And autofocus is very rarely used on professional productions. It's more in the domain on hobbyists, or single-man shoots like weddings. Even for gimbal work, pros generally use a follow focus, or deep focus + careful blocking, rather than AF.

We hear a lot more about raw, AF, IBIS, 6K/8K etc on forums than you do on real productions because the people on forums are largely opinionated tech nerds with G.A.S!

Absolutely, I think it was more in relation to the features on the latest cameras - here's amazing autofocus that you probably won't use because you have a great focus puller and here's RAW just incase you forget 20 years of experience in how to expose or set white balance ( I think there might be better reasons to use RAW than that ? ) and on the lower end cameras you've got: set your white balance perfectly, nail your exposure and focus and remember to make something interesting too!

Are you seeing trend to smaller sets or budgets where these things might start to come in useful ? Or is it technology companies driving it because they can't think of/are finding it difficult to engineer anything else to add ? I've been looking at C300 footage recently, scoping out the next upgrade and it made me realise I don't need anything better than that - perhaps some more shooting time and a holiday.

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30 minutes ago, barefoot_dp said:

We hear a lot more about raw, AF, IBIS, 6K/8K etc on forums than you do on real productions

If only I shot on imaginary productions..  then I could use my imagination to get rid of all the problems!!

Anyway, got home from my travels today and I'm inspecting my strategy for the Single Soviet Prime Lens Challenge...  fun fun!

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Great topic!

My two-camera (APS-C/S35 sensor) documentary kit is always 35mm and 50mm f/2 lenses for interviews. I bring along a standard-zoom with OIS in case I need to do handheld shots (18-55mm f/2.8-4 on Fuji or 24-70mm f/4 L IS on Canon).

Music video work handheld is always OIS-equipped zooms (mostly standard zooms, occasionally the UWA zooms all at f/4) and usually Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS mk2s on sticks. Gimbal is usually 35mm or 50mm prime depending on framing needs, though I used the Fuji 18-55mm f/2.8-4 almost exclusively for my most recent work because the director needed quick framing changes.

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9 hours ago, Otago said:

Are you seeing trend to smaller sets or budgets where these things might start to come in useful ? Or is it technology companies driving it because they can't think of/are finding it difficult to engineer anything else to add ? I've been looking at C300 footage recently, scoping out the next upgrade and it made me realise I don't need anything better than that - perhaps some more shooting time and a holiday.

The trend I have noticed with decreasing budgets is that the pace on set is much faster. In that kind of scenario, the time spent digging into a menu to adjust AF sensitivity, or doing extra takes because the AF jumped to the wrong person, is very costly. A good focus puller will not make these mistakes (not saying their focus is always perfect, but they are at least fairly predictable in their hit ratio and behaviour).

 

9 hours ago, kye said:

If only I shot on imaginary productions..  then I could use my imagination to get rid of all the problems!!

You might note that I said AF/IBIS etc are more the domain of single-person shoots. What type of work are you doing?

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6 hours ago, barefoot_dp said:

You might note that I said AF/IBIS etc are more the domain of single-person shoots. What type of work are you doing?

You might be right about single-person shoots.  There's only so many hands (and neurons) available to get the job done as a solo-operator and no-one will give you a pass if the end result isn't quite right because it was only you.

I'm an overly-enthusiastic amateur who shoots my families travels and the odd video for a friend.  In this sense my shooting is guerrilla run-n-gun zero-impact kind of shooting where I document what happens, as it happens, where it happens, without making people do things differently or repeat anything.  To this end, I shoot hand-held with a GH5, Rode VMP+, and a very minimal kit of MF primes, Sony X3000 action camera, and my iPhone (as required).  I manually focus as I spent so much time being frustrated with poor AF and I also learned that I preferred the aesthetic of that more than AF, even very good AF like the Canon DPAF.  Obviously I benefit from IBIS (as I'm hand-held, hate the super-8 home video micro-jitter aesthetic, and most places I go don't allow tripods), the higher DR and bit-depth of the GH5 (as I shoot in available-light and go where the action is), and the dual-gain setting on the Rode (as shoot in uncontrolled conditions and don't have a spare hand or spare mental CPU cycles to adjust audio gain).

Having said all that I've produced a number of short films and I know my way around a set, so I'm familiar with the whole cycle from funding applications, grants, scripting, storyboarding, coverage, lighting, call-lists, extras, ADR, through to editing, grading, mixing, mastering, delivery, festival submissions, and promotion, etc.  I also used to write my own music and ran a small recording studio for a decade or so, and have built a dozen or so hifi systems from the ground up (with wood, screws, wire, soldering iron, valves, transistors, resistors, capacitors, digital chips, transformers, etc), so I'm rather overqualified for the "dad with a handicam" role that I play most of the time :) 

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