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mercer

Nikkor 35mm 1.4 - a long, near useless review... with pictures

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Funny thing is I had the Nikon 35 1.4 and hated it.     To be fair though mine had issues when i got it that I knew it had before I did.    It was just a bit too "vailed" for me wide open and I thought it was not really usable wide open so I would have been better with a slower 35.

 

I might have thought better of it with a better copy though and 35mm lenses have not been a thing for me really either.

It probably did not help that i mostly used it mounted bare on Pentax DSLRs at the time (they fit kind of mounted on Pentax turning the other way but as ever, do this at your own risk).

You have showed that may well have been just my copy.

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It seems that a lot of people have love or hate for the lens. In a lot of ways, the lens is infuriating. On occasion the WB will seem off with this lens, to the point that I set daylight WB at 5000 instead of 5600 sometimes.

And you're right it does veil wide open, but the contrast can be added back nicely in post creating a soft, contrasty haze instead of a low-con veil that some vintage lenses have.

Some of the older Zeiss lenses have this too... maybe it's micro contrast?

I think Olympus OM Lenses will forcefully mount on Nikon cameras too. 

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14 hours ago, mercer said:

The bottom of the monopod fits snuggly inside the tape measure pouch giving me a stable image with a handheld-like flexibility.

Shit, that's a good idea.

Great write up and fantastic images. If do decide to sell that lens again, holler.

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4 hours ago, Thomas Hill said:

Shit, that's a good idea.

Great write up and fantastic images. If do decide to sell that lens again, holler.

Thanks! We were walking to a location one shooting day and an impromptu shot came up, rather than extend the monopod, I stuck it inside the pocket of my hooded sweatshirt and that worked a lot better than my laziness thought it would... the tape measure pouch was bought the next week at Home Depot.

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Great write-up!

I've heard bits of it before, but not the total picture.  I have had a journey through film-making as well, with it being signposted with various equipment and tests, trials, and realisations.  

There's a huge debate over equipment and if it matters or not, and I think one element that doesn't get enough attention during these discussions is inspiration.  If a piece of equipment is inspiring to use, then that can and does have a real impact on the creative process.  Even if you could get an identical image out of two bits of equipment the one you like using will be the one that makes you pick it up and go shoot, and when you're shooting you'll be in a better headspace as you're looking at the images and using the equipment and enjoying the experience, and this will ripple through your directing, cinematography, and all the other creative aspects.  

Unfortunately sometimes the equipment that inspires us is expensive, or cumbersome, but so be it.

We should all be so lucky to find a lens we love, and then have time to go shoot with it.

..and speaking of flawed but lovely vintage lenses, the Cosmicar is sitting and waiting patiently for some filter adapters - I haven't forgotten!

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20 hours ago, kye said:

Great write-up!

Thanks, Kye! It's not your traditional review but hopefully somebody more talented than me will be inspired by it and make a great film with this truly unique lens. 

20 hours ago, kye said:

I've heard bits of it before, but not the total picture.  I have had a journey through film-making as well, with it being signposted with various equipment and tests, trials, and realisations.  

This "review" barely scratches the story of how my life has changed since I started my film, let alone since I became interested in filmmaking. I could probably write a small book.

20 hours ago, kye said:

There's a huge debate over equipment and if it matters or not, and I think one element that doesn't get enough attention during these discussions is inspiration.  If a piece of equipment is inspiring to use, then that can and does have a real impact on the creative process.  Even if you could get an identical image out of two bits of equipment the one you like using will be the one that makes you pick it up and go shoot, and when you're shooting you'll be in a better headspace as you're looking at the images and using the equipment and enjoying the experience, and this will ripple through your directing, cinematography, and all the other creative aspects.  

I'm actually surprised that more filmmakers aren't interested in lenses like the regular visitors of the Lenses sub-forum are. In a digital medium, where we often discus processing, sensors and specs, manual lenses gives us a physical connection to the recording process as we manipulate the image in real time for effect. I guess they humanize the machine on some level. 

20 hours ago, kye said:

..and speaking of flawed but lovely vintage lenses, the Cosmicar is sitting and waiting patiently for some filter adapters - I haven't forgotten!

It's a great little lens. I look forward to seeing your Micro footage with it!!!

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7 hours ago, BTM_Pix said:

Sounds like you all need a HipJib

I suspect my overhanging fat bastard stomach would interfere with smooth operation.

Haha. This looks pretty slick but a bit much for my needs. One day, something like this will be perfect for me, though. 

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8 hours ago, BTM_Pix said:

Sounds like you all need a HipJib

I suspect my overhanging fat bastard stomach would interfere with smooth operation.

 

Two tape measure pouches!

Looks pretty slick but that unattached third tripod leg is a bit scary.

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12 minutes ago, Thomas Hill said:

Two tape measure pouches!

Looks pretty slick but that unattached third tripod leg is a bit scary.

Yeah, he could do himself a serious injury there !

What they don't really explore in that video is that when the bar rotates around fully, you can use a central mounting point for a monopod instead of using the two outlying ones for tripod legs.

If you put a gimbal on a short monopod in it then I could see how you would get some pretty good jib shots from this by leveraging the stabilisation and pan/tilt controls of the gimbal with it.

Discontinued though by the looks of it.

HipJib-Video-TripodMonopod-Mount-For-Movie-Cameras-Like-Paillard-Bolex-Arriflex-etc.-01.thumb.jpg.a0c1c482030dfb54634f53609df8356e.jpg

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27 minutes ago, BTM_Pix said:

What they don't really explore in that video is that when the bar rotates around fully, you can use a central mounting point for a monopod instead of using the two outlying ones for tripod legs.

I was thinking the same thing. As it is, the tape measure pouch adds no weight to my bag, I use a carabiner to clip it to the bag's handle and if I don't want to use it, I have a monopod at my disposal as well. I figured this out because I hate carrying around tripods and since the monopod is attached to my center of gravity, it's actually less shaky than my monopod by itself. 

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The MogoCrane belt looks like it will accept any tripod with a 1/4-20 thread on the bottom, so for the price of the belt, it may be worth a try to get some small and smooth jib shots. 

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13 hours ago, mercer said:

Thanks, Kye! It's not your traditional review but hopefully somebody more talented than me will be inspired by it and make a great film with this truly unique lens. 

This "review" barely scratches the story of how my life has changed since I started my film, let alone since I became interested in filmmaking. I could probably write a small book.

I'm actually surprised that more filmmakers aren't interested in lenses like the regular visitors of the Lenses sub-forum are. In a digital medium, where we often discus processing, sensors and specs, manual lenses gives us a physical connection to the recording process as we manipulate the image in real time for effect. I guess they humanize the machine on some level. 

It's a great little lens. I look forward to seeing your Micro footage with it!!!

I guess we could put it another way by saying that film-making takes so long to learn and films take so long to create that lots of life stuff happens during the process lol.

I didn't used to be that interested in lenses, focusing more on post, as it was infinitely adjustable under controlled and non-time-critical circumstances, but the thing that got me onto lenses was the realisation that film is 2D and all / most of the cool stuff that we like is in service of trying to put more of that third dimension back into it.  We blur backgrounds, we try and have the subject lighter or darker than the background, we like sliders and camera movement as they add depth by parallax, even the old orange/teal helps there to be colour contrast between the talent and the non-talent parts of the image.  And in this task, the lens is the adapter / converter between the 2D world that begins with the image sensor and the 3D world of everything that happens before the light goes through the lens.  So if you want more 3D pop, the 3D to 2D converter (the lens) is an absolutely critical component, and even more than that, once that 3D information is lost, it's stupidly difficult to put it back in in post.

I completely agree with you about the imperfections of a lens having a humanising effect over a very digital (and depending on the camera, sometimes very brittle and thin) image and processing pipeline.  I guess this is where we start to look at the various distortions and their relative aesthetic qualities and if we like them or not.  For example, people tend to like a slightly softer lower contrast image for skin tones and a softening to compensate for digititis, some like a lower resolution as an OLPF, field curvature and lens pincushioning, but then there are things like CA which I dislike intensely but others prefer, edge softening which is nice for some compositions but not for others, etc.

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20 hours ago, BTM_Pix said:

Sounds like you all need a HipJib

I suspect my overhanging fat bastard stomach would interfere with smooth operation.
 

 i doubt it. it may limit your angle of attack in the vertical orientation however 😉 plus i have to wonder what other spectators are thinking once an operator starts on a few hip swinging motions and  a thrust or two forward perhaps 😎

on a more serious note. i wonder how that would work if you tried walking with it ?  would footage be better or worse if movement besides panning or tilting was involved. considering at this point if it is discontinued, it cant of been a runaway success. upon further thinking would you be better off with two legs of a tripod as opposed to a single monopod leg. Two point of contact would help limit sway , would it not ?

edit : there is a used one on ebay the owner has this to say about it

Rollei Rolleiflex Hipjib tool to turn your tripod into a jib. Condition is Used. Shipped with USPS Priority Mail.

This is a weird tool, but useful in a pinch. Basically turns any tripod into a jib. This one is from the kickstarter.

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11 hours ago, mercer said:

Here's another product that's been around for awhile that works similarly. 

https://mogopod.com

I may get a cheap Benro head for my monopod so I can do some more complex moves if I want to.

i'm intrigued, why a cheap benro   what sort of complex moves are you talking about? do they have a nice cheap fluid head  ? actually i'll start a new thread so i dont hijack this thread any further if you feel inclined  please explain your motivations there :)

 

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Thanks!

These shots are great, I recognize the 5D look, which I do miss in newer camera's(hopefully the new R6, R5 will bring it back, allthough I am shooting with an alexa LF this weekend, I hope I dont fall madly in love with that camera ). These nikkor lenses have been on my radar for a long time, but never actually made the purchase. Had some back luck with vintage lenses before. (Still have my leica summicron-r lenses though). I might get these and compare it to the summicrons. (did the same with the zeiss contax, but liked the overal look and handling of the summicrons more, allthough the contax is a stop faster).

 

 

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8 hours ago, leslie said:

i'm intrigued, why a cheap benro   what sort of complex moves are you talking about? do they have a nice cheap fluid head  ? actually i'll start a new thread so i dont hijack this thread any further if you feel inclined  please explain your motivations there :)

 

I have a Benro monopod already and they sell some inexpensive heads... nothing more to it really.

As far as complex moves... maybe I overstated with the word complex... just basic crane movements. It's just I came up with the monopod/tape measure pouch idea out of need to have a quick, easy and cheap handheld-like solution. I never intended to do anything more than stay steady while being as mobile as possible. But with these belts, a monopod, and a tripod head, basic jib arm movements seem easily possible.

No need to start another thread, I don't care if things go off topic. Conversations evolve naturally. 

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