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Andrew Reid

Lenses and putting the life back in - Why expensive is not always better

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[img]http://www.eoshd.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/DSCF4088.jpg[/img]

Putting the life into an image is an art.

It isn’t always about Canon L glass.

Here I’ll explain exactly why this is and how to get the most from the more ‘unusual’ lenses on eBay.

[url="http://www.eoshd.com/content/7504/lenses-and-putting-the-life-back-in-why-expensive-is-not-always-better/"]Read full article[/url]

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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
Sharp "computerized" optics may not be the best for cinema, but as a working camera-person a good range of "Sterile" glass like the L series is needed.

But you're absolutely right that it shouldn't always be the go-to option, especially in the creative field.

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I enjoyed reading that and agree with much of the sentiment. I do think you overstated the point a bit though by saying "So next time you are about to drop $1500 on a lens – make sure it is either an anamorphic, or something unique. " Why not spend the serious money on the sharp glass but leave enough in the budget to get some inexpensive character bokeh glass?

Either way, great to see you broadening the horizons of those not already examining this approach.

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I agree with the article if you're talking just about beauty shots, commercials, music videos, etc, but for narrative work, that can become quite distracting. If you're shooting a dialogue and cutting from different focal lenghts between 2 shots, close ups, wides, you don't want every lens to have a different aspect to it, you want consistency, and that's very hard to get with vintage lenses (you'd need to have a set for each lens you like, probably impossible to find!).
That's when good neutral lenses are very important, most serious work is shot as neutral as possible, because in this time and age you can make it look however you want it to, but once you shoot with one of those beautiful lenses, that's pretty much it.

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It would be great if Andrew put together another eBook on the subject of artistic lenses. He saved me a bunch of cash with the " Anamorphic Shooter's Guide ". Got the book, started looking around and buying the matching taking lenses to adaptors and clamps - in two weeks I was shooting anamorphic on a hacked GH1 and 7D with great results.

I will happily pay for a guide to retro lenses for DSLRs.

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I really like my older lenses.  But for our technical quality the native m43 lenses are better.  But for a less clinical look I totally agree with this article.  Here is my take on old lenses.  http://frugalfilmmakers.com/2012/05/06/using-legacy-lenses-on-the-gh2/

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Fantastic article. I just joined this forum due to it. What I was wondering how to find adapters for those old lenses. I have e.g. some old (50 years or so ) Carl Zeiss Voigtländer lenses. No idea about the connector. How do you go about it ?

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[quote author=Bruno link=topic=696.msg5060#msg5060 date=1336497800]
I agree with the article if you're talking just about beauty shots, commercials, music videos, etc, but for narrative work, that can become quite distracting. If you're shooting a dialogue and cutting from different focal lenghts between 2 shots, close ups, wides, you don't want every lens to have a different aspect to it, you want consistency, and that's very hard to get with vintage lenses (you'd need to have a set for each lens you like, probably impossible to find!).
That's when good neutral lenses are very important, most serious work is shot as neutral as possible, because in this time and age you can make it look however you want it to, but once you shoot with one of those beautiful lenses, that's pretty much it.
[/quote]

These lenses would be just as appropriate for the right narrative work as the right commercial or music video.  After twenty years we finally have synthetic lens flares, chromatic and DOF plug-ins that very closely mimic the real deal (though Doug Trumbull still has nothing to worry about) but what is much harder to quantify and therefore mimic are the random, accidental "artifacts" that work because there's nothing contrived about them and they represent perfect moments captured unintentionally.

One of the great things about the GH2 is it basically doubles your lens collection, turning every lens into two.  You could very easily and competently shoot the majority of a film with one lens for medium and CU type shots using the crop, these being the shots that will most directly benefit from bokeh with character.  Wides and establishing shots will mostly be done stopped down with a majority of the frame in as sharp a focus as possible which nullifies a majority of continuity issues.

I mean, DPs and directors have been intercutting footage with and without diffusion.  Spielberg used to be really, really bad about this.  I find that way more objectionable than just about anything.  Intercutting less-than-Ridley-Scott quality stage lighting with location footage too.  Classic day-for-night footage. 

Lenses with character aren't a bad thing.  You have extreme examples like BELLFLOWER...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3KX2IPTbjE

...and here, the "neutral" look of the talky-talky bits are the more distracting, least interesting or engaging parts of the film, cinematographically.  But for a refined, exceptional and beautiful example of bollocks-to-lens-continuity in a narrative film, check out IN THE CUT, which has brilliant photography, including liberal use of swing-tilt lenses...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZKfF84LKT0


24P + 1/48th second shutter is, generally speaking, the biggest issue with "narrative".  After that it's all gravy.

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Andrew you regularly inspire me.  I'm a lifetime Audio guy that has gotten into video over the last 4 years and i'm having a blast.  More importantly you keep expanding my horizons with articles like this.  I want to explore and experiment and i'm not in fear of creating a different aesthetic from the norm.  I'm going to experiment even more now after reading this.

It's funny cuz in the audio realm i've always been an anti establishment guy.  I'll use any piece of gear for what it can give me.  I don't care about the purest view on expensive gear and so forth.  That's just too limiting.  I hope I can do the same thing in video.

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[quote author=PAVP link=topic=696.msg5089#msg5089 date=1336552315]
Andrew you regularly inspire me.  I'm a lifetime Audio guy that has gotten into video over the last 4 years and i'm having a blast.  More importantly you keep expanding my horizons with articles like this.  I want to explore and experiment and i'm not in fear of creating a different aesthetic from the norm.  I'm going to experiment even more now after reading this.

It's funny cuz in the audio realm i've always been an anti establishment guy.  I'll use any piece of gear for what it can give me.  I don't care about the purest view on expensive gear and so forth.  That's just too limiting.  I hope I can do the same thing in video.
[/quote]

Great to hear. Actually there are a lot of parallels with audio and putting the life into that too.

By the way it doesn't have to be an old lens... Some of the new stuff is interesting as well like the way the Nokton 25mm F0.95 looks wide open on the GH2.

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This is why I recently embarked on the anamorphic bandwagon.  I found a century anamorphic for 20GBP, mounted it to an old olympus zuiko 28mm and am having so much more fun than with the usual 16:9.  Also, being that the camera is now handling less resolved detail from the lens it free's up more space within the limited bandwidth of the 25mb/s nex 5n video mode.

I'm excited to put to good use an Achromatic diopter (bought based on Andrews recommendation (amongst others).  in particular i look forward to better close focus, alongside an increase in background defocus.  Very few people own both the century and the +0.4 achromat which will mean my footage has something original others dont.  It wont be the sharpest, but at the moment it is pleasingly organic and reminds me of a super16 blow up to 35mm


Shot with no achromat.  mainly wide open.  close ups struggle with sharpness and CA, but some of the wider shots really show off the combo I think:-

https://vimeo.com/41740231

Finally thought Id sign up to this forum.  im glad i did:)

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