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Leica vs. Cooke: Flat vs. Distorted, GH4 vs A7S


jcs

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I noticed Jupiter Ascending used Leica lenses. After a little research I found this: http://www.hurlbutvisuals.com/blog/2014/03/why-do-we-want-flat-glass/

 

The Cooke has distortion and less pleasing bokeh (only 5 blades), however it just looks better ("3D"). Testing cameras and lenses against each other is a useful exercise. I've been testing the GH4 against the A7S in studio lighting and the GH4 is looking better, especially in skintones. I had tweaked the A7S to look similar to the 5D3 and thought it looked pretty good until I did the same with the GH4. Under studio lighting, the GH4 produces nicer skintones and a cleaner image (+ 4K!). In December the Atomos Shogun will bring 4K to the A7S, however the GH4 will get 10-bit 422 4K at the same time (vs. 8-bit for the A7S).

 

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Jeff Cronenweth used Leica Summilux's on Gone Girl , all his last films where on Arri Master Primes for Fincher

 

Camtec rental house in LA did a great test earlier this year on Arri Master Primes, Leica Summilux and Cook s4 so you can see the differances

 

have a look here

http://www.filmanddigitaltimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/61FDTimesCamtec.pdf

 

there is really not much between the Cooke s4s and the Leica's

The ARRI master Primes have a bit more contrast in them

 

they all do the job!!

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Shane Hurlbuts Test shows a a phenomenon that has always interested me: 

- Some movies cinematography really gives you the feeling, that you can go into the "room" - others not!

 

And for me, the difference in Hurlbuts Test is obviously (even if you only look at the vimeo-still from QuickHitRecords Post).

 

When you switch back and forth between the two frames it seems: 

- that in the Leica Frame - the whole information from the depth of the scene is squeezed to one plane.

- in the Cooke Frame, you really feel the room from foreground to background...

 

The "battle" between leica and cooke here, is not the important thing for me (possibly some other Leicas are looks better in this context than other cookes...). 

For me it´s important that there really could be a difference, as I´ve always felt!

 

My experience is, that anamorphic lenses gives you the most three-dimensional image.

But I sold mine (Iscorama, etc.) because they are too heavy to handle (follow focus, minimal focus, etc.).

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I've always felt that the Cooke look had that extra feel to it - I'd always described it as if the focus sort of blends out into blurriness and so it feels like the shot has a lot more depth, whereas on the Zeiss glass I was comparing to at the time it was just a really sharp fall away in focus.

 

Leicas are great glass, as are Zeiss and Cooke. They all do a great job. As with film stock (and these days camera choice), lensing is another creative choice DPs have in our arsenal to create a specific look for a film. The infamous 'Cooke look' isn't right for every film. If I wanted something a bit more clinical, I might shoot RED Epic with Ultra Primes. For a drama, I might go Alexa with Cooke S5's (or maybe older Cooke Speed Panchros!). I've shot Super Baltars on Epic before for a funkier look.

It's all a personal thing, though - there's no right or wrong look, and no right or wrong lens choice.

 

It's funny, when you've worked with a lens set enough you can start to almost pick the lens based on the bokeh... The one thing I dislike about Cookes is the stop-light bokeh... Though I've seen some Panavision lenses do similar things.

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I think the actual focal length of each lens used plays a very large part in the image , do I use the 27mm here or the 40mm or the 75mm and how and where you use it relative to the story .

 

some DPs like Cooke some Leica and some Arri Master primes they all have their little points people like ,

I dont think the audience really sees or cares which is used at this level of hi end lens .......they just want a good movie !

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I think the actual focal length of each lens used plays a very large part in the image , do I use the 27mm here or the 40mm or the 75mm and how and where you use it relative to the story .

You're right - it's another trick in the arsenal. Shooting a CU on a 25mm gives a different look to shooting a wide on a 100mm. If you want to be a DP, you should learn what lenses look like and how they react to objects at different distances, and you should also learn how to light. 

Because of cheap camera systems, these days wannabe DPs focus all their time and energy into the camera body that they think looks the best, and pixel peep, where the real focus shuold be on lensing and lighting.

You have ACs and DITs to figure out the specifics of the camera system you choose (though you should know why you're choosing a particular camera system). Some DPs like to be involved in the technical side as well, but it's nowhere near as important as knowing how to lens something, and how to light something.

 

I dont think the audience really sees or cares which is used at this level of hi end lens .......they just want a good movie !

The audience don't know the difference between lenses - and to some extent don't care. However, it is something that does contribute to the way a movie looks, which in turn has an effect on how the audience feels.

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The interesting thing is the value of doing the comparisons between cameras, lenses, film stock, etc. and the effect for the desired emotional communication. Each element makes up the visual language structure or 'visual vocabulary' used to tell the visual part of the story. We all kind of know this intuitively; it's great to see A/B comparisons like Shane's showing us how these effects can work for the story.

 

It would appear future Cooke's could use more blades to fix the bokeh issue though I'm not sure if the average viewer considers this a problem. Perhaps there is value for the visual vocabulary to have 'stop sign' bokeh for certain scenes.

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@andy lee: "I think the actual focal length of each lens used plays a very large part in the image , do I use the 27mm here or the 40mm or the 75mm and how and where you use it relative to the story" .some DPs like Cooke some Leica and some Arri Master primes they all have their little points people like ,

I dont think the audience really sees or cares which is used at this level of hi end lens .......they just want a good movie!"

 

For sure: the audience just want a good movie! - that is indisputable. 

But we discuss here about the subtle differences of lenses...

and: whether they are exist and relevant?

Here we have two lenses with the same focal length: 21mm.

(sorry for my low english - english is not my native language:)

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You're right - it's another trick in the arsenal. Shooting a CU on a 25mm gives a different look to shooting a wide on a 100mm. If you want to be a DP, you should learn what lenses look like and how they react to objects at different distances, and you should also learn how to light.
Because of cheap camera systems, these days wannabe DPs focus all their time and energy into the camera body that they think looks the best, and pixel peep, where the real focus shuold be on lensing and lighting.
You have ACs and DITs to figure out the specifics of the camera system you choose (though you should know why you're choosing a particular camera system). Some DPs like to be involved in the technical side as well, but it's nowhere near as important as knowing how to lens something, and how to light something.

The audience don't know the difference between lenses - and to some extent don't care. However, it is something that does contribute to the way a movie looks, which in turn has an effect on how the audience feels.

I've been a Director and lighting DP for 25 years now shooting on film for 15 of that ! The first set of lenses I bought where Zeiss Super Speeds and Angenieux zooms.
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