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Oliver Daniel

Complete Set of "Character Lenses?"

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There is a lot of choice out there for complete sets of lenses. Most recently, we have seen the Rokinon/Samyang Cine DS line offer a 14, 24, 35, 50, 85, 135mm prime lens sets in a kit at an affordable price. 

By "character lenses", I mean mostly vintage. They flare, distort and are "imperfect." They have style that you can't get with modern lenses. Helios is a prime example. I do a lot of music videos and I need this style.

I want to build a set of these lenses, close to the focal range choice you get with the Rokinon/Samyang set. A complete prime (and zooms included) lens set that complements each other and can be modified for cinematic use. (Gears etc). I have quite a few random ones, but I'd like a set. 

How would you build yours? I'm very interested to see what people come up with. :) 

 

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Andy knows tons. I'm sure he'll have a kit idea for you.

Also checkout Alan Besedin (his YT channel can be found over here: https://www.youtube.com/user/alanbesedin ). He does appreciate character too.

Maybe something like this? http://www.vintagelensesforvideo.com/illumina-lomo-super35-high-speed-cine-lenses/ (& check the rest of Alan's site)

Not sure which mounttype you're looking at here. FS7, was it... or?

The Veydra's look pretty cool, but it's M43. Also, they're pretty 'boring' according Adam Wilt (albeit in a good way).

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Dog Schidt Optiks FF58, with the FF38 and FF88 attachments, plain hood, and a metabones Speedbooster ultra + normal adapter, on M43, is how I'd start. That's a great start whether you shoot M43, Super35, or FF.

For wide/ultra-wide, I'd probably go with any decent vintage 24mm and/or the SLR Magic 10mm, and for tele any of the fantastic C/Y longer lenses with a plain adapter would do nicely for S35 or smaller. I don't know teles for FF very well, 135 is about as long as I ever care to use in my own work, beyond that I'd rent.

 

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I'm about to sell a complete set of Mamiya Sekor M42 lenses (28 2.8, 35 2.8, 50 2.0, 55 1.4, 135 2.8), along with a jinfinance Speedbooster (from M42 to M43).
All lenses are getting a full LCA treatment this week, should have 'm back next week.
If you're interested let me know.  I live in Belgium, so shipping should be reasonable.

Mamiya Sekor's, along with Yashica's or Canon FD's are a great and affordable route.  I'm selling my Mamiya Sekor's because I have a full Canon FD collection now.

 

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The dog schidts would definitely have the most character. Im not sure they have as large a range of focal lengths as the rokinon set though.

I really like old canon FD lenses. You could probably find a full set of the SSC series lenses for pretty cheap. I have a few old Vivitar lenses that are FD mount that have really nice flares and are low contrast. You could probably find a set of 19,28,35,50,135 on ebay but may be more difficult and probably just as much or less $ than the canons. there are a bunch of random lenses in FD mount that are awesome. its hard to tell  online sometimes but my local camera place has several shelves on them I go through and try things out

C/y zeiss is another option, i am currently trying to build a set of those. they seem to have a good balance of sharpness and character to me. They will be significantly more expensive for a full set. they are not hard to find on ebay. they definitely arent what i would consider to be "character lenses" though

I have never used them, but I have looked as some Russian lenses from a company called MIR that seem pretty nice. probably similar to helios. A full set of those might not be too hard to find in Europe

There are tons of other options too

 

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I have a good set (not complete) of old Canon FD for my m43 cameras: 28 f/2.8, 35 f/2.8, 50 f/1.4, 135 f/3.5, 35-105 f/3.5 Macro and a Tokina FD 28-80. They are very "cinematic" but not so "vintage" for my taste, I mean, they are very organic, but they have not freak flares or low contrast. 
I also own a Pentacon 29 f/2.8 and a Carl Zeiss Jena 50 f/1.8, also very sharp and "modern" to my taste. The only lens I own that seems "vintage" to my eyes is the Helios 55.

But some friends that have a different FD 28 f/2.8 have lots of flares from it, so it probably depends from the different models (I have all "new FD").

 

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Canon FD set - very very good all round lenses and cheap

Yashica ML set  superb as good as the Zeiss C/Y just alot cheaper

Contax Zeiss set - modern lens look great colours and blacks - bloody sharp

Nikon AIS set - Killer!!

Russian set - Helios Tair Volna etc etc - character tastic

and a curve ball really good cheap set is Miranda .....yes Miranda made by Cosina - really really cheap about £15 each and very very good !!

 
 
 
edit one more I forgot is Fujinon C - mount lens set - made in Japan bloody good glass - very fast and cheap - need modding to make work on Micro 4/3 but almost Distagon good.....but faster so superb in low light f1.4
25mm 35mm 50mm 75mm all very small and light but with Fujinons stunning glass in them .
Ill remind you that Fujinon make cinema lenses - Alura etc so are very very good....
195

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The Canon FD´s doesn´t impress me, but it´s 2-3 years ago, that I filmed wit them on a hacked GH2.

The Contax G Zeiss, especially the 45mm and the 28mm were superb lenses on m43. Not as sharp as the Olympus 45, for example, but way more character. Very good rendering of colour, light, etc. and with a very three-dimensional look.

 

For mirrorless full frame, I can recommend Minolta Rokkor lenses. I have sold all my Canon glass for them and convert them for EOS mount. I have some tests on vimeo, - like them a lot.

Especially the 35mm MC Rokkor HH 1,8 and the 50mm MC PG 1,4.

http://digitalrokkor.altervista.org/minoltalens.html

 

But for what you want, I can recommend russian LOMO OCT-19 Cinema lenses the most.

They were designed for Super-35 and have exactly the quality that you describe.

But they are very rare and not cheap. 

A friend of mine sell a set of spheric LOMOs:

 

10mm f2,8   18mm f1,6   75mm f1,5   28mm f1,2   35mm f2,3   22mm f2,3   35mm f2,3   100mm f3,5 

75mm f2,1   150mm f2,8   50mm f2,3 

 

Here are 2 tests from a polish d.o.p

 

 

 

 

 

They are also famous for their square and round front anamorphic lenses.

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Andy, did the Tokina RMC lenses ever come in M42 mount? Also, what would be the best Tokina RMC zoom set? (Wide, Standard, Tele)

Did the Russians ever make any decent zooms?

Also, are their any great Chinese lenses?

 

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There is a lot of choice out there for complete sets of lenses. Most recently, we have seen the Rokinon/Samyang Cine DS line offer a 14, 24, 35, 50, 85, 135mm prime lens sets in a kit at an affordable price. 

By "character lenses", I mean mostly vintage. They flare, distort and are "imperfect." They have style that you can't get with modern lenses. Helios is a prime example. I do a lot of music videos and I need this style.

I want to build a set of these lenses, close to the focal range choice you get with the Rokinon/Samyang set. A complete prime (and zooms included) lens set that complements each other and can be modified for cinematic use. (Gears etc). I have quite a few random ones, but I'd like a set. 

How would you build yours? I'm very interested to see what people come up with. :) 

 

​I don't know how the DS Rokinon lenses differ optically, but I have a set of the regular photo versions (12, 16, 24, 35 and 50 so far)  and they actually have a very vintage character to them. They look surprisingly similar to my Canon FD SSC lenses, but I can also go wider and faster with the Rokinons. I've never compared them in a scientific way, but just doing side by side test footage, I was surprised by how similar they looked. I love my Rokinons. For zooms I have a Canon FD 35-105 3.5 which is good too.

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What's your budget?

Canon FD, Nikon Ais, Olympus OM, Minolta Rokkor, Leica R and Zeiss C/Y all have lenses that come pretty close to the FL and speed to match most of the Samyang lineup (24, 35, 50, 85, 135) except for the 14.  All have gems that can't be matched elsewhere (OM 21/2, FD 24/1.4, 85/1.2, etc..).  I love the Leica look, very cinematic and some of the best built lenses on the planet.  The R lenses adapt well and don't have the issues the rangefinder lenses do with larger sensors.  Rokkors are similar in drawing style to Leica R, with gems like the 58/1.2 and 100/2.

Lots of options and you can put together a cheap kit with slower lenses or a more expensive kit with faster glass all with similar drawing styles.  I have a mix of Zeiss C/Y and Rokkors, but I'm eventually moving to all Rokkor or Leica R.

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Wow, thank you for all those responses. 

The lenses will mostly be used on A7S and FS7, and many other cameras likely, who knows! 

I already have Canon FD 28/2.8, 50/1.4, 85/1.8, 135/2.5, 24-35L/3.5, 35-105/3.5, Vivitar FD 55mm Macro, Helios 44-2 58, Mir 1B 37/2.8, Asahi Pentax 55/2.... And others. 

I like the FD, they just look a bit smoother than the modern EF lenses. They do the job. Personally I love swirly booked, flares, weird shapes, 3D Pop, ability to mod for cinema use. (I have a triggered follow focus). 

I love the options the Trump58 gives from Dog Schidt, and FF58. Looking for other supporting lenses that can be modified. I'm a little obsessed with cinema housings.

Also I'm keen on getting another "clinical" set, I really love the Zeiss look. Again with the ability to mod. I've seen a website from a Chinese company called Cinematics that can house any lens such as Zeiss CY, look a bit gimmicky though - I'm not sure if the focus marking are actually accurate? www.pchood.com 

Budget? £4000- £5000. 

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The C/Y's are awesome.  There's a massive thread on Reduser that covers them in depth and lots of other resources on the interweb.  I prefer the MMJ's because of the ninja star bokeh on the German versions, but if you like it you can save over the MMJ's in some cases (35/1.4, 100/2).  With the C/Y's you can get close to the Samyang range with the 18/4, 21/2.8 (one of the best wides ever made), 28/2.8, the Hollywood 28/2, 35/1.4 or 2.8, 50/1.4 or 1.7, 85/1.4 or 2.8, 135/2, 2.8 and 3.5 IIRC, plus a few zooms - though you probably know the Contax zooms are one touch.  That can sometimes be a pain, but they're nice.  I have the 35-70.  There are others as well, the Makros are great and the 100/2 is what I would take over any of the 85's or 135's - its simply awesome.  The C/Y's have the classic zeiss rendering, very contrasty and that 3d look.

I always wrestle with going C/Y or Leica R for a set of matched lenses, haven't been able to decide yet.

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Hey Ed, the video in question is released next Tuesday. It's a Maltese pop singer, got some nice stuff in there. Will post on release. 

In terms of lenses - I like Rollei QBM and Dog Schidt. It is possible to cine mod Rollei QBM? 

For the clinical kit, the vote is on for cine-mod Zeiss CY or Rokinon Cine DS set. Hmmmm.... 

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