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Lenses / Optics Posts

I had ZEISS’ Snehal Patel over for a lively discussion about the new Compact Prime 3 and Compact Prime 3 XD lenses from ZEISS. This exciting new series of professional cinema lenses feature smaller and lighter housings than their CP.2 predecessors, consistent 95mm front outer diameters, and an updated focusing mechanism for a consistently smooth feel, even in cold weather. All lenses in the range are now “full frame” (covering up to the 35mm stills format, 24mm x 36mm, with a 43.4mm diagonal) and maximum apertures have been made more consistent as well. The 15mm, 18mm and 21mm focal lengths all open to T2.9 while focal lengths from 25mm and up all open to T2.1.

…continue reading At the Bench: ZEISS Compact Prime 3 and the Compact Prime 3 XD

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When Canon announced the Compact Servo 18-80mm T4.4 last year, it was also announced that it would be part of a family of lenses. Today, the Compact Servo 70-200mm T4.4 joins the ranks as the second lens of the series. With particular attention to usability, the 70-200 is physically identical to the 18-80, down to the placement and gear pitch of the focus, iris, and zoom rings. It utilizes the same optional hand grip unit, and like its sister lens is a parfocal design. Optically it also pairs well with the Cinema Prime lenses and is compatible with the Canon 1.4x and 2.0x Extender.

…continue reading First Look: Canon 70-200 Compact Servo

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Fujinon recently released the native Sony E-mount MK 18-55mm cinema zoom as an “ultra-compact, and 2 lb, 2 oz lightweight design lens that meets the needs of Super35 and APS-C sensor cameras.” The lens features “outstanding optical performance and low distortion with T2.9 speed across the entire zoom range, as well as fully manual lens rings for focus, zoom, and iris.”

…continue reading Behind The Lens: Fujinon MK 18-55mm Zoom

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Behind The Lens

As a documentary cinematographer, I am constantly struggling to decide which lenses I want in my kit for any given project. The options over the years have ranged from minimal to overwhelming. In the beginning, I was mostly restricted to DSLR-style lenses to interface with my EF or Sony E-mount cameras. Now, with the advent of lightweight cinema-style zooms, many of which allow for switchable (or at least option-based) lens mounts, the choices have opened up dramatically. This is what led me to do this lens test. I wanted to compile all of this lens information into one place, so I could easily reference it when deciding on a lens for a project. On one hand, I want to test these lenses for myself. I want to see how they perform, how they handle, and how they fit into my shooting style. But I also want to do this test to share the information with the filmmaking community at large; opening a conversation around the tools available to us only strengthens the visual style of our collective work.

…continue reading Presenting Behind the Lens: A Look at Documentary Zooms

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Everyone has an idea for their great passion project, but it takes a certain level of commitment to turn that idea into reality. For director and DP Alexander Hankoff, his short film Yellow was something he knew he wanted to make and it was his (along with his team’s) creativity that made it possible. That’s not to say that he and his co-director didn’t have to call in favors or that his team had an unlimited budget, but the key on this production was flexibility and being able to “roll with the punches” while still maintaining the film’s artistic vision. Alexander was generous enough to answer some questions about the project – see the rest of his answers below and make sure to check out Yellow‘s official trailer at the top of the post.

…continue reading Production Challenges Are No Match for Alexander Hankoff & YELLOW

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The C300 Mark II‘s dual-pixel technology provides reliable and predictable autofocus. We now have the ability to dedicate autofocus to skin tones only, subjects coming in and out of frame, or multiple subjects in the same frame. The C300 Mark II also gives users lots of options for autofocus. As of firmware version v 1.4.4.1.00, we now have autofocus with the Canon 17-120 servo zoom. A free firmware update for the 17-120 lens is required to use autofocus with the C300 Mark II. This update can be done at a Canon service center or at AbelCine’s New York or Burbank locations.

…continue reading At the Bench: Autofocus Updates for Canon C300 Mark II & 17-120

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Fujifilm today launched two exciting new cinema zoom lenses: the FUJINON MK18-55mm T2.9 and MK50-135mm T2.9. The two lenses are the first of the new MK series and look to be a great fit for emerging shooters and DPs who need coverage of the most useful focal length ranges for Sony E-mount Super35-sized sensor cameras (similar to the APS-C sensor size in the DSLR world). Both lenses will also be available later in Fuji’s X-mount, used in their popular mirrorless bodies. For a detailed look at the new 18-55mm lens, be sure to check out the video above which features real-world test footage towards the end. You can read Fujifilm’s official press release for more details on both lenses.

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