DPP Home Gear Lenses Lenses For Still + Motion

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Lenses For Still + Motion

Putting together the best optics for versatility and practicality

This Article Features Photo Zoom
Cinema Lenses
Choosing lenses for future-proof resolutions

Putting together a video project for the big screen will require the very best in lens technology because any aberrations will be magnified, literally, by the projection. Still lenses can achieve the kind of resolution required by large theatrical projections as long as you're working with the very best lenses. Motion-picture lenses are built to be as optically precise as possible in short run sets, with a cost that often reflects the limited demand and demanding construction. Because of the precision build, these lenses have a lot of attention paid to numerous optical performance standards like spectral and color transmittance, contrast ratio with excellent black reproduction, optimized MFT measurements throughout the picture center, as well as the edges, light distribution, minimized aberration and geometric distortion. Lower cost lenses have the potential to resolve to the demanding needs of 4K and beyond, but the MTF results and other factors won't be as reliable as top-of-the-line cinematic lenses. Cinematic lenses are also built for frequent focusing between two or more points. The oversized barrel construction often features distance scales and large rotation for placing enough space to smoothly rack focus between multiple or moving subjects. Cinematographers often work with a separate focus puller who can perform these focal adjustments while the camera operator is freed to concentrate on working with the camera.

Canon. Introduced with the Canon EOS C300 dedicated large-sensor, interchangeable-lens camcorder, Canon's Cinema lenses include four precision zooms that are available in PL mount for use with filmmaking cameras and an EF mount for use with EOS cameras whether still or motion: the CN-E15.5-47mm T2.8 L, the CN-E30-105mm T2.8 L, the CN-E30-300mm T2.95-3.7 L SP and the CN-E14.5-60mm T2.6 L SP. There are also currently three primes in the line that feature fast apertures: the CN-E24mm T1.5 L F, the CN-E50mm T1.3 L F and the CN-E85mm T1.3 L F. (T-stops are more accurate aperture measurements for filmmakers as they have been adjusted to compensate for any light loss in the lens.) These lenses work on Canon EF-mount DSLRs, and the camcorders also work with the full family of EF and EF-S lenses.

Carl Zeiss. Carl Zeiss has been a big name in motion-picture lenses and optics for a long time. The company offers a few different lens sets, including the popular Zeiss ZE primes and the more recent CP.2 lenses, which are optimized for full-frame DSLR videography. The CP even stands for "Compact Prime," and they offer an interchangeable-lens mount for use with PL (cinema cameras), Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony E-mount and Micro Four Thirds cameras. Aperture adjustment is smooth without mechanical stops for fluidly changing depth of field during a take, and there are several matching features across the majority of the line, including calibrated focus scales, 14 aperture blades for nice and buttery bokeh, a consistent front diameter of 114mm, a close-focusing distance of 12 inches or less and a large, fast aperture of T2.1.

RED. RED's PRO PRIME lenses are available in ARRI PL mounts for their series of highly regarded digital cinema cameras: the 4K-resolution RED ONE, 5K-resolution RED EPIC and hybrid still-and-motion-capture SCARLET, which offers your choice of Canon EF or PL mount and 4K resolution for video, plus 14-megapixel, 5120x2700-resolution stills. Currently, there are seven RED PRO PRIMES available and two RED PRO ZOOMS: the 17-50mm and 18-85mm with T2.9 apertures; the set of primes (the 18mm, 25mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, 100mm and 300mm) offers a bright T-stop of T1.8 and a universal front diameter of 110mm across the board (excepting the 300mm with a T2.9-T34.6 range and 117.4mm diameter). The lenses have been optimized to minimize any breathing from focus changes, which helps to maintain perspective and composition even during a large focus rack between two points. Mounts are available for adapting RED cameras to Canon EF and EF-S lenses, Nikon AF-S and AF-D lenses, and Leica M lenses larger than 50mm.



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