best c-mount lenses

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Re: best c-mount lenses

Post by S8 Booster » Tue Jan 11, 2011 7:40 pm

..tnx for reminding me Michael Lehnert.... or Santo or.... cinematography.com super8 - the forum of Rednex, Wannabees and Pretenders...

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Re: best c-mount lenses

Post by christoph » Tue Jan 18, 2011 3:41 pm

hey mattias,

i was on the same train, but i also wanted a lens that covers 2/3", which makes the selection smaller.

i found that most of the affordable modern (industry) c-mount lenses were ok for sharpness (none was great wide open though) but lacked in terms of "pleasant images". i know it sounds obscure, but i'm sure you're aware of the term bokeh and this is the closest i could point it down. it wasnt only in the typical out of focus images that are usually used to demostrate the effect, but more how things held together - in short, the old lenses looked "nicer" even if a bit soft.

i found the switars quite good (have not tried the RX versions and their problems on normal cameras), but let me know if you find something better (or wider)

++ christoph

ps: i have a 1.2/8-48 zoom which looks very similar to the pentax. not terribly sharp or "nice" though.

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Re: best c-mount lenses

Post by David M. Leugers » Thu Jan 20, 2011 6:34 am

While certain brands have a well deserved reputation, the test is really in the individual lens you have on the front of your camera. If a lens delivers what you are looking for, don't get hung up on reputations. Many years ago I did a blind test with two 25mm C mount lenses. One was my pride and joy = the first Switar lens I ever owned and a thing of beauty. The other was a slower
Elgeet that came with the lowly Keystone camera. I was shocked to discover I preferred the look of the images produced by the Elgeet. My wife and family all picked it as the best... later I talked with a guy working for Victor Duncan in Detroit who told me his personal choice of lenses were a set of Elgeet primes he used for over 30 years. You could buy a nice Elgeet for $30 when Switars were over $150. The point is, a good lens is a good lens, no matter who makes it. The film "There Will be Blood" used an antique 100 year old lens and I bet few if any can pick out the scene(s) where it was used even though the rest of the picture was shot with the latest and greatest glass...

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Re: best c-mount lenses

Post by mattias » Thu Jan 20, 2011 5:30 pm

yeah but in 35mm sharpness is a non issue, if anything i try hard to soften the image with filters and nets when i shoot it, and even in 16mm a lens that resolves 30 lines is enough. in super 8 i think the situation is a bit different though, and i need an image that looks sharp in theatrical projection. my canon 814 is sharp enough closed down, but not even close wide open.

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Re: best c-mount lenses

Post by David M. Leugers » Fri Jan 21, 2011 6:34 am

I almost forgot what your original post said, Mattias! The best C mount zoom lens I have ever worked with for sharpness wide open is the Switar 8-36 zoom that came with my Bolex H-8Rex. A great lens it puts my Canon DS8 zoom lens to shame at anywhere near wide open... I might not be put off by the somewhat conservative wide angle. I find that S-8mm strong points are in closeups out to medium shots. Wide angles of background tends to show the limitations of the resolution of the format. I certainly applaud your notion to film a feature in S-8mm. If you go for a Switar zoom you will have to have it collimated (or maybe shimmed?) to work on a Beaulieu due to the Bolex Rex difference from a standard C mount. For several years I have wondered and daydreamed about the C mount primes for sale by Edwards Scientific. Would be great if someone could do a test and let us all know... could be the way to go.

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Re: best c-mount lenses

Post by Daniel » Sat Jan 22, 2011 3:22 am

There is also another Schneider zoom C-Mount
6mm to 70mm
F 1.4

A chilean documentary is shooting with that lens this summer, around 300 cartridges of Vision3 200T.

Good luck for your project. For me it is clear that super-8 have enough potential for 35mm theatrical release. Optics, emultion, exposition and post-production workflow are (as always) some of the key elements.

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Re: best c-mount lenses

Post by mattias » Sun Jan 23, 2011 4:25 pm

thanks guys. one more question: is it safe to say that even fairly mediocre prime lens is sharper wide open than a zoom? this used to be the rule when i started in photography in the 80's but i must admit i never cared much about sharpness before so i haven't been following the development in this area.

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Re: best c-mount lenses

Post by sophocle » Sat Jan 29, 2011 2:34 pm

In general, this is true, but I have rented the arri lightweight zoom and it was just as good as the primes; and from still photography I do know for a fact that high end zooms only give up weight and size, not performance.

If you need a zoom for super 8, the ang. f1.2 zooms are probably the best in terms of sharpness, even wide open.

They do however, mechanically vinette bellow 10mm wide open and produce a somewhat cold image--which works great with 100d.

In terms of sharpness, it is really something--I shot charts and found the f1.2 6-90mm to be identical at 12mm/f1.2 with the arri ulta 12, and the arri was marginally better with apperatures less than f8.

If you need primes that will cover s16, you can always get a c-mount to pl-mount/arri adapter for use with super 8.

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Re: best c-mount lenses

Post by mattias » Sat Jan 29, 2011 3:53 pm

i actually own an arri to c-mount adapter that i've never used, it's just a great dumpster find, am i more likely to find sharp lenses in arri mount? there's an arri kit i often rent for almost nothing for 16mm use that i could try. nothing shorter than a 10 mm there though irrc.

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Re: best c-mount lenses

Post by sophocle » Sat Jan 29, 2011 7:15 pm

I don't have personal experience with the older arri glass, but I have rented the ultra 16 6mm, 12mm, and 25mm--they are really sharp. (my client did not like the look, and we had to work at it in post to make it "creamy")

From what I have heard, the older arri glass is just as good--but I am just repeating what others have said. By all means try these--they seem to be available used at reasonable price.

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Re: best c-mount lenses

Post by mattias » Sat Jan 29, 2011 9:36 pm

thanks, i've used the modern arri glass too, and on wider gauges i tend to use diffusion to take the edge off. i wasn't referring to arri glass per se, many of the arri mount lenses i've used have been cookes, angenieuexs and so on. there are plenty of lousy c-mount lenses, i guess my question is whether arri lenses are a safer bet.

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Re: best c-mount lenses

Post by kuparikettu » Sat Feb 12, 2011 3:00 pm

Has anyone seen this http://vimeo.com/16571589? Looks rather nice, it seems it was shot with a Fujinon 16mm 1.4, 1.5 MP CCTV lens with a bolex Anamorphot. The lens costs about $120. I have also thought about obtaining one, or possibly two with different focal lengths.

There are also 5 MP versions of the lens available, but I have no idea if they make any difference in anything other than price (which is almost three times higher).

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