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Panavision Primo Primes: Cinema Quality Imagery

Panavision Primo Primes are the ultimate lenses. They produce cinema film quality imagery that will blow you away. The contrast range is perfect because you have all of the highlight detail, as well as wonderful gradation into the shadows. They flare beautifully and have a greater depth of field than most still lenses. However, the best attribute of the lens is that focus pullers know how to use them and will deliver in focus imagery.

Panavision Primo Lens

Panavision Primo Lens

Be aware of the large sensor in the Canon 5D Mark II camera. The widest lens that does not vignette the sensor is a 35mm.

What is your favorite lens to use and what did you notice about how it performed on the 5D Mark II?

Author: Shane

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62 Comments

  1. I’m loving the Canon 90mm TS for extreme sharpness and precise DOF control. With an extension ring, it’s a killer at macro as well.
    As a long time still photographer, the TS lens enables me to delver the visual style I’m known for with the added dimension of motion.

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  2. I have never tried that lens. I will definitely look into it. What other lenses excite you. I have stopped using all Canon lenses because I feel that they are too soft when it comes to projecting the image on a 60 foot screen, this is why the Panavision Primos primes are my go to lenses of choice.

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  3. My favourite lens:
    Canon EF 35mm L F1.4
    nikon AIS 50mm F1.2
    Canon EF 85mm F1.2 L II
    Canon TS-E 90mm F2.8
    Canon EF 135mm F2 L (+ EF 1.4x II, too)
    Canon EF 200mm F2 L IS (but I haven’t)

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  4. I’ll take two lol. I hope you appreciate how nice you have it that you get to play with those bad boys. Somehow I doubt most of us can afford them. I won a $1000 gift certificate from Panavision last year – other than a chair or clothing, the only thing I could get for that money was a directors viewfinder – and I had to haggle hard (bordering on blackmail) to get that. I’m guessing the lenses are significantly more money…

    So Shane, what would lenses would you recommend a beginning DP buy? There’s some nice old glass available on ebay (sorry, no Pani’s lol) – if you had a $2000 limit what would you buy? $5000. $10,000. Please be sure to show all your work. :-p

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  5. The other Shane, I have tested all the lenses, Canon, Nikon, Leica, Zeiss, and the Primo Primes. The Zeiss held up the best in side by side comparison with the Primos. The ZF series is all set up with Canon mounts and they are very sharp. They average from $800.00 to $1600.00 a lens. You can also buy them with a 32 pitch gear on them for manual or a remote follow focus systems. Richard Schleuning – National Sales Manager Mobile: 973.809.3896 is my contact over there, tell him that I sent you. I know he will give you a nice deal, he is a great guy.

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  6. Great blog!
    I love Zeiss glass. Have you tried the older Zeiss lenses for Contax and for M42? How do you feel they compare to the new Zeis ZF and to the Nikons?

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  7. Mike Maier, They are both very nice, I like the new re-tooled ZEISS ZF and ZE lenses, they have a cine-throw for the focus puller, makes it easier. You want to go with the sharpest lens possible, it helps with the compressed 8 BIT color space resolve different tones.

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  8. Thanks Shane. Reason I asked is because I have used both the ZFs and also the older Contax/Yashica and M42 Zeiss lenses like the Jena, Biotar, Pancolar, Planar and flektogon and they look as sharp as the ZF lenses to me. Are all the Zeiss still glass you have shot with ZF and ZE?

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  9. My lens arsenal on the movie was this:

    Panavision Primo Primes 14.5-150mm
    Panavision Primo Zooms 11-1 zoom, 3-1 zoom
    Zeiss ZE and ZF 18,21,25,35,50,85,100mm
    Canon 70-200 Zoom L series
    Canon 300mm L series
    Canon 600mm L series
    Canon 100-400mm L series
    Canon 16-35mm Zoom L series
    Canon 24,35,50,85,105 L series

    The Zeiss were the closest to the Primo Primes and which also had a cinema throw on focus, not a still throw.

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  10. Hey Shane! My name is Raphael and I am an DP from germany. If you donut mine I would like to ask you something about the 5D. I have a big production coming up and 2 days ago I was ask by the production company what I think about using the zeiss master primes on the 5D. I have experience the 5D on a several jobs but never try the zeiss. Sorry for the bad english but I really hope that you can help me out here. Thx Shane

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  11. Raphael, PL mount lenses, like the Cooke S4 primes or the Master Primes cannot be mounted on the 5D. They hit the mirror and disable the camera. The only cinema primes that work are the Panavision Primo Primes and you can only use a 35mm lens and up. Anything wider vignettes. The 7D will take the wide Primo Primes all the way to a 10mm. The Zeiss that I was talking about are the new small still lens Zeiss that just came out a little while ago, the ZE and the ZF. They are very sharp and have good contrast. They are not the Primos by any means. I hope this helps.

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  12. Shane…I am about to purchase one of these 5/7d cams to use on a TV show that I shoot…I was wondering how the primos mount to the 5/7d…Panavision tells me they have a mount for it, but does the mount fit the hdslr or must you mount the mount onto the lens, then the camera? Is it a Pain to do or is it as simple as putting it on the lens you want to use then mounting that lens to the 5/7d?
    Sorry for the simple questions, I’m taking in a lot of info!
    Thanks in advance
    Ken

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    • Ken, I have built the lens mount system along with Panavision. They are user friendly and need the camera that you are mounting the Panavision mount to, to be able to calibrate the lenses to the body.

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  13. Cool Shane, Thanks for the reply. Now of course…which camera? I’m hovering toward the 7d because I’m thinking it will be good enough for TV and I won’t have issues with vignetting, but I drool over the 5d’s FF sensor.

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  14. Ken, In my package I carry a 5D and a 7D. The 5D sensor is much nicer than the 7D’s. But you will have to Twixtor everything on the 5D until the new firmware update comes out. So I would say go with the 7D for now and see how you like it. I like the FF sensor too, but you will have to light to a 4.0/5.6 split if you want anything in focus. Where as the 7D you can stay at a 2.0 and get the same depth of field.

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  15. Here’s some free advice from someone who likes the film look and comes from a cine background. The 5D mk2 performs better than the 7D in two areas – low light/high ISO and when you want to use wide angle lenses. The 7D has native 24p NOW (5D mk2 is announced to have an upgrade in firmware “first half of 2010″) and the bit rate is somewhat higher, which may help with image quality in certain situations/ settings.

    As always, rent both and shoot your own tests… lens selection will make the choice for you, probably and should be the key deciding factor if you are okay with 30p frame rate (and no overcranking, ie slow motion) Follow focus work is tougher with the FF sensor since you have the option of shooting with less DOF at the extreme end of what is possible.

    Keep in mind these are not professional grade HD cameras – with HDMI limiting the output it’s difficult to set up more than one external monitor, for instance, and there are a lot of cheap accessories that will break and fail on set if you don’t spend the time to fine tune your package and get the best gear. Know this going in and don’t be fooled by the thought that it will be a walk in the park to get these cameras to perform to a professional standard. Don’t expect a motorized zoom or even handheld work with follow focus to be simple to accomplish.

    The lenses will out perform your ability to monitor critical focus while shooting, for example which is frustrating – what the camera does best (shoot in low light with shallow DOF look) can’t be judged except on preview or playback. That’s the part that is most like shooting film – you have to wait until “rushes” to see if your First AC got it right, but there is no chance for the operator to confirm after the take if a shot was soft or “buzzy”. Don’t expect a one man operator to shoot ENG style and zoom and pull focus like the Maysels brothers, either. You will get a lot of “close but no cigar” work if you are trusting the low resolution of the monitors at 85mm f/1.2.

    But as an additional camera on a show they can be a great asset, assuming the post workflow issues can be worked out to everyone’s satisfaction, which is another can of worms. Audio is also another factor to consider for TV production – again, far from ideal. These vDSLRS do great things in many but definitely not ALL situations, and the pitfalls come in odd places sometimes.

    There is also now the 1D mk 4 to consider, which will do at 6400 ISO what the 5D mk2 was doing at 1600 ISO, but has a crop sensor that is larger than the 7D. It’s a pro still camera with the functions of the prosumer video features – and an amazing low light performance that will frighten you when you see what it can do.

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  16. Great write up Jean.
    In terms of sharpness and sharpness only, how do you think the 7D and 5D compare?

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  17. Jean, Wow, I love that. Thank you so much for laying it out there. I cannot wait to buy my 1D.

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  18. Shane’s focus puller.ak 1st camera assistant. we just finished at 3am on a c130 at the San Diego Navy base. We had the great chance to once again push the out side the box. Low light 2-2.8 on 5d thumbs down switched to the 7D same stop and the focus was thumbs up. Got to go getting on a plane. More to come.
    Marc

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  19. Shane…another question…when I have a camera (the 7d for instance) converted to use Panavision lenses…can it also use other lenses? or is the conversion perminent?
    Thanks
    Ken

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  20. Ken, absolutely, no it is the same kind of mount that enables you to put Nikon lenses on the Canon 5 or 7D. You can take it off an use whatever other lenses you desire.

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  21. Shane…you mention that you need to light to a 4-5.6 to gain better dof with the 5d whereas the 7d you only need a 2 stop for the same dof…but can you increase the iso of the 5d to gain that stop and not lose too much detail because of the ff sensor? I mean…does the 5d’s ff sensor capture images at higher iso rates than the comparable iso of the 5d?…What iso do you shoot the camera with and is there a limit to where the iso starts to degrade the image too much?
    Thanks again
    Ken Glassing

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  22. Ken, Yes you can increase the ISO to 1600. That would be the max. The 5D and 7D have the same type of noise as you increase the ISO, the 5D is a little cleaner, but I would not go any higher than 1600 on either. If you sign up on my blog I have a newsletter that goes out each month, this month I talk about the 5D vs. 7D and clean ISO settings, the native ISO on the 5D and 7D cameras. It is pretty interesting.

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  23. Shane, can you really get clean enough footage at ISO 1600? I never use anything higher than ISO 640 with my 7D. ISO 800 is fine, but slightly noisier. I find anything above ISO 800 too noisy. Do you use any software in post to denoise the footage shot at ISO 1600? I find ISO 640 enough to shoot in doors.
    By the way, I got your October newsletter. Really cool and informative.
    On the 7D vs 5D topics, you mention you used the 7D for wides because it can take the wider primos. But I’m finding these DSLRs do not hold very well at wide shots. Up to a medium they (5D and 7D) look great. In a full shot you already start to see some softness. In a wide shot like a master or establishing, do you feel it holds well on a big screen, specially if sharpness is turned all the way down? I’m finding them too soft at wide angles and I’m using Zeiss glass. By the way, there are some reports of footage looking better on the big screen after transferred to 35mm when detail is set higher and looking too soft with detail low or at 0. Not sure what your experience is.

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  24. Mike Maier,The image is clean enough that once I do my grain overlay that it will become film grain and not noise. We will use some noise reduction in post when we do are final color correct at Company 3 with Stephan Sonnefeld. The wide shots we have been doing are holding up very well. When you talk about detail are you talking about the sharpening tool? I have found that the sharpest you get the image the better, but I do not use the sharpening tool on the camera, it is very noisy. But in my final DI I will snap it up a little bit for the transfer to 35mm. I am glad you liked the newsletter. I will keep them coming. I am off to Cambodia to film the opening sequence of this Navy Seals project. I then head to Croatia, Budapest and Vienna where I will be shooting the New Regency movie “Medieval” for Fox and director Rob Cohen. We start principal photography on 3/15/10 and I finish 9/7/10.

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  25. Hi Shane. Ok, so you do noise reduction, that make sense. In that case ISO 1600 is really fine. I mean the sharpness setting in the camera. It seems that for 35mm transfer it is best to keep the sharpness setting high whether for HD/Blu-ray release is better to keep it very low. Yes, post sharpness is best than the in camera one, but to sharpen a whole feature may add a lot of rendering time and work.
    Good to know your wide shots are holding up well on the big screen. I have to do some more tests with mine. They seems to fall apart somehow. Maybe I’m just too picky.

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    • Mike Maier, The sharpening tool in the camera is very noisy and creates a lot of moray. I dumped it on the second week of shooting. My wide shots are on Panavision Primo primes, big difference between them and the Zeiss. I feel if you have the audience you have the audience. It doesn’t matter if it is 65mm or mini DV. The paradigm has shifted, everyone needs to catch the wave or be wiped out by its tsunami.

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  26. Hi Shane,

    Can you please let me your thoughts on which camera would be a good buy for video and some stills work considering I can only have one!
    A 5D MK2 or the new 7D I know there will be pros and cons but I am a little confused as I am not very experienced in Video and come from a stills background. Any help or advice would be great!

    Thanks and loving your work!

    David

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    • David, did you sign up on our website? Because last months newsletter had a comparison of the two 5D vs. 7D. Take a look at that. Tell me what you think. You have to gear it towards the type of work you are doing. Check it out and then give me a shout back.

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  27. Shane,

    Great work with the 5D and 7Ds, absolutely stunning! I just picked up a 5DM2 and would like to read your newsletter comparing the 5D and 7D, I subscribed to your blog but cant seem to locate the newsletter, could you please point me in the right direction?

    Thanks!

    Sam

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    • Sam, I sent you all 3 months worth of newsletters, so you should be set.

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  28. Dear Shane (Sorry, I got the names confused!)
    Thanks for a very informative site!
    I am going to the Sahara desert to prepare material for an art installation with sound and video. I have been researching for appropriate (limited in size, cost, but high quality) equipment until my head is spinning and finally settled for a 7D to use as video. I will be slowly panning 360° and screening a projection that is tall (approx 10ft) but thin (approx.8-10in.). What would you recommend as lens if I want an image that is sharp and gives a deep space perspective in this very limited frame?
    I have also noticed a moiré effect that turned up on a brick wall when I was testing the camera. There will be no brick walls in the desert but I’m not sure what triggers the moiré.
    Grateful if you find time to reply
    Arijana

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    • Arijana, I like the Zeiss ZE primes, I also have been playing with the Leica M series and love their contrast range. I need more info. to help out with a lens choice on your project, if you can. Moire’ effect, my very new friend Tim Holtermann, recently met me at Bandito Production Co. where we talked for several hours, here he describes why this effect happens. Tim says “The main reason why the 5D, 7D and even the 1M4 have this problem is because Canon is skipping lines on the sensor readout in order to handle the data. When they first added Live View to the cameras (so you could see the live image on the screen instead of always having to look into the viewfinder) they didn’t care about quality so they just read out the sensor image as fast as they could. I think this is where the lightbulb went off and they realized they could get HD video out of the camera without any other dedicated hardware by tweaking things in software. The 5D skips every 3rd line if I remember correctly and it doesn’t do any interpolation of the full sensor image.”

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  29. PS
    Found moiré discussion in the Nikon lenses thread, sorry to repeat it here, not completely familiarized yet! Maybe this also depends on what lenses are used (a completely new world for me) I used Canon EF 24-105mm 1:4 L USM in the rental kit, probably very amateur…
    Also, to be more precise, had sharpness at 0, contrast all way down, saturation half way down (from middle point)and highlight tone priority enabled. ISO 640. A dreary winter day i Stockholm not at all like the desert I will be in.

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  30. Shane
    Thank you for taking your time. So this means that the moiré is unavoidable if you hit a surface the sensor doesn’t like. But judging from the picture heading this thread (why I chose this thread, Panavision seems beyond my reach…)you have filmed in a desert area and not had moiré problems?
    Since I will have quite a large projection even though it will be cut down in width, I am looking for a lens that will bring out the desert landscape format best: the blue in the sky, the grain in the sand (the heat) and the deep, perspectival sense of space. This is of course not altogether a technical issue but now that I am doing my best to optimize my (art budget) instruments for the circumstances…
    Have a good time in Croatia (my birthplace)
    Arijana

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    • Arijana, I don’t think you will have moire’ issues in the desert. I would look at the Zeiss ZE primes. Do you have a diagram of what your trying to achieve?

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  31. Shane, Really thanks for engaging. I am starting to lose confidence in using this camera solution after all. Listening to a great diversity of advice, now falling back on a compact HD camcorder (JVC GY-HM100E) as I will mainly be filming with a deep focus and a continuous panning motion. Like a surveillance camera but with need for better quality in the final output.
    Maybe it’s risking to become too complicated for me to handle still photography equipment under the circumstances. Don’t want to waste too much of your time with too much details, diagrams at this point.
    Best regards
    Arijana

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  32. Mr. Hurlbut,

    Thank you, so much for creating this blog site. First, I want to say that I enjoyed watching all of your work. If, you have time, I hope you can ask two of my questions regarding the Canon 5D mark ii.

    1. When, you are shooting a narrative do you always set a rule to at t4.0-T5.6?

    Before the X-Mass holiday, I just wrapped shooting my first narrative low-budget Nigerian film, “Threading a Needle”. In the course of shooting the film, I was lucky to have an opportunity to work on the Canon 5D Mark ii w/ Nikon manual lenses. Although, shooting this picture was not easy by any means. We had allot of rocky bumps along the way, because of poor planning and budget concerns. For example, the production couldn’t afford a Focus Puller, therefore I had to focus pull 50% of the movie. Accidently, I found shooting at a T4.0 – T5.6 was better that T2.8. Most of my shooting experience is ENG videography, therefore (as you know) the trend is shooting shallow DOP as possible, yet on a Canon 5D shallow DOP is not always the best thing. What are your thought on this matter?

    2. The last question I have is quality of Canon’s 5D sensor. Have you projected your images onto a large screen?

    During the production of “Threading a Needle”, the production company did not give me enough time and resources to conduct ample camera tests. So, I am not sure how the Quicktime compression is going to hold up on a large projected screen. As, I said earlier… I was shooting somewhat blind. Did i f**k up on this matter?

    Regardless, of all of my mistakes shooting “Threading a Needle”, I truly enjoyed working with the Canon 5D mark ii. My determination towards 2010 is to get hired to shoot another feature on the same low budget scale utilizing the Canon 5D and 7D together.

    I hope Canon will consider incorporating these features in their next version of the 5D: 24p, variable frame rates, 2K raw, and multiple viewing capabilities (such as the HD camera viewer and eye viewfinder can work simultaneously, so the Operator and Focus Puller can work together).

    Thank you, so much for you time and effort creating this blog. Happy New Year and I look forward to your response.

    chuck gomez

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    • Chuck Gomez, thank you so much for all your kind words and I am glad you enjoyed the site.

      1. Yes when I am shooting a narrative/ or an action film I would shoot at a 4.0-5.6 split. The sensor size is vista-vision, there is not a camera out there on HD that comes close to delivering this. It is both a blessing and a curse. When you were pulling your own focus at a 4.0-5.6 split it was equal to 1.4 on 35mm film camera. I do not know many feature films that were shot at a 1.4,nothing would be in focus, that is why you were having such a difficult time. The focus is so shallow. On 2/3 chip video cameras the senor size is 4 times as small as the 5D’s sensor. This is why you are always trying to shoot as wide open as possible on the lens to get something that will be out of focus. The smaller the sensor the more depth of field. I feel a 5.6 on the 5D is a great f-stop and then if you need more light boost your ISO up to 1600. Do not go above that. 1600 ISO is still very clean projected. Did you subscribe to my website? Because I had a newsletter in October that addressed the native ISO’s on the 5D, it is pretty interesting. Your focus puller is your most important crew member. If he is not in the budget than you have to tell production that most of your footage will be unusable. I play hard ball in these situations because I know what the end result will be. It also sucks your creative vision, because you will have to settle for much easier shots to keep things in focus.
      2. It holds up very well on the big screen. I have shot a full length action picture for Warner Bros. on this camera, it will be in 2500 theaters as well as 300 Imax screens. The only thing you might have fu*&^% up on is your lens choice, because Canon glass does not hold up well on the big screen. It is to soft. When you get to your color correction, the 8 BIT compressed color space wants incredibly sharp footage so that it can delineate the subtle differences in colors. Like a face has so many different shades on it, with the Canon glass that will all be one shade, the softness screws with your compressed 8 BIT color space. Shooting with the sharpest lenses possible, like the Zeiss ZE glass, or the Nikon AI’s, or the Lecia M’s will give you that separation. Everyone in the HD world is always trying to soften the image with nets or panty hose, or diffusion filters. That is perfect for ENG, but not in this compressed color space. The compression becomes your softener. If you want it softer than do it in post, not while shooting.
      I hope this answers your questions and look forward to many more. That is why I am here.

      I hope Canon does all these things too. I have been in talks with them and they are considering all of these issues. Happy New Year and I hope I see more comments from you in 2010.

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  33. shane: when you say “zeiss is by no means primo primes”, do you mean zeiss ze/zf is not as good as primo on 50 feet screen? how do you feel the footage from the best still lens like zeiss 21mm f2.8 for wide angle, comparing to similar focal length 35mm movie lens? are they comparable? thanks.

    another thing: zf is for nikon cameras, when it is adapted to canon eos cameras, the image quality may be affected by the adapter itself. so ze may be a better choice. unless the adapter is a very good one-thickness is very accurate.

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    • wei, The Zeiss lenses are very good. I love them, but for giving you the most range in an HD 8 BIT compressed color space, the Primos are king. I have found that they deliver at least 1.5 stops more in the under-exposed areas and 1.5 stops more latitude in the over-exposed areas. The Zeiss are very contrasty and cold. I only use the ZE glass, it is awesome. I have used the ZF and I find that the Fotodiox Nikon to Canon adapter that guarantees focus is excellent, it is about $140.00. In regards to the quality of a 21mm still lens and a 35mm motion picture lens. Well there is no comparsion. The Primo; just in distortion alone blows the 21mm Zeiss out of the water. The 21mm will not resolve the edges, it has an uneven field and it bows the image when panned. It is not a flat field lens, like the 35mm motion picture wide angle.

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  34. thanks for the reply, shane. wow, i did not expect that primo lens is that good. i also read your article on the latest issue of AC magazine. very nice. good trick on reducing the digital noise, very pioneering.

    a small sweden startup figured out a workflow so that 5dm2 and 7d can do 4:4:4, at lease 4:2:2, from the camera’s hdmi port. http://www.syndicate.se/Default.aspx?Id=299

    if this is true, do you think if using best still lenses plus this workflow will make up for the lacking of primo lenses?

    also i heard that latest versions of leica r-mount lenses are the best for 35mm stills. steller glasses from the leica brand are: 19mm f2.8, 28mm f2.8, 60mm f2.8 macro, 90mm f2 apo asph, 100mm f2.8 apo macro, 180mm f2.8 apo/f2 apo/f3.4 apo. all latest version if possible. some stellar ones from other brands, coast optics 60mm f4 macro, cv 125mm f2.5 apo macro. hope they can hold up against the primo glass. anyway, primo glass is at least 5-10 times more expensive than these best breeds of the still lenses. :)

    thanks a lot for your pioneer work.

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    • wei, You are very welcome, The new Leica R-mount glass is very good. Panavision Primo glass is Leica, so I have been trying to make the Lecia’s work but they are very difficult to find in rental. I wanted to test them but we could not find them, plus the adapter was dodgy. That would be a great substitute for the Primo glass. The 4:4:4 or 4:2:2 is very exciting. Yes, I think this will free up a larger lens selection that would hold up on the big screen.

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  35. shane:

    leica r lenses can be adapted to canon eos body using r-eos adapter. i am using adapters from an ebay hongkong seller happypagehk. AF-Confirm BLACK LeicaR-EOS Adapter AF-Trigger OPTIX V5.

    zeiss 21mm f2.8 is known to have strong distortion. leica 19mm f2.8 is less sharper but less distortion also.
    http://www.16-9.net/lens_tests/best19_21.html

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  36. when each focal length is compared to others, either zeiss 21mm or leica 19mm (about 75 scores in 100 scale) is far behind of 28mm or 35mm (85-90), not to say 50mm or 80mm(95). typically macro lenses in each brand are the best for sharpness. zeiss ze or contax c/y 50mm f2 macro and 100mm f2 macro are said to be stellar within the zeiss brand. cosina voiglander 125mm f2.5 macro is in hype now, almost three folds of its original price. it has a ze version, so no need to convert.

    novoflex is said to have the best leica r to eos adapter because it bought a small company making oem adapters for r cameras.

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    • wei, I will check out novoflex, I have been using Fotodiox for all my adapters. Good to know. Thanks for all great info. I went to that site and checked out the specs. Pretty cool.

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  37. Hi,
    I’m currently finishing to write a book on Canon 7D. I already wrote one on the 500D:
    http://www.amazon.fr/Canon-EOS-500D-Arthur-Azoulay/dp/2300023989/

    In a chapter dedicated on video, i’m talking about differences between cine and photo lenses and 7D conversion to PL mount.
    I’d like to illustrate the chapter. Could I please use images from your system?
    The picture legend would of course mention your credits.

    If so, could you please communicate me some HiRes pictures of it?
    The picture I need are 2000pixel width max.

    Thanks for your answer,
    Have a nice day.

    Matthieu DUBAIL

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  38. shane: have you tried out a wireless lcd configuration? that will be cool.

    i am thinking such a workflow:
    1) to mount Canon wireless file transmitter to the camera, either 7D(WFT-E5A), 5D2(WFT-E4 II), 1D4(WFT-E2 II).
    2) to have ipod touch or iphone
    3) to connect a Zeiss cinemizer video goggle to ipod/iphone.

    Then,
    1) configure the wireless file transmitter wifi parameters in the camera menu, so that the camera will set up a wifi network through WFT;
    2) on ipod/iphone, open a web browser, type in the camera’s ip address and the account info set in the camera;
    3) ipod/iphone can read live view of rear lcd of the camera;
    4) zeiss cinemizer behaves like a 50 inches tv so that you won’t miss the focus even using 5d2 at f1.4.
    5) you can also use a macbook pro with canon eos software to wirelessly remote control the canon auto lenses.

    this setup may be good for extreme situations such as on top of water or very high angle or very low angle, or other dangerous situations.

    not sure if this is working to control agenieux zoom lenses (with zoom motor and focus motor) on canon cameras. maybe not unless there is a smart adapter to let the camera recognize agenieux zoom lenses. still zoom lenses do not have zoom motors. that is the achillis heel for them to be used for smoothy zooming takes.

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    • wei, wow, that set-up seems very cool. I am going to research that and see if I can incorporate this workflow. Awesome idea!!

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  39. LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., January 7, 2009 – Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging, is announcing a step forward in the digital integration of professional photography workflows with the introduction of three new Wireless File Transmitter units to accompany each of the Company’s three professional Digital SLR Camera models. The new WFT-E2 II A Wireless File Transmitter, WFT-E4 II A Wireless File Transmitter and WFT-E5A Wireless File Transmitter for the EOS-1D Mark IV, EOS 5D Mark II and EOS 7D, respectively, provide professional photographers with a range of innovative wireless connectivity options for all photographic disciplines.

    For example, by coupling each compatible camera with one of the new WFT units, professionals can fire up to 10 cameras simultaneously with Canon’s new Camera Linking function, which is perfect for getting that split-second shot from multiple angles. The new WFT units also enable the roaming photojournalist or back-country nature photographer to geotag images easily through hard-wired or Bluetooth-connected GPS devices and append coordinates to the image’s EXIF data. Additionally, reliable file transfer options such as FTP Mode provide wedding and event photographers with the ability to send images in real-time to a computer for instant prints or projection onto event screens while allowing the photographer to operate wirelessly.

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    “The high-tech world of digital photography has presented professional photographers with new methods for image capture and delivery, streamlining workflows and providing digital delivery from across a room, or across the world. The level of connection and control offered by our new WFT units along with their enhanced ease-of-use will change the methods and speed by which professionals deliver images and conduct business,” said Yuichi Ishizuka, senior vice president and general manager, Consumer Imaging Group, Canon U.S.A.

    802.11 a/b/g Compatible
    All three new Canon WFT units provide a wide range of different wireless compatibility options, as well as a wired option to ensure the unit will sync into any professional workflow. For this new series of professional WFT units, Canon has added IEEE802.11a connectivity, the preferred wireless networking transmission method for commercial and corporate environments, offering reliable data transfer rates, strong resistance to electronic interference, and worldwide acceptance in heavy bandwidth environments, particularly within sporting arenas, entertainment venues and retail establishments.

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    WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup)
    To help make connecting the WFT unit to a wireless network even easier than before, Canon has added a Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) option for a one-touch connection to local wireless networks. This easy option helps ensure that photographers not familiar with wireless LAN setups can just touch a button on their WPS-compatible wireless router to connect it to their camera.

    FTP transfer mode
    The WFT units provide access to the camera from anywhere in the world via the internet as if it were an FTP site and can allow a photo editor download images with ease. Canon’s FTP connection is a direct file transfer mode that allows for the instant transfer of files across a local network or across the world via the internet. This is the connection of choice for many professional photographers looking to deliver their images with a wireless connection back to a computer as they are shot.

    New WFT Server mode
    The new WFT Server mode, previously called HTTP mode on legacy WFT units, allows up to three users to remotely connect to a camera via any standard Web browser for global access of images in real-time. Canon’s WFT Server mode allows for multiple connected users to download both images and video files from a camera, as well as view still images, see a remote live view of the camera’s rear LCD screen and remotely fire a camera all through the Web. The ability to initiate remote capture to a compatible personal computer while viewing the Live View display from either a computer terminal or mobile device such as a netbook, iPhone, or iPod Touch is an exciting and extremely useful feature that can be performed from within a local network or from across the globe over most web browsers. Multiple photo editors can now have instant access to a photographer’s images, or photographers can remotely control a camera and transfer images to a compatible computer from the comfort of their mobile devices.

    “EOS Utility” mode
    The EOS Utility mode, previously called PTP mode on legacy WFT units, provides full-camera control while remote shooting with a complete full Live View preview on-screen, allowing a photographer to see and shoot from a computer as if the camera were in-hand. EOS Utility mode is essentially a wireless version of a direct USB connection, and the ideal mode for a commercial or portrait studio that needs full camera control and instant feedback across a local network.

    New Camera Linking function
    The new Camera Linking function enables photographers to link up to 10 “slave” cameras wirelessly to one “master” camera and fire all eleven cameras simultaneously for multiple images from various vantage points. Imagine being able to capture the crowd’s reaction while shooting the play on the field, or having a camera capture the view from the stage while shooting the event from the pit; with Canon’s new easy camera linking function the way a moment is preserved may never be the same. Each linked camera must be equipped with a compatible WFT unit.

    USB Host function
    While each Canon camera has a small USB port, the WFT unit includes a USB Host port, allowing photographers to connect large capacity storage devices or GPS units directly to the camera for maximum storage capacity or geotagging images. This allows for a huge amount of storage possibilities, as well as allowing for coordinate data input on image files. The new WFT unit is now also compatible with Canon Bluetooth unit BU-30, allowing Bluetooth compatible GPS devices to connect and append information to images wirelessly. This allows the photographer to be completely free of wires while shooting and still tag GPS coordinates to images.

    New Media Server function
    With the WFT-E5A’s new Media Server function, EOS 7D photographers can wirelessly transfer and display images on DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) -compatible televisions and photo frames, ideal for photo presentations and workshops. This feature is available exclusively with the WFT-E5A Wireless File Transmitter.

    Pricing and Availability
    The Canon WFT-E4 II A Wireless File Transmitter and WFT-E5A Wireless File Transmitter are currently available and sell at an estimated retail price of $699.99[i] each. The WFT-E2 II A Wireless File Transmitter is scheduled to be available in the first quarter of 2010, price to be determined.

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  40. hi Shane, thanks for the great blog, such a terrific resource. I am looking at shooting a feature length movie in a few months this time possibly on a 7D with a PL mount conversion with my own Cooke S4’s. The idea noted on the other post of mating it with a NanoFlash recorder looks really interesting – have you tried that yet?
    I heard you say (on the Redcenter podcast) that you use the 5D as much as possible and only the 7D when you need to use wider Primos or higher frame rates – is it because the image quality/look of the 7D is not as good? I realise it has shallower depth of field due to the larger format sensor but is there other issues?
    Also did you get your cameras permanently converted to Panavision mount for the primos – or were the Primos adapted?
    Many thanks for any advice
    cheers
    Toby Oliver

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    • Toby Oliver, sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you, I have been slammed with work. The 5D is the best quality, then the 7D and then the 1D. The image quality on the 7D is not bad but I prefer the 5D as my go to camera for everything. The pixel size is larger than the 7D so the light gathering quality is far superior. It seems much more filmic in its contrast range. The Panavision mounts mount directly to the camera without any change to the camera at all. The lens mount snaps off just like a Canon prime lens, no cutting up the interior of your camera, no removing the mirror.

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    • Mohan Streamyx, thank you and I will continue to blaze the trail with all of your help.

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  41. The larger sensor has greater dynamic range and a lower apparent noise floor, but you need to be able to light to around 4/5.6 if you want a sensible DOF. One thing I am not sure of is how that noise floor compares to the 7D when you up the ISO/gain on the 5D. ie. If you have a 7D at f2 and ISO100 and a 5D at f4 and ISO400.

    Anyone any thoughts?

    Ross

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    • Ross, 4.0/5.6 is for action depth of field, people moving, running, etc. If you have talking heads or little movement you can use the shallow depth of field to your advantage. I was just shooting a short for NAB and Canon and I went down to 1.4 on the 50mm and the 85mm several times in controlled set-ups. The 5D and its sensor enables you to do anything you want. The 7D is a very good 2nd place. Your ISO range only wants to fall into 160,320,640,1250 and 1600 ISO, nothing in between. Check out my newsletter on ISO settings and noise. Sign up on the inside track on the blog or the main website and you get insider trading info. that is not given out on the blog.

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  42. Buenos días!. Interesante el contenido, agregaré tu blog a mi lector de noticias. Hasta luego!

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