Still Lenses That Can Grace The Big Screen

On the still lens front, you have a variety of options. I am addressing this topic from a 40 foot screen digital projection perspective, not a still photography one.
 

ZEISS ZE PRIMES

 

21-Zeiss-ZE

21mm-Zeiss-ZE


 
Zeiss ZE primes rock. Their resolution is spectacular and they are lightweight. Their focus is a little more cinematic than a Canon or a Nikon, so it gives your focus puller a chance.
 
28mm-Zeiss-ZE

28mm-Zeiss-ZE


 
The lenses do breathe, which means they zoom in or zoom out when you rack focus. This aesthetic bothers some people so you should see if you like it and or can deal with it.

Buy ZEISS ZE PRIMES:
B&H
 

CANON L SERIES PRIMES

 

EF 35mm

Canon L Series 35mm

EF 85mm

Canon L Series 85mm


 
Canon L Series Primes deliver very beautiful, sharp images. They do not resolve as well as the Zeiss primes, so you will lose a little detail and color gradation choices in post. If you are fine with that, then the Canon primes are a great choice. Their zooms are not as sharp as the primes and they don’t hold contrast as well.

Buy CANON L SERIES PRIMES:
B&H
 

Canon L Lenses

Canon L Series Lenses


 
The Canon EF lenses cannot hold up on the big screen. I used them on the first two shooting days of the Navy SEAL movie, Act of Valor, and they were just plain soft. When I went into color correction, I was not able to have the full range of detail of the 8 BIT compressed color space that I had with the L series or the Nikons. Canon lenses also have one tricky issue: the endless focus wheel. It is amazing for a still photographer but not a trained focus puller. Companies like Zacuto have put lens stops on their zip gears to try and correct the problem but it is still something to contend with.
 

NIKON AI SERIES PRIMES

 

Nikkor 28mm

Nikon AI Series 28 mm

50mm

Nikon AI Series 50 mm


 
Nikon glass delivers well with the AI series. They were the cream of the crop back in the late 1970s and early 1980s and still are in my book. They deliver images just like the Zeiss in contrast but the glass has a warmer tone. However, their focus range is short like the Canons.

Buy NIKON AI SERIES PRIMES:
B&H
 

LEICA R SERIES PRIMES

 

Leica 1:2.8

Leica 35 mm R Series


 
I tested Leica and found that they delivered beautiful contrast and color throughout.  They felt the closest to the Panavision Primo Primes and had more of a cinema focus throw, even more than the Zeiss ZE primes. These lenses resolve so well on the big screen.

Buy LEICA R SERIES PRIMES:
eBay
 

HASSELBLAD MEDIUM FORMAT ZEISS PRIMES

 

50 mm Hasselblad Medium Format

150 mm Hasselblad Medium Format


 
Hasselblad medium format lenses were very interesting on the 5D. It had the same contrast and color of the Zeiss ZE Primes. You need to check it out. They have an amazing cinema focus throw, but  breathe like the Zeiss. I like the large focus markings and the weight. They felt really nice on my Red Rock Micro shoulder rig.  As long as you feel comfortable shooting above a 4.0, these lenses are a great choice.

Buy HASSELBLAD MEDIUM FORMAT ZEISS PRIMES:
B&H

With all of the lens options out there, these are still just tools. The story and the characters are KING! These players all have a back story that never makes it to the screen, but it is the thread, the tapestry that binds the film.  Find that thread, follow it to dream and create your next work of art!!!!

377 Comments
  1. Jon Carr 5 years ago

    Thanks for posting this info. Since mentioning the Ziess in your last post, I have been checking them out. I am prepping for a round the world trip that I will film on the Mark 2 and need to build out my current lens selection. I am also looking to shoot a lot of stills and want the best of both worlds. The Ziess are a little more affordable than the L glass from Canon but I believe I lose my auto focus for stills? Is this correct?

    Any suggestions/recommendations. I will more than likely not be projecting on a 40 foot screen but would like the best overall imagery and would say the focus is more on video than stills.

    Thanks Shane.

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Jon Carr, The Zeiss ZE will not auto focus, they just talk to the camera regarding exposure. If not projecting on a big screen, then I would go for L Series Canon. That way it will work for your stills also. The best overall image would be Zeiss.

  2. Sam Phibbs 5 years ago

    Hey Shane under Leica R Glass you have a photo of Carl Zeiss Jena lenses I am presuming this is a mistake. However have you tested any Carl Zeiss Jena lenses like the 35 2.4 in your photo and what was your opinion of them? I like the idea of Zeiss but I cant afford the ZE series but how did you find the Zeiss Jena in comparison(if you tested these lenses).

    Thanks once again for sharing all this info

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Sam Phibbs, yes that was a picture error, sorry about that. I have corrected the picture. I have not tested the Jena glass. Another one on the list, another set of tests. I am glad you are enjoying the blog and thanks for all of your comments.

  3. Sam Phibbs 5 years ago

    One other question Shane is how did the Nikon AI glass hold up on the big screen compared to the others?

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Sam Phibbs, Much better than the Canon. They seem to have the same contrast as the Zeiss but a little warmer in the color tone. They feel really nice.

  4. Andreas 5 years ago

    Hi Shane,
    I like to hear your thoughts about the, horrible in my opinion considering the price you pay, vignetting of 28mm Zeiss ZE wider then f4.

    Thanks

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Andreas, I have not come across the problem because I do not shoot any of these lenses lower than a 4.0. The focus is too extreme with the 5D’s vista-vision sensor. These lenses are 1/2 the cost of a Canon L series, and if cost is an issue I would go with a great set of Nikon AI seires. I was able to get a complete set off of ebay for 500.00, a 24,28,35,50,85,105,180,200mm.

  5. ivan marasco 5 years ago

    hi,
    i would like to know if there will be another post about “filtration”.
    about the filter’s set to use with stills camera for optimizing the performance:
    antimoirè filter,
    nd filter(wich one is the best in terms of color rendition and full spectrum),
    diffusion filter,
    anti IR pollution.

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      ivan marasco, there is a filtration blog coming out mid week. Stay tuned

  6. Alvaro 5 years ago

    Shane, thx for the comment related DP role on post. If you have the oportunity check it out the Canon 135mm f/2.0L this lens is a gem, don’t have zeiss color, but in my opinion, gives the best 3D effect and organic look of all L lenses and btw is a nice focal lenght for film tele work on 5D, much better than any 70-200 zoom at this range.

    Jon, as Shane says, the zeiss dont have autofocus, but with the ZE mount, you get focus confirmation (when you pulse the trigger the focus point stand still if the focus is precise) I test on the 50mm and works fine.

    alternatively, you can get a Eg-S preciosion matte focus screen that are optimized for manual focusing, or attach a loupe to lcd as a viewfinder.

    anyway this solutions are intended for planified shootings, for run&gun situations is always better an AF.

    sorry about my english guys.
    greets.

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Alvaro, you are welcome, I like the Canon 135mm. I used it on the first week of the Navy SEAL movie, after that not so much. We made the switch to Panavision Primos.

  7. anders 5 years ago

    Wauw…nice testing :-). Wondering if you have anamorphic shooting experience on 5D? If so, what lenses did you use Panavision, Lomo, iscorama?

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      anders, Thank you so much, I haven’t found a reason to shoot anamorphic on the 5D. Talking with Panavision we found that the anamorphic lens would just use a much smaller portion of the CMOS chip and degrade your image overall, so I never went for it. We are already up against it with our 8 BIT compressed color space.

  8. Alan Dang 5 years ago

    Agree with the Leica comments. The 180/3.4 APO-Telyt-R is particularly impressive.

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Alan Dang, we did not test those just the Summicrons. So many lenses, so little time. I will take a look at that one in particular.

  9. Mike 5 years ago

    If the Leica R-series are the most similar to Panavision Primos when projected on the big screen doesn’t that make them the best (second best being the Zeiss ZEs)?

    Also, are all Rs created equal (I’m seeing different ones available, e.g. summicron, elmarit, etc.)?

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Mike, Yes, finding enough of the Leica’s to rent or buy is another story. I am in direct contact with Leica and talking with them about a set of primes for motion picture. All R series are not created equal, I found the Summicron’s to be the best overall. There coating and contrast far surpass the others.

  10. keidrych wasley 5 years ago

    Hi Shane,

    I’d be very interested to know how the canon 50mm EF 1.4 specifically stands up against the leica summicron R 2.0 50mm and zeiss ze 50mm. I’ve read several tests where the canon 1.4 has been found to be very good with great sharpness at 2.8 onwards but i’m considering looking for a summicron instead following your comments. Problem is I’m on a budget and wonder if it would be best to get another size leica lens instead and keep the canon 1.4, because either way i would keep the canon 1.4 for stills because of the AF. Or is the leica 50mm that much better than the canon for video that i should get it (in terms of big screen projection). Is it the contrast that really sets the leica apart? How about the bokeh in comparison?

    You previously mentioned in an earlier thread ‘We are converting our mov. files in cineform which unlocks all the detail in the blacks and the highlights, and then putting them into the Avid’. Could you explain a little about what you are doing in cineform that gives you this added detail? I currently convert my files to prores (LT).

    Also, are you using twixtor to convert to 24p when you refer to it as helping the image or some other process in twixtor which helps the image?

    Sorry for so many questions!

    thanks again for the time and work you are putting into this blog. It’s great

  11. Clayton 5 years ago

    I am very curious to know how the new Zeiss match up with their older counterparts: the C/Y Zeiss T*’s. I have a 35/1.4, 50/1.4 and 85/1.4. I like their consistency, coatings and sharpness. I also like that they are faster than the new versions, but how do they really compare?

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Clayton, I have not tested those, but the speed is not an issue unless you want a lot of out of focus photography. Everyone is gravitating towards the fast lenses. That is the wrong direction. Shooting the 5D under a 5.6 is a recipe for disaster. Been there done that.

  12. ken glasssing 5 years ago

    Hey Shane…been away from computer for a while…what is the buzz I hear on FB and blogs about not being able to use Panavision lenses on the 5/7d any more…is Panaviosn recalling their pv to eos mounts???
    Heard any news?
    Ken Glassing

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      ken glassing, yes they are taking all the mounts back. Because of this lawsuit they are not renting any mounts or the lenses to go on any Canon camera.

  13. Justin Cerato 5 years ago

    I would love to know how far you push the ISO on the 5D when shooting for the big screen? And also if you go any higher when shooting for TV or Web? Do you ever use any noise reduction in post? I remember you mentioning something about adding film grain to cover up the video noise? Thanks in advance.

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Justin Cerato, I take the 5D up to 1600 ISO. I feel that is the edge for the noise level on the big screen. For the TV or the Web 1600. ISO I don’t like the noise reduction tool on the camera. It is much cleaner to do so in the post process than having a $2700.00 still camera do it for your preform you music alldations

  14. keidrych wasley 5 years ago

    Shane, do you disable the camera’s noise reduction in the menus then? I presumed this was for stills only but i take it it also puts the noise reduction onto the video?

    thanks

  15. Andre 5 years ago

    Hi Shane,

    great post! thanks for all those infos. Could you please explain a bit more why you said …shooting under 5,6 with a 5D is looking for disaster,

    thanks in advance

    Andre

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Andre, everyone is shooting this camera wide open on their lenses at a 1.4, or a 2.0, 2.8. Because of the sensor size being the size of a vista-vision camera the depth of field is very shallow at those t-stops. At a 1.4 you have 1/32 of an inch of depth of field. That will be impossible for you to focus on anything that moves. At a 2.0 you have about a 1/4″ of depth and then when you get up to a 5.6 you will have an 1″ to 1.5″ of depth. This will keep the eyes and the nose on a face in focus. I am running a focus blog this weekend it will go into more depth.

  16. Andre 5 years ago

    thanks Shane,

    focus blog here? I’ll read it for sure,

    thanks

    Andre

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Andre, your focus blog is up.

  17. Sho1 5 years ago

    I agree very much- fast lenses(1.4 or even .95…) might be awesome when shooting in the woods at night, but the prices are upthere and need to be aware that the focus is near impossible and will go in and out, if all out, even for the most experienced and talented focus pullers… even on 7D, 2.8 or below is horrifyingly tough…!
    Indeed Leica primes are stellar(and my favorites) but Zeiss ZE, as well as C/Y mount Zeiss(in fact, if pay close attention, even Ultra Primes do breathe but those lenses have photographed so many of the movies, along with Super Speeds or now Master Primes, we enjoy at movie theaters, and those movies shots may very possibly be breathing…!), Canon L(those nice little Canon S16 zooms we’ve all used on Aaton or Arris have similar characteristics… most recently “The Hurt Locker”…), Nikon(many of us have mounted PL mount Nikon super telephotos on big guns, or the same still lenses on Eyemos on super stunt sequences), etc etc… all good lenses!

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Sho1, I agree, I am very happy with my Zeiss ZE and there will be a big announcement on 2/18 that will change the cinema lens capture on the Canon cameras. It will be very exciting times once this news hits the press on Thursday. Stay tuned!!!!

  18. anders 5 years ago

    http://gizmodo.com/5465157/vintage-lomo-lenses-attached-to-canon-5d-mark-ii-create-the-most-beautifully-shot-video?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+gizmodo%2Ffull+%28Gizmodo%29

    Hi Shane..it seems this guy claims 2x anamorphic lenses is using the full chip size of the 5d. I dont understand how anamorphic lenses will degrade your image…can you elaborate on that?..

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      anders, But, here goes an explanation that will hopefully shed some light for you (I apologize for all the #’s and %’s) …..
      Everyone that has rented the Panavision Anamorphics were all extremely pleased with the images they received.

      The 5D MKII’s 1.5:1 aspect ratio sensor is 1.417″ x .945″ (36MM x 24MM) 21.1 meg pixels for stills, and 7 meg pixels when shooting video(it only uses 1/3 of it’s pixels when shooting video).
      The 35MM Motion Picture Anamorphic 1.2:1 aspect ratio frame is .840″ x .700″ (21.3MM x 17.8MM).

      The traditional 35MM Anamorphic Motion Picture frame can easily be extracted from the 5D’s sensor. If you extract the .840″ x .700″ Anamorphic frame from the 5D MKII’s 1.417″ x .945″, you are only utilizing 44% of the sensor. This means you only get 3.1 meg pixels of the 7 meg pixels it has to offer when shooting video.

      You can however go as tall as the 5D MKII’s sensor will let you, providing the lenses cover. Up to 50MM seems to work just fine on the C, E and Primo. The G physically would not fit, as it hit the mirror of the camera.
      If you take advantage of the taller Vista-Vision format, your traditional Anamorphic frame goes form .846″ x .700″ to .955″ x .796″, which is 12% larger the traditional 35MM frame.
      That would then render you 57% usage of the 5D MKII sensor (4 meg pixels) as opposed to the 44% (3 meg pixels) when using the traditional frame.

      In short what this means is if you use the full height of the 5D MKII sensor with an Anamorphic 2x compression lens, you effectively get a negative 12% larger. This means your 50MM Anamorphic lens is really a 44MM Anamorphic lens yielding you the field of view of a 22MM Spherical lens.

      One more thing, the LOMO Anamorphics have a very nostalgic look to them. We’ve had a few sets pass through here over the years. I wish I had a set here, their “dated” look can be very appealing for certain situations. They are relatively sharp, but are not in the league with the Panavision Anamorphics.

  19. Richard Brown 5 years ago

    Hi Shane. Thanks for all your helpful info. Could you please tell me how you mount the Hasselblad H series lenses onto a Canon 5D. Many thanks.

  20. Richard Brown 5 years ago

    Sorry I see that you weren’t using H series Hasselblad lenses in your tests. Any idea if this can be done though? Thanks.

  21. Richard Brown 5 years ago

    Thanks Shane. Have been in touch with Neither Novoflex and Fotodiox and neither make an adaptor for Hasselblad H lenses to Canon EOS bodies. I suspect it’s all to do with the aperture and shutter being controlled only by the camera body.

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Richard Brown, I bet you are right. There is so many variables to putting some of these mounts together. It might have to do with the flange depth also, maybe hitting the mirror, etc. like what is happening with the PL mount disaster with the Canon cameras.

  22. Vincent Follézou 5 years ago

    Hello Shane,

    I discover your site/blog in the last episode of redcenter. Thank to make me discovers there is Hasselblad to Eos adapter. I live in Japan and there is a hudge market in 2nd hand lense, there are always in very good condition with small price. I will follow your blog more often it’s a real gold mine of feedback and experience.

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Vincent Folle’zou, thank you so much for your kind words. I loved the focus range, and image quality on the Hasselblad.

  23. Greg Walker 5 years ago

    Shane, you mentioned an announcement today, Thu Feb 18. Can you point me to the information you hinted at?

  24. Joseantonio W. Danner 5 years ago

    Just read the news about the new DSLR Zeiss Cine Lens at http://photocinenews.com/2010/02/18/zeiss-unveils-new-dslr-cine-lens/

    Amazing news! Thanks again for leading the charge. Right behind you.

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Joseantonio W. Danner, you are welcome. It is great news, testing them out next week in the DR.

  25. anders 5 years ago

    Thanks Shane….it’s a very helpful explanation of how shooting anamorphic works on the 5D…really appreciate it.

  26. Bart 5 years ago

    Hello Shane,
    I’m a newbie to the whole DSLR cinematography thing, but I’ve been reading lots of forums lately and decided to go with a 5DM2 camera.
    The only thing is that I don’t know which lens would suit me best for starters. A good all-arounder that is. Wanted to shoot short movies which would be shown on a big (not 40 foot though) screen.
    Would be also nice if I could send some of my footage to festivals.

  27. Pete Stone 5 years ago

    Hi Shane,
    I think your calculations are a little off on the image size.
    The Canon 5D-II has a 21 meg sensor ( stills ) that gives a 60.2 meg RGB still image,
    as well as an effective 2 meg sensor ( video ) that gives a 5.93 RGB video image.
    I do wonder about your tests showing the Canon lenses as being relatively poor performers
    against the Zeiss, Nikon’s, etc….since in most published tests ( done at higher still sensor resolutions
    generally ) they seem to hold their own.
    See:
    http://the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=101
    http://www.16-9.net/lens_tests/zeiss_85mm/index.html
    http://www.16-9.net/lens_tests/zf25_canon24/zeiss_zf25a.html
    http://www.wlcastleman.com/equip/reviews/35mm/index.htm
    So I guess the question I am asking is……were you testing the lenses at STILL resolution, or
    at VIDEO HD resolution, since just about any of the current Canon lenses ( except for possibly the very
    cheapest consumer budget grade lens! ) can out resolve a 2 meg video HD 1920×1080 sensor.
    I do appreciate all the other lens issues, such as breathing, flare levels, contrast, functionality, etc.
    I’m just having a hard time understanding how Canon lenses can produce reasonably sharp images
    for stills on a 5D-II, but look soft for HD video, given the much lower resolution requirements….
    Thanks, and thanks for putting up this blog…..it’s great!
    Pete

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Peter Stone, it is your creative choice on what you want to use. If you are a Canon guy you use Canon. I fit the lens to the project. I’ve shot Primos, Zeiss Ultra Primes,Cookes, Zeiss super speeds, and Master Primes. They all work, it comes down to what assists you in telling the story. But they are also all Cinema style lenses, not still lenses. Still lenses have major problems in every way shape and form when it comes to motion. There is a reason for still lenses and a reason that cinema style lenses were designed, they both have two totally different applications. One needs to rack focus quickly and have its focus range short so that the still photographer can capture the moment. Cinema lenses have longer focus throw to help the focus puller and add finesse.

  28. wei 5 years ago

    still macro lenses typically have long focus throw. heard people complaining leica 100 mm elmarit macro too heavy and too long focus throw.

    shane, have you tried zeiss ze 50mm and 100mm macro? they may match the resolution of cine lenses. if zeiss lens are too much contrasty, leica 60mm and l00mm macro lenses may be comparable to primo lenses. just a quick guess.

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      wei, I think you might be right. The only thing I am put off by the Leica’s are their coating and flaring issues. Great for some things though.

  29. C&Y 5 years ago

    HI, Shane.

    This information is very much appreciated. We are currently researching lenses for a feature film DSLR production. and have pretty much narrowed it down to the Zeiss ZEs or the Leica R lenses. I’ve seen some Zeiss videos on vimeo and the footage/quality looks great. We really haven’t seen anything with the Leicas though. The Leicas seem to be your best reviewed lenses and based on some ebay browsing, they also seem to be really fairly priced. $400-$700ish. The Zeiss lenses are over $1000. Can you elaborate at all on the differences/benefits of shooting with either or? We’re just obviously a little cautious about investing in a prime set when we haven’t seen a ton of footage. Really appreciate any further info about this. Thank you kindly. -C&Y

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      C&Y, I would go for the Zeiss ZE, for two reasons, they talk with the camera, and are a little more user friendly than the Leica’s. You will have to buy mounts for all of those lenses, because taking the mount on and off is not the best thing to do. They run $150-$250 a piece. Leica have a little lower contrast range, flare very easy, which milks your image out quickly, but a nicer focus throw. Zeiss ZE are sharper, have more contrast, don’t flare out easily, talk with the camera, and have a canon mount, but doesn’t have as nice as a focus throw, it also breathes a bunch. I hope this helps.

  30. wei 5 years ago

    Shane: A quick search suggests that Leica lenses rarelly flare (I don’t remember I came across such complaint on leica lenses before, maybe I am not into leica that much.)

    If flare occurs, I guess that either leica lenses are old versions (1970-80s) or lens filters are added in front of the lenses, which is a normal practice in cinematography. The air distance between the filter and the lens may cause flare. If the latest version of leica lenses flare much, the basic instinct is to call leica customer support to get a new copy, or at lease get the old copy recalibrated.

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      wei, I have been talking about the 70-80’s Leica glass, and the flaring I am talking about is not cool, it milks out the contrast. The new glass performs very well.

  31. wei 5 years ago

    Another angle of view (may well deserve a debate): Will flare help a 3-D feeling? Three major helpers to generate 3-D view in 2-D photography/cinematography: perspective, front placement, and air reflection including flare, etc. The first two are about composition and framing. The last one is about lenses. A lot of still photographers like old Germane lenses because these lenses can reflect the air distance between the shooter and candid. Citizen Kane used a lot of air reflection techniques. I still remember the take that the guy walked into the library room, with the sun shining from the top windows into the dark room, reflecting a lot of dust in the room, gave a nice feeling of 3-D effects.

  32. Alvise 5 years ago

    Thanks Shane for all those usefull infos.
    Don’t know personally (I use Nikkors for video and Canon L for stills), but It looklike many Leica R can hit the 5DmkII mirror (http://www.pebbleplace.com/Personal/Leica_db.html

  33. wei 5 years ago

    less than 25mm that is the case for 5d2. on 7d, even 19mm is ok, according to some experimenters.

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      wei, what are you describing here?

  34. marcoabu 5 years ago

    great post. there’s a new upcoming zeiss compact 2, look on vincent laforet’s blog

  35. Luke 5 years ago

    Shane, thanks for this great resource! I was wondering what Nikon mount adapter would you recommend for the 7D?

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Luke, I would recommend the Novoflex or the Fotodiox, both will run you around 140.00 to 250.00 for one that comes up true to the focus marks on the lens.

  36. Jorn 5 years ago

    Hi Shane,

    you mentioned the Hasselblad medium format lenses, will the focal lengths stay the same on a 5D ?

  37. charles lim 5 years ago

    anybody messed around with the lomo anamorphic 75mm roundhead? Are they any good?

  38. Arvel 5 years ago

    Shane,

    Thanks so much for your blog. Lots of interesting information here that you don’t have to share, so I appreciate it. I just wanted to get your opinion on PL mounts on DSLRs. I recently found a site that offers (non adapter) mods on the 7D. Just wondering if you had any experience with this.

    Thanks

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Arvel, thank you for your kind words. I have not used the PL mounts yet, waiting for the Compact Zeiss Primes.

  39. Frank Glencairn 5 years ago

    Shane, have you ever tried the famous medium format Zebra Zeiss Jena primes of the 1960s/early 1970s?
    Best glass Zeiss ever made in my book. Amazing cinema focus throw, no breathing at all and a extremely cinematic look and bokeh.
    I use them religiously on the HVX200/Letus Adapter combo and on the 5D now.

    Best of all, they are dirt cheap (at least here in Germany) you can score them in mint condition between 100 and 170 Euros on German Ebay. Look for “PENTACON SIX Zeiss”

    best, Frank

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Frank Glencairn, wow they sound incredible. I will try them out. Thank you for your comments.

  40. Tony Reale 5 years ago

    Thanks for all your advice, Shane! Question for you: Do you think the Zeiss Compact Prime 2 Cine Lenses will be worth the extra money over a set of RPLenses converted Zeiss ZF lenses?

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Tony Reale, I have not tested the compact primes, I get my set in a week. I will try to give you some feedback soon.

  41. Frank Glencairn 5 years ago

    Shane, if you want to try out some of the vintage Zebra Zeiss glass, send me an e-mail. There are sertain points to take care of when you buy that lenses (I learned the hard way), and I would be glad to give you some hints if you want me to.

    Frank

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Frank Glencairn, I would love anything that you can pass on to me. Thank you so much.

  42. Toby Birney 5 years ago

    Hi Shane, thank you for the reviews. I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the new Zeiss Compact Primes 2. I am thinking of putting together a 7D package for myself for use as an extra camera on features, tv docs, music videos, low budget commercials, etc. I’m just wondering- is there is a zoom lens that you like or have tested with these cameras? I’m prone to think a zoom would be great for a lot of situations I’ll be getting into…

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Toby Birney, I am looking to buy two of the 7D EVO PL-54 mount cameras by Denz so that I can use the ANGENIEUX 17-80mm OPTIMA ZOOM and the ANGENIEUX 24-290 mm OPTIMA ZOOM.
      What I find is that in the Zoom department they do not hold up very well. They do not resolve well and many have stop changes when you zoom. The 24-70mm T2.8 is not bad but I just haven’t found any I like.

  43. Toby Birney 5 years ago

    Shane, I am also contemplating a PL modified 7D. I hadn’t heard of Denz doing mods, I only knew of Hot Rod. Have you compared the work of the 2 different companies and any reason you are going with Denz?

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Toby Birney, I love the Denz mod. It seems tight and excepts all PL lenses and zooms. Hot Rods is very good too. I want to see a 5D modified, screw the 7D. Let’s move to the best image capture possible in this compressed format. Let’s move forward not backwards.

  44. Toby Birney 5 years ago

    Thank you Shane- I will have to do some more research on the Denz modified cameras. I wish there were an easy way for me to compare the different mods with my own eyes- I’m far away in Eastern Europe, having to depend on word of mouth and the opinions of other professionals. And, yes I agree- a 5D mod would be fabulous…

  45. Frank Glencairn 5 years ago

    O.K. Shane, I wrote an article on vintage Zeiss glass on modern cameras.
    If you have any further question, feel free to ask.

    best, Frank

    http://frankglencairn.wordpress.com/2010/04/01/vintage-zeiss-glass-on-modern-cameras/

  46. C&Y 5 years ago

    Thank you so much for your response, Shane. Still doing some research. It looks like we’ll be picking up the Zeiss ZE 50mm 1.4 for sure. Just a quick question about Zeiss C/Y lenses. Any experience. As far as the longer lenses go, they seem to have some nice options. (180mm 2.8 for example). Any experience? We know an adapter (C/Y to EOS) is necessary and are attracted to their cheaper prices on ebay. Resolution and image wise, are they solid? If they’re a little lower contrasty and vintage looking the better! Thanks so much.

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      C&Y, you are so welcome, I have not tried the Zeiss C/Y lenses. Do not go with cheap adapters. They will screw you. You should pay at least $140.00 to $250.00 an adapter. The cheap ones will be loose and move the whole image around while focusing. Also the focus will not be true with the lens and your marks will be all off. Fotodiox and Novoflex are the leaders in this category.
      I am getting a set of the Compact 2 Zeiss Primes tomorrow to test and I am very excited. Will give you my thoughts once I put them to the test.

  47. C&Y 5 years ago

    Thanks again. Novoflex doesn’t seem to make a CY-EOS adapter, but Fotodiox makes a very reasonable Pro one for $89.00

    http://www.fotodiox.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=36

  48. RJ 5 years ago

    Hi Shane,

    Do you typically lose anything with zoom lenses over primes? Zoom lenses offer some real flexibility in the field when perhaps constant lens swapping is trickier.

    Thanks

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      RJ, Zoom lenses do not resolve as well as primes. The more glass that the light has to pass through the more the image is softened. You have to go with what works for you in the field. If you need the zoom then have at it. Function follows format.

  49. Kennon Fleisher 5 years ago

    Hey Shane,

    I have to ask; How does a sharper lens drastically change the overall image of video on the Canon DSLRS? I shot this video ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIi8q0mKvR4 ) that even at full res on a Sharp Aquos 1080p tv looks identical… and it’s a kit Canon 18-135 at F/5 vs a Zeiss ZE 35mm also set to F/5.

    Also, Barry Green says that it does NOTHING to change video resolution. Bokeh, moire, and slight changes in the focal length and depth of field (SLIGHT) are the most difference you will notice, maybe some color difference too. These cameras stream video and down sample to 1080p which is just over 2 megapixels in size… the actual resolution isn’t 1080p, nor is it 480p… just somewhere in between, closer to 720p than anything… and changing to a faster lens isn’t going to make that any better, period.

    I agree that for photography, it helps a lot and changes a lot – for video, it’s nice to have faster lenses if you want to stop up to a wider maximum aperture and obtain a more shallow depth of field… but it will barely change the sharpness.

    To be honest, if you shoot with a Zeiss lens, it’s going to cause a lot MORE aliasing than anything. I’ll work on shooting some tests.

    With all this said, I still would want to own nice glass just to shoot better photos on, for the build of the lenses, and the usability of them. I’m simply not sold on the fact that FOR VIDEO, better lenses make the image sharper. I guess I should clarify and say it can make the slight differences I mentioned above, but it really comes down to the question: Is it worth paying $1500 for something like the Canon F/1.4L, or just paying something like $300 for the Canon EF 30mm F/2?

    Again – Even on a nicely sized 42″, full 1080p Sharp Aquos (which is a good TV at that) the image I showed you above looks identical (FOR VIDEO, NOT PHOTOS)

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Kennon Flesiher, I can only tell you that on a 60 foot screen your $300.00 30mm EF looks soft and does not resolve well, which then effects your color space. You have to roll out the way that you do. So if these lenses make your work sing then I am in full support. To each his own.

  50. Frank Glencairn 5 years ago

    O.K. I fixed the missing picture links for the vintage Zeiss glass. Should work fine now. Sorry for the muddle.

    Frank

    http://frankglencairn.wordpress.com/2010/04/01/vintage-zeiss-glass-on-modern-cameras/

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