Thread: Weighing lens options (heavy vs. light)

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  1. #1 Weighing lens options (heavy vs. light) 
    I'm sitting on the fence about the next set of primes to buy. My question for you fairly experienced folks out there is this: if you've got equal access to a set of heavy primes (ARRI Master Primes, SONY CineAlta, Cooke S5 and perhaps S4, etc.) and a set of lighter primes (ARRI Ultra Primes, Cooke MiniS4, Celere HS, etc.) how often do you try to tilt the shot in one direction or another. In the grand scheme of things, are you more excited about swinging the heavy but fast lenses, or happier to set things up so that you can move easily with lighter lenses? I have both a super-heavy Fujinon Premiere zoom and a bunch of (lightweight) Canon primes, so I know what the difference feels like. But I'm looking at finding the right middle ground for a true set of Cine primes, and am lost as to whether I should be focusing more on keeping things around 1kg (Celere HS or Sigma) or 2kg (Tokina Cinema). I really like the look of the Tokinas, but I also really like the weight of the Celere HS primes. (I also like the cost of the Sigmas; their speed and weight is also nice.)
    Michael Tiemann, Chapel Hill NC

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  2. #2  
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    I think the only real issue would be gimble work (which I despise, but that's another story). Normal Production, the weight of the lens isn't a big deal. Hand held it's no sweat, and only on certain long, difficult steadicam shots do you need to pair everything down.

    Extreme cases would make me stay away from certain lenses, like the cooke anamorphics, or the old ziess VPs, but anything in the realm of normal is fine.

    I would be much more concerned with the look of the lenses vs the weight.

    Nick
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  3. #3  
    Doesn't answer your question, but as a heads up, there is a Group Buy in the Accessories forum for the Tokina's and Newsshooter's recent article on them was impressive. They are the cheapest lenses I've seen with so little focus breathing (not claiming to have seen them all, but I'm in the market and thats the thing that has been killing every lens I start to fall in love with, including the Celere HS).
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  4. #4  
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    Just bought the Celere 25-85 (top 10 lightest out there) after 4 years of Red Pro Primes as my set (top 10 heaviest).

    I got em for the vintage look/modern mechanics, still testing them to see if I'll keep them, but damn my arms and
    back are thanking me.

    I would buy a set of light ones that are convenient to shoot with and rent when you need something special. If I decide
    to go back to contrasty/sharp look, I'll be after a set of those new sigmas.
    Robert Wynne
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  5. #5  
    Moderator Phil Holland's Avatar
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    I mean technically the Rokinon Cine DS are the lightest ones out there :)

    "technically"
    Phil Holland - Cinematographer - Los Angeles
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  6. #6  
    Senior Member Blair S. Paulsen's Avatar
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    It's worth noting that the Sigmas have a solo operator friendly focus rotation of 180 degrees. Most lenses designed for stills acquisition have 90 degrees of focus rotation or less, which can be tricky for focus pulls. A lot of the high end cinema glass has 240 or more to facilitate precise focus pulls with dedicated follow focus systems, which can make pulling on the barrel difficult unless you have a triple jointed wrist.

    This feature may not matter to you, but for me and my widely varying assignments, it's a major plus.

    Cheers - #19
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  7. #7  
    Moderator Phil Holland's Avatar
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    I guess I should expand on that answer and say go with the lenses that best suit your project and or your style of shooting. Sometimes concessions will need to be made if you need to get super lightweight, but generally speaking, it's the look that matters. Mechanics are next really. Then weight.
    Phil Holland - Cinematographer - Los Angeles
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  8. #8  
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    Top 10 Phil! Don't know exactly where the Celeres fall on that list but they are quite light
    Robert Wynne
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  9. #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by Blair S. Paulsen View Post
    It's worth noting that the Sigmas have a solo operator friendly focus rotation of 180 degrees. Most lenses designed for stills acquisition have 90 degrees of focus rotation or less, which can be tricky for focus pulls. A lot of the high end cinema glass has 240 or more to facilitate precise focus pulls with dedicated follow focus systems, which can make pulling on the barrel difficult unless you have a triple jointed wrist.

    This feature may not matter to you, but for me and my widely varying assignments, it's a major plus.

    Cheers - #19
    Great point! Others, too. Sigma vs. Tokina vs. Celere all day!
    Michael Tiemann, Chapel Hill NC

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  10. #10  
    Senior Member PatrickFaith's Avatar
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    I see things and also break things down into weight groups by production budget and cost.

    Corporate Work ($5k to $50k): Only the lighter lenses, normally nikon ... sometimes things like middle weight cp2 (note also the entire camera rig is lighter, normally under 10 pounds, and the lighting system is fairly minimal)
    Gimbal Work & motion control work ($10k to $50k): lighter lenses but normally are to match the feature lens (so I don't use and see the nikons/canons as much, but more of the cp2 weight group)
    Feature Film extreme low budge($5k to $50k):lighter lenses, often things like cp2's or middle weight low cost rentals. Note also I see super fast setup times so not huge lighting costs
    Feature Film on tripod scenes with full lighting ($50k-$300k): normally the heavier lenses (I use and see things like master prime weight), often it's a truck of lighting equipment

    But to me a lot of things are about speed (especially scene setup time) and cost (especially rental and camera cost), and often weight matters on both of them. I am not involved with productions over $300k, I have seen them put things like even master primes on car mounts, but for the lower budget side I never see expensive/heavy lenses put in harms way.
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