Thread: What lens set to buy under $30k?

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  1. #1 What lens set to buy under $30k? 
    Hi I am planning next year to invest in a cine lens set for my Red Gemini. Currently when there is no budget to rent lenses I use my Rokinon DS cine set. They have served me well for a lot of low budget projects. I want to move to the next level and invest in a proper set of cine lens. They need to cover full frame and handle 8k so I am covered for future cameras.

    The reviews of the Xeen have been not worth the price because they are not much better than the dirt cheap Rokinon DS.

    I am interested in the Sigma set. Would like to know more review from people who own them or have shot a lot with them.

    Also how are people feeling about the Canon CN-E, Tokina Vista, Ziess Cp. 3?
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  2. #2  
    Moderator Phil Holland's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
    Los Angeles
    We're spoiled for choices in this general price point and a few of these sets punch way above their weight in price versus performance.

    My opinions stem from the fact that I primarily film with RED Monstro 8K VV at maximum resolution/format.

    Tokina Cinema Vista - great optics, the least focus breathing in this price point which means the glass is going to be larger/heavier. 18-135 T1.5, a full VV high speed set. Designed from the ground up for cinema application. Modern look, very high resolving even wide open, fun flare too. 114mm OD.

    Sigma Cine - 20-105 T1.5 with slightly slower 14 and 135 primes, shorter in length and lighter weight than Tokina, smaller outer diameter too at 95mm. I mainly work with with the high speed primes, but that 14mm is a real treat. Also really nice wide open.

    Zeiss CP.3 - 25-135 T2.1 w/ 15,18,21mm T2.9. These are the lightest weight as smallest option which is their biggest strength especially for gimbal/run n gun. 95mm OD. Not the fastest, but if size is a concern this is the best option.

    Canon CN-E - mostly a fast set of primes with slower utility lengths at the ultra wide and telephoto ends. One of the oldest sets out there and the familar Canon look. 114mm OD.

    Schneider Xenon FF-Primes - 25-100mm T2.1 w/ an 18 T.4. Fairly compact and also purpose designed for cinema w/ 95mm OD. Sudo modern/vintage look, lovely flare and bokeh IMO.

    Xeens more or less are a cheaper version of CN-E and the optics are the same as the Cine DS. Their newer CF line brings the compact and light weight concept with 95mm OD. Now that the Celeres are no longer available the CF set sort of is that option now for gimbal minded folk. Weight-wise their only competition are the Zeiss CP.3 line.

    Personally I use mostly Tokina and Sigma paired often with the Zeiss CZ Zooms.
    Phil Holland - Cinematographer - Los Angeles
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  3. #3  
    Senior Member
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    Nov 2009
    You can get 3 or 4 Anamorphic lenses for around $30k ish these days...

    But, jokes aside... I recommend using data to drive your purchase choice if the choice is primarily based on rental revenue - especially if you can find a correlation between your personal taste and data driven by your market you’re renting to.

    Let your customers tell you what they want to rent from you...
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  4. #4  
    Size and weight of Tokina Vista vs. Sigma Cine is no joke. If you are planning on hand-held work of any kind (shoulder mount, gimbal, etc), the Tokinas are going to tax your production in both monetary and non-monetary ways. If you are on a slider or a dolly, the weight issue goes away and the Tokinas really shine.

    Numerous optical tests over the years show a pretty strong correlation between price and optical performance. My interpretation of those tests show quality of fast, spherical glass covering VV as:

    Xeen <= Zeiss Compact Primes[1] < Schneider[2] < Sigma <= Tokina Vista <= Zeiss Signature Primes < Cooke < Leica [2]

    I judge Tokina as the optical performance-for-price winner, which is why I have a full set (including the 135 on order) and Sigma as the pound-for-pound (or kg-for-kg) performance-for-price winner. I use mostly tripods and dollies, so I don't have a Sigma set. But if I did more handheld, I would.

    [1] I have always found the chromatic aberration of the ZCP lenses to be inexcusable.
    [2] T2.1 and above is not really fast compared to T1.5
    Michael Tiemann, Chapel Hill NC

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  5. #5  
    Senior Member Jan Balster's Avatar
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    Apr 2008
    Asheville, NC, USA
    Sigma or Tokina!

    I do a lot of gimbal work and therefore prefer the Sigmas. The Tokinas are awesome but a little bit bigger and heavier.

    Other than that I can't really add much more than what Phil and Michael have said.
    DSMC2 Gemini "Amy"
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  6. #6  
    Senior Member Curtis boggs's Avatar
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    Jun 2016
    Virginia Beach, VA
    The Sigma set i own is by far the best money i’ve spent.

    Curtis Boggs

    Epic-W 8k (Spanky)
    Komodo 6k (baby)
    Sigma Cinema zoom set
    Leica-R Cine mod prime set
    Various other strange or vintage lenses
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  7. #7  
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    Dec 2009
    Belgrade, Serbia
    My favourite goto lenses theese days are Atlas Orions
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  8. #8  
    Senior Member steve green's Avatar
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    Jan 2012
    Thousand Oaks, Ca
    I've got a gimbal on every job, bought the Sigma's a year ago, love them!
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  9. #9  
    Senior Member DC Chavez's Avatar
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    Jun 2012
    Redondo Beach, CA
    Look into the Angenieux EZ set. I bought a set for 33k when they first came out, but they may be making deals on them now. Also- I got 24 month 0% financing, so its awesome to not have to drop the money all at once.

    GREAT lenses and they cover full frame with the bigger rear optical element.
    Los Angeles | | Helium 8K S35 #6284 | Helium 8K S35 #4573 | @dcchavez
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  10. #10  
    I would say sigma is a very good deal looking at price, popularity and size. But they are not as clean and good as the Tokinas so if size does not matter then yes, Tokinas is a great choice.

    But both of those is quite available and something I can get in the rental houses. So for me its more interesting to get something more unique. Building a set with handpicked FD lenses which has taken a while, but is now slowly trickling out. Here is a pick of the 14mm with "k35" iris blades and it also will be opened up to give monstro full coverage, the original 14mm holds for 7k but this will do full monstro.

    Then also 24mm SCC, 35mm SCC, 55mm SCC, 85 mm SCC, 135mm and a 180mm NIKKOR, might also add the 105mm Nikkor in there.

    I think al together it will be about 45k USD. But then also over 2 years wait to have them done.

    I think another good set is to make rehoused Nikkors. To me they look far better than lot of the more mordern lenses. And just like the FD´s they are very small.

    [IMG]IMG_0069 by Björn Benckert, on Flickr[/IMG]
    Björn Benckert
    Creative Lead & Founder Syndicate Entertainment AB
    VFX / Flame / Motion capture / Monstro
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