Your test is very much appreciated - thank you.
Thanks for posting all the full rez stuff. Very cool of you to commit bandwidth-suicide for our benefit :)
How would you compare/are you able to compare the Illuminas against Zeiss Superspeed Mk 2s or 3s, wide open and at T2?
Many thanks -- people like you, and posts like this are one of the things that make Reduser such an amazing place.
And I agree with you about the Leicas, still working on gathering and justifying the funds for those.
In the meantime, the Illuminas might be a pretty decent option - at least it seems they'll be better than CP2's ...
Thanks Paul, this is a great post. I recently recommended the Cooke Panchros to a friend who owns a rental house... he bought them. I think he made the right decision. However, I think you should buy the illuminas :) For a couple reasons really. First, you seem to need those extra stops for most the work you do, so it makes sense right away to go for faster lenses. You're right, renting isn't a really viable option for the owner/operator. Second, although you noticed the difference in quality with the clear victory going to the Panchros in almost every category, you didn't mind those minor differences very much. Actually, it sounds like you would be quite happy with the Illumina performance if they hadn't been next to the Cooke Panchros. Finally, I think its guys like you that can create reputations for lenses that otherwise would never be on a rental camera. Let's face it, Cookes rent and Illuminas don't... at least not yet :) I agree that being an operator/owner gives you the freedom to choose products without having to worry about name recognition. If people see your work shot with the Illuminas and they like what they see, maybe it won't be so difficult for camera houses to rent them in the future. That's a good thing. The more lens options the better.
Whatever you get, you made the right choice. There is no wrong choice here :) Good luck!
My conclusions (based entirely on Paul's posted materials!):
The Illumina's are good lenses. For 4K finishes and projection, I'd probably want to consider other lenses, but I'd be OK if I shot with Illuminas. For 2K or 1080p delivery I'd probably be very happy on almost all my shots- especially if the target was TV or web.
I see a number of deficiencies in this comparison for the Illuminas. Chromatic aberration is worse across the board, and there is luminance and resolution fall off.
I see a few advantages for the Illuminas. First off they appear to be sharper in the center than Panchros, and they fall off to just a bit less resolution to the Panchros in the corner. Also, they seem a bit more contrasty, which suits my current style.
A point that is neutral ... flaring. I am using more flares in my present work, so I'm attracted to lenses that flare. From the test clips, the Illuminas flare in an interesting way, and one that will be fairly controllable. For me that's perfect.
I'm a little concerned with how the lenses "milk out" while flaring, but the way I tend to use flares (with moving cameras) results in transient flares that probably won't distress me too much.
I like the Panchros better, but two stops is HUGE, and the Panchros are not enough better to offset a two stop speed advantage.
I've always planned on buying a "for now" set and a "for real" set like the S5, MP or Leica, later when I'm working more. I always planned on keeping the "for now" set for B camera and crash cams and such.
I think the Illuminas just went to the top of my "for now" list.
If I already owned an S4 or S5 set, or if I were 100% certain that I'd be buying one of those sets, I'd definitely go with the Panchros as the "for now" or "B cam" set.
As far as rentals go ... I see hardly any difference between Cooke and Illumina. I don't think either will rent much, and that goes for the Red Pro primes as well. If rental is a consideration then the Zeiss compact primes jump up the list as do the older Zeiss cine lenses and the Ultra Primes.
I still need more hands on tests of my own ... but unless I see more compelling tests, I think that my "on-paper decision" is made. My only remaining concern is how the lenses see faces in CU and XCU.
I think this is a highly personal decision and the outcome can be as affected by the heart as it is by the mind. I couldn't possibly begin to logically justify my decision to buy the Panchros. There are so many choices that are cheaper, faster and really pretty good. But I gotta tell ya, I love this friggin glass! During the short we just did I never found myself wanting faster than 2.9. We we're shooting at dusk, night and interiors. I was usually wide open at ISO 800 all the time and even had to employ ND on occasion. But you know your work and You know what you need.
My own little bit of Cooke Look...
Last edited by Christopher Barrett; 06-10-2011 at 02:13 PM.
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