This has been a great last month... A turning point to in fact... I have gone from being a PL lens purist to a AF junky in 2 short weeks.
4 years ago, I was a 35mm ARRI 435 nutter, nothing could have dragged me off that camera! ... First pictures I got out of our REDONE 158 (which we only bought for fun), changed everything.
Same goes with lenses, I was a master prime junky, every single job was master primes and I would slum to Cookes S4's now and then, then fell in love with the softness of the little ziess MKIIIs on the EPIC only... Being such a pin sharp chip in the EPIC, the MKIIIs took the edge of it.. Lovely... However, I was still a master prime kid.
After the last month with a canon glass and alot of back to back testing, Ive realised I couldn't see $20,000 dollars difference in Master prime optical quality compared to a $900 dollar canon lens... Build quality between the two is a different story though.. But one is 20k more expensive than the other.. so thats a given...
In 4 days time, I'm about to shoot a $1.500.000 Period TVC... its quite a big one, hundreds of extras, huge sets, 5 months in the planning.
I decided after weeks of testing, fiddling and practising... to shoot the entire ad on canon glass. (SHOCK HORROR).
I shot my daughters music video on them for a bit of fun a few weeks ago, and was quite amazed with the AF control, sharpness and the stabilisation... I probably shot 20% quicker because focus pulling, shooting lazars, pulling tape measures, checking sharps by zooming up on frame etc just didnt need to happen...
I found once you figured out how to setup the AF system, once you figgered out what the AF system likes to focus on, it just smacks the target dead and perfectly so much quicker than a focus puller would ever be able too... and I have used the best focus pullers around the world. There is no way they can smack a target this quick... without the aid of measuring devices or a good guess.
How ever... there is no way the Canon AF will track a moving target coming straight at you. So PL manual focus glass and a good focus puller will still be needed. thats a fact. if I'm on a tracking vehicle or crane... then PL is it.
So today was my final day to make a decision... PL SUPER SPEEDS or CANON PRIMES... ???.. thinking thinking... So I thought stuff it, I grabbed my Epic, put a CANON 70 - 200 on it and went for a walk through the streets of Jakarta with a couple of red volts in my pocket, set the AF to Single / spot... and off I went. Pointing and shooting at everything and anything that I went past me, I was smacking sharps ever single time without taking my hands of off the side grip and RED handle once... All at 2.8.
So 1 hour later, 2 revolts down and over 235 shots, I came back to my hotel room, put all my footage into RCX, checked it all for exposure and sharps.... not one single soft image, not even close to being out.
Now If i did the same thing with my PL super speeds I would have never have pulled off so many sharp shots, or even shot half as much, as all the time I'm checking sharps, or rocking my focus back and forth until the image.
So the decision is made... CANON AF it is. (ill have a set off Ziess super speeds sitting to the side just in case) but over all, I'm more than happy to shoot a huge gig on them.
I'll keep you posted.
IF the RED MOTE PRO comes out with AF focus control... Then all our PL glass will be retired.
[COLOR=#FFFFFF !important]Here is a quick test I did about 10 minutes ago.
The 85mm f1.2 is one of the slowest AF lenses in my package...
This test is exactly that.. just a simple test to see how quick it can pull focus while recording.
No measurements, no lazar readings, no focus wheels, no camera assistant, no guessing, just turned the camera on and pressed the button, you can have it on Single or continuous, (single recommended) large AF area or small... I use small.
In my 25 years of shooting 35mm PL lenses, I have never ever had a focus puller match the accuracy and speed of this quick test, without some serious lens marking, measurements and practise...
Not taking it away from Focus pullers, as I have many great friends that are Focus pullers, but this is technology that is here now and getting better all the time.
People should be aware.
The AF system is not perfect, It will hunt if you don't frame an edge within the AF box... it will not pull focus on a plain flat surface, in a low light or ugly back light situation it will fail... But the more you practice with it, the better, faster and easier it becomes and with newer RED firmware, its just getting better all the time.
Once again, the auto focus cannot track a person / car etc.. walking or running towards you. Thats a job for a professional focus puller.
For everything else... Not a worry.