Thread: EPIC ~ PL vs EF Lenses

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  1. #1 EPIC ~ PL vs EF Lenses 
    Senior Member PatrickWebb's Avatar
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    I have been hunting around for a great small set of lenses to use on the Epic MX. I was thinking about plucking up a set of OTUS lenses, as they are just amazing. I have no experience with these lenses, apart from reading some reviews and some videos online. Then, I was thinking some PL Arri/Zeiss standard speeds t2.1 (i believe), but not buying a whole set to begin with, but let us say a 20mm, 40mm and maybe the Makro 60mm. However, I find it impossible to find good references for these lenses or videos shot with them ~ understanding that probably a lot of videos I have already seen have been shot with them!

    I would like maybe some of the community to share their experiences and maybe a 2c or a few to talk with me through the ins and outs of these lenses.

    As a side note, I already have a set of the ZE Zeiss Classic's and I love those and the image I get from them, so I feel Zeiss is my playground at the moment, but am always open for suggestions or examples of other great pieces of glass to pair with the EPIC MX or Dragon.

    Churs!
    Patrick Webb,
    Director of Photography
    Heapsgood Productions, Norway.
    (www.Heapsgood.no)
    EPIC-X #06833 "Monsta" & SCARLET-X #01773 "Scratch"
    Carl Zeiss, Voigtänder & Russian glass
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  2. #2  
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    Zeiss "standard speeds" and Zeiss Otus are very different-- about as far apart within the Zeiss family as you can get!

    -Standard speeds are sharp vintage optics, whereas Otus are extremely sharp modern optics-- the Standards will look soft in comparison. (Not too different to the Zeiss classics, though.)
    -Standards cover s35, Otus cover 135 "full frame." (Standards may vignette a little on Red's s35+ chips-- Phil Holland's tool shows them covering 5.5kWS on Dragon 6k, for example.)
    -Standards are built as fully manual cinema lenses with all that implies, Otus are built as still lenses and may require conversion.
    -Standards are generally smaller and lighter than the Otuses.

    You've probably seen many feature films shot on the Standard Speeds, such as Fargo.

    Side note: the standard speeds are just Zeiss-- not a collaboration with Arri. (The Ultra Primes and Master Primes are Arri/Zeiss branded.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by M Harvey View Post
    Zeiss "standard speeds" and Zeiss Otus are very different-- about as far apart within the Zeiss family as you can get!

    -Standard speeds are sharp vintage optics, whereas Otus are extremely sharp modern optics-- the Standards will look soft in comparison. (Not too different to the Zeiss classics, though.)
    -Standards cover s35, Otus cover 135 "full frame." (Standards may vignette a little on Red's s35+ chips-- Phil Holland's tool shows them covering 5.5kWS on Dragon 6k, for example.)
    -Standards are built as fully manual cinema lenses with all that implies, Otus are built as still lenses and may require conversion.
    -Standards are generally smaller and lighter than the Otuses.

    You've probably seen many feature films shot on the Standard Speeds, such as Fargo.

    Side note: the standard speeds are just Zeiss-- not a collaboration with Arri. (The Ultra Primes and Master Primes are Arri/Zeiss branded.)
    +1

    Mk2 standard speeds are imo a steal at the moment because they are neither here (sharp and perfect like Otus) nor there (lots of character like Cooke) but they don't look much like modern Zeiss. I can't afford them, but they have nice mechanics for cinema use, too. They look good on Epic Dragon (the only Red camera I have worked with them on) but the look is more vintage than it is modern, so it is not similar to Otus. They have great ergonomics without the need for rehousing, but older ones from rental houses might show some wear mechanically.

    They are not as popular today, but were probably among the most popular lenses in the 80s and 90s for feature films.

    I do a lot of work with CP2s on Alexa and was not generally a fan of those lenses (they're a little "boring") but they are great all rounders and look great on Alexa. The ZEs are the same optically I believe and these are bargains, too. Similar to Contax Zeiss but without the vintage coatings.

    I love Contax Zeiss, used to own a few, now just one, but they can be a bit inconsistent depending on what year they are manufactured. The coatings and therefore character seem to change a bit.
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  4. #4  
    Senior Member PatrickWebb's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback guys!

    Great tip on looking out for the MK2's rather than the MK1's. I also watched a podcast from Patrick O'Sullivan (The Wandering DP), who mentioned the mk1's were, quote, "Dog shite" compared to the mk2's !

    Yeah, Harvey, I am aware of those points there, that these lenses are on the opposite spectrum to each other. Otus are killer sharp.

    I really wanted to see some examples. I have seen stuff from Dustin Abbott and Phil Holland on the Otus lenses. But there are really on test videos in studio with the standard speeds on the tubes.

    Matt,
    Yeah, I see a lot of the CP.2's being used here in Norway. But more Leica lenses have been on the scene increasingly more than I have seen Zeiss. I think that is a taste to the DP thing.

    Great point here too: "... neither here (sharp and perfect like Otus) nor there (lots of character like Cooke) but they don't look much like modern Zeiss." ~ That is something that I was looking for.

    For my sake and taste, I was leaning towards the MK2's, but the availability of those on the market are much less compared to the OTUS. At the moment there are 3 full sets for sale here. I guess I would have to find them on the global market place. Where to start?

    As for the Classic ZE's, I really like the look from say the 28, 50, and the 85. I have a set from 15, 21, 28, 35, 50, and 85. and I use them all the time for my work. But, as always, I want to try out something else and dip my feet into some PL glass for my ownership.

    I haven't personally used the Contax lenses before, but i know several of my friends who use them on the P4K's and they love them.

    If you have any examples, like Fargo, shoot me a list if you know of any work? Also, I am up for checking out commercial work too.

    Cheers! I appreciate the input.
    Patrick Webb,
    Director of Photography
    Heapsgood Productions, Norway.
    (www.Heapsgood.no)
    EPIC-X #06833 "Monsta" & SCARLET-X #01773 "Scratch"
    Carl Zeiss, Voigtänder & Russian glass
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    I think Patrick O'Sullivan's complaint with the mk1s is more about mechanical quality than optical, by the way. It's a good reason to prefer the mkIIs, but the look is gonna be pretty much the same. (And sure, the lens coatings may have changed over the years, but I'd consider that a modest change in terms of look.) Also note that the standard speeds are not gonna look much different from the much-vaunted super speeds at similar stops.

    Some googling added these to my list of films shot with Standard Speeds: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Monster's Ball, The Cable Guy, Two Days One Night (Deux Jours Une Nuit), Something in the Air, Margin Call, Hollow Man. (For the titles on shotonwhat.com that listed a mix of lenses, I didn't list here unless the rest of the mix was just zooms.)

    Here's a 10-set test that includes the standard speeds:
    https://www.petrosnousias.com/blog

    I may also take a look at stuff I've shot and message you with a link, Patrick.
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  6. #6  
    Senior Member PatrickWebb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M Harvey View Post
    I think Patrick O'Sullivan's complaint with the mk1s is more about mechanical quality than optical, by the way. It's a good reason to prefer the mkIIs, but the look is gonna be pretty much the same. (And sure, the lens coatings may have changed over the years, but I'd consider that a modest change in terms of look.) Also note that the standard speeds are not gonna look much different from the much-vaunted super speeds at similar stops.

    Some googling added these to my list of films shot with Standard Speeds: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Monster's Ball, The Cable Guy, Two Days One Night (Deux Jours Une Nuit), Something in the Air, Margin Call, Hollow Man. (For the titles on shotonwhat.com that listed a mix of lenses, I didn't list here unless the rest of the mix was just zooms.)

    Here's a 10-set test that includes the standard speeds:
    https://www.petrosnousias.com/blog

    I may also take a look at stuff I've shot and message you with a link, Patrick.
    Hey Matt!

    Regarding Patrick comment, now I see the point. As I saw some other examples taken with the mk1 and wasn't too shocked by the footage, even though it was the rental house studio tests. It makes more sense now that it is just the mechanical issue.

    I don't have enough cash to start investing in superspeeds just yet! I wanted to chip away at the iceberg on the standard speeds, being an owner/operator I would like to have that in my kit. Superspeeds are out of reach. But the standards, I can see myself slowly stacking coins to afford a set. That is my goal anyway.

    Thanks for the references as well! I didn't know Fear and Loathing was shot with these! I love that movie.

    I just checked out Shotonwhat.com ... nice one!

    Thanks for the deepening of the topic!

    Appreciated!
    Patrick Webb,
    Director of Photography
    Heapsgood Productions, Norway.
    (www.Heapsgood.no)
    EPIC-X #06833 "Monsta" & SCARLET-X #01773 "Scratch"
    Carl Zeiss, Voigtänder & Russian glass
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  7. #7  
    Senior Member Nick Morrison's Avatar
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    As others have said, Standard Primes and Otus Primes are very different. Almost apple and oranges.

    Standard Primes are amazing (basically the predecessors to Ultra Primes), but have a small image circle. They were designed for Academy 35, not S35. So anumber (but not all) of the lenses below 50mm won't cover the entire Epic MX sensor. The 16 and 24 in particular barely cover S35. The 28 has a very wide image circle and does. The 35 goes a bit small again. The 50 and 85 are almost full frame (Vista).

    They are very punchy, high contrast and sharp even at T2. But still have a wonderful low-con flare. And great bokeh. They are wild.

    OTUS glass on the other hand are very modern, crisp, fast and sharp. None of the character. All of the coverage. They ALL cover Vista Vision.

    It's like comparing a modern laptop to a leather bound book. They are just so different.
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    I actually own Mk1 standard speeds but I use them for personal projects and I'm still grappling with the ergonomics, but the image is nice. The Mk2 I think have a bit more coverage from the larger front barrels and should cover 3.2k Alexa, but not quite as fully as Cooke S2/S3s. The are nice, sharp, a bit of swirl bokeh but not too much CA. Ergonomically it really is night and day but the Mk2s were HEAVILY used in the 80s and 90s and I've read the focus mechanisms can show a lot of wear. The Mk1 are Arri Bayonet mount, which converts to PL, but less securely. I like the image (though it is more vintage than modern) but couldn't recommend the lenses for PL mount professional use unless you really knew what you wanted. The focus ring is in a terrible place and the fronts are not designed for standard matte boxes. It's a nice lens for the money but not a professional lens imo. The Mk2 is for sure, but costs five times as much. (Still a bargain imo.) The MK1 B speeds are also a bargain, but I think they're bayonet mount, which at least is a little more secure, and most have been converted.

    It's funny to me how high the mark up on better ergonomics is (Milvus to Supreme primes comes to mind) until I actually have to shoot anything lol.

    I posted this a while ago, but the 24mm f2 and 32mm f2 are standard speeds on an EVA1:

    https://vimeo.com/433294674

    I have since sold a lot of these lenses and moved to an Alexa. The generic 80s/90s look is my reference for personal work, which is what I use them for.

    For something truly vintage I would go Cooke S2/S3, for something truly modern Otus, Sigma Art, etc.
    Last edited by Matt W.; 03-29-2021 at 01:21 PM.
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  9. #9  
    Senior Member Michael Lindsay's Avatar
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    A number of companies have designs for really nice Cam based re-houseing of Super speeds and B speeds (TLS do B-speeds for example)... I would suggest that Standard Speeds would have additional value if you could find out if any of these companies are considering doing this work for Standards?

    I tried to check Gekkocam as I though they did it but their website seems to be down...
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  10. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Morrison View Post
    They were designed for Academy 35, not S35.
    Thanks for pointing this out! Kind of obvious once you say it...
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