This week has started with a bang in terms of new announcements regarding optics. Two new impressive sounding prime lenses have been announced with very interesting specs: the Samyang 35mm f1.2, and the Venus Optics Laowa 12mm f/2.8. These have certainly been busy times for Samyang, with a new XEEN as well as the introduction of the first autofocus lenses to their catalogue (which you can read about here and here). Well, they just keep on going, as they have just announced their new 35mm f/1.2 prime. Although it is a faster lens than their previous 35mm f/1.4, this new f/1.2 is designed for APS-C sized sensors, meaning it will vignette heavily if you use it on a full-frame camera or want to use it with a Speedbooster. The lens has been designed with mirrorless cameras in mind, with available mounts consisting of Sony E mount, Micro Four Thirds, Fujifilm X and Canon M. In good Samyang tradition, the lens will be available in 2 configurations: either as a fully manual photo lens, or as a cine lens (meaning probably a declicked aperture and gears for a follow focus). And, also following the Samyang/Rokinon/Walimex tradition, this lens will be quite affordable, with an RRP of 449 and 499 Euros for the photo and cine versions respectively. Below you can find the Samyang 35mm f/1.2 spec sheet: Another quite interesting announcement that took place this week is Venus Optics’ new Laowa 12mm f/2.8. This lens ticks quite a few boxes that certainly make it one to look out for, not the least of which is its size. It’s tiny! With a 12mm full-frame(!) coverage, this lens is very wide indeed. The manufacturer claims that the lens boasts close-to-zero optical distortion, maintaining rectilinear characteristics rather than being a fisheye lens. I’m personally a big fan of the the full frame ultra wide angle aesthetic. This 12mm lens will allow you to capture images like the one below: Ultra wide angle lenses like these tend to be slower. However, it looks like the Laowa 12mm will be also usable in low light, and a maximum aperture of f/2.8 means the Laowa can lay claim to being the world’s fastest 12mm lens for full frame for now. With mounts available for Canon EF, Sony E and Alpha, Nikon F and Pentax K, this gives you the possibility of using a Speedbooster on a crop sensor camera for even faster wide angle shots. One would maybe expect a lens with such extreme qualities to be incredibly expensive, but the Laowa 12mm may surprise you. Although its Kickstarter campaign had some sweet deals (like the opportunity to get the lens for $1), you may still find there are a few lenses available for preorder at a discount from the $949 retail price. Below is the spec sheet for the Laowa 12mm f/2.8: Venus Optics also announced two useful accessories for their new prime lens. A common trade-off of ultra wide angle lenses is the lack of a frontal filter thread, which the manufacturer has solved with their filter holder for 2x 100mm filters and 1x circular polariser. Venus Optics has also announced a Shift Converter that expands the image circle by 10mm at the expense of some light. The result? A 17mm f/4 lens with a +/- 10mm shift capability with no vignetting. These will go for $50 and $300 respectively. Click here for more info on these products, and make sure to check out people’s first impressions of this lens here and here. Do any of these primes tickle your fancy? Let us know in the comments below!Read more
There is no doubt that motion picture film still has a certain unmatched allure, and it’s a medium that is clearly sticking around… indefinitely, if Kodak have their way. However it is prohibitively expensive for most of us digital junkies. Kodak have partnered with Kickstarter to try and change that. The new program is open to any artists launching a Kickstarter campaign in order to bring their vision to life utilising 35mm or S16mm film. Kodak will supply a certain amount of film stock to qualifying filmmakers for free. Four directors have been announced as the premiere participants in the initiative and will launch Kickstarter campaigns this spring. They include Derek Ahonen (The Transcendents), Antonio Ferrera (Nomad of Art), Daniel Levin (Bagatelle) and R. Paul Wilson (DarkFall). But that’s not all. As part of the program, William Morris Endeavor’s Global Finance and Distribution Group will mentor filmmakers on packaging, financing and sales strategy. Free film…? Sounds good. But as a digital filmmaker, here’s what you need to know before you jump into your glorious technicolor celluloid dream. How does it work? According to Kodak’s press release: Once program participants are selected, Kodak will provide either 35mm – or – s16mm film (negative, intermediate or print stock) of the filmmaker’s choice, free of charge, correlating to the amount of money raised by the Kickstarter campaign: 20% match of the first $100,000 raised by the filmmaker on Kickstarter in list price 35mm (Not to exceed $20,000). 15% match of the first $100,000 raised by the filmmaker on Kickstarter in list price s16mm (Not to exceed $15,000). Additional film stock above and beyond this will be supplied at a discounted rate, as it’s not likely that the free stock will be sufficient for an entire feature. Counting the cost This all sounds great, but it is important to consider the full implications and costs of shooting film, and the additional lab and scanning requirements. As a producer myself, and one who has been through all this many times in post, as well as in considering film vs digital when budgeting projects, I can add some additional insight you might not find elsewhere. Kodak are legitimately trying to help here, but it’s still going to be expensive, even with some free film stock. Costs are going to add up in ways you are not at all familiar with coming from a digital background. Post workflow is also different, and can be substantially more complicated for the uninitiated; it’s very likely you’ll need professional input and support for a film post workflow. You need to learn new terms such as keycode, a coding system that will make sure your footage always links back to your physical camera negative throughout the editorial and finishing process. You’ll need to account for syncing audio to your film rushes, and much of this you won’t want to try and do yourself: you’ll want to employ lab, dailies or facility based services to do it all correctly. Your digital workflow needs to be film friendly and, realistically, your personal editing and grading equipment that perhaps works great with 6K R3D RAW is likely not ready to deal with playback of uncompressed 4K DPX film scans. This means you may need to negotiate with a post facility for finishing. You may also need to consider bringing in a dedicated post producer or post supervisor that knows the ropes. How much film does a feature require? Before going into any of the numbers, I encourage you to install Kodak’s great Cinema Tools mobile app (click for more details). If your name is not Tarantino, pushing any would-be distributor for a 35mm theatrical release is ludicrous. So let’s calculate for 3-perf 35mm acquisition only, not taking into account requirements for D.I. (Digital Intermediate) and 35mm release prints. For a 90 min feature shooting 3-perf 35mm at 24fps to a 10:1 ratio, this is how it all breaks down: 90 min runtime x 10 (due to the 10:1 shooting ratio) = 900 min total. 3-perf 35mm @ 24fps runs at 21.3 frames per foot, or 67 feet per minute. 900 min x 67 feet = 60,300 feet. According to the film calculator in the Kodak Cinema Tools mobile app it’s actually 60,750 feet. 60,750 feet equates to 152 full 400ft cans of film stock, at a price list value of $316.56 per can (Vision 3 500T 5219) that’s $48,117.12 worth of film stock. The maximum Kodak will offer through this Kickstarter partnership (assuming a budget over $100,000) is $20,000, or just over 40% of the total required. You’ll need to budget to buy the remaining 60% of your necessary stock at whatever discounted rates Kodak offers. Camera equipment and crew There are very few shortcuts when shooting film, and this is why the digital revolution was so complete and permanent. This is also why production budgets today are 10% of what they used to be. There are some options when it comes to purchasing 16mm camera equipment and lenses, but if considering 35mm, you will be renting. There is no cheap equipment when shooting film, and the same high end PL-mount cinema primes and zooms you might hire for a high end digital shoot are the ones you’ll be hiring for an Arri 435, along with all the cinema grade accessories and extras… matte boxes, filters, and heavy-duty supports and dollies. You’ve entered the world of camera, grips and lighting trucks, generators and all the associated logistics… along with a much larger and more specialised crew. Welcome to everything you’ve likely been able to avoid or at least drastically scale down with your digital cinema camera package. Remember, if you’ve ever complained or scoffed at a native 400 ISO being too low with a digital cinema camera… your most sensitive film stock tops out at ASA 500. There is no “low light” talk when shooting film… there is only light, and lots of it, as much light as possible. You’ll be introduced to the clapper loader, who will be loading and unloading your camera mags in a light proof changing bag, a camera assistant who knows film, and you’ll need a DP who remembers what a light meter is and still knows how to use it. You’ll need assistants and runners, there’s no shortage of things that need doing on set. If you need on set playback, it’ll be thanks to a video assist operator. Lab and additional post costs We need to talk about lab costs and scanning. Development and prep for telecine/scanning usually runs about $0.17 per foot, and a typical 4K/6K scan could be $0.70 per foot for pin registered 4K or 6K DPX (to hard disk… need to budget for those, too). Now, you don’t need to scan everything. A much cheaper HD resolution “best light” transfer is all you need for editorial, and that will only run $0.10 per foot. You only need a pin registered 4K or 6K scan of the shots called for in the locked edit (with handles). This will be performed by providing the correct EDL data (with Keycode) to the lab doing the scanning after edit lock. 60,750 feet at $0.17 per foot for development and $0.10 per foot for a HD “best light” transfer totals $16,402.50 to get you editing. Once edit is locked and you want high res scans for your final conform and grading, we’ll assume scanning 100 mins to be safe at $0.70 per foot. 100 mins is 6750 feet, so that’s a total of $4,725 for your high res scanning. Pros and Cons I consider myself lucky to have been messing around with 16mm before I really dived headlong into digital cinematography. And I jumped on the RED bandwagon early on, never to look back, so there’s no bias against the clear advantages of digital tech for me. However, even in this age of 8K, 16 stop sensors and the promise of Lytro’s light field cinema imaging, I would shoot celluloid in an instant if there was budget, and if it was the right choice for the project. In some cases, for various reasons, it’s an artistic choice, and I for one am pleased Kodak are still making and selling motion picture stock, and we all still have the option. There are pros and cons to both mediums, and arguing them is not the purpose of this article. In fact it’s been argued to death many times over. Kodak have been pushing hard to fan the flames of a small, but legitimate revival of interest in celluloid. Time and the success or failure of efforts such as the new Super8 initiative and this collaboration with Kickstarter will determine if this fizzles out or catches on in the low to medium budget indie market. There is interest and real potential demand, but for any producer that counts all the costs, $20,000 of free film stock may be a drop in the bucket. There’s a good reason film is still the choice of only a few elite Hollywood directors, and I hope I’ve broken down some of the costs involved in an understandable way. Think long and hard before you start planning that Kickstarter campaign. I wouldn’t consider shooting even bare-bones 35mm on any project budgeted under a few million dollars, and for producers raising that kind of financing, Kickstarter can only be a part of the overall financing solution. To be fair, s16mm is a far more realistic format for this program and it’ll be interesting to see what comes out of this partnership. Filmmakers interested in participating in the Kickstarter-Kodak initiative and want more information should email: firstname.lastname@example.orgRead more
Samyang released two new XEEN cinema lenses at BVE 2016; the 14mm T3.1 and 35mm T1.5, adding to the existing 24mm, 50mm, and 85mm models. These new designs bring improved optics, a full metal build, and a PL mount—expanding the possibilities of using the lenses on cinema cameras, too. Richard looked at the 24mm, 50mm and 85mm XEEN lenses in this previous post. Some of you may remember that the original Samyang VDSLR lenses hit the market at a very affordable price range. I’ve been an avid user of the 14mm, 35mm, and 85mm variants since I got the set back in 2013 and this new range shows how Samyang—a relative newcomer to the video industry—is committed to offering filmmakers top-quality glass that is now ready for 4K. I was impressed with a few things when I had a brief look at the 35mm variant. Firstly, it has a lot less bleaching when the lens is wide open while boasting sharper visuals, too. The weight of the lens surprised me also, as even with a metal body it seemed to weigh less than the Tamron 24-70 that I was shooting with at the time. Lighter kit is always a bonus for transportation—especially since it lets you fit more into your kit bag. Finally, the price point of the lenses sits at around $2,495.00 each—with a 5 piece set with a hard case available for just $9,999.00. It definitely brings the lenses in reach of those looking to invest in better optics (which we know can greatly improve picture quality), without having to splash out on Zeiss CP2’s or the Schneider Xenon’s, for example. A downside to the set of lenses was that they are of different physical lengths, which can be an inconvenience if you are changing lenses with a follow focus and matte box attached to the rig… though I guess you have to compensate somewhere for such an affordable, high-quality outfit.Read more
The Xeen cinema lenses released last year constitute the apex of Samyang’s catering towards filmmakers. Now, two new models have joined the Xeen family. A few years ago, Samyang’s affordable and all-manual photo prime lenses, became incredibly popular among budget filmmakers. Shortly after that, the Korean manufacturer built upon this initial success and continued to improve their range by featuring de-clicked aperture rings, focus gears and T-stop scales, and the Cine DS line of primes was born. Fast forward to 2015, when Samyang released their Xeen cinema lenses. Check out Richard’s article, from last August, which reveals why they are such a big deal. With an initial line-up of 24mm, 50mm and 85mm, the Xeen range offered a usable yet somewhat limited variety of focal lengths. However, promotional material on the Samyang page had been hinting at the imminent release of 2 new additions to the Xeen line. Well, they have finally been revealed. So, what new focal lengths can we expect from the new Xeen? Samyang is filling the centre gap with the standard and versatile focal length of 35mm. Landing between the 50mm—useful but potentially a little tight in certain situations—and the 24mm, which leans toward the wide angle side, the 35mm focal length will certainly be a welcome addition to the range. The other newcomer fills the gap at the ultra wide-angle end of the spectrum. With the release of a 14mm focal range rated at T3.1, we can see that Samyang’s Xeen range really reflects their previous Cine DS line rather than introducing completely new concepts, at least in what respects to focal lengths and T-stop rating. But Samyang couldn’t wait to leave us wanting for more. Upon revealing these two new additions, a new mystery lens has been added to their promotional material. Although it has been known for a while that there would be a sixth Xeen lens, initial speculation tended towards telephoto, perhaps a 100mm or 135mm. However, as you can see, we might see something quite different indeed. A strong contender for the new upcoming wide angle Samyang Xeen could be an 18mm, a focal length until now not available anywhere in the Samyang catalogue. There are of course other rectilinear wide-angle cine lenses in Samyang’s VDSLR range that they could draw inspiration from. The are, however, designed for APS-C or Micro Four Thirds sensors. All in all, considering the excellent build and image quality of the first three Xeen cinema lenses, we have nothing but high hopes for the new additions to the family. Be sure to check out Richard’s first impressions review for the low down on Samyang’s Xeen cinema lenses.Read more
SLR Magic has announced a set of vintage look anamorphic prime lenses that will be available to view at IBC in Amsterdam this weekend. The trio of PL mount lenses are designed to work with 16:9 sensors to offer the cinema aspect ratio of 2.35:1. Fresh for this weekend’s IBC show, SLR Magic has announced the ANAMORPHOT-CINE 35mm T2.4, 50mm T2.8 and 70mm T4 lenses. The set have a squeeze factor of 1.33x making them compatible with 16:9 sensor cameras to achieve an aspect ratio of 2.35:1. This is nice as it keeps their compatibility broad (rather than 2x which would require a 4:3 able camera to produce a reasonable wide aspect ratio). The set promise to deliver “the classic contrast, distortion, chromatic, color aberration, and flare characteristics of vintage anamorphic lenses”, often on the more modern and easy-to-use anamorphic lenses you lose the aesthetic and character many filmmakers look to obtain when turning to the format. The lenses will come in PL mount with a PL to EF mount accessory, here’s the spec list: SLR Magic ANAMORPHOT-CINE 35mm T2.4, 50mm T2.8, 70mm T4 Lens Type: Anamorphic lens Squeeze factor: 1.33x Objective front filter thread: Φ82 Mount: Aluminium PL or Titanium PL compatible with optional EF adapter Lens Coating: Multi Coated Close Focus: 3’6 Weight (oz./g): 38.8/1,100 Length (cm): 13.5 Diameter (cm): 10 Optional accessories: PL to EF adapter Suggested aperture setting: T4-5.6 Image Circle: S35 for 35mm T2.4, FF for 50mm T2.8 and 70mm T4 The anamorphic lens game can be a bit of a mind field. Good quality easy-to-use lenses can get very expensive and in the process lose some image characteristics (namely flare) that many filmmakers often seek. Cheaper examples can be very tricky to use often requiring the use of two focal barrels, with wider apertures and longer focal lengths struggling in image quality department. It seems SLR Magic has sensed the gap between vintage and high quality anamorphics, offering a relatively affordable set of lenses that maintain easy of use and that vintage look. If you’re heading to IBC I’d strongly recommend checking these out, they can be found at the Atomos booth in Hall 9 Stand D.25. SLR Magic has also announced a 2x MFT set that will work on the likes of the Panasonic GH4 in 4:3 mode for 2.35:1 (or super wide on 16:9 cameras). Below are recommended retail prices for the set: $2,499 for SLR Magic ANAMORPHOT-CINE 35mm T2.4 $2,999 for SLR Magic ANAMORPHOT-CINE 50mm T2.8 $2,999 for SLR Magic ANAMORPHOT-CINE 70mm T4Read more
Tamron has announced a new pair of high quality image stabilized primes. The Tamron SP 35mm and 45mm mark the companies first venture into this category of lenses, providing competition to the incredibly popular Sigma Global Vision line. Tamron are known for their affordably priced, feature rich zoom lenses. The 17-50mm f/2.8 VC (Vibration Control) and 24-70mm f/2.8 VC are popular budget choice lenses for video shooters using APS-C and full frame cameras respectively. The latter a particularly interesting number as there is no other direct replacement for it (both Canon, Nikon and Sigma standard zoom lenses offer Image Stabilization or a fast f/2.8 aperture, not both). Whilst Tamron has offered much in certain departments it has lacked in others. Build quality has always been a downside when comparing to other lenses, and short focus throws make them tough for video shooters. The new SP (Super Performance) prime pair look to make some changes, offering up a first for Tamron in the high quality fixed focal length sector (ignoring their current macro lenses). Looking at the spec of the two in detail: The Tamron SP 35mm f/1.8 Di VC USD and Tamron SP 45mm f/1.8 Di VC USD are full frame lenses (signified by Di in their titles) so compatible on both photography full frame and APS-C/Super35mm sensor formats, VC as above standards for Vibration Control (Tamrons version of Image Stabilization). USD refers to the Ultrasonic Silent Drive motor system that’ll please mostly stills shooters but for us video guys it means that lenses offer full time manual focus (even in AF mode) plus the potential to work with video auto focus systems like Canons Dual Pixel AF. One Low Dispersion element, one extra Low Dispersion element, and two aspherical elements help to control a variety of aberrations and distortions for consistent and even illumination and sharpness, as well as reduced color fringing, and eBAND and BBAR coatings work to suppress flare and ghosting for increased contrast and color fidelity. You’d be please to know that both prime lenses feature a moisture-resistant construction, complete with rubber seal on the back on the lens and fluorine coated front element. Here are the specifications for both lenses: Tamron SP 45mm f/1.8 Di VC USD Focal Length: Fixed 45mm Maximum Aperture: f/1.8 Minimum Aperture: f/16 Format Compatibility: 35mm/APS-C Angle of View: 52° 21′ Minimum Object Distance: 0.29m (11.4 in) Maximum Reproduction Ratio 1:3.4 Elements/Groups: 10/8 Aperture Diaphragm: 9 Rounded blades Image Stabilization: Yes Autofocus: Ultra Silent Drive Filter Thread Front: 67 mm Dimensions (DxL) Approx: 3.17 x 3.60″ (80.4 x 91.4 mm) Weight: 1.2 lb (544.31 g) Tamron SP 35mm f/1.8 Di VC USD Focal Length: Fixed 35mm Maximum Aperture: f/1.8 Minimum Aperture: f/16 Format Compatibility: 35mm/APS-C Angle of View: 63° 26′ Minimum Object Distance: 0.2m (7.9 in) Maximum Reproduction Ratio 1:2.5 Elements/Groups: 10/9 Aperture Diaphragm: 9 Rounded blades Image Stabilization: Yes Autofocus: Ultra Silent Drive Filter Thread Front: 67 mm Dimensions (DxL) Approx: 3.17 x 3.20″ (80.4 x 81.3 mm) Weight: 16.9 oz (479.12 g) It’s clear by the aesthetic design of these two lenses that Tamron has gone after the same target audience as Sigma with their Global Vision Line (particularly the Art series primes). This is great news for budget video shooters as there are now even more options in this department. The fact that these are newly designed Super Performance primes hopefully means that these are a grade or two above Tamrons other lines in terms of build quality. Sigma did an exceptional job with stating the premium status of their Global Vision Line, this could be a similar move from Tamron but in an even more cost effective price bracket. Coming in at around $600 each, these lenses come in competitively priced yet offering important features like a fast f/1.8 aperture, Vibration Control and weather sealing. via/ CanonRumorsRead more
Here’s a list of all the co-branded Samyang lenses and how to get the best deals on them. These lenses are a good choice for filmmakers on a budget who are looking to shoot with prime lenses that are somewhat cine-worthy.Read more
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