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Re: Mid-level cine prime recommendations

Re: Mid-level cine prime recommendations

John Brawley

Hi all.

I have the Zeiss CP ( a mix of CP2 superspeed and some CP3 XD’s  ) and I like them a lot simply because they are what a lot of other lenses aren’t.

Lightweight, interchangeable mounts, small, cheap, large image circle and good*

I own the MFT, EF and PL mounts for most of the full set of CP primes and I’m a fan of the 50mm Macro too.  I believe they make other mounts like Nikon.  They cover full frame.

They're are a bit visually plain, but that’s a good thing too, because I find they can intercut with other lenses pretty easily without drawing attention themselves.

I use them when I want really small or lightweight builds, sometimes for self focus pulling they have a pretty nice action when you’re on your own pulling off the barrel.

For sheer flexibility, size and price they’re hard to beat.  

Most focus pullers don’t like their focus scales and find them frustrating.  

*good - a highly subjective term that from my view speaks to their utility rather the images.  I find they are sometimes a bit too sharp. 

My other suggestion that I really like but am nearly hesitant to make is the SLR Magic APO primes. I hesitate only because their set is only three lenses, 25mm, 50mm and 85mm with a 32mm due very very soon.

I’ve been using them a lot lately and I like them more and more.  They are much prettier, not as harsh as the CP’s and more flattering.  They are also small, though a bit heavier.  They’re really well made considering the price of the full set.  I’ve just had them on focus motors for the last few months and no issues at all with the daily work and grind.  

I was shooting Primos mainly and occasionally using these for really intimate hand held work where the primos are a bit large and heavy and they intercut really well for feel.  A very nice feel.  

I ended up shooting a comparison between the CPs, the Primos and SLR Magic lenses here.

My 25mm had a little bump in the close focus action which you can see in the above test but they have changed the helicoil design and addressed this.

The flares are a little unusual but I wouldn’t say they’re offensive.  They’re just kind of unique.  Focus marks are great too and the focus pullers seem to like them.

SLR Magic are also doing some interesting anamorphic scenarios which aren’t announced yet but will make these even more interesting.  They have a history of 1.3X and 2X anamorphic mods.

Owning both these lenses, I find I reach for the SLR Magic when I want flattering and pretty and the CP’s if it’s lightweight utility that’s needed.

DISCLAIMER - I have hosted Andrew from SLR Magic on my set and given them lots of unpaid feedback as a cinematographer.  I really like what he’s trying to do.

I’ve also seen great work form the Sony Cine Alta Gen 2 lenses as well, they seem to be great value.  I haven’t shot them though.


John Brawley
Currently - Chicago Illinois

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