Topics

Stills lenses what's missing?

Geoff Boyle
 

I’ve been watching all the announcements of new “cine lenses” based on stills lenses and there’s some great stuff there but I’ve not seen any mention anywhere of Tamron.

 

When I shot a lot of stills I used the Tamron SP series and I love them, I still use the 90mm macro as my preferred lens for commercial macro work.

 

So, if you’re using a camera with an EF mount why not use the 15-30 F2.8 with the 24-70 F2.8 & the 70-200 f2.8?

They all cover FF and have great autofocus motors and IS yet I never see any mention whatsoever of them in relation to cine use.

 

Cheers

 

Geoff Boyle NSC FBKS

Cinematographer

Zoetermeer

www.gboyle.co.uk

+31 (0) 637 155 076

 

Matthew Duclos
 
Edited

Geoff, Tamron has had their share of cine products as an OEM manufacturer, just not branded with the Tamron name. 
That said, still lenses lack many features that most cinematographers rely on regularly to achieve their goals.

Auto focus has always been an amazing innovation for capturing a moment, a split second in time - but AF still can't provide the maintained attention to detail or the passionate skill of a seasoned operator or focus puller.

Image Stabilization is another great innovation for still photography but still presents issues for high-end cinematography. The whole concept of IS is to shift the optical axis of an element or group of elements. This can indeed effectively correct for camera shake - but at the expense of image quality, especially in the corners. Additionally, with the ever increasing technology being implemented in gimbals, in-lens stabilization simply isn't needed. 

There's really nothing stopping Tamron from making cine lenses, but there's still a relatively large gap between their current line of photo lenses and a proper cine lens. Zeiss is among the only manufacturers that are offering a product that bridges the gap fairly well with their fully manual Milvus and Otus line. 

A handful of additional issues come to mind in regards to traditional photo lenses such as the lack of a manual aperture ring. Short, inaccurate, unrepeatable focus adjustments. 
The particular lenses you mentioned; the 15-30mm has a fixed petal hood which makes using a matte box nearly impossible. The 24-70mm telescopes when zoomed which makes it less than ideal for certain setups. And the 70-200mm exhibits dramatic focus breathing. 

All that said, the Tamron lenses you mentioned, as well as many other still photo lenses, produce amazing image quality and are an excellent choice for those transitioning into motion picture work, or perhaps someone who doesn't necessarily need the precision, accuracy, or repeatability of a proper cine lens. 

- Matthew Duclos
Lens Tech/Geek
Los Angeles, CA

Leonard Levy
 

I typically use the Tamron 24-70 f2.8 for handheld video doc work with the FS7 as its the only one with IS. With a speed booster its equiv to an f2 which really comes in handy. I hear that the Canon series II is touch sharper and there are many obvious disadvantages from a true cine lens, but I figure shaky camera work is what my clients will notice before anything else. Fits my budget as well of course. Its a drag that it focuses the Nikon direction though. Reassuring to hear you saying positive things Geoff as its not too glamorous.  I've never even looked at the 15-30 but the fact that it also has IS is interesting. (VC in the Tamron vocabulary)

Leonard Levy, DP
San Rafael, CA






Geoff Boyle
 

Hi Matthew,

 

I understand all your objections 😊

 

However, in a world where budgets go down and down and crews are less experienced and expected to shoot with larger sensors etc…

 

I.S. is extremely useful on low budget shoots, I used the Canon 70-200 F2.8 on a slider on 2 lightweight tripods on a low budget shoot at around 150mm and even with a shaky old man operating it was remarkably stable!!

 

DAF as you know I’ve tried for an entire movie and I was surprised at how well it worked, OK, for most of the shoot the DAF was controlled by an AC via a tablet but the only real issue was lack of speed of the lens motors.

 

Breathing can certainly be an issue and it’s something I hate but size change during zoom doesn’t bother me as I use the lenses as variable primes.

 

As for the fixed hood and filters, well, I know a guy who fixes those kind of things 😊

 

Cheers

 

Geoff Boyle NSC FBKS

Cinematographer

Zoetermeer

www.gboyle.co.uk

+31 (0) 637 155 076

 

 

hasselblad v system zeiss lenses if u can live with the crop factors and have adaptors offer amazing 3 dimensional look and quality in my opinion....also the Leica R range but that's nothing new in peoples minds

Stephen Perera
Design + Photography
Gibraltar
T: +34 667661936
T: +350 22240028


On 1 May 2018, at 08:55, Leonard Levy <nsll@...> wrote:

I typically use the Tamron 24-70 f2.8 for handheld video doc work with the FS7 as its the only one with IS. With a speed booster its equiv to an f2 which really comes in handy. I hear that the Canon series II is touch sharper and there are many obvious disadvantages from a true cine lens, but I figure shaky camera work is what my clients will notice before anything else. Fits my budget as well of course. Its a drag that it focuses the Nikon direction though. Reassuring to hear you saying positive things Geoff as its not too glamorous.  I've never even looked at the 15-30 but the fact that it also has IS is interesting. (VC in the Tamron vocabulary)

Leonard Levy, DP
San Rafael, CA






Mark Sasahara
 

Heh, I remember, back when I was a PJ, in the 80's-90's, God forbid if you used anything other than a Nikon, or Canon Lens. I was the poor schmuck switching from Canon to Nikon, before auto focus, and my follow focus suffered greatly! When we started shooting with the Nikon F4 and AF lenses, auto focus became a super important thing for me, with sports and fast moving subjects. I did master focusing the "wrong way", on Nikon, but it totally screwed my head up and I still have brain farts today. Thankfully, I have good AC's who never got the "wrong" muscle memory, and who are not mentally deficient, like me.

Back when I was in photo school ('81 - '85), Tamron and Sigma were dirty words. Only the poor people used those. Ewww. I was ashamed when I bought my Tokina 80-200 2.8 AF, when I went freelance. A badge of failure. I had to turn in all my newspaper owned gear and buy my own. I had manged to get a few good staple lenses, but had to compromise on my long glass. I lived on my 28mm f/2 and 85mm f/2. Many portraits on the 85, redeemed my soul. God, I love that lens. I have not shot many vertical portraits, as a cinematographer, but, it's never too late.

That lens didn't suck too badly, and I still have that POS 80-200 lens, now. Funny how the lack of sharpness makes faces look pretty good. In my world, that is always good.

At NAB 2018, it's pretty cool how many people are making full frame glass, for cine. I'm curious to see how well they stack up against Master Primes, Primos, etc.

Mark "Time for bed" Sasahara, DP, NYC.


Mark Sasahara
  marksasahara@...
   718-440-1013
    http://msasahara.com


On Tue, May 1, 2018 at 1:57 AM, Geoff Boyle <geoff@...> wrote:

I’ve been watching all the announcements of new “cine lenses” based on stills lenses and there’s some great stuff there but I’ve not seen any mention anywhere of Tamron.

 

When I shot a lot of stills I used the Tamron SP series and I love them, I still use the 90mm macro as my preferred lens for commercial macro work.

 

So, if you’re using a camera with an EF mount why not use the 15-30 F2.8 with the 24-70 F2.8 & the 70-200 f2.8?

They all cover FF and have great autofocus motors and IS yet I never see any mention whatsoever of them in relation to cine use.

 

Cheers

 

Geoff Boyle NSC FBKS

Cinematographer

Zoetermeer

www.gboyle.co.uk

+31 (0) 637 155 076

 

Karl Kim
 


On Tue, May 1, 2018 at 1:57 AM, Geoff Boyle <geoff@...> wrote:

I’ve been watching all the announcements of new “cine lenses” based on stills lenses and there’s some great stuff there but I’ve not seen any mention anywhere of Tamron.

 

When I shot a lot of stills I used the Tamron SP series and I love them, I still use the 90mm macro as my preferred lens for commercial macro work.

 

So, if you’re using a camera with an EF mount why not use the 15-30 F2.8 with the 24-70 F2.8 & the 70-200 f2.8?

They all cover FF and have great autofocus motors and IS yet I never see any mention whatsoever of them in relation to cine use.

 

Cheers

 

Geoff Boyle NSC FBKS

Cinematographer

Zoetermeer

www.gboyle.co.uk

+31 (0) 637 155 076


Unfortunately the new Tamron SP primes do not register at all with my C300M2.  No iris control, no focus, nothing.  Apparently the new SP/G2 zooms do not work either.  I tried the primes and 15-30 zoom.  A shame really.

 




--
Karl Kim

Steve Oakley
 

Having owned the Tamron 17-50 2.8 and 70 200 2.8 :

the 17-50 is optically good and thats it. it has a VERY short focus throw which is also extremely loose and you can knock focus off by looking at it… or just normal camera handling :( AF speed was mediocre. sold it and replaced it with canon 17-55 2.8 IS which is probably best class for that zoom range. great doc / run and gun lens because of the AF and IS.

70-200 2.8. is optically a great lens, better than canon’s V1 of the same, slightly less than canon’s V2. AF was mostly useless, focus throw was a bit short for a long lens but usable.I used this lens for a while. I just sold it a few months ago because….

I got the sigma 120-300 2.8 as my long lens. big heavy and beautiful lens. sharp. AF with C300-2 works very very well - as in tracking aircraft flying low at 100-200mph, coming at you from 1/4 frame to fill the frame close. great piece of glass once you are past the weight and the need to properly support it.

sigma 50-100 1.8 as a talking heads lens. I opted to NOT go with the cinema version because of the lack of AF. when shooting that typical elbows up or closer framing, the AF if managed correctly will keep the face always sharp even when the subject / talent moves around and your DoF is maybe 1-2”. makes life so much better.

AF on a cine lens ? ya I think thats something that needs to happen. what you could get away with in HD or 35 isn’t gonna work in this 4k+ world. it may not replace a good AC but it should be a tool in the toolbox of increasing your keeper rate because you never loose critical focus. canon has a good focus indicator in the C series, panasonic does in their focus box grid which I think is cool…but where is the cine glass that has AF to track critical focus while the AC works the big throws when you switch subject of interest.

Steve Oakley
DP / Editor / Colorist / VFX Artist
Madison & Milwaukee WI
920 544 2230

Michael O'Halloran
 

Hi Steve,

I use the sigma 50-100 on my c300 mark 2, great for interviews, 
but I’ve never got on with the autofocus as it ramps way to much. 
How do you mitigate this with your setup?

Mike O’Halloran
DP London



On 1 May 2018, at 16:41, Steve Oakley <steveo@...> wrote:

Having owned the Tamron 17-50 2.8 and 70 200 2.8 :

the 17-50 is optically good and thats it. it has a VERY short focus throw which is also extremely loose and you can knock focus off by looking at it… or just normal camera handling :( AF speed was mediocre. sold it and replaced it with canon 17-55 2.8 IS which is probably best class for that zoom range. great doc / run and gun lens because of the AF and IS.

70-200 2.8. is optically a great lens, better than canon’s V1 of the same, slightly less than canon’s V2. AF was mostly useless, focus throw was a bit short for a long lens but usable.I used this lens for a while. I just sold it a few months ago because….

I got the sigma 120-300 2.8 as my long lens. big heavy and beautiful lens. sharp. AF with C300-2 works very very well - as in tracking aircraft flying low at 100-200mph, coming at you from 1/4 frame to fill the frame close. great piece of glass once you are past the weight and the need to properly support it.

sigma 50-100 1.8 as a talking heads lens. I opted to NOT go with the cinema version because of the lack of AF. when shooting that typical elbows up or closer framing, the AF if managed correctly will keep the face always sharp even when the subject / talent moves around and your DoF is maybe 1-2”. makes life so much better.

AF on a cine lens ? ya I think thats something that needs to happen. what you could get away with in HD or 35 isn’t gonna work in this 4k+ world. it may not replace a good AC but it should be a tool in the toolbox of increasing your keeper rate because you never loose critical focus. canon has a good focus indicator in the C series, panasonic does in their focus box grid which I think is cool…but where is the cine glass that has AF to track critical focus while the AC works the big throws when you switch subject of interest.

Steve Oakley
DP / Editor / Colorist / VFX Artist
Madison & Milwaukee WI
920 544 2230

Steve Oakley
 

not sure what you mean by ramping. if you mean too fast and overshooting - in the camera AF menu try dialing down the AF speed to -1 or -2, enable AF speed always used, and the AF response rate to -1 or maybe -2. I think. sometimes thats too slow but not bad for general shooting purposes with this lens. it has pretty fast AF motor and tends to overshoot so dialing the speed down to -1 seems to be what it needs to work as expected - hit the AF once button and it just locks on rather than hunting.

FWIW I have face recognition on. I generally use the large focus box covering the eyes.

you might want to try one shot AF mode where you can just hit the bottom front button to let the lens focus when you think its out. its weird how sometimes individual lenses sometimes act a bit different than another one.

Steve Oakley
DP / Editor / Colorist / VFX Artist
Madison & Milwaukee WI
920 544 2230


On May 1, 2018, at 11:31 AM, Michael O'Halloran <michael@...> wrote:

Hi Steve,

I use the sigma 50-100 on my c300 mark 2, great for interviews,
but I’ve never got on with the autofocus as it ramps way to much.
How do you mitigate this with your setup?

Mike O’Halloran
DP London

Matthew Clark
 

All this AF talk and Mako’s multiple discussions on the use of AF has me wondering… will Nikon glass, through an appropriate, active adapter work with a C300M2, for instance?  And by “active adapter” I mean a good adapter that passes through the electronic signal.  I ask because I have so much invested in Nikon lensing that my goto mode for smaller, shall I say modest, budgets, I often shoot with them.  Any thoughts would be appreciated.


Matthew J. Clark
Director/DP 
Seattle, WA
www.StraightEIGHTFilms.com

Mako Koiwai
 


Tamron has ha their share of cine products as an OEM manufacturer, just not branded with the Tamron name.


****************

Like the RED 17/50 mm.

We found that lens so useful that we owned two of them for our table top studio. It could focus down to almost 10” … making it very useful. It was great on our motion control rig … relatively small and again, close focusing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4rzeP_RcBc

https://images57.fotki.com/v80/photos/4/43793/4909192/Skating-vi.jpg


makofoto, s. pasadena, ca

Matthew Duclos
 

@Michael and @Steve, I believe you're both mixing up terminology.
"Ramping" traditionally refers to stop loss from the wide end of a zoom to the tele end of a zoom.
For example, a lens that is labelled f/4.5-5.6 is a lens that "ramps".
Some still and cine lenses neglect to mention a loss in T-stop in hopes that it's negligible or that nobody will notice.
I believe Michael was referring to focus breathing, not ramping (however, I may be mistaken). 

--
- Matthew Duclos
Lens Tech/Geek
Los Angeles, CA

Leonard Levy
 

Nice to see a discussion of AF without a deluge of attacks of unprofessionalism - maybe that’s because Geoff  gave it a thumbs up a few months ago.  It definitely can have its place. 
Unfortunately my experience is that often with the few cameras that have good AF like the Canons and some of the Sony’s (unfortunately not the FS7) that it usually works best with native mount lenses and even more so with those made by the same camera maker .

The worst cases tend to be when adapters are involved. I tried my Tameron 24-70 (EF mt) with a new Sony Emt A7III and a metabones EF>E adapter and we got nothing all - but its fabulous with a Sony E Mt lens. I wonder how well it will work with a Sony A mount? That said each lens is different  as well as different brand adapters so its worth testing or at least checking the web where there are lots of tests on these combinations. I've thought of getting an A7III for handheld gimbal shooting but that probably means getting new lenses along with it. 

Leonard Levy, DP
San Rafael, CA

Michael O'Halloran
 

Thanks Steve, I’ll have a go with those settings, Id kind of given up on autofocus with this lens till now.

What I meant to say was focus breathing, I’ve found the breathing really pronounced with this sigma
and maybe with the wrong settings the twitchiness of the autofocus made it more noticeable.

I’ll give it another go, thanks for your advice!

Cheers

Michael   

On 1 May 2018, at 19:00, Steve Oakley <steveo@...> wrote:

not sure what you mean by ramping. if you mean too fast and overshooting - in the camera AF menu try dialing down the AF speed to -1 or -2, enable AF speed always used, and the AF response rate to -1 or maybe -2. I think. sometimes thats too slow but not bad for general shooting purposes with this lens. it has pretty fast AF motor and tends to overshoot so dialing the speed down to -1 seems to be what it needs to work as expected - hit the AF once button and it just locks on rather than hunting.

FWIW I have face recognition on. I generally use the large focus box covering the eyes. 

you might want to try one shot AF mode where you can just hit the bottom front button to let the lens focus when you think its out. its weird how sometimes individual lenses sometimes act a bit different than another one.

Steve Oakley
DP / Editor / Colorist / VFX Artist
Madison & Milwaukee WI
920 544 2230


On May 1, 2018, at 11:31 AM, Michael O'Halloran <michael@...> wrote:

Hi Steve,

I use the sigma 50-100 on my c300 mark 2, great for interviews, 
but I’ve never got on with the autofocus as it ramps way to much. 
How do you mitigate this with your setup?

Mike O’Halloran
DP London

Michael O'Halloran
 

absolutely, I meant focus breathing. 

Cheers 

Michael O'Halloran
DP London

On 1 May 2018, at 19:35, Matthew Duclos <Matthew@...> wrote:

@Michael and @Steve, I believe you're both mixing up terminology.
"Ramping" traditionally refers to stop loss from the wide end of a zoom to the tele end of a zoom.
For example, a lens that is labelled f/4.5-5.6 is a lens that "ramps".
Some still and cine lenses neglect to mention a loss in T-stop in hopes that it's negligible or that nobody will notice.
I believe Michael was referring to focus breathing, not ramping (however, I may be mistaken). 

--
- Matthew Duclos
Lens Tech/Geek
Los Angeles, CA

Mako Koiwai
 


the 17-50 is optically good and thats it. it has a VERY short focus throw which is also extremely loose and you can knock focus off by looking at it


*****************

Which is why we used the RED version … with it’s large lens barrel, ie. expanded focus scale, with better dampening.

You can see the original front end of the still lens. :-)

https://images40.fotki.com/v697/photos/4/43793/4909192/RED1750-vi.jpg



makofoto, s. pasadena, ca

Mako Koiwai
 

Leonard:

The Sony A7 mk3 should have excellent AF, as compared to the A7S mk2 low light king. What is important is that it uses Phase Detection AF for it’s initial movement … which is much FASTER and more positive then Contrast detection. It then uses Contrast Detection to tidy up, since ultimately Contrast Detection is more precise.

The A7 mk3 uses 693 Phase Detection points and 425 Contrast Detection points. The A7S mk2 uses only 169 Contrast Detection point and No Phase Detection. The A7R mk3, resolution king, is in the middle with 399 Phase Detection points and 425 Contrast Detection points.

Yes, using Native lenses makes a big difference in AF performance.

Adapters are never as good as Native.

Top Focus Pullers ARE USING Auto Focus for selective situations … with Focus Aids like the Sniper, that not only have a distance read out but an AF option, that will drive a focus motor. For situations like tight shots running down a narrow hallway.

https://www.alangordon.com/sales/our-products/sniper-3

Here’s another … demo video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zoEXIPA-3Q


makofoto, s. pasadena, ca

Alexander Ibrahim
 

Breathing is very pronounced on the Sigma 50-100

That remains true of the PL mount Cine version as it’s a part of the optical characteristics. 

I think the settings comments will help with focus seeking, they won’t affect breathing.

I just conversed with some other cameramen and I think we agreed that for most cine work the Sigma primes are a better choice than the 50-100. 

The Sigma 18-35 is really a good lens in its SLR and cine versions. Especially for its price. 

I’d rather use the Canon lenses for work where I’d like autofocus.

Alexander Ibrahim
Sent from my mobile phone. 
Please excuse typos and brevity. 

On May 1, 2018, at 14:30, Michael O'Halloran <michael@...> wrote:

Thanks Steve, I’ll have a go with those settings, Id kind of given up on autofocus with this lens till now.

What I meant to say was focus breathing, I’ve found the breathing really pronounced with this sigma
and maybe with the wrong settings the twitchiness of the autofocus made it more noticeable.

I’ll give it another go, thanks for your advice!

Cheers

Michael   

On 1 May 2018, at 19:00, Steve Oakley <steveo@...> wrote:

not sure what you mean by ramping. if you mean too fast and overshooting - in the camera AF menu try dialing down the AF speed to -1 or -2, enable AF speed always used, and the AF response rate to -1 or maybe -2. I think. sometimes thats too slow but not bad for general shooting purposes with this lens. it has pretty fast AF motor and tends to overshoot so dialing the speed down to -1 seems to be what it needs to work as expected - hit the AF once button and it just locks on rather than hunting.

FWIW I have face recognition on. I generally use the large focus box covering the eyes. 

you might want to try one shot AF mode where you can just hit the bottom front button to let the lens focus when you think its out. its weird how sometimes individual lenses sometimes act a bit different than another one.

Steve Oakley
DP / Editor / Colorist / VFX Artist
Madison & Milwaukee WI
920 544 2230


On May 1, 2018, at 11:31 AM, Michael O'Halloran <michael@...> wrote:

Hi Steve,

I use the sigma 50-100 on my c300 mark 2, great for interviews, 
but I’ve never got on with the autofocus as it ramps way to much. 
How do you mitigate this with your setup?

Mike O’Halloran
DP London

Joshua Atesh Litle
 

Hello Geoff, you said - 
DAF as you know I’ve tried for an entire movie and I was surprised at how well it worked, OK, for most of the shoot the DAF was controlled by an AC via a tablet but the only real issue was lack of speed of the lens motors.
Can you elaborate (or point me to the thread) as to how your AC controlled DAF with the Tablet? Could she/he pull focus remotely that way? Was the system reliable?

Kind regards, 

Joshua Atesh Litle
Director / Camera
www.joshuaatesh.com
New York, USA

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