PL zoom lens for AJA Cion
The ergonomics and light weight of the AJA Cion make it look like a good choice for a run-and-gun style of shooting. But that same style calls out for a zoom lens, and that's where I've encountered a problem: The zooms with the range I would prefer are incredibly expensive.
I'm just curious as to whether anyone else has encountered this dilemma of finding a less-expensive PL mount zoom lens which is worthy of a 4k camera?
I'm aware of, but not interested in, the idea of using Canon L lenses. I want a parfocal zoom that also has on-barrel control of aperture.
I feel your pain, Bob... I'm a primes guy and shoot almost exclusively with them. However, every now and then you've just got to have a zoom. Great, fast, PL mount zooms are not cheap. The two that I want from Canon are $43,000 and $47,000.
My go-to zoom lens is a Russian FOTON 37-140mm, a hold over from my days where it shot a few zillion feet of 35mm. These are GREAT lenses for the money, and tons of people used them. Back in the film days they used to be VERY plentiful, and dirt cheap. There would often be a half dozen or more on eBay that people were practically giving away... literally maybe just a few hundred dollars. Now they are a bit more scarce, and are more commonly in the $1000-$1500 range, which is still very cheap for what you get.
Many of them will be mounted for Russian Konvas or Kinor cameras, but some of them you'll find with a PL mount, as mine is.
It's a very beautiful and contrasty lens, a tiny bit on the warm side. It's also very small, lightweight, and compact... especially compared to many zooms with comparable speeds and focal lengths. It's a fraction of the size/weight of the Canons.
My only real complaint about the lens is that it is a tad slow, so it used to be relegated only to daytime exteriors. However since I stated using the C300 as my principal camera I can shoot with it anywhere and anytime.
Do a search, you might get lucky.
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
[Todd Terry] "I'm a primes guy and shoot almost exclusively with them."
One of the things that I like about a zoom lens is that you don't have to worry as much about dust getting onto the sensor. Changing lenses in the field always brings that risk.
What is your workflow for switching primes and ensuring that the sensor stays clean? (I'm a bit hyper about this, as I had a film job, um, ruined, by a hair in the gate. That was just before I bought an otoscope to help with my inspection of the gate!)
Yeah there is a danger there... I usually don't change lenses in dicey situations... on beach or in a dust storm etc.
My protocol is basically just to do it as fast as I can. I'll usually call for a lens, and by the time I swing the matte box out of the way and turn the PL ring, my AC will be handing me the new one with the rear cap already off and I'll make the swap. I'm particular enough about it that I almost always do lens changes myself. I'd say the camera body usually stays uncapped for only about two seconds or less.
I'm not TOO worried about it. My current principal camera (C300) has three different built in ND filters... that are physical internal glass filters that swing down in front of the sensor. Almost always for exteriors one of the filters will already be in place which would protect the sensor, and I figure outdoors is likely the "dirtiest" situation... much more so than on stage, or on location for interiors. I think (I can't swear to this) even if there are no ND filters in place I there is still a clear glass one in front of the sensor. Unlike the film world, at least in the video world if you have a dirty gate (or the "gate equivalent" in video) you'll know it right away. I've certainly never had to clean a sensor... I wouldn't even know how to try. I think I'd leave that to a pro.
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
I don't know (obviously) but I suspect that there are a lot of dirty sensors out there, and we just haven't been able to see them. When 4k comes along, it may be just like the advent of HD, when we could see certain details for the first time.
My DSLR goes through a sensor vibration routine at each power-up/power-down, so dust must be an issue. And AbelCine offers a sensor cleaning service.
Will we necessarily notice it while shooting? I have noticed dust on a still from a DSLR, but only when I was editing the images, and it was pretty minor. It may even have been invisible at 1920x1080; but at 4k? I don't know.
You will definitely see dust/dirt on the sensor of a DSLR/digital cine camera in regular 1920x1080 HD, and will probably even see it in a monitor. I am a bit of a fanatic about this because I had a particle of some sort get on the sensor while doing a commercial spot. It was clear as day on the monitor and would've totally screwed me if we didn't have a 2nd cam. Attempting to clean the sensor on site (unless your AC is specifically trained in such and has the right tools) is insane to me, because you could make things MUCH worse, further contaminating or even damaging the sensor.
I took mine to an authorized Canon repair shop for a cleaning and they said that they recommend a sensor cleaning every 6 months or so, depending on how heavy the usage is. Reason being is that a lot of times it isn't a single particle that causes the issue, but rather a buildup of tiny, unseen particles that can over time essentially get clumped together. Their description was much more technical that that, but you get the gist!
Very interesting, Erik, and pretty much what I was suspecting. With 4K coming, those particles that are not visible in HD because they haven't clumped together enough, will be monsters.
[Erik Anschicks] " and will probably even see it in a monitor. "
That's just the problem, isn't it - now, people are shooting HD with field monitors that are less-than-HD and therefore can't reveal small flaws in the image. I"m glad you detected the problem, but not a lot of shoots carry around true HD monitors. I'm specifically concerned about the new run-and-gun 4k cameras, because they definitely won't have 4k monitors on-set -- they often don't even have a "set."
I am hoping that the 4k camera/sensor designers are working on the dust issue. There must be algorithms for detecting and highlighting any part of the image that doesn't change when you pan the camera. Seems doable.
It didn't even take a full HD monitor to detect it! It showed up on my on-board monitor, which is a 1200x800 TVLogic (a great monitor, btw). So I'd say your concern is very valid.
You're right, the much greater detail resolution would probably be much more of a problem with 4K broadcast standards coming. Along the same lines, I've also wondered if some filters might have a similar issue, specifically ones like Schneider's Classic Softs that have the small lenslets built in. That can already be an issue at certain apertures now.
With regards to the sensor designers, I'd like them to develop a better cleaning solution, or at least a better protective layer-type system that can cover the sensor while changing lenses. Gates in film cameras were much easier to clean as there wasn't a sensitive electronic control there to keep pristine!