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RE: Eclair ACL zoom lenses vs. primes ... the Angenieux 12-120
Hi Julian, Mark and Warren
I really appreciate the discussion. Some of the facts I was aware of, but
needed brushing up on, but there's nothing like the comparative analysis of
different experiences. It's important to note the distinction of going for
an effect with an older lens or needing to fulfill a technical requirement
of the production when reputation and job depend on it. Also, depending on
the genre and the format, I suppose some exceptions must be made, especially
when money is tight and there are no options. Sometimes we just have to
shoot with what we have. However, having said that, then let me add, when
working with a compilation film, such as a feature that covers many decades,
it's necessary to find a "solution," and that may entail knowing what lenses
to throw in the "mixture."
From: Julian Williamson [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, January 31, 2002 9:37 AM
Subject: Re: Eclair ACL zoom lenses vs. primes ... the Angenieux 12-120
I have shot with with a lot of different lenses on the ACL. I have seen
them side by side in transfer, and I have also seen 16mm prints projected
from an arc projector of the various lenses, side by side, including:
Zeiss primes, the 10-100 T/2 Zeiss zoom, the excellent Canon 8-64, the
Angenieux 10-150, Angenieux 9.5-57, and the Angenieux 12-120., and an
assortment of Switars (c-mount bolex lenses), kinoptiks, and bell and howell
As far as zooms are concerned, the Zeiss 10-100 T/2 and the Canon 8-64 are
in a class by themselves. They are very sharp, very contrasty, and, in
general... very expensive. They cut well with the zeiss primes, but the
primes are a tad sharper and faster.
The older generation zooms (the Angies, like the 9.5-57, the 12-120, etc.
are NOWHERE near as sharp as the Zeiss primes, the current generation zooms,
the c-mount switars (very good lenses, but flare easily!), or older
generation zeiss or cooke primes. The older B&H and angenieux primes are
not very good, IMHO, so it may compare ok with those... The older Zeiss
10-100 T/3 and T/3.3 are sharper than the Angies. If you are shooting a doc
(which I often do) and you must use a zoom, and if that zoom must be an
older generation zoom (especially Angie), then I would leave it up all the
time, because if you intercut primes with it, then the softness of the older
generation zoom will show up.
I have not tried the cooke 9-50, and I hope to get my hands on one sometime
in the near future.
One last caveat: A bit soft and less contrasty is not necessarily bad.
Remember, it's a "look" you're going for, and if an older generation
provides the look you need, then by all means USE IT!! I shot a cinema
verite piece in B&W recently with an Angie 9.5-57, and was really pleased
with the results.
What is the look of older, softer lenses? Well, in part, softer and less
contrasty lenses make the image look grainier. Doesn't sound logical, but
it's so. The contrast and sharpness of really superb lenses makes the eye
focus on the image; a soft images makes the eye focus on the sharpest thing
on the screen, which may be the grain... It's remarkable how much this is
visible even in a good transfer suite.
Shoot some tests, and look.
Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2002 20:20:39 -0500
Subject: Eclair ACL zoom lenses vs. primes ... the Angenieux 12-120
I'm still hoping to generate some discussion on zoom lenses vs. primes.
I know the subject may be cut and dry for some, but, for example, the
Angenieux 12-120 zoom lens is standard on many Eclairs and Arris. How does
it compare to prime lenses across the board. There are many situations
you can't switch lenses while shooting documentaries. There are situations
when the use of the zoom lens will allow you to shoot better and get more
shots in focus. Is it possible that technically the zoom lens is superior
some prime lenses?
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