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RE: Eclair Cameras: Digest for EclairACL Nikkor

EclairACL@topica.com wrote:

I mean the old Arri Schneiders? Here's the strange thing. I
have a Nikkor 50mm and a 12-120 Angenieux zoom lens. I tried them on my
ACL -- just sighting through the viewfinder without shooting film, and ...
the zoom looks better. I know it sounds crazy, but can that be?

It all comes down to a choice.

Technically speaking, since a 16mm image must be magnified more times than a 35mm motion picture image to fill the same screen size, the 16mm must resolve to a higher degree than the 35mm lens. The 35mm lens needs to cover more area, and to make a lens cover a wider area at a higher resolution is more expensive. So technically speaking 16mm lenses are sharper than 35mm Motion pic lenses. By the same theory a super 8 mm lens will be technically sharper.

Now once the images are magnified to be the same size, which image looks better depends on various factors, including origination format, and stock.

So the 16mm lenses resolve better than the 35mm lenses, it does not mean that 35mm format lenses will not give you a great image though. The higher an F-stop you shoot with, the sharper the image will be, but this becomes an aesthetic choice.

Remember that 35mm Still lenses cover an even larger area than 35mm Motion picture lenses, so theoretically their resolving standards are lower.

Remember your 35mm lens may have to be collimated in the adapter mount for optimal results.

As far as using a 35mm Still camera zoom lens on a Cine camera. There are three big issues here besides resolution. These are based on the fact that still pictures are intended to be separate images, viewed as individual pictures, and do not need to maintain the illusion of motion.

1) Tracking - it costs more money, and makes a lens heavier to insure that it will track straight, and not shift the center of an image as you zoom either in or out. On a still lens this is not an issue, so it is not attended to.

2) Focus: ON Still Zooms, focus will often drift throughout the zoom range, this is not an issue when you have the time to recompose, and refocus for each frame, but on a motion picture camera this is not possible (in standard use). The Adjustment for this is expensive and heavy - which begins to explain why motion picture zooms are so big, heavy and expensive. They have to track zoom and focus correctly, while still lens zooms do not.

3) Exposure shifts. - Can't start a shot off at a T stop of 2.8, and as you zoom have the lens become a 3.5. until recently changing exposure/brightness during a shot in post was a difficult and expensive solution.

Hope this insight arms you the facts to make an informed choice.

Steven Gladstone
Cinematographer - Gladstone Films
Cinematography Mailing List - East Coast List Administrator
Better off Broadcast (B.O.B.)
New York, U.S.A.

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