View Full Version : Lens dilemma - which way would you go for documentary work?
08-22-2008, 01:19 AM
So here is my dilemma.
I have some nice super sixteen lenses including an Arri zoom. I dont have any comparable 35mm cinema lenses (and wont be able to get some for a while after I cough up for the camera and accessories) and would have to use my Nikons for 35 mm work with the Nikon adapter.
For doco work should I shoot at 2k with the excellent super sixteen lenses or should I go full sensor and shoot at 4k and use my nikons? Could I use a nikon zoom for documentary work and if so which one?
Is there anyone using super sixteen lenses on a regular basis for their doco work?
08-22-2008, 01:42 AM
Do you have a focus puller? It will be easier to focus with the S16 lenses.
08-22-2008, 04:58 AM
No, I dont have a focus puller for my doco work. Just little ole me - http://www.reduser.net/forum/images/redsmilies/sarcasm.gifbeen doing it for like this for some time.
Yes, I have considered whether the Super Sixteen Lenses wouldn't be better suited for doco work. Would another benefit be faster transcoding of the smaller files?
08-22-2008, 06:34 AM
I think you will benefit from the added DOF using 2K with your S16 lenses, it's far easier to pull ones own focus on S16 than 35.
08-22-2008, 06:36 AM
I´d go for the S16 Lenses for Docu style. Nikons are a bitch to focus for a Focus Pulller, and even worse if you do it on your own on 4k, so I´d go with 2k , this also brings about 15-20min of Recording time to 8GB CF Cards at 24p, and a lot faster transcoding than 4K files.
Hans von Sonntag
08-22-2008, 07:27 AM
I use on a regular base my trusty Canon S16 8-64 with Red. It does not cover 3K but something half way between 3K and 2K, say 2.5K. Thus, I shoot 3K 2:1 and crop later to roughly 2.5K RAW that again gets scaled down to 1080p. If you consider a debayer-factor of 0.8, 2.5K RAW will give you enough resolution for 1080p RGB/YUV. 2K RAW on the other hand won't deliver full 1080p after debayering.
This is the reason why I asked for a 2.5K sensor crop in 16:9. The answer was that somehow only cropping by full numers (4K, 3K, 2K, 1K, etc...) is possible with a reasonable effort.
08-22-2008, 12:52 PM
Here is an idea for Cinéma vérité,
Shoot most of the grunt work in 2k with your s16 zooms- you will get longer recording times and easier handling than using 35mm lenses.
but then for your staged shots and beauty shots, go with the full sensor at 4K with 35mm lenses.
08-22-2008, 01:55 PM
What kind of docs? Is it spur of the moment story based work, or prepared Nature style docs?
I use Nikons for all my nature doc work. The lenses are lighter for the field, and more varied (macro, super tele etc.).
But, I'd use a 16mm or ENG style HD lens if I were doing more 'on the fly' work. Pulling focus on 35mm is hard, but no harder than doing it on a DSLR.
I agree with hunterrichards 2K for verite work 4K for beauty.
08-22-2008, 02:02 PM
I would say go S16 glass that you have and shoot 3K and crop in post to do what you need when needed.
08-22-2008, 06:40 PM
Thanks for the very helpful replies. People who are waiting on their cameras can only rely on those who have had real world experience.
The docs I shoot are more "spur of the moment story based work" (nicely put) and involve a lot of waiting for stuff to happen.
I have an aversion to swapping mounts myself. Is anyone doing this on a regular basis without difficulties?
It would not have had occurred to me to shoot in 3k and crop later which seems like an excellent suggestion. It makes me feel better about shooting with the 16mm lenses. Other plusses are the longer record times (though I will be recording to Red Drive) and also the faster render times.
08-22-2008, 09:21 PM
Swapping between PL and Nikon mount is not hard. It can be done in the field if you have a clean area to do it. I can do the swap in a car in about 5-7 minutes. However, I would recommend for doc work that you limit this as much as possible because you may not have ideal conditions and you may find that even 5-7 minutes is too long. I'd shoot a lot of tests to compare the quality of images between 2K, 3K, and 4K to make sure you are familiar with each format. 2K is not scaled from 4K, so you have to look at the pros and cons of this approach. Same with 3K.
I have pulled focus with the Nikons in 4K with a lot of unpredictable action and it is not easy to say the least. Not impossible, but you have to be really good at pulling your own focus in those type of circumstances. If you are good at tracking action, have a very good feel for your focus throw on the lenses, etc. I suppose you could probably do a good job. But having the greater depth of field in 2K and 3K might be a benefit to you for this style.
Unfortunately, it's not an easy answer because everyone's skill sets are different.
08-23-2008, 09:09 AM
I don't think 2k looks all that great on the Red, make sure you can live with it before you make any additional lens purchases.
You could consider using your Super-16mm lenses with a 2x extender, this would make them cover 35mm. Not the best way to treat the optics, and you'll loose 2 stops of speed, probably most useful for day exteriors.
08-23-2008, 11:08 AM
The S16 lenses I have seen cover to about 2.5k.. (sometimes up to near 3k)
And from tests I did on build 15 2.5k really looks better than 2k when shown on a 1080p monitor
I believe a 2.5k option would be great option. (especially if it could get close to 85fps)..
11-23-2008, 08:58 PM
Do what you want.
This may not be a completely useless advice.
If you don't like those excellent S16 lenses that throw away 3/4 of your camera's capability, throw them in the litter and forget them.
If you hate the Nikons because they tell you they are shit, then throw them away as well, you'll make them happy, and you will not risk.
Steal a pair of glasses.. Rodenstock are the best, throw one lens away and stick the other one with tape to the camera.
Film, and send us a postcard.
See what covers 3k or close to it. You may crop if necessary. It may still be better than 2k.