Thread: Budget PL Options

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  1. #1 Budget PL Options 
    Thought it would be interesting to try and put together a database of budget PL lens options.

    As great as some of the cine modded EF primes are, such as Leica R's/FD's. When using camera systems such as the alexa classic, converting the mount to EF isn't always desirable. As PL glass is generally really expensive and readily available to rent I thought it could be interesting to see what the options were for budget PL lens sets.
    By budget I'm talking $1000-$4000.

    So far I've looked into:
    - Zeiss Jena MC (PL converted)
    - Lomo OCT18 Standard Speeds (PL converted)
    - Canon FL (PL converted)
    - Sigma Cine zooms (PCHood/Cinematics)
    - Iron Glass Adapters Russian Soviet Rehoused Primes
    - Xeen Primes
    - Red Pro Primes
    - Sony Cinealta Primes

    If anyone has any opinions on the above or any other options to add I'd be interested to hear.
    Last edited by Matthew J Wilson; 04-15-2020 at 01:16 AM.
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  2. #2  
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    Call me crazy...

    If you’re on a tight budget - the best lenses you can get for under $1000 are either in EF mount or can be easily converted to EF (other than FD - which are challenging but possible to make EF)...

    On a super high grade professional set you might not want EF lenses, but you also don’t want a clunker lens (mechanically)

    The best “cheap” (as all of these can be had under $4000 if looking PL lenses I can think of are:

    Tokina Vista (maybe can be found used)
    Sigma Cine (often around used under $3000/ea!)
    Xeen
    Xeen CF (same glass, nice size/shape)
    Red Pro Primes (can be had for a song these days, great if you’re looking for 35mm format not FF)
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    Xeen seems like the best option but I prefer Sigma's and Canon's focus on center sharpness over Samyang's focus on a flat field, which I feel lends itself more to astro. (Just my opinion.)

    The SLR Magic APO lenses always looked extremely appealing to me but the lack of an 18mm option was deal-breaking.

    Now that they've (apparently?) announced an 18mm, that seems like the best deal for the money. Had I known about that I might have not bothered with what I own now but no use looking back endlessly. Never used them but like the images from them.

    I often see the Sony set compared with Ultra Primes, but I was never a fan of the clinical look in general but those are really cheap used and performance looks like the best for the money if you like the look.

    I have a lot of OCT 18 and Arri Standard lenses that I've converted to EF, and those convert to PL even better and it's not too costly, I have PL adapters, too. Adapters range from $50-$400+.

    But the mechanics for those older cinema lenses are not ideal for use on a larger set imo and a full rehousing would be costly compared with just getting Xeens or Sigmas. The biggest issue is most of them cover S35 at most (often just Academy) so with a Gemini or something probably better to go with converted still lenses...

    I agree with Dan that anything that covers >S35 and is PL mount will either be expensive or a bit limited. Of those you've listed, all should work except maybe the Lomos...
    Last edited by Matt W.; 04-14-2020 at 01:13 PM.
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  4. #4  
    Quote Originally Posted by Matt W. View Post
    Xeen seems like the best option but I prefer Sigma's and Canon's focus on center sharpness over Samyang's focus on a flat field, which I feel lends itself more to astro. (Just my opinion.)

    The SLR Magic APO lenses always looked extremely appealing to me but the lack of an 18mm option was deal-breaking.

    Now that they've (apparently?) announced an 18mm, that seems like the best deal for the money. Had I known about that I might have not bothered with what I own now but no use looking back endlessly. Never used them but like the images from them.

    I often see the Sony set compared with Ultra Primes, but I was never a fan of the clinical look in general but those are really cheap used and performance looks like the best for the money if you like the look.

    I have a lot of OCT 18 and Arri Standard lenses that I've converted to EF, and those convert to PL even better and it's not too costly, I have PL adapters, too. Adapters range from $50-$400+.

    But the mechanics for those older cinema lenses are not ideal for use on a larger set imo and a full rehousing would be costly compared with just getting Xeens or Sigmas. The biggest issue is most of them cover S35 at most (often just Academy) so with a Gemini or something probably better to go with converted still lenses...

    I agree with Dan that anything that covers >S35 and is PL mount will either be expensive or a bit limited. Of those you've listed, all should work except maybe the Lomos...
    I have a couple Lomo's but haven't converted them to PL. Haven't heard many good things about the mechanics... but $500 for a S35 cine lens is quite desirable if you're on a budget.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew J Wilson View Post
    I have a couple Lomo's but haven't converted them to PL. Haven't heard many good things about the mechanics... but $500 for a S35 cine lens is quite desirable if you're on a budget.
    What camera do you have? Alexa Classic? Are you looking into PL mount lenses for the ergonomics or simply because you have a PL mount camera? Lomos and Sigma Art look a world apart. What look are you after?

    If your sensor is only S35 there are lots of good affordable options in Arri standard mount with a real vintage look if that's your thing. (Imo.) However most of these lenses were designed for Academy format and offer less coverage than their PL mount successors. I'm not sure if the Alexa Classic shoots 3.2k, but if it's just 2.8k then you have a ton of options in Arri standard mount, and these are inexpensive to convert to PL. The Lomos should be good, too.

    Check out these adapters to start. The OCT18 and OCT19 ones are quite good.

    http://rafcamera.com

    I believe Leitax sells a mount conversion for the Alexa that's good and affordable, too. No experience with it.
    Last edited by Matt W.; 04-14-2020 at 02:02 PM.
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  6. #6  
    Quote Originally Posted by Matt W. View Post
    What camera do you have? Alexa Classic? Are you looking into PL mount lenses for the ergonomics or simply because you have a PL mount camera? Lomos and Sigma Art look a world apart. What look are you after?

    If your sensor is only S35 there are lots of good affordable options in Arri standard mount with a real vintage look if that's your thing. (Imo.) However most of these lenses were designed for Academy format and offer less coverage than their PL mount successors. I'm not sure if the Alexa Classic shoots 3.2k, but if it's just 2.8k then you have a ton of options in Arri standard mount, and these are inexpensive to convert to PL. The Lomos should be good, too.

    Check out these adapters to start. The OCT18 and OCT19 ones are quite good.

    http://rafcamera.com

    I believe Leitax sells a mount conversion for the Alexa that's good and affordable, too. No experience with it.
    Alexa Plus 4:3.
    Just weighing up options. I hire for paid work, but I want to own some lenses for some passion projects/low budget. Spec AD's/Music vids, that kind of stuff. Don't want to splash a load of money straight away. Just something to give me a bit more flexibility.
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  7. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew J Wilson View Post
    Alexa Plus 4:3.
    Just weighing up options. I hire for paid work, but I want to own some lenses for some passion projects/low budget. Spec AD's/Music vids, that kind of stuff. Don't want to splash a load of money straight away. Just something to give me a bit more flexibility.
    Nice camera!

    I haven't used the Plus but I believe it uses a 23.76 x 13.365mm crop sensor. So the 2.8k area if you're shooting 16:9.

    In this case you have a lot of options if you're willing to convert Arri standard mount to PL, especially if you're after a vintage look.

    https://vimeo.com/275500463

    https://vimeo.com/221100932

    Lomos I think are knock off Cookes so that's of course a nice option, too. I own both of those sets and Lomos but haven't shot with them much yet. Heh you can tell I really wanted Speed Panchros but couldn't afford them. :(

    These are all pretty affordable since they don't have great coverage beyond S35. The mechanics actually seem pretty good on the Zeiss and Schneider, just not necessarily suited for modern work on a larger set. Not a concern for me and sounds like not one for you either.
    Last edited by Matt W.; 04-14-2020 at 03:36 PM.
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  8. #8  
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    Don't buy into Xeen. They are crap. Look into Sony Cinealta primes instead.

    Budget-wise Tokina Vista are the best in terms of IQ, but big and bulky. Never used Red Pro Primes (ok, once about 10 years ago), but I've recently bought a Red Pro Zoom 18-85 and I quite like the image. It's a tad soft in the range from 25 to 50mm, but the esthetics are somewhat similar to Arri UP.

    I've recieved the Iron Glass rehoused 58mm in PL today, will go through some test during this week. I've uploaded a ton of photos and first impressions in the other thread.

    Though - Iron Glass set is a matched housing set, but optically it's like having 5 different lenses - all different coatings etc. But muuuuuuuuuch more artistic look.
    Last edited by Alex Lubensky; 04-14-2020 at 04:13 PM.
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    Sony Alta v2 are quite nice and very well built, but large and heavy. I recently purchased a Tokina 11-20 Cine PL to add to my Alta set and it matches quite well. GL optics rehouses still glass with PL mounts as does Kim Camera.
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    Laowa has 12mm

    Irix has 11mm, 45mm and 150mm
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