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Lenses for video on SL2


hirohhhh
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Few years ago I became interested in video. At that time I had SL Typ 601 and all kinds of SL primes and zooms. They all have autofocus which seemed great feature to me for video. After practicing for some time, I realized that the autofocus is a bad idea. Everyone said you have to focus manually. I tried and tried but it was even more frustrating. Everyone said you have to practice, practice, practice. And I practice but I didn't get any better. I thought I'm not talented for the video, and after few months fighting with the focus, I pretty much gave up shooting video and got back to photography.

Until I got my M10-R two months ago.

I completely forgot about video, but, when I mounted my 28mm M Summilux on SL2, I tried shooting video and it was a completely different experience. I was able to nail the focus almost 100% of the time, not even looking at the lens. I have this lens for less than two months and I was able to learn to focus manually which I never achieved with my SL lenses, and I'm now obsessed with video again.

The only problem is that I have only one M lens for now and I need it on my M10-R on a daily basis, so I have to buy something else for the SL2 for video.

What kind of lens would you suggest? Is M lens a good choice? I know there are cine lenses, but the last time I checked they are in tens of thousands of dollars price range. M lenses are also compact, so I can put my Atomos Ninja V and microphone on the SL2 and it will weight the same if not less as if I put the SL lens only.

I don't do any commercial work. I like 28-35mm and it should be relatively compact, as I don't have a crew and shooting only personal projects for myself both outside and in studio.

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Please tell us more about the sort of video projects you are doing:

  • Outdoors with no one else in the shot e.g. landscape & nature?
  • Indoors, ditto e.g. walk-through of buildings?
  • Vlogging-type stuff where you are the only person present and the camera is on a tripod?
  • Talking heads of single people, also on a tripod?
  • Journalism/documentary where you are on the move with people?
  • Multi-person scenes, drama?
  • Music videos?
  • ..............
  • ..............

You can see that each one of these might required different lenses and focusing systems!

   

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I'd say "the type of projects I'd like to do" :) (although I do some shorts with my iPhone and edit them in FCPX)

I'm 100% photographer hobbyist, but film/movies in general are my obsession and I'd like to shoot more stuff I found interesting. I can't fit into one category because I shoot kids, insects, nature or make "cinematic" shots in my house with some artificial lighting and interesting camera movements.

I'd like to go more into storytelling and I'd like to use the real camera more than my iPhone, but I need something fairly compact because I don't have a crew and I don't want to pack 3 Pelican cases full of lenses when going out to shoot (Maybe one day, but at the moment I need something to start with).

So the compactness and ability to focus manually easy is my main priority. M lenses were good at both so far, but I'd like to hear if there are other options to try.

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There are plenty of L lenses for video:

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=l mount cine lens&N=0&InitialSearch=yes&sts=ma

:lol:Obviously they are all MF, nobody wants hunting AF when panning. 

Also adapters for Canon video lenses, etc. Plus of course Leica C lenses in M mount, if you feel like spending some money. :lol: 

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16 hours ago, hirohhhh said:

So the compactness and ability to focus manually easy is my main priority. M lenses were good at both so far, but I'd like to hear if there are other options to try.

Almost any film-era SLR lens will do. Leica R lenses are highly sought-after in the cine world, but Canon FD, Contax/Yashica, Olympus OM, and Minolta MD are all great for video use. You can also use Rollei QBM, Fujica, Mamiya 35mm, and Eastern-Block lenses, but it's hard to find good ones if you don't already own them.

Avoid Nikon F and Pentax K. Not because the lenses are bad (they aren't), because they focus the wrong way! It's hard to acquire muscle memory when focus direction isn't consistent.

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21 hours ago, hirohhhh said:

Few years ago I became interested in video. At that time I had SL Typ 601 and all kinds of SL primes and zooms. They all have autofocus which seemed great feature to me for video. After practicing for some time, I realized that the autofocus is a bad idea. Everyone said you have to focus manually. I tried and tried but it was even more frustrating. Everyone said you have to practice, practice, practice. And I practice but I didn't get any better. I thought I'm not talented for the video, and after few months fighting with the focus, I pretty much gave up shooting video and got back to photography.

Until I got my M10-R two months ago.

I completely forgot about video, but, when I mounted my 28mm M Summilux on SL2, I tried shooting video and it was a completely different experience. I was able to nail the focus almost 100% of the time, not even looking at the lens. I have this lens for less than two months and I was able to learn to focus manually which I never achieved with my SL lenses, and I'm now obsessed with video again.

The only problem is that I have only one M lens for now and I need it on my M10-R on a daily basis, so I have to buy something else for the SL2 for video.

What kind of lens would you suggest? Is M lens a good choice? I know there are cine lenses, but the last time I checked they are in tens of thousands of dollars price range. M lenses are also compact, so I can put my Atomos Ninja V and microphone on the SL2 and it will weight the same if not less as if I put the SL lens only.

I don't do any commercial work. I like 28-35mm and it should be relatively compact, as I don't have a crew and shooting only personal projects for myself both outside and in studio.

Have a look at the R-lenses group in the much hated Mark’s Z platform. They get loads of love from all sorts of videographers. Personally I have no experience shooting video outside my mobile phone …

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  • 1 month later...

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Can someone point why R instead M lenses? What would be the advantages for my personal hobbyist videography having R instead M lens on SL2? Assuming I also own M10R, so I can use M lenses for both photography on M10R and videography on SL2. I like the compactness of M lenses and the fact I can use them on both cameras, but I'm open to consider R if it would make sense for me.

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52 minutes ago, hirohhhh said:

Can someone point why R instead M lenses? What would be the advantages for my personal hobbyist videography having R instead M lens on SL2? Assuming I also own M10R, so I can use M lenses for both photography on M10R and videography on SL2. I like the compactness of M lenses and the fact I can use them on both cameras, but I'm open to consider R if it would make sense for me.

R lenses are preferable if you need to install lens gears for a follow-focus, or if you also use a non-Leica L-Mount camera (Sigma fp, any Panasonic). Otherwise M lenses are fine.

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15 minutes ago, BernardC said:

R lenses are preferable if you need to install lens gears for a follow-focus, or if you also use a non-Leica L-Mount camera (Sigma fp, any Panasonic). Otherwise M lenses are fine.

Thanks, I don't think I'll use follow focus gears. For what I do, focusing with M lenses seems just fine to me. Maybe one day, if I get more seriously into videography.

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I did a video over the summer showcasing some of the lenses I had at the time, here:

TTArtisan 90mm f1.25

Voigtlander 21mm f1.8

Voigtlander 35mm f1.2

Leica Elmarit-R 135mm f2.8

 

All of those lenses were phenomenal to work with for their compactness and ease of mobility when in run-and-gun situations (especially during weddings/events). Since this video I returned the TTArtisan 90mm (it was a bit too soft and flare-y for my tastes) and got a Leica 90mm f2.5 instead (which is by far one of my favourite lenses I've ever used in terms of compactness and image quality). I'd also like to say that I've added a 7Artisans 28mm f1.4 lens to my roster (first test with it here:https://youtu.be/XaXTOUDz-bo) and it has done a fantastic job on professional shoots as well, both in terms of ease-of-use and relative image quality (especially at it's price point).

All in all, if you are comfortable with manually focusing, I'd like to say that most (if not all) Voigtlander M lenses have done me wonders. Leica R lenses also seem to be a fantastic option if you can find good sellers. And TTArtisan/7Artisan lenses are hit or miss it seems. I haven't used any dedicated L-mount lenses with electronics, so I can't comment on autofocus lenses for video, but if you are used to manually focusing for photo I'd say you have the upper hand at filmmaking as well.

So at this moment, for general use, I would recommend:

7Artisans 28mm f1.4, Voigtlander 35mm f1.2 II/III, 21mm f1.4 or 1.8, Leica 90mm f2.5

Hope this helps :)

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Thanks @Aaron Daniel!

So I understand that the embedded video was shoot with all these 4 lenses? To my eye it looks like one lens, and I don't see the difference between shots, so I'm wondering if it's one lens or they are all very similar, or you made them more consistent in post?

I kinda love this hmmm "anamorphic" look, and that fact that is not super sharp and clinical, which I sometimes hate on my super expensive SL lenses, but I'm not sure if I'd love it all the time. I guess this is the look of these cheaper lenses, am I right?

I already own Summilux-M 28mm f1.4, so I'm thinking either going one focal length up or down. Either 35mm or 21mm. But I think 35mm is more versatile, and I'd definitely use it more often, but 21mm is something that I'd love to have for video.

Now, Voigtlander 21mm f1.4 vs Summilux-M 21mm f1.4 is 10 times price difference. Same as for 35mm. Does people usually opt for Voigtlander if they want a specific look, or if the money is the reason? Meaning, are these two lenses provide drastically different look, or are they similar, but Leica costs 10 times more because.... well....Leica?

I can just go and buy Voigtlander and see it myself, but I don't like to acquire gear I'm not gonna like or use, so I'm trying to understand what is the main reason people go for one over another. I always bought the latest and greatest from Leica, which are technically the best lenses, but I don't always want the look that those lenses provide.

I wanted to buy some vintage lenses million times, and whenever I start looking online I got overwhelmed by the amount of choices and not being able to see and feel the look that lens provides, so I give up every time.

Edited by hirohhhh
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Although the Leica R lenses are wonderful, a complete set (24, 28, 35, 50) is hard to come by and expensive. Most of my films are shot with leica M lenses that I purchased years ago but I have also come to favor a set of Canon FD primes in those focal lengths. A dumb FD to L adapter is cheap so each lens has one. If you want to put a gear for follow focus, no problem. These are very low contrast lenses, all usually with a 52 mm filter size so a ND filters are also reasonably priced. I have 2.8 in the 24 and 28 which work well and F 2.0 in the 35. No need for the esoteric 1.4 or 1.2 lenses as the high ISO capabilities of the SL, SL2-S and Sigma FP that I use allow ISO 3200 easily in low light. They are also light enough to use on a gimble.

Edited by TealWayFilms
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16 hours ago, hirohhhh said:

Anyone used follow focus on SL lenses?

I found this one pretty cheap, and I'm wondering, would it be better to use M lenses or SL lenses with follow focus? Besides that it would be more bulkier than M lens, would it be easier to focus with follow focus on SL lenses?

I still haven't found gears that fits on M lenses, because of the focusing tabs. I use my old Contax-Zeiss lens set for follow-focus, with gears made by Cool-Lux. Other manual focus lenses will work, but I've owned the Contax set forever.

I don't use L-Mount lenses, or any other AF lenses, for follow-focus. I guess it could work with the "linear focus" feature, but it still doesn't feel natural to me.

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17 hours ago, hirohhhh said:

Anyone used follow focus on SL lenses?

I found this one pretty cheap, and I'm wondering, would it be better to use M lenses or SL lenses with follow focus? Besides that it would be more bulkier than M lens, would it be easier to focus with follow focus on SL lenses?

SL lenses are not great in manual follow focus. I have tried gear ring from TILTA with Zacuto follow focus, Tilta nano, and a friction gear-less follow focus..  The problem is the lens that get stiff at time and the need of so much torque to turn. It feels like there is an initial magnet block. that said the built in Follow focus menu works well and it usable in many situations where you focus on 2 subjects .
The SL can be set to turn to 360 in manual focus, a welcome edition in the new firmware.

 

I used M lenses  and found gear that can be strapped on over the handle. It works, but the rotation of most M lenses is short and hard to hit the focus without passing it.

I have seen fashion photographers taking vertical video for insta on the SL and 50 Summicron M and following focus, but it is usually only 30 sec clips.

I still use both SL and M lenses for video and set focus on camera to back Botton focus .

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2 hours ago, BernardC said:

Which brand of gears are you using? I couldn't find anything the last time I looked.

 

https://www.simmodlens.com/followfocusgears

 

it is best to have harder gear, but the elastic can be worked on M lenses.

 

Duclos Lenses  was prototyping a M lens fear with a space for the finger focus tab, but it is something you will have to call them for.. it is 3d printed with hard gear on outside

 

 

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1562199-REG/tilta_ta_fgr_8183_seamless_focus_gear_ring.html

 

 

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On 12/19/2021 at 4:22 PM, TealWayFilms said:

Although the Leica R lenses are wonderful, a complete set (24, 28, 35, 50) is hard to come by and expensive. Most of my films are shot with leica M lenses that I purchased years ago but I have also come to favor a set of Canon FD primes in those focal lengths. A dumb FD to L adapter is cheap so each lens has one. If you want to put a gear for follow focus, no problem. These are very low contrast lenses, all usually with a 52 mm filter size so a ND filters are also reasonably priced. I have 2.8 in the 24 and 28 which work well and F 2.0 in the 35. No need for the esoteric 1.4 or 1.2 lenses as the high ISO capabilities of the SL, SL2-S and Sigma FP that I use allow ISO 3200 easily in low light. They are also light enough to use on a gimble.

Anyone have or tried Leica 35-70mm F2.8 ROM 3839570 lens?

I never owned nor tried R lenses, and can't find any reviews on YouTube, so I'm wondering is it worth buying this lens.

I see this lens have the same/similar gears as SL lenses. Does it require additional gear for follow focus?

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  • 4 weeks later...

I'm following all these websites on a daily basis for a month and looking for Elmarit-R 28mm, and it's either Fair condition (which is basically bad, heavy wear, possible haze and fungus), or it's from Japan on eBay, which I don't feel buying either. Do I expect too much, is it possible to find this lens in mint or excellent condition at all? I don't expect it to be cheap, but I can't find it at all.

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Going the R route is a good idea. Practically they are tiny cine lenses in the sense of build quality and focus throw. But in terms of witness marks, they are indeed no cine lenses. The first series is more robust than the second series and doesn't use these retractable plastic focus hoods. They have more character in rendering and flaring other issues than the second series, which is welcome in filmmaking.

You should look elsewhere if you are looking for lenses sharp to the edges without vignetting and with dimensionality. But then you are entering the PL-zone, which can be very costly.
Filmmaking is mostly about portraiture. These "portraits" vary from classic portraits (close-ups) to environmental shots (medium-close up, medium-long shots). Besides introductory long shots, mostly portraiture lenses from wider to closer are used in filmmaking. In the full-frame format and R lenses nomenclature, that means 35mm, 50mm, and 90mm. For wide long-shots, the 28mm Elmarit is meaningful, of course. However, to build up a set and get you going, I'd start with 35mm and 50mm. 

The 35mm Elmarit R isn't discovered yet. It's a tiny gem of a lens that vignettes open rose considerably. When shot open, it shows a distinct bent focal plane but changes at f 4 upwards to something more regular. These "issues" are what people call character and make them so favourable. The 50mm SummicronR is a bargain, too, because they've been the standard lens of the system and are not much valued. They are marvellous lenses for close-ups that render pretty flat (a vital part of a vintage cine look) and match the Elmarit well. Both are on the cooler side, which I prefer for skin tones.

But I'm looking for a 28mm Elmarit too. In the end, I probably will be going the Japan route. But before the 28mm, I will buy a 90mm Elmarit. Probably, again, the first series.
In filmmaking and full-format, f 2.8 is all you need in terms of speed. F2 and below will be the rare exception because chances are too high that the footage will become too soft and unusable. 

Please note that I argue from a professional point of view on a budget little prime set. These lenses will partly pay my rent (as did PL glass before ditching my Red package and switching to a much less expensive personal hybrid camera). Your mileage may vary, of course. 

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