January 8, 2013

Canon Cine Primes vs. L Series Lenses on the C300: a Delightfully Irreverent Shootout from Jonathan Yi

Camera and lens tests can be boring to watch. I know because I've done them myself and have therefore come to that conclusion -- but it doesn't always have to be like that. Jonathan Yi, a director and DP who recently participated in the Vimeo Video School 2012 Year in Tech: Reflections and Predictions conversation with me, has been producing funny and refreshing camera and lens tests for quite some time now, and we shared his hilarious C300 test a while back. Now he's back with a brand new and relatively NSFW test featuring Canon's CN-E Cinema Prime lenses vs. the Canon L Series still photography lenses. Click through to check it out.

Here is a little bit about the test, thanks to planet5D for the find:

My friends at Canon USA allowed me the opportunity to field test their amazing new Cinema Prime Lenses. I originally convinced Canon to allow me to borrow the three lenses for my personal documentary shoot on Peelander-Z. Using the lenses immediately made the project look so much better, especially combined with my custom Ergocine rig on concert shoots. But like many documentaries, the project ended up expanding into something much larger than I originally anticipated and it came time for me to return the lenses to Canon. I was able to buy some more time with the lenses with the understanding that I’d make this test video for them.

The test, which was shot on the Canon C300:

Exceptional male nudity and language aside, I'm really liking the look of these Canon lenses, especially over the standard photo lenses. Many people find the L Series very clinical and almost too sharp, but I feel like they've done something to make the new Cine Primes just a little sweeter and more refined in their optical quality. This may come down to build quality or hand-picking the glass for each lens much more carefully than their photography lenses, but in my mind there is enough of a difference based on the above test that they could be worth a rental over using some Canon lenses you already own, especially if you can benefit from the smooth iris and focus rings.

I would be very interested to see how these stack up with much more expensive sets, like Cookes, Ultras, or Master Primes. They may not perform as well, but Canon definitely knows how to make glass, so they would probably hold their own, which would be impressive given their price compared to other cine lenses (these come in at around $5,000 a piece). I might prefer Nikon for a lot of what I do, but I could definitely see myself shooting with these, especially since they are so much more user friendly for cinema shooting compared to still photography lenses. The one big difference is that these are only being produced with the Canon EF mount, so you'd have to have a camera with the right mount, like a Canon DSLR or C100/C300/C500 -- or even a RED SCARLET or EPIC.

We've already shared another test between theses sets of lenses thanks to Magnanimous Media, so be sure to check that one out as well.

What do you think? Worth a rental for the next project you're shooting? Let us know your thoughts below.

Links:

[via planet5D]

Your Comment

30 Comments

"Exceptional male nudity and language aside" -- I didn't think the male nudity was all that exceptional - haha

Thanks for posting

January 8, 2013

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oh contraire! lol

January 8, 2013

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It's always awkward when you skip through a video to see dude covering his junk with a bottle and your girlfriend is asking what the hell your looking at. I showed her there was an nearly naked chick in there too. Then she started bitching about me watching porn during Twilight again. I told her the porn at least had a better story. She threw my t2i across the room. Looking at the 50mm 1.4 lens that had gone through the sensor I picked up my trusty baseball bat. That's when I finally did it!

January 8, 2013

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Julian

greatest potential youtube reply video ever

January 8, 2013

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Chris Lambert

Wow

January 9, 2013

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I was slightly horrified when it cut to that scene on the bed with the bottle.... bait and switch technique totally got me.

January 8, 2013

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Xiong

I found it funny and informative, nice review, its refreshing not look at charts, it just makes me think that every lens is flawed somehow, looking at charts is depressing for me :)

January 8, 2013

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Marcus

How would these Cine Lenses compare with CP.2's? Correct me if I'm wrong but Canon Cine Lenses compete directly with CP.2s, right?

January 8, 2013

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Tim

Check this:

Canon CN-E & Zeiss Compact Primes
http://vimeo.com/55985070

January 9, 2013

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Peelander Z was the first band I ever shot!!!! That experience was a huge reason I decided to get into video. Glad to see them appear in such an unexpected place.

January 8, 2013

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Derik

Call me ingenuous but i'd like to see a comparison between this canon lenses with the cheap rokinon cine lenses,

January 8, 2013

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Martin

@Martin between Canon and Rokinon there is no competition. Rokinon's are en vogue because they're cheap and look good, not because they're actually good. Rokinon lenses are simply too mushy for serious HD/2k/4K work.

January 8, 2013

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Lucas

You obviously haven't compared the Samyang 35mm f/1.4 with the Canon 35mm f/1.4L
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?L...

January 9, 2013

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+1

But I guess it's still too soft for serious HD work.

January 9, 2013

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jake

only wide-open, and the Canon isn't really better.
But only in certain situations a uber-pro might shot wide-open, usually you stop down (to get to the sweet-spot, even on high-end Summilux C's). Considered the Price then, more then worth it.
Perfectly usable for Cinema, if you can live with breathing and so on.

January 9, 2013

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CameraRick

Well , i have a 14mm rokinon and is very sharp even more than his counterpart from Canon.

January 9, 2013

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Martin

That is very telling!
Though I'll agree with an above statement that USUALLY we want to shoot closer to the sweet spot (around 5.6ish on many lenses), but it's crazy to pretend like it doesn't matter that the more expensive lens is clearly outperformed by the Samyang here - and not by a small margin either.

January 11, 2013

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Jules

Funny how they are still better than the more expensive Canon/Zeiss/Nikon glasses at f1.4.

January 10, 2013

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mikko löppönen

Epic comparison video. Stops are hard.. very hard..LMAO. Her expression is priceless.

January 8, 2013

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b

Perfect. lol.

January 9, 2013

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reminds me of Waynes World - "gratuitous sex scene" ... "excellent"!

January 9, 2013

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So folk, now you know, you want people to discuss the subject matter, don't put a nude hottie in there

January 9, 2013

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fiftybob

This is a RUINED test.
The L lenses have no chance shot at f1.2 ..None.

They have no contrast or sharpness shot wide open.
They have to be stopped down to 2.8-4.0 to have any chance.
Plus this uses older I version lenses instead of latest II versions.

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?L...

January 9, 2013

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sammy

The Cine Lenses were just better throughout. Offering more detail in when there were light and dark going on very close to each other. If you look at the buildings in the background, the light coming form the offices did not bleed into the buildings frame near as much. Canon seemed to put a great deal understanding that Video Creationist may need to stop all the down when wanting to use only the light that's available. The L lens allows too much uncontrolled light in when stopped down. Looking at the night time clouds as well, there was more color casting form the L than the Cine Lens. Over all they seem to be very controlled lenses with accurate color and beautiful Bokeh.

January 10, 2013

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Craig

" The L lens allows too much uncontrolled light in when stopped down"
Not sure what you mean by this. The L lenses give much better results
when stopped down.

January 11, 2013

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sammy

Pretty pointless watching a comparison like this in low resolution and high compression on Vimeo. I didn't see much of a difference there, because the whole video was compressed to a soft mush.

January 11, 2013

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Heiko

The L series lenses are clearly sharper and show more detail, you can see the beard on the second girl and none on the first.

January 11, 2013

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Chris K Jones

you're funny

April 22, 2013

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September 14, 2013

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