May 1, 2013

NAB Video: Schneider Full-Frame Lenses

The professional/semi-professional lens market is getting very competitive very quickly -- which is great for filmmakers who are now using cameras that are much sharper than DSLRs, and need lenses that can match that resolution, and also provide smooth iris and focus. Schneider has been making PL mount lenses for some time, but they've now decided to introduce a full-frame cinema lineup with interchangeable mounts to go head-to-head against similarly priced lenses from Canon and Zeiss. Check out the FreshDV video below with Ryan Avery from Schneider:

http://vimeo.com/64827393

Around $4,000 per lens is right in line with the Canon CN-E and Zeiss Compact Primes, so these are really aimed at those who would be looking at those lenses. I think the line is going to get really interesting as they add wider lenses, but I imagine the reason they are releasing the 35, 50, and 75 first is because it's a little easier keeping everything consistent, like the T/2.1 across the board and the identical front mounts. As an owner/operator set, a wide (for Super 35 sensors) would definitely be helpful, but it's great to see more cinema-style lenses that cover the full-frame imager.

If you're in the market for ultra-cheap cinema primes, we're not quite there yet (with the exception of maybe the Samyang/Rokinon primes), but I have a feeling over the next few years things are going to get really interesting.

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37 Comments

75mm is an odd number for those accustomed with the 85mm. I was wondering why they went for this.

May 1, 2013 at 5:37PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Marcus

Cine glass usually has different focal lengths to those accustomed to stills lenses. 32mm, 40mm, 60mm 75mm are common focal lengths. 75mm Is a beautiful focal length

May 1, 2013 at 10:56PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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carlos

can someone explain to me why cinema glass is essential video / film because of "sharpness," but "regular" glass like the L series doesn't cut it. despite the fact that still photographers using the L series usually shoot at resolutions VASTLY beyond the capabilities of video. puzzling to say the least...

May 1, 2013 at 7:44PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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dv

I think for most people it has less to do with the image IQ and more to do with usability with cinema rigs (compatibility, markers, focus breathing, etc).

Though, it might be valid to point out that IQ-wise it's much easier (and cheaper) to correct problems like CA, barrel distortion, etc in an still image than it is to correct the same problems in video.

Which is why higher end productions would rather save the additional post costs and eliminate the problems before they happen.

May 1, 2013 at 8:21PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Jules

Because build quality, manual control, and mechanics.
Photo lenses are not usable because they dont have (most of the time) a stepless aperture ring for exposure control on the fly- watch the first scene of boogie nights and notice how they rack aperture when they enter the nightclub.
They are mostly autofocus, which is not acceptable in cinema, and because of that the focus rings themselves are plastic and have super short throws made for getting that quick shot of your baby or your son at a soccer game. Also the rings for focus and aperture arent geared either. You need manual focus for movies and long throws for smooth focus pulls that dont bug the audience

Cine-mod services alleviate this a lot though- but in general, use cine-lenses for cine applications plz

May 1, 2013 at 8:53PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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john jeffries

Obviously Cine glass is better, but for most people who are on this site, it's just not affordable. So the alternative is to use Zeiss, Canon and other photographic lenses. I've seen a LOT of great stuff made on cheaper equipment over the last few years. If you can afford it, go Cine, but if you can't why let that hold you back from making stuff? For the first time ever, Film making is truly becoming a meritocracy because anyone can afford it instead of the wealthy and connected; and I am all for that. Plus, you can own a decent set of Zeiss or Canon primes and have access to them whenever you want to make whatever you want. That kind of freedom is amazing. Of course it would be nice to have de-clicked lenses that don't breath, but there are bigger things to worry about like just making stuff and being productive.

May 1, 2013 at 9:10PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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The glass isn't better. I agree the ergonomics on the 'cine' lenses are better to work with but a 28-80 2.8 Zeiss that costs $20,000 is not sharper than a Canon or Nikon 24-70 2.8 that cost about $2,400. And that Zeiss doesnt even have stabilisation. It shouldn't cost 10 times the price for whats basically simpler but good tech. As cool as the Zeiss do look. A longer focus throw and focus stops shouldn't equal roughly $17,500 more in price.

But they look good and your client wont say "oh I have one of those at home on my DSLR"...

I do like the idea of interchangeable lens mounts since cameras change so fast it would be nice to jump from F mount to PL mount without buying a new set of lenses.

May 1, 2013 at 10:02PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Well there are way more than just focus throw and stepless aperture. Build quality is a good factor, they are usually metal bodies with a better calibration so you won't have focus breathing. I also agree the price is high, competition is starting to weigh in but I wouldn't be so confident to have good cine lens for way cheaper. Even Red couldn't have done it.

May 1, 2013 at 10:36PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Marcus

The price is high because they are not mass-produced and they are manufactured by hand to way, way, way more specific tolerances than stills glass. Oh, and when you drop 30k on 1 lens you get amazing customer service, like first-name basis kinda shit

May 1, 2013 at 11:50PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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john jeffries

The reason they're more expensive is they're made from the highest quality materials. When you're on the set of a film stuff gets dropped. Prime lenses especially are changed in and out on a shot by shot basis. These lenses are an investment that will last a lifetime, and and they are constructed as such. Still lenses are mass produced and designed for accuracy in one frame, for one shooter/operator. On a film set you might four people surrounding one camera, and they're all going to need to be able to pull the same focus, set the same aperture, etc. for every take, that last 1 minute at 24 frames per second. That's 1440 frames. You need a much higher quality lens to pull that off, not even the profession "L" series lenses can do that perfectly every single time. That's the reason for the double price.

August 26, 2013 at 4:12PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Daniel Christensen

A full set of cine-modded Leica R's or Contax Zeiss' are certainly cheaper than the equivalent set of Canon L's, and the optics are a lot better.

Oh, and you can always rent glass that pertains to the aesthetic requirements of your shoot

May 1, 2013 at 11:49PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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john jeffries

For me it is about image quality

1. Photo glass is sharpest in the center because it is meant for photo composition, cine glass is sharp edge to edge because video composition is closer to borders,
2. Sharpness on photo glass drastically changes when you change your aperture, Cine glass it does not drastically change.
3. The lens elements in photo glass are set up for fast movements/autofocus so the focus roll off is abrupt. Cinema glass elements have a different set up allowing for soft pleasant focus roll off. When your out of focus on photo you are way off, cinema is way more forgiving
4. Focus markings on photo don't apply, focus marking on cinema glass is dead on
5. Photo Glass breaths, Cine Glass does not
6. Photo lenses are not color matched, Cine glass is
7. Photo zooms have horrible sharpness no depth and change focal distance throughout the zoom, cine zooms are the opposite, the canon 30-105mm cn-e is immaculate, l series or nikon shouldnt even be in the same sentence, I'm sure the zeiss 28-80 is not far behind.
8. Photo lenses have barrel distortion that will ruin shots, you can shoot a close up on a cine 18mm and it will look fine. Photographers never need to shoot wide angles close to their subjects, filmmakers especially indies have to do that habitually

Plain and simple photo lenses where never mean't to work well with other photo lenses, cine lenses were designed to work perfectly as a set. Complaining about the price of lenses is absurd, the amount of precision that goes into cine lenses these days is astonishing and nothing to gawk at.

May 1, 2013 at 10:57PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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ryan

Puzzling for sure. I was shooting on an Epic the other day with a Canon L 24-70 2.8 (1st gen) and it looked like #!$% at full resolution. Terrible chromatic abberation and not very sharp at all. But the same lens shooting stills is crystal clear and sharp as a tack. What gives?

May 2, 2013 at 9:45AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Brynn

Backfocus off maybe? Given the variables and the fact that that lens was sharp on another camera, that'd be my best guess

May 2, 2013 at 10:44AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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$4,000 list..... so maybe around $3,500 street with interchangeable mounts? CP2's and CN-E's have new competition, great! Count me as seriously interested. One thing I am curious about is the number of iris blades. Wanna get that creamy bokeh all the way through!

May 1, 2013 at 11:28PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Steve

Mechanics, build quality and ergonomics are a huge selling point, but bottom line cinema glass is far superior to stills glass. Its not all about sharpness, its about character, feel, and a lot of things you cant put on paper. A film shot with Ultra primes, Master primes, cooke mini s4i, s4i, s5i, leica's pl glass etc. will ALWAYS look better than a film shot on l series lenses. Same DP, same lighting set up, same F/T stop.

Watch footage shot on an epic at 5K will L series glass and it will look phenomenal. Slap on an Ultra prime and shoot the same scene and the difference is night and day. The character and feel of the UP is cinematic. The l series will look stale in comparison.

May 1, 2013 at 11:53PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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carlos

Photo lenses are mass produced and designed for much higher resolutions, and because of that they have more development and higher specs. Not the other way around. When a company has to do a recall far more development to avoid that goes in. Half of the 'cine' lenses out there are rehousing stills glass.

At the end of the day stills lenses are designed to resolve much much higher resolutions than cine lenses. Yes there are benefits to cine glass but not at sometimes 10 times the price.

As for them having less distortion thats crap. My 14-24 2.8 has zero distortion and is tack sharp.

Its a growing area so wait and the prices will come down.

May 2, 2013 at 12:37AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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And when I said the 14-24 2.8 was sharp I mean at 7.3K which is what the D800 stills are. So for 4K and 2K buy cine lenses if you need for the other reasons but not for sharpness or distortion.

May 2, 2013 at 12:56AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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No photo lens resolves more than 4000 lines and that is only in the center of the frame and at a particular f stop, you are assuming in your comparison with cine glass and you are dead wrong.

May 2, 2013 at 10:17AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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ryan

also about distortion I have a zeiss ze set and I get distortion on s35mm sensor for a medium close up on a 35mm 1.4 and distortion on 50mm makro on close ups, only the 85mm has no distortion.

May 2, 2013 at 10:29AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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ryan

Your full of crap as usual. You confirmed it when you wrote 'Photographers never need to shoot wide angles close to their subjects'. There was so much wrong with your long post earlier that I didnt even want to start on it but you should dial it down a bit.

May 2, 2013 at 11:25AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Keyword: NEED

If your up to it please do factually debunk what I said, just don't dwell on the minors and tackle the majors.

May 2, 2013 at 11:48AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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ryan

A statement like that says your photo experience isnt where it should be to be making such claims about photo lenses. Next to landscapes a wide angle is used close to subjects by photographers all over the place. Try opening a magazine and not seeing it.

Your point 7. 'Photo zooms have horrible sharpness no depth' Decent photo zooms these days are very sharp with beautiful DOF like the Canon and Nikon 70-200's and 24-70 2.8's.

May 2, 2013 at 12:18PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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So much for majors, but diving back into minors, I thought I specified "need" twice before, photographers never need to, the have options because of the size of their camera, they are never crammed into a small space with a 40 pound rig that may be 3-4 feet long. In those circumstances, you "need" a wide angle lens that don't distort in tight spaces

For zooms, I haven't used nikon but the canon 24-70 version I is extremely flat, has lens creep, and has horrible distortion at 24 the version II is much better when it comes to distortion at 24, but has horrible breathing, neither maintain focus during zooming. Also the 24-70 version II can fluctuate in sharpness up to 50% when looking at different mms and different parts of the frame. Also, FYI DOF doesn't equal depth, 70-200 just as a focal distance will be flat for cinema or photo.

May 2, 2013 at 12:49PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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ryan

How can you say photographers never need to have options because of the size of their camera??? Whether your shooting a still or motion, lens selection is a creative decision. I haven't used the Canon lenses, but I've worked with a lot of Canon footage from colleagues on collaborative projects and all I see is nice sharp stuff. But I can definitely recommend the 14-24 2.8 Nikon.

FYI DOF does equal depth. A shallow DOF places your subject depth wise in the picture. A flat image can still have depth. Or are you referring to field of view

Yes photo lenses can have breathing but what would you rather have, no breathing and no lens creep or breathing and lens creep (which the breathing is a not issue to me since you have to go looking for it and even then hardly ever see it and if you did its not the end of the world), but have lens stabilisation. I wouldnt give up the lens stabilisation in the 70-200 for anything. It vastly improves every shot when hand held. At 200mm it locks the image and is so smooth I never need to do any post smoothing. Its so good I use my sticks maybe a third of what I used to. Canon have a 24-70 stabilised which I wish Nikon had but then Nikon have the 14-24mm 2.8 and in Canon's lineup that doesnt exist, the closest are some fish eye's. 14mm 2.8 without distortion is amazing.

May 3, 2013 at 1:43AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Are we really talking image stabilization in a talk about cinema glass. I should have realized I'm wasting text. Good luck going against the grain, theres plenty of room in the 1% of films that are shot with IS photo lenses.

Small piece of advice, you will get better results from a standard prime on interviews than a 70-200mm, The z axis compression of telephoto zooms will flatten faces, feature films rarely use a big telephoto lens to film faces.

May 3, 2013 at 2:19AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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ryan

Yes we are talking about IS. Whats the matter? Do you think IS degrades the image or something? When hand held nothing beats IS (when in a fixed location I mean, I'm not talking glidecam or now Movi). Loosing IS needs to be a consideration. Just because cine glass cant do IS is not a reason to remove it from the equation. You do know that IS works beautifully for video as well as stills right?

"Small piece of advice" Bit pretentious. I didnt say anything about interviews with a 70-200 and I imagine most here know that anyway. There are no rules. While I prefer my 50mm 1.8 or the 85 1.4 for interviews there are times when you want the 70-200 to get on really close. Look at the shot of Rafael Nadal on my demo reel, that was the 70-200. Front view I wouldn't use that lens tho.

May 3, 2013 at 3:28AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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forget it man use your photo glass

May 3, 2013 at 9:57AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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ryan

"Half of the ‘cine’ lenses out there are rehousing stills glass."

uh no

May 2, 2013 at 1:33AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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john jeffries

Alright bit of an exaggeration. But I do wonder about some of the newer companies.

May 2, 2013 at 1:56AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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It's only the recent Zeiss CP.2 and Canon primes that are stills DERIVED not even rehouses and thats whats causing all that ruckus

May 2, 2013 at 3:09AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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john jeffries

I do love the concept of changing the lens mounts the way the CP2's can.

May 2, 2013 at 3:24AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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John I do not believe that the canons are simply rehoused, I shot on the 24mm recently and it was tack sharp wide open, I don't believe the l series is the same, and the focus role off is simply just better, when racking between objects its so much more dynamic instead of seeing the focal plane abruptly move on still glass.

May 2, 2013 at 12:05PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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ryan

Guys, Samyang/Rokinons have shown to be more than acceptable for many productions. These new cinema lenses from Schneider will only offer better build construction, ergonomics and lots of cinema specific features, like 14 iris blades, declicked aperture, geared focus/aperture, markings and consistent sizing. And for under $4,000. That's cheaper than CP2s and Canon CN-Es.

PLUS full frame coverage, optimized for 4k, and interchangeable mounting. A DP couldn't ask for a more budget/feature friendly cinema lens to have on hand, and the higher ends to rent.

I'm super excited.

May 2, 2013 at 3:23AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Steve

Cine lenses are generally made to last decades with day to day use at rental houses.

May 2, 2013 at 11:59AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Made some informal tests recently with my old Nikkor AI's and some Zeiss super-speeds. As far as image quality goes, it is NOT night and day. If I hadn't pointed them out, the folks present would have been hard pressed to figure which was which. Of course, we decided to go with the super-speeds because they are, after all, built for cinema but, I won't feel bad any more about slapping an old Nikon prime on there and letting it rip.

May 2, 2013 at 1:20PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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dixter

And then people shoot anamorphics which are horrible. Huge blurring on edges, can't open them up without completely destroying sharpness etc.

Sometimes it's not about being technically good.

May 6, 2013 at 4:48AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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mikko löppönen