Angenieux EZ-1 vs. Fujinon 20-120

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OwenCrowley

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Angenieux EZ-1 vs. Fujinon 20-120

PostMon Jan 29, 2018 2:46 am

It is a long story, but for the past few weeks I have been trying out a used but immaculate Fujinon XK20-120mm T3.5 Cabrio PL lens (without the servo unit). Then, last Thursday, I was finally able to purchase an Angenieux EZ-1 30-90mm T2 S35 PL lens. I can afford only one of these two lenses, so I faced a dilemma — which one to keep?

First the more urgent topic, the Fujinon. It is a fabulous lens. I love it. And it works well on the UMP despite the UMP having a larger sensor than the Fujinon is designed to accommodate. If you want to read my love letter to the Fujinon lens, check out my review on the B&H product page:
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1251350-REG/fujinon_xk6x20_19_90mm_t2_9_cabrio_premier.html#customerReview

But I decided to keep the Angenieux, even though I admire it less. For 80% of the shooting I do, the ergonomics and speed Angenieux is a better fit. It was a tough decision, but fitness for use is the stronger consideration. The Fujinon delivers an overall superior image with enough light and on a tripod (because given its weight and balance I have trouble holding it steady on my shoulder). Taking into consideration the skills and physical prowess of the operator, however, using the Angenieux results in a superior image when shooting from the shoulder.

So I returned the Fujinon to B&H today. The price of new copies has been dropping, but if you want to score a like new, servoless Fujinon XK20-120mm at a discount, watch the B&H used section.

In the brief time I had the Angenieux EZ-1 30-90mm and the Fujinon XK20-120mm together, this is how they seemed to compare:

* The Fujinon is sharp, especially in its center field. It really pops. But at the edges it softens up subtly.

* The Angenieux is a bit soft overall, but its sharpness/softness is more even towards the edge of the image.

* Both exhibit barrel and pincushion distortion, easily corrected in post.

* Neither seem to have a chromatic abberation problem.

* I did not notice breathing from either lens.

* The Fujinon vignettes a bit while shooting full frame on the UMP, but as a practical matter this was not a problem and not worth correcting.

* The Fujinon has the superior build quality. No comparison here. It feels rock solid, and the action of the Fujinon's control surfaces is smooth, silent and just lovely.

* The Angenieux seems more hollow and delicate (but not overly cheap). Focus, zoom and iris have different viscosities. The zoom especially feels a bit coarse and in a quiet room make a bit of sound as you adjust it. Nevertheless, on a test shoot I was able to zoom smoothly.

* On the other hand, the Angenieux is about 1/2 Kg lighter than the Fujinon (both without servo), and the balance of the Angenieux seems more conducive to shoulder operations with the UMP.

Here are some videos on DropBox that were made with these lenses. These videos were all shot 4:1 compressed raw, and were processed in Resolve using the ACES 1.0.3 color management workflow (Blackmagic Design 4K Film v3 to P3-D60).

First, here is an impromptu minivideo comparing the images of the Angenieux and the Fujinon.

This was shot raw 4k 16x9, which favors the Fujinon a bit because this almost fits its rated image circle. The Fujinon was at open aperture, but not fully wide. The Angenieux was fully wide, but stopped down from its maximum aperture. Color is not corrected, but the light is indirect sunlight which probably changed a bit while I changes lenses.

Here is a test/learn shoot with the Angenieux on a semi-contrasty sunny day.

Sorry for all the gratuitous focus changing — I was trying to build some muscle memory about where the controls are on this lense. This was shot full frame raw 4:1. Color is not corrected, but overall exposure of most shots was manipulated in post. I also applied Resolve's stabilization correction in some shots. And I had a linear polarizer in front of the lense up to and including the gospel singers. Among these shots are some inside NYC's subway system, where the T3.5 Fujinon (but not the Angenieux) would have forced me to apply gain in post.
Last edited by OwenCrowley on Thu Feb 08, 2018 2:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Patrick Acum

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Re: Angenieux EZ-1 vs. Fujinon 20-120

PostMon Jan 29, 2018 10:44 am

Thanks for this, really useful, I was looking at these exact same options. I was under the belief that the fujinon did not cover the sensor, that it was sth like 28.5 But Matt duclos tested it and said it had the same 31.5 coverage the big cabrio has. I've seen mixed reports over coverage so ruled it out. I was very excited about the T2 angenieux. I do a lot of docs, much of it is controlled, so I shoot with primes, but there's always an element of live coverage. I was hoping to replace my heavy box of cinealtas with the angenieux, and use my red 18-50 and 50-150 to cover either end. Id hoped the ez1 could cover the prime range I use the most and at T2 from angenieux, I was expecting great things. But online, there's a very disappointing selection of material available, even their promo video looks nothing special.
I agree about the stop, 2.8 is really as slow as I can go. In the end I had an angenieux 28-70 2.6 stills lens rehoused to pl. My worry about the Fuji would be the next round of FF sensors
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rick.lang

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Angenieux EZ-1 vs. Fujinon 20-120

PostMon Jan 29, 2018 5:41 pm

OwenCrowley wrote:It is a long story, but for the past few weeks I have been trying out a used but immaculate Fujinon XK20-120mm T3.5 Cabrio PL lens (without the servo unit). Then, last Thursday, I was finally able to purchase an Angenieux EZ-1 30-90mm T2 S35 PL lens. I can afford only one of these two lenses, so I faced a dilemma — which one to keep?

Fujinon... check out my review on the B&H product page:
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1251350-REG/fujinon_xk6x20_19_90mm_t2_9_cabrio_premier.html#customerReview


I’ll window shop although that’s always risky.

But I decided to keep the Angenieux...

The price of new copies has been dropping, but if you want to score a like new, servoless Fujinon XK20-120mm at a discount, watch the B&H used section.

In the brief time I had the Angenieux EZ-1 30-90mm and the Fujinon XK20-120mm together, this is how they seemed to compare...

Angenieux is a bit soft overall, but its sharpness/softness is more even towards the edge of the image...


That’s part of the Angēnieux look, more flattering and then arguably more cinematic.

Angenieux is about 1/2 Kg lighter than the Fujinon (both without servo), and the balance of the Angenieux seems more conducive to shoulder operations with the UMP...

These videos were all shot 4:1 compressed raw, and were processed in Resolve using the ACES 1.0.3 color management workflow (Blackmagic Design 4K Film v3 to P3-D60)...


You should be using the Blackmagic Design 4.6K Film v3 IDT, not the 4K version, on the URSA Mini Pro 4.6 camera.

I had a linear polarizer in front of the lense up to and including the gospel singers.


My understanding is that digital sensors fare better with a circular polarizer. Of course circular polarizers can be round screw-on or rectangular in shape. I wonder if that might account for a softer image.

Among these shots are some inside NYC's subway system, where the T3.5 Fujinon (but not the Angenieux) would have forced me to apply gain in post...


My Fujinon is T2.4 and I’ve occasionally had to use it wide open and often use it at T2.8. That’s a great advantage to the faster Angēnieux EZ zooms. Canon’s T4.4 would be an even worse choice for me. I think you made the right choice, Owen. Great review.
Rick Lang
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OwenCrowley

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Re: Angenieux EZ-1 vs. Fujinon 20-120

PostTue Jan 30, 2018 1:20 am

Rick,

> You should be using the Blackmagic Design 4.6K Film v3 IDT,
> not the 4K version, on the URSA Mini Pro 4.6 camera.

Thank you, quite right. Somehow I never scrolled down to find the 4.6k source configuration. I have corrected my presets for future projects.
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OwenCrowley

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Re: Angenieux EZ-1 vs. Fujinon 20-120

PostThu Feb 01, 2018 3:21 am

That used, servoless Fujinon XK20-120mm T3.5 Cabrio that I loved but returned to B&H in favor of the EZ1 — the Fujinon has reappeared in the B&H used section for $9543.95US. I bought that same (apparently) lens from B&H in December for $8298.95US. I must have the Midas touch.
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Rakesh Malik

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Re: Angenieux EZ-1 vs. Fujinon 20-120

PostThu Feb 01, 2018 10:14 pm

rick.lang wrote:That’s part of the Angēnieux look, more flattering and then arguably more cinematic.


There is something magical about Angenieux lenses...

My understanding is that digital sensors fare better with a circular polarizer. Of course circular polarizers can be round screw-on or rectangular in shape. I wonder if that might account for a softer image.


It shouldn't in general, but... Generally what trips digital cameras up with linear rather than circular polarizers is that a lot of digital cameras use the reflection off of the sensor or off the closed shutter to measure things like light levels and focus. Linear polarizers polarize light and do nothing else, which wreaks havoc with specular highlights... which is what the meter sensors are reading, so it confuses them.

Circular polarizers are basically linear polarizers with quarter wave retarders behind. They essentially re-rotate the light so that what's falling on the sensor isn't really polarized any more, so the autofocus and meter sensors can work. This has no affect on the image except to make it a bit darker, so you do get a bit more light through a linear polarizer than through a circular one, but if they're both of the same quality (i.e. compare a B+W Kaesemann linear vs circular polarizer) you won't find a difference in sharpness.

Still, if it confuses the camera's focus detection, it might lead to a soft image just by leading you to place the focus point just a little bit off of where it should be.

I don't know whether or not that's correct, it's just my guess. :)
Rakesh Malik
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rick.lang

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Re: Angenieux EZ-1 vs. Fujinon 20-120

PostFri Feb 02, 2018 2:41 am

Thanks for the details, Rakesh!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Rick Lang
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Rakesh Malik

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Re: Angenieux EZ-1 vs. Fujinon 20-120

PostFri Feb 02, 2018 3:03 am

rick.lang wrote:Thanks for the details, Rakesh!


At least there's SOME up side to having spent several semesters in the Johns Hopkins physics department... :)
Rakesh Malik
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OwenCrowley

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Re: Angenieux EZ-1 vs. Fujinon 20-120

PostFri Feb 02, 2018 4:46 pm

Yes, thank you Rakesh! I was not aware of the potential specular highlights issue with metering. I will watch for that. I guess that means I should be wary of how some subjects meter, like the glittery Liberties in the second video of the first post in this thread.

As for impact on auto-focus, I’m one of those macho DPs who muscles through manual everything (focus, iris, zoom).
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Rakesh Malik

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Re: Angenieux EZ-1 vs. Fujinon 20-120

PostFri Feb 02, 2018 5:13 pm

It's only a problem if you put a linear polarizer in front of the sensor, because the it alters the way that the light reflects off of the sensor.

I'm not sure if it's a problem for cameras that derive their scopes and focus peaking from the image processing pipelines like cinema cameras do. It might mislead you in your exposure checks, but if you're careful it shouldn't be a problem.

Either way, with digital you should use circular polarizers and just avoid the problems altogether. A good polarizer is pricey, but totally worth it. It's sometimes even useful indoors, since it's a great way to cut through specular highlights on actors' skin tones in closeups...
Rakesh Malik
Cinematographer, photographer, adventurer, martial artist
http://WinterLight.studio

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