New to This and Need Help Picking Lens

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nikolae

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New to This and Need Help Picking Lens

PostTue Feb 20, 2018 4:15 pm

Good Day Everyone;

I recently started an effort at my job where we are going to be taping training sessions for maintenance actions. My supervisor bought a Blackmagic Design URSA Mini 4K Digital Cinema Camera (PL-Mount) and has asked me to purchase the first lens to start off the project. I know NOTHING about videography or cinematography and am looking for some advice.

1. What is a good website(s) to learn more about the basics of cinematography?
2. What angle lens would be best suited for my effort? We will be shooting a benchtop training video with probably just upper body of the instructor with the equipment. Right now I only have the budget for 1-3 lenses.

As I said, I am a complete novice so I really would appreciate advice.

Nikolae
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Denny Smith

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Re: New to This and Need Help Picking Lens

PostTue Feb 20, 2018 5:35 pm

Where are you located? See if you have a Public Access Cable TV station near you or a College,that has a telecommunications department, and they can offer some guidance and help. As for lenses, since you have a PL mount, you can get one of the new PL Cine Zooms, like the Angenieux EZ or the Fujinon version. For Primes the SLR Magic APO PL lenses would be hard to beat, and are reasonably priced for a PL Cine lens.

As for focal length, that is going to depend on what you want to,show in the shot, and how far the camera is from the set, again yiu need to seek some experienced video person to look at what you are trying to do.

The Ursa Mini PL camera is totally a manual camera, no auto exposure, no auto focus. It is not a point and shoot, and requires someone who knows how to set exposure and setup the camera. Finding someone with hands on video experience is going to be a quicker way to get going than by reading books, or doing google searches, which can often be misleading and confusing.
Cheers
Denny Smith
SHA Productions
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Stephen Press

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Re: New to This and Need Help Picking Lens

PostTue Feb 20, 2018 6:12 pm

You know what? I'd find a local freelancer and dry hire them for the first few shoots. Throw in a couple of training days and get them to advise on lenses. It will save you from buying the wrong lenses, teach you about the camera, lighting, sound setup and as a bonus the first few shoots will be usable.
Its a small investment that will save expensive and far reaching missteps.
p.s. if someone calls themselves a "vidiographer" run a mile :)
"A cameraman with out a camera is just a man"
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Howard Roll

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Re: New to This and Need Help Picking Lens

PostTue Feb 20, 2018 7:06 pm

If you've already got everything else. Batteries, Cfast cards, a good microphone, and budget of $5000-$10000 for lenses then proceed. If not you can pick up a great camcorder for less than the cost of the cheapest pl mount lens. I'm not even going to talk about lighting, but with the native ISO of 400 on that camera, decent lighting will also become a concern sooner rather than later. I would not consider any BM camera a beginners camera, the PL versions even less so. Unless you plan on hitting it hard I would strongly consider another system.

Good Luck, and welcome to the forum.
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Denny Smith

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Re: New to This and Need Help Picking Lens

PostWed Feb 21, 2018 6:31 am

I second what Howard says also, the BM Ursa Mini is Not a beginners camera, get a Point and Shoot Video Camera with its own zoom lens. Also,lighting is going to be important with the Ursa Mini, not to mention all the other bits you are going to need, the first of which will be a good tripod with a fluid video head.
Cheers
Denny Smith
SHA Productions
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Anatoly Mashanov

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Re: New to This and Need Help Picking Lens

PostWed Feb 21, 2018 1:06 pm

You are in quite a bad position. Problem is that the PL mount is the kind of mount that has no adapters to any mount typical for stills photo. The mount is both wider and has a bigger focal distance. So, the variants are:

1) Try to exchange the camera to the same camera but with EF mount,

2) Find some 28-mm or 35-mm photo prime or 28-70 mm photo zoom, buy a lathe and machine the PL mount for it. It's a difficult, risky,expensive and time-consuming project. Since the mount throat is 54mm in diameter you should move the lens 7mm inside (shorten the existing lens body), fit the back of the lens into 54mm and allow some place for PL mount nut. It could include the total replacement of focusing ring, for instance.

The only positive side of this variant is that after you destroy a dozen or so of lenses you became a lens repair and remount specialist and a turner and it could become an additional source of income.

3) Find a PL lens. It would be more expensive even than variant 2 (lathe included). But there are sometimes PLized stills lenses on E-Bay. For instance, Russian Helios 44-2 PL is US$90. Unfortunately, there are no cheap PL zooms there.

4) Don't even think about replacement of PL mount with any mount of your choice because you lose all the warranty. But it would be my choice in condition that I find an Ursa Mini PL in a garbage container.

Please don't forget that there are lots of PL-mount lenses for 16-mm cameras, They would vignette, so you should check them before you buy. For instance, there is Meteor 5-1 PL on E-Bay.
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Thomas Koveleskie

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Re: New to This and Need Help Picking Lens

PostWed Feb 21, 2018 2:09 pm

I also have a URSA PL mount and I just put together a nice selection of Soviet prime lenses for a 70s themed project. These lenses work very well and are relatively inexpensive compared to other PL lenses. They would certainly be more than good for making training videos.

The lenses I bought were M42 screw on mounts and I used readily available PL mount adapters. Some of my lenses came already with PL mount adapter and a couple I adapted myself. If you can screw in a light bulb you can adapt the M42 mount to PL mount. They just screw on over the M42 threads and voila, PL mount. I did a lot of research on these Soviet lenses to find out what will work and won't.

I think I would start with a MIR 1-B f2.8-37mm which is a very nice lens and is cheap and versatile. This can be bought from a reputable Ebay seller from Ukraine already with a PL mount for $150. I have bought a couple of lenses myself from them.

Go to Ebay and type in "Flektogon 37/2.8 37 mm Mir - 1 PL-MOUNT LENS ARRIFLEX ARRI MOVIE CAMERA BMPCC". Also search for "35mm PL mount lenses" and a bunch will show up.

If you want a my list of Soviet lenses that I put together let me know.
Computer: AMD FX-8370 4.2 GHZ 8 core, 16GB RAM, GTX 780 TI, Win 10 X64, system drive OCZ 240GB SSD, storage HD's: 5 TB, 2 TB, 1 TB.
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Anatoly Mashanov

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Re: New to This and Need Help Picking Lens

PostWed Feb 21, 2018 3:11 pm

Thomas Koveleskie wrote:They just screw on over the M42 threads and voila, PL mount.

The M42 to PL adapter has a recess. And either your M42 lens fit into the recess, or you are out of luck.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/PL-mount-len ... SwIaFZL~Kt

If so you should somehow modify the mount, such as here:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Anamorphic-F ... Swy3NZYz1~

They have totally replaced the M42 mount to PL mount. It could be quite easy to do.

Now look here:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Fur-M42-Prak ... SwZ11aaujM

It's back is 59 mm in diameter so i would not fit into the adapter, and if you attempt to cut off the back to attach the PL mount then you should cut off the aperture control too. Other zooms I have are similar. And basically it means that if you want to PLize a zoom you are out of luck unless you replace all the aperture control.
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Robert Niessner

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Re: New to This and Need Help Picking Lens

PostWed Feb 21, 2018 7:16 pm

If you want to buy new PL lenses your cheapest bet are the XEEN primes for $ 1.695 each or the Tokina Cinema 16-28 Zoom for $ 2.499

And you could ask Duclos lenses if they can and how much it costs to convert an Nikon/Canon/Sony mount lens to PL mount
Robert Niessner
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Denny Smith

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Re: New to This and Need Help Picking Lens

PostWed Feb 21, 2018 9:01 pm

Duclos has previously stated, changing Nikon or Canon still lenses to PL would cost more than buying a new PL lens. He does however offer a PL mount conversion for some EF cine lenses, starting at around $1800 USD. See https://thecinelens.com/?s=PL+conversion
Cheers
Denny Smith
SHA Productions
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Ric Murray

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Re: New to This and Need Help Picking Lens

PostWed Feb 21, 2018 10:55 pm

Yeah, you have bought a Ferrari to go around the block to the grocery store. It can be done, but it's going to require some training, some patience, and some experience to get the desired results.

The common mistake when going out to buy gear is to spend a lot on the camera. MUCH more important for a training film production program is good lighting, a good lavaliere microphone, and an inexpensive teleprompter setup with a coherent script on it.

I spent many years producing training videos for the HVAC industry. Every training guy thought he could stand in front of the camera and deliver his spiel flawlessly in one take. Never happened. Results ranged from boring and 5x longer than necessary to complete meltdowns when facing the camera for the first time. 90% of the info in a training video is in the soundtrack Spending more on the audio is money well spent. The picture is often just back up and detail. Feel free to PM me if you would like to discuss further details.
Creativity is the ability to accept ambiguity.
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Michael Odhiambo

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Re: New to This and Need Help Picking Lens

PostThu Feb 22, 2018 6:38 pm

Denny Smith wrote:For Primes the SLR Magic APO PL lenses would be hard to beat, and are reasonably priced for a PL Cine lens.


I am in the market for cine lenses. Talked to JB as well and he put the SLR APO's on top of the list (above CP.2's) Now I see B&H has the XEEN's at an attractive price point, but still can't pull the trigger. What is your experience with the SLR APO's? And at current B&H prices of 1700 per lens, would you go with xeen?

I own Sigma Art zooms. So, really gotten used to the look. But they are terrible for focusing.
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rick.lang

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Re: New to This and Need Help Picking Lens

PostThu Feb 22, 2018 10:17 pm

Michael,there’s a thread here that discusses the SLR Magic APO primes. Currently available in T2.1 25, 50, 85mm. These lenses have titanium PL mounts. They use 77mm screw-on filters. The lenses’ image circle cover more than 135 film ‘full frame so you are future proof.

They have a controlled flare, a creamy look like a Cooke, very good bokeh, usable at T2.1, but you may prefer stopping down to T2.8 which helps give more depth of field. The lenses have an outside diameter of 95mm versus the 114mm on Xeens so they are smaller and lighter than many well-known and costly PL lenses. Zeiss CP.3s also moved to those smaller dimensions if you want a cooler look, but much more costly.

The current set should work well for your needs. There is a 32mm lens that I expect will be available by April 2018.

SLR Magic also sells an EF replacement mount for the primes: unscrew the PL mount and screw on the EF mount. That might be a consideration if you also wanted to use them for promotional stills on a DSLR with EF mount.


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Rick Lang
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Michael Odhiambo

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Re: New to This and Need Help Picking Lens

PostFri Feb 23, 2018 1:30 am

rick.lang wrote:Michael,there’s a thread here that discusses the SLR Magic APO primes. Currently available in T2.1 25, 50, 85mm. These lenses have titanium PL mounts. They use 77mm screw-on filters. The lenses’ image circle cover more than 135 film ‘full frame so you are future proof.

They have a controlled flare, a creamy look like a Cooke, very good bokeh, usable at T2.1, but you may prefer stopping down to T2.8 which helps give more depth of field. The lenses have an outside diameter of 95mm versus the 114mm on Xeens so they are smaller and lighter than many well-known and costly PL lenses. Zeiss CP.3s also moved to those smaller dimensions if you want a cooler look, but much more costly.

The current set should work well for your needs. There is a 32mm lens that I expect will be available by April 2018.

SLR Magic also sells an EF replacement mount for the primes: unscrew the PL mount and screw on the EF mount. That might be a consideration if you also wanted to use them for promotional stills on a DSLR with EF mount.


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Thanks Rick. Will go for the SLR's.
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rick.lang

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Re: New to This and Need Help Picking Lens

PostFri Feb 23, 2018 7:02 am

I think you’ll enjoy working with them. All manual has its benefits in that you are in control of what you get. That’s what I prefer.


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Rick Lang

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