Behind the Lens episode eight – Fujinon Cabrio 20-120 T3.5

Matt Porwoll continues his series looking at documentary zooms for AbelCine with the Fujinon Cabrio 20-120, in Behind the Lens episode eight.

It’s a bargain. No, really

Behind the Lens episode eight
It’s big, it’s heavy, it makes lovely pictures: the Fujinon Cabrio 20-120 T3.5

This is an entry-level cinema zoom (is there even such a thing?) that shares a lot of the characteristics of Fujinon’s Premier line of lenses, but at a more affordable price point. Let’s not get carried away here – in the UK the 20-120 retails for around £10,000 +VAT – but considering the Premier 18-85 T2.0 goes for six-and-a-half times that (a cool 65 grand) we can stick with Matt’s assessment of it as offering good value and move on.

PL-mount, constant T-stop

The 20-120 is a PL-mount lens to cover Super 35 sensors, and has a constant T-stop of 3.5 through a zoom range that should see you right in most shooting situations. There’s an optional servo grip that offers start/stop, auto iris, zoom control and remote control ports – you can buy the lens without it and go fully manual if for some reason that’s what’s stopping you investing in a small car’s worth of glass.

Big and tough, neutral and cool

Behind the Lens episode eight
The lens is heavy but balanced on a body like this Sony FS7.

Build quality is ‘exceptional,’ although this also means it’s a heavy lens – at 6.5lbs it’s comparable to the Canon 17-120 that Matt took a look at previously, and slightly heavier than Fujinon’s own 19-90 Cabrio. That heft does make handholding a touch easier though as there’s some mass to counter unwanted camera movement, and Matt found that the lens itself feels balanced.

The 20-120 has 200° of focus throw, which Matt finds to be about the perfect amount, and you’ll want to nail focus as the lens is sharp at all T-stops and focal distances.

Colour Matt found to be quite neutral with a touch of green in skin tones, lending footage a slightly cool feel. This is very similar to Fujinon’s 19-90, quite a feat really given that the 20-120 costs half as much. Also pleasantly surprising is that the 20-120 breathes at 35mm and 50mm but a little less than the 19-90.

The best feature for me though has to be the luminous barrel markings. Hey if I’m investing £10K in a lens I want to be able to see it in the dark!

A dealbreaker? Final thoughts

Behind the Lens episode eight
Close focus isn’t great but if you can live with that limitation the rest of the package is pretty special.

The one flaw that Matt identified during testing is the relatively long minimum focus distance. At 3.7ft it’s the longest on test by a foot and means you’ll have to keep your distance from your subjects a little.

Overall though Matt found that the Fujinon Cabrio 20-120 T3.5 offers a cinematic look at a fraction of the cost of its Premier stablemates. If you can work around the minimum focus distance this could be a lens that sits on your camera all day everyday, gets out of the way and lets you do your thing.

Further Behind the Lens

As ever there’s a host more information in Matt’s own blogpost over on the AbelCine website, and you can catch up on the rest of the Behind the Lens series on Newsshooter here.

Would you choose the Fujinon Cabrio 20-120 T3.5 as your one true lens? A rental or a solid investment piece? Let us know in the comments below…




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