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Wanted to get some thoughts on what kind of zoom lenses people would recommend for an owner operator. I've got an Arri Amira, and these days prices on S35 zooms seem to be going down quite a bit. I've seen both Optimo DPs and Arri Alura LWZs go for well under 10k USD per lens. Some lenses even down to 7-8k. 

I use the Sigma 18-35 and 50-100 stills lenses with focus gears on right now, but I would really like to get a set of zooms that cover a better range and are more solid. The Sigmas are fine, but I don't want to spend the money on the cine versions as I will keep the still version of these for certain jobs.

I've been eyeballing a couple of options:

- Arri Alura LWZ 15.5-45 and 30-80

- Angenieux Optimo DP 16-42 and 30-80

I guess the Canon cine zooms are on the table as well, but I have never used the myself. 

It's a bit hard finding examples and documentation on people using these, any insight if welcome.

Thanks!

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The Optimos have a great look, and an okay focal range. The Canon's have the most useful focal range of the bunch: 15.5-47mm and 30-105mm (giving you a little more reach at the long end of both, which is handy). There is some complex distortion on the wider Canon zoom that I'm not a fan of though.

The Alura's I haven't used myself, but have heard good things about - clean, neutral, nothing that particularly stands out.

The convertible (FF and S35mm) Angenieuxs have a pretty busy bokeh, that I find pretty unattractive (but I like particularly smooth bokeh rendering) some people like them a lot, so it'd be a question of what characteristics you enjoy with those.

For me, the Optimos have the prettiest rendering, so they'd probably be my first choice. But if convenience/versatility is the main reason for shlepping the additional weight of zooms around, perhaps the Canon's would be the attractive option on that front.
 

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Are you specifically looking for more "cine zoom" options (I ask, because you've mentioned Optimos, Aluras, and Canon Cines)?

How about the Canon CN.7 or Fujinon XK6? Both really versatile workhorse lenses with a good look to them. I have the Fujinon, and love it. Use it for the majority of my work, and am always happy (as are clients).

There's also the Zeiss LWZ 20-100, and the Fujinon MK pair (which I also like a lot).


 

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I had the CN7 for a number of years..  great lens and the biggest range still I think .. and T2.9 up to 90mm.. but .. wow that thing got heavy very fast .. just carrying the camera around got tough .. on an F5.. I basically sold it purely  because it was too heavy.. this is mostly doc work and corporate ..  if you work in a studio on a tripod all day then not a problem ..  otherwise .. something to consider .. these 3kg lenses are a pain when you don't have an assistant .. 

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Thanks for all the input guys, really appreciated and exactly why I love the new forum.

@Mark K I am leaning towards the Optimos myself, I like the look and feel, and they're quite light compared to other options. I am so-so to the Canons. I know a lot of people like them, and the primes, but I was never sold on them and preferred the trusty CP.2s. I haven't tried the new EZs, but I do know some think the Optimos have them beat optically. Though, the EZs have some more modern features. 

@Nezih I am not decided on getting "cine zooms", but I do lean towards them more than the CN.7 and Cabrio or XK6. I've worked extensively with the CN.7, and I do find it quite front heavy, even on an Amira. The XK6 feels more balanced weight wise, so it is an option. However, I really don't need the range one of those offers. I do rent out my gear some, and I also feel a set of cine zooms is easier to rent out for those productions I rent out to.

@Robin Probyn As said, I feel the same way. Workhorse lenses, defiantly, but very heavy fast when operating alone. What do you use now?

I haven't talked to anyone who have used the Aluras extensively, I feel it's between them and the Angies. Probably will buy a set of those, and price will probably be a deciding factor. 

 

 

 

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I may have missed what type of shooting you mostly do, but the Canon 17-120 is the best all-around s35 zoom on the market.  Yeah, it's a pig, but nothing else is like it(the Fuji 20-120 weighs exactly the same, but it is balanced, unlike the Canon which has a lot more weight in the front).  Unless you're doing strictly narrative/commercial work where changing lenses isn't that big of a deal, the 17-120 is where I'd put my money(and did).  

And if you're doing a ton of handheld, add a SteadyGum to the package.  I have it and an ErgoRig and much prefer the SG.  Feels much more natural and works better with a camera with a real shoulder mount.  It doesn't take the weight fully, but helps a LOT, while still giving you the feel of shoulder mounted/handheld.

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@Run&Gun I shoot a lot of different stuff, but mostly doc type commercial work and promo films. Sometimes I still shoot ENG and documentaries. I get your point, the Canon is extremely versatile, but I do feel the weight a lot. If I were to buy an ENG style lens it would probably be the Fuji 20-120. That lens is actually very reasonable in price right now both new and used. 

Mostly, I feel I have time to change lenses on the jobs I do if i need it. I usually shoot on an EasyRig and more from the hip than from the shoulder. 

I might end up with both some cine zooms and an all-round ENG-style lens for those type of jobs...

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Posted (edited)

I changed to Sigma cine zooms 18-35 .. 50-100mm..  for my fx9 .. I got the kit zoom lens 28-135 Sony full frame .. and use Sony stills primes .. usually with the auto focus .. but yes it does of course depend what type of work you will be doing ..

Edited by Robin Probyn

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3 hours ago, Martin Håndlykken said:

@Robin Probyn I just find that when I work with my stills 18-35 I never have enough reach on the long end. Great lens for sure though! 

This is a 28-135 Sony "cine" zoom.. its a FF zoom so pretty useless on a s35 sensor .. but on a FF camera like the fx9 the equivalent FoV is about 18.5mm to 90mm.. its not a high end lens by any means but  FF zoom lenses are very limited .. and most are huge and cost a fortune .. so this kit lens ,that does have manual controls is not bad, and you can use the Fx9 auto focus .. stills lenses I usually only use for interviews in AF .. FF 85mm at f1.8 would be pretty much impossible manual focus on an interview unless they are tied to the chair and their head in a clamp ! 

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I've also been trying to research which lightweight cinema zoom lenses to buy. I built my chops on the Canon photo lens 17-55, which is such a great range for getting a variety of shots. 

The Angenieux 17-80 f2.2 seems like the perfect range for an owner/operator. Does anyone know why that was discontinued or "replaced" by the 30-90?

Of all the thousands of lens tests and comparisons, there doesn't seem to be one for the lightweight zoom category. So the Angenieux's, Alura's, Fujinon, and Zeiss... 

p.s. I was on a shoot with the Angie EZ zooms, they worked great. I also used the Zeiss 21-120 and it had a slight exposure shift as it zoomed in even as the aperture stayed the same. 

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On 6/16/2020 at 7:53 PM, Martin Håndlykken said:

@Nathaniel Bockley The 17-80 seems very heavy though for handling alone? The Arri 18-80 also is an option if you can handle a lens that size. 

How did you find the Zeiss? A budget option, but I've seen some footage and it seems sharp and nice.

Angenieux Optimo style 26-40 and 30-76 are what I use on the Amira. Nice warm tones and they are lightweight and easy to use as a solo operator. Best purchase I ever made. I don’t like the Zeiss or Canon options, but that’s my personal taste. 

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3 hours ago, Matthew Allard ACS said:

Angenieux Optimo style 26-40 and 30-76 are what I use on the Amira.

What do you use for wide shots?  

Also I haven’t been able to understand the difference between the Optimo and Optimo Style lenses besides the huge price difference. Can you clarify? 

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Sorry that was meant to be 16-40mm. The Optimo zooms are slightly faster and are marketed as the companies premium zooms. The Optimo styles are excellent lenses. 

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Posted (edited)

I have the Optimo DPs for my Amira. Before I had the Amira I used them on the FS7. Lovely lenses, sharp but not too much, wonderful natural contrast and vintage flares if you don't use a mattebox. Skin looks great with these lenses.

If you shoot in 3.2K on the Amira, the 16-42 vignettes quite a bit on the wide end, and especially the 16-42 has some wild moustache distortion. If you can live with that, they are wonderful. The DP versions do not work on every PL mount out there, for example the Kinefinity e-ND PL mount or the PL version of the C200. If you want versatility in mounts, you will need to get the Style versions, which are much more expensive though. I was also considering the Canon Zooms, but they are heavier and bigger, especially the focus barrel, which makes them harder to operate without a follow focus I think. 

If I would buy a lens now, I would absolutely consider the Zeiss 21-100 for the Amira, I think it is a very good range if you shoot in 3.2k. In HD not so much though...

Edited by Martin
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@Martin Thanks for the response. The Optimo DPs are definitely top contenders right now. Very good used price on them, at least here in Europe. I didn't actually know the 16-42 vignettes at 3.2K. I shoot almost everything I do in 3.2k. I don't think it's a dealbreaker for me. I've shot on the Canon 17-55 f2.8 IS on the Amira sometimes and that too vignettes some on the wide end.

The Optimo DP Rouges vs the Styles is difficult, but the Styles are a lot more expensive. The DP Rouges will fit both my Amira and FS7 right now so for my use they're fine. 

I have never been a huge fan of the Canon cine series of lenses. Not the primes nor the zooms, but they do have a very good lineup right now with a lot of choices. 

Considering you can pick up the Zeiss 21-100 used right now for about 6k euros it's a steal. Maybe not something you'd rent out much, but a workhorse lens indeed.

@Matthew Allard ACS Do you know if there is any big changes in the glass from the "old" Optimo Rouges (16-42 and 30-80) vs your newer 16-40 and 30-76?

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I owned a set of Canon CN-E primes for a couple of years but sold them. I always liked the look of the Optimo DPs much more, the Canons were technically good but just a little "boring" maybe.

As far as I know, the optics in the Styles are the same as in the DPs.

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On 6/16/2020 at 12:53 PM, Martin Håndlykken said:

@Nathaniel Bockley The 17-80 seems very heavy though for handling alone? The Arri 18-80 also is an option if you can handle a lens that size. 

How did you find the Zeiss? A budget option, but I've seen some footage and it seems sharp and nice.

True, it's probably too heavy for involved shoots as a one man band. It's just that the range and speed is so juicy! 

I only have a small experience with the Zeiss, but as I mentioned, I was turned off by the slight exposure shift when zooming in. I was filming products, and it was annoying that there was a difference in the image when going in for a closeup. 

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14 hours ago, Martin Håndlykken said:

@MartinThe Optimo DPs are definitely top contenders right now. Very good used price on them, at least here in Europe.

I just moved to Germany. Where is a good used marketplace for lenses, or video gear in general?

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18 hours ago, Martin Håndlykken said:

@Martin Thanks for the response. The Optimo DPs are definitely top contenders right now. Very good used price on them, at least here in Europe. I didn't actually know the 16-42 vignettes at 3.2K. I shoot almost everything I do in 3.2k. I don't think it's a dealbreaker for me. I've shot on the Canon 17-55 f2.8 IS on the Amira sometimes and that too vignettes some on the wide end.

The Optimo DP Rouges vs the Styles is difficult, but the Styles are a lot more expensive. The DP Rouges will fit both my Amira and FS7 right now so for my use they're fine. 

I have never been a huge fan of the Canon cine series of lenses. Not the primes nor the zooms, but they do have a very good lineup right now with a lot of choices. 

Considering you can pick up the Zeiss 21-100 used right now for about 6k euros it's a steal. Maybe not something you'd rent out much, but a workhorse lens indeed.

@Matthew Allard ACS Do you know if there is any big changes in the glass from the "old" Optimo Rouges (16-42 and 30-80) vs your newer 16-40 and 30-76?

Newer optics and coatings and they don’t vignette even when shooting UHD or 3.2K 

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https://www.newsshooter.com/2020/07/11/dzofilm-introduces-pictor-s35-zoom-20-55mm-t2-8-50-125mm-t2-8/

Talking about zoom lenses for owner operators, these look killer for the price!

Sure, they are not of course Angies or Fujinons, so they won't rent good or be sought after. But if you're like me, a small production company and owner of a bit of kit, they might do the job perfectly. They will probably be very clean, sharp, but with a nice bokeh (16 aputure blades) and 2.8 and parfocal.

The pair of them with a range of 20-125 all together covers pretty much everything I need. Maybe need a 11-16ish for wide shots.

All that for 4,499 USD! 

What a time to be alive.

Looks like @Erik Naso is reviewing them, looking forward to it!

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