This Week in Review
Last week I had the privilege of working with some equipment that I rented from borrowlenses.com and from some dude that I found in Kentwood, MI. From borrowlenses.com, I rented a pair of Rokinon cine lenses, and from the random guy in Kentwood I rented a Canon 5D mkII. The camera cost $80 to rent and the lenses about $120, (including shipping and idiot insurance), so it cost me about $200 for a week of filming. Here is a brief review of what I thought about it all...
The lenses were both prime lenses, one being an 85mm, the other being a 35mm. Both of them had a de-clicked manual aperture ring, fully manual focus rings (that were geared for a follow focus), and had a maximum aperture of T1.5.
The Good: When I first picked up one of these lenses, I first noticed its quality build. Even though these lenses are in the $300-800 range they felt very solid in my hand, not even giving a hint that they were trying to be something that they weren't. That being said, they were not a Canon cine lens or a Zeiss lens. Compared to those lenses these are straight-up janky, but compared to working with a comparable photography lens they are quality instruments.
The aperture ring was fantastic to work with. It always operated very smoothly and gave me the ability to make on-the-fly adjustments even while recording, so that made me a happy lil filmer. The other thing that really struck me was the optic quality. I am not saying that these are the promised messiah of lenses, but they kept a very tight focus and I didn't notice too much aberration, especially for how little they cost. The image that they produced had no reason for me to complain, it was sharp and very easy to work with.
The Bad: I have but one complaint with these lenses, and it may be because I was using a 35mm on a full frame camera and I noticed it more, but when I would rack focus with it there seemed to be a lot of lens breathing that occurred. Lens breathing is when the composition is changed because of the focus changing, basically the focal length is making very tiny adjustments. This is probably where a higher quality lens comes in handy, it really comes into play when I tried doing longer focus changes and can get really annoying.
As mentioned earlier, the camera that I rented was a Canon 5D mkII. Last week was the first time that I actually worked with a 5D in the field and I really enjoyed it. The construction was very sturdy and the controls easy to use. It was actually really funny seeing us trying to figure out how to use the thing at first. The camera that we have been using for the better part of the last 6 months is a Canon t4i, a camera with a dedicated switch setting for "video mode". The 5D just has a small button in the middle of the aperture adjusting wheel that starts recording video. They really should put a little red dot on there or SOMETHING. We seriously played with that thing for like 15 minutes scrolling through every menu and sub-menu that we could find.
As far as video quality goes, the 5D delivered everything that it said it would. The full frame sensor looked awesome on the big open shots with the 35mm lens. The color was easily balanced and we never had any issues with ISO noise (though we didn't really have any dark environments, so that means nothing). I really loved the cinematic feel that the larger sensor gave, it really felt like the screen was opened up to the viewer.
So hopefully the video that we shot will be up and on the internet soon! In the meantime....Happy Filming! :D