Home of Professional Cinematography since 1996

style="margin-bottom: 0"> 

class="style8" Low Light Lenses

>Published : 9th March 2005

>I've been lurking and reading the archives of CML for quite a while now, this is my first post though, so..

>Hello to everybody...

>I'm in the preparation of a project where we want to film under very low light situations, like night exteriors in dark streets without additional lighting...To make matters worse, I'd like to shoot it on black and white reversal stock (Tri-X 7266)

>so, while we can get a set of high-speed Zeiss lenses (T1.3) I was wondering if there are other low light lenses in the 12-25mm range that will cover super16, preferably with PL-mount (although it might be possible to adapt others)...like, are there any lenses with an aperture below T1.3 which still render a decent image?

>Any pointers would be appreciated

>Christoph Manz
Germany


>ze. manz wrote :

class="style9">>so, while we can get a set of high-speed Zeiss lenses (T1.3) I was >wondering if there are other low light lenses in the 12-25mm range that >will cover super16, preferably with PL-mount (although it might be >possible to adapt others)..."

>The 26mm f/1.1 Switar is a great lens, but it's Rx mount, not adaptable to PL. What have you got against the Zeiss’s? They're very nice lenses, easily available.

>Jeff Kreines


>Jeff Kreines writes :

class="style9">>The 26mm f/1.1 Switar is a great lens, but it's Rx mount, not adaptable >to PL. What have you got against the Zeiss’s? They're very nice lenses, >easily available.

>Oh, I have nothing against them...I used them several times and was very pleased with the results.

>I'm just looking if there is a way to get an extra half, or even better a full, stop of light on the film.

>Christoph Manz
Germany


>ze. manz wrote :

class="style9">> I'm just looking if there is a way to get an extra half, or even better a full, >stop of light on the film.

>Apparently the new version of Tri-X reversal pushes very nicely. You
might shoot tests at push 1, 1.5, and 2 stops.

>Jeff Kreines


>The Elites and the Optar Illuminas all are T1.3 as well. Aren't the old CP Ultra-Ts and Cine Kowas a little faster, like T1.2? I think the new lens would perform much better though.

>Mitch Gross
NYC DP


class="style9">>night exteriors without any additional lighting...dark alley ways

>I don't know your experience level...but I hope you can do a little lighting! Not for exposure but for separation and modelling! At the light levels you are talking about...you won't need much. Rechargeable battery operated lights perhaps...if you don't have much exposure...you risk having a thin muddy print.

>Wouldn't take much for you to test with a still camera ...

>If your budget doesn't allow much lighting...I hope you can afford a decent focus puller to keep things sharp while filming wide open ...

>Viel Gluck !

>Reversal Stock...I wish you even more luck...you will have even less shadow detail...COULD be interesting ...

>http://www.transvideointl.com/pages/english/users/Mako_Kowai.htm

Mako Koiwai ... been there...done that

Glendale, CA


>Thanks to everybody for their advice, maybe I should have stated in the original post that this is going to be a low-budget indie film (somehow I thought this was obvious .. so we're trying to use this to our advantage and do some stuff that you cant do when real money is involved.

>Mitch Gross wrote :

class="style9">>The Elites and the Optar Illuminas all are T1.3 as well. Aren't the old CP >Ultra-Ts and Cine Kowas a little faster, like T1.2? I think the new lens >would perform much better though.

>Well, as said I was looking for something below f1.0... Schneider-kreuznach has listed a xenon 0.95/17mm and a 0.95/25mm...those are for 2/3" and 1" CCDs respectively, so theoretically they should cover super16.. however, I don't know how they perform and how well the C-mount adapts to PL-mount.

>http://www.schneider-kreuznach.com/industrieoptik_e/industrieoptik.htm

>so apparently, there doesn’t seem to be a cine-lens below f1:1.0?

>Jeff Kreines wrote :

class="style9">>I'm just looking if there is a way to get an extra half, or even better a full, >stop of light on the film. Apparently the new version of Tri-X reversal >pushes very nicely. You might shoot tests at push 1, 1.5, and 2 stops.

>Yep, we were planning to do that anyway... but obviously pushing will only help with the mid-tones and highlights, while a faster lens would help with the shadows.

>Mako Koiwai wrote :

class="style9">>[...] I hope you can do a little lighting! Not for exposure but for >separation and modelling! At the light levels you are talking about...you >won't need much. Rechargeable battery operated lights perhaps

>Well, the idea is to choose locations with interesting light situations and then find the angles which will look good.. but probably we'll also take along some battery powered Chinese ball.. and some flashlights

class="style10">>.... if you don't have much exposure ... you risk having a thin muddy >print.

>Well, with reversal it's rather that I will have deep shadows.. which is exactly what I want (otherwise I'd shoot on 7218 and convert/print on b/w later - actually that is plan b..

class="style10">>Reversal Stock ... I wish you even more luck ... you will have even less >shadow detail ... COULD be interesting ...

>I can tell you, it is!... I've shot quite a lot of footage on super8 under the same circumstances and it looks lovely.

>Christoph Manz
Berlin


>Speaking as a notorious (well I wish ) Tri-X nocturnal shooter, I think I'd be inclined to stick to optics known to work over trying to squeeze 1/2 stop out of lenses that may have rear focus issues -- why take the boldness and sharpness of Tri-X and get a squishy image ?

>I have not shot the new Tri-X, can't comment on it's pushability, but as a push will increase gamma of an already high ("projection") gamma stock I'd be reluctant to count on a push opening shadows much (but try it).

>I've pushed it for look, but not really for speed increase.

>Sam Wells


>ze. manz wrote:

class="style10">>well, as said I was looking for something below f1.0...Schneider->kreuznach has listed a xenon 0.95/17mm and a 0.95/25mm... those are >for 2/3" and 1" CCDs respectively, so theoretically they should cover >super16.. however, I don't know how they perform and how well the C->mount adapts to PL-mount.

>They can't be adapted to PL.

>However, you could use them on an Eclair ACL or NPR. Personally, I'd use the Zeiss SuperSpeeds, and push, and sneak in a tiny amount of light when you can. Tri X reversal is a lovely stock -- don't use color neg for B&W, it's very boring and textureless.

>Jeff Kreines


class="style10">> so apparently, there doesn’t seem to be a cine-lens below f1:1.0?

>Hmmm... I think back to my student days and being handed a Bell & Howell 70DR, and I believe one of the lenses on the turret was an f/0.95.....

>I'd also rather go with a good quality modern 1.3 than an unknown vintage .95......

>George Hupka
Director/DP
Downstream Pictures
Saskatoon, Canada


>George Hupka wrote :

class="style10">>Hmmm... I think back to my student days and being handed a Bell & >Howell 70DR, and I believe one of the lenses on the turret was an >f/0.95.....

>What was the stop on the legendary candle lit scene "Barry Lyndon" Kubrick lens?

>Tom McDonnell
Dir/DP
New Orleans, La