200mm lens test
, you will know that I decided to giveaway the lens, that I think performed the best in that test and also is the best built. In my opinion it is the Chinon 200mm f/3.5. It’s a great little prime; very solid (no plastic parts here), quit heavy, with a very nice and smooth long through focusing ring. The lens is still in excellent condition cosmetically and optically. It comes with both lens caps and has a very easily adaptable M42 mount.
It’s is not an expensive lens and might not be a highly desirable prize, but it’s very simple to enter and it will only take a few minutes of your time.
There are 3 ways: YouTube, Facebook & Tweeter.
- You need to like the BudgetFilmmaker page: http://www.facebook.com/BudgetFilmmaker
- You also need to like the actual post about this competition. Again from that, I will be able to take your username and put it into the raffle.
- You must be following Budgetfilmmaker there: https://twitter.com/#!/BudgetFilmmaker
- You will also need to tweet this little message from your profile: Great Chance to Win a Lens, Chinon 200mm prime. Check out the details here: http://www.budgetfilmmaker.co.uk/1/post/2011/12/post-title-click-and-type-to-edit1.html #Chinon200giveaway
- I will be able to track you down by the hash-tag and add you to the raffle.
You don’t have to enter in all 3 platforms, you can use only 1, but if you enter in all 3 your chances will of course increase. It makes sense to do that anyway, because you most likely have different profile user names on each site anyway and you could cheat this way anyway and enter 3 times. Even if you have exactly the same names on all 3 sites, you name will still be counted 3 times.
Please no cheating though, just one entry from each platform. If I see that the profile was created just few days ago and it’s empty, I’ll have to ignore such entry, as such page would like the profile was just created to enter and might be one of a few my the same person.
I will be happy to send this lens anywhere in the world, so no restrictions in that sense.
You can enter until the midnight on Thursday, the 5th of January. It will then give me enough time to announce the winner on Friday, the 6th.
Good luck to everyone entering. If you don’t win this time there will be many more opportunities in future. I’m not rich, but I will try to do 1 giveaway each month, so stay tuned.
If you read my post on my
I don’t usually use Nikon lenses, because I prefer to keep my setup clear, especially when using a follow focus, which I use a lot. Nikon and Canon lenses focus in different direction and to me it is confusing when trying to focus quickly and precisely , so I usually use lenses that focus anticlockwise from foreground to infinity, unlike Nikon which focus clockwise.
Saying that, I still decided to get hold of a decent Nikon lens to see what the whole fuss is about.
Well, to start with, the lens is really nicely built. Weird thing is that my lens doesn’t look the same as all the other Nikon 50mm f/1.4s I found on internet. My one has 3 lines on the focus ring, just like Nikon 50mm 1.2 and unlike all the other 50mm f/1.4s I’ve seen, which have 2 (see the pictures below). Very weird, if someone could demystify this, that would be great. My 50mm actually looks nicer than the other Nikon 50mm f/1.4s I found (not in my picture though, so I’m not 100% the build quality and the optics are exactly the same. If I had too much money I would buy another 50mm and compare them, but I’ll just go with the copy I have. The focus ring on this lens feels really nice, it is smooth and easy to turn, but not loose.
Optically this lens is really nice, at least from my first little test I’ve done. Images are sharp, great contrast and colors. Bokeh is also one as would be expected from a f/1.4 lens. I decided to use it in a low light situation, with a combination of a small LED light on top of the camera. By no means this was a scientific test, just sort of real like user experience and I did enjoy filming with this lens a lot. I might do another a bit calmer test video for this lens with a bit more emphases on resolution and it’s performance in natural lighting or external evening street lighting.
If you are already a Nikon lens user and you don’t have a 50mm yet, this lens is definitely worth looking at. It is nowhere as cheap as some other lenses I already tested, but it is f/1.4 and it’s Nikon which pushes the price even higher.
At this point I would give it 4.5 out of 5, just because of it’s price, which is not incredible value for money. Otherwise it would be a 5, especially if you are a Nikon lens user.
If you are going to use it on a Canon DSLR, make sure to buy a decent adapter, because the cheap one I bought on Ebay has play and ruins the good feel of this lens.
Click to find this item on Ebay
We all know DSLRs are incredible Filmmaking tools. But lets not forget, it’s a stills camera, that has the video function, not other way round. To get the best out of it people like myself rig it up with different accessories like a shoulder rig to improve the ergonomics, follow focus to help achieve best focus and this clip on viewfinders to help with shooting in bright daylight, since there is no real EVFs on such cameras.
Relatively recently third party EVFs started appearing on the marked and a lot of well known filmmakers started caling that these are essential tools for DSLRs and Large Chip Camcorders, so I decided to invest into one. I bought my one second hand on eBay. It was sent to me from US, so with customs charges I ended up paying about £450 which is no exactly a bargain, not really the cheapest monitoring option for a budget filmmaker, but on the paper it sounded so good that I couldn’t resist it. This review is based on Cineroid performance with Canon 5D mark II, so some points will not apply to other cameras due to 5Ds poor HDMI output.
Let me start with the good points, the reason I bought it.
I really hate how most of the budget monitors show the image out of the 5D ones you press record button. The resolution drops and images stretches out, creating an ugly image. This is the main reason why I never invested in a liliput monitor. I’ve worked with one though and I didn’t enjoy the experience. Cineroid on other hand handles these problems much better. While resolution still drops, cineroid rescales the image back in to proper ration. And while I only get 480p resolution during recoding, the magnifying loupe helps to get the focusing right.
Another nice feature is the HDMI loopthrough. After being forced to use the liliput monitor on one of the shoots because director needed to see the picture clearly I decided that I need something like Cineroid which will give me a proper image while director can view the image looping through it into something like liliput. I’ve used this feature couple of times and it is one of my favorite things in this Cineroid.
Third reason for buying this evf is ability to put it anywhere, in particular on the side of the camera making the whole setup more ergonomic, just like boadcast camera. It is great way to use the camera on your shoulder. With an EVF I can have the camera virtually on my shoulder because I don’t have to look at the back of its screen making it much less front heavy than the usually DLSR setup where you offset the camera to the side allowing you to view the screen properly.
I like the flip up feature this evf has. It is really useful when I want to show the image to the director. The magnets hold the loop well in place, so no problems there.
One of the things I really miss in 5D is the peeking function. Due to it’s large sensor and lenses that create really shallow dept of field focusing can be very difficult especially when focusing on a moving subject. The peeking function seems to be got sent, but this is actually what brings me to the bad points of this evf. While peeking works fine in 5ds preview mode, once I press record and resolution drops to 480p the evf really struggles to deliver any proper peeking, which is obviously caused by low resolution coming from the camera, This is obviously camera specific, but I didn’t know that before I bought it. The peeking will probably work just fine on other cameras including Canon’s 7D and bigger cameras like Sony F3, FS100 and Panasonics AF101, but if have a 5D like myself or one of the other Canon DSLRs with a poor HDMI out, then don’t expect to get much out of the peeking function.
One of the other problems I get with my 5D is the unstable performance. Almost 50% of time, when I press record screen goes to black and just stays black. I must then stop the recording and start it again. For some reason when I press it quickly second time always seems to work. This inconsistency is very annoying and now I expect the monitor to freeze every time I press record, not good at all.
Before I bought Cineroid, I would read about how it is essential for DSLRS and large chip cameras because their monitors and evfs are really bad quality. Well let me tell you something, Cineroid display is actually very poor quality comparing to my 5D display. It’s not just about the resolution, more importantly, the color reproduction is very poor and judging the exposure accurately from Cineroid's image alone is virtually impossible. When I switch it off and look at the 5D display, The picture looks very different and the picture out of 5D is so much more accurate. Such quality would be an acceptable for cheap Liliput, but not for a £560 (new) evf. I've tested my Cineroid against a Zacuto EVF on one of the shoots a few months ago and Zacuto has much better screen quality, both color and exposure wise.
Few more bad point I found, are: The display image sort of refreshes when there is a lot of movement in the frame making this weird wave running across the screen. The menus are quite fiddly and if you try to customize the evf for you particular needs you get the glitches with software all the time. It is a shame that there seems to be no way all to upgrade the firmware, so whatever problems are there, they can’t be fixed.
My conclusion to this review is that this evf is really not worth the money you have to pay for it. If it was half the price, I would give it 4 stars, but at this price it going to be 2 out of 5 and I would not recommend this accessory to a budget filmmaker.
Click to find this item on ebay
Just very recently, after I wrote this review I bought a new Liliput monitor. I usually wouldn't look at one, but this little 5" thing actually seems to be a big improvement from their older range. Apparently it rescales the image back into proper ratio during the recording, has HDMI loopthrough and also looks quite cool, button design and layout virtually identical to some Marshall monitors. Best of all it is very cheap. On the paper sounds like a great monitor for a DSLR, should be a much better value for money than Cineroid, but I don't want go speculate until I try it out myself. The model number is 569GL, so if you want check it out yourself, otherwise wait for my review.
Click to find this item on ebay
Well, I tested the first 4 and I’m not crazy about the results. I shot everything on a very dull, humid, hazy day, which didn’t help the contrast and colours. Everything was shot with a neutral profile and all footage is ungraded.
Let’s look at the results of each lens.:
Hanimar 200mm f/3.5
. This a well built lens, with a nice focusing ring, but optically it is very poor, not only the contrast and colours are not impressive, but the sharpens is also very poor with loads of CA. I bought it for only £10, so if you only have £10 to spend and you don’t have anything in this range, it might be better than nothing at all, but there are better lenses out there that can be bought for around £10, so for me this lens scores 2 out of 5. Chinon 200mm f/3.5
. Quite a decent lens, well build, has inbuilt adjustable hood. Nicest looking lens out of 4. Optically for me it is also the best. Best clarity, contrast and colours, sharpness is decent too. Still looks quite washed out, but I believe that is due to the weather conditions. This lens assembled in the same was as Nikon lenses. It focuses in the same direction and aperture is adjusted in opposite direction from another 3 lenses. This could be great if you are a Nikon lens user, but for me, this sort of construction doesn’t really work, especially when using follow focus. I paid less than £10 for my one, but average price on eBay is slightly higher, still well worth the money though. I would give this lens 4 out of 5 Optimax 200mm f/3.5
. Very similar to the Chinon above. Similar build quality, also with the lens hood, but it’s quite loose and the aperture blades are stuck and only close a little, which is a problem with my particular copy, should not apply to every Optimax 200mm out there. Optically it is also very similar to Chinon, just a touch darker. Overall good alternative to Chinon, but due to the problems with my particular copy I would only score it 3 out of 5. Prinzgalaxy 200mm f/4.5
. This lens is very deferent from the other 3. First of all it is much slower at f/4.5. The lens also looks deferent and has deferent construction. The good points of this lens are: the fluid aperture adjustment, great fox fine-tuning exposure during the recording (just like on Cine-lenses) and 16 blade aperture. Unfortunately all of that makes little sense with this lens, firstly because this is very, very stiff; both focusing and aperture adjustment requires a lot of effort, which means you can’t really easily fine-tune anything. The 16 blade aperture also makes little sense since this lens is so slow that you probably wouldn’t close the aperture too often to take advantage of all these blades. The problems don’t end the, optically it is also quite poor, very low contrast, in result washed out colours too. Sharpness is ok, but overall, this lens is not really worth looking at, considering that it costs about the same as the other 3. I give it 1 out 5. Unless you can pick one up for no more than £5, I wouldn’t recommend buying it.
My conclusion: The 2 lenses that stand out are Chinon
, but even they are not brilliant, at least no in this test. I used Chinon on one corporate shoot and it actually performed very well along side Helios 135mm, which in my previous test looked much punchier, so I think the colours and contrast would have been much better in better lighting conditions.
I think both Chinon
are worth the money you would pay for them. They are 10 times cheaper than any modern equivalent, but certainly not 10 times worse. I still have at least another 4-5 200mm lenses to test and review including a very exciting Pentax 200mm f/2.5
, which is one of the most expensive vintage lenses I bought, but still very cheap comparing to any modern equivalent, so expect another 2-3 videos on 200mm lenses. Next up though, I will do a quite test of Nikon 50mm f/1.4 and more group test of 28mm and 50mm lenses. If you guys want see any other specific tests, let me know. I don't need so many 200mm lenses, so I decided that I will give away one of these lenses. I don't want to give away some total rubbish, so
I'll give away the Chinon 200mm f/3.5
, probably the best lens out of 4. I will soon announce how to win this lens, it is going to be something very simple, so make sure that you follow me either on YouTube
to make sure you don't miss the announcement and rules.
It is time for my second test so far. This I quickly tested 4 very cheap 200mm primes, all 4 in very easily adaptable M42 mount. 200mm is a nice long focal length for video, anything longer and camera starts go become very shaky, so for the long shots 200mm is one of the best choices. Back in a day, 200mm along was found any every big camera manufacturer’s range. There are so many 200s out there. I have bought about 10 myself for my research. They are very easy to get hold of and most are very cheap. Like I mentioned in my previous post, old photo lenses have some great advantages over the modern EF lenses, but at the end of the day the optical quality matters the most.
It has been a long time since my last post on the website. In the background though I’ve been doing a lot of research and buying quite a lot of vintage lenses for my own use and for my vintage lens guide. So I finally got around to doing the first quick test of the few lenses I recently acquired. This is a test of 4 135mm lenses, all in m42 mount, very easily adaptable to any modern DSLR. 135mm lenses are virtually non existent in modern lens world, but back in a day, they used to be popular, so there are many of them out there, over 30 that I know of. I now have around 10 myself, so this is something that I would like to call part 1 as there will be at least one more or quite possibly a few more 135mm lens orientated tests. I really like 135mm. The first I bought was Helios 135mm f/2.8, which I really like (more about it below). 135mm f/2.8 makes a nice, quite fast 200mm on a 1.5x crop camera like the lovely Sony Nex 5N and on 4/3 camera this becomes a 270mm 2.8, pretty incredible for the price you will pay for such lens. I’m more than happy using such lens as a 135mm on my 5D too, still pulls in the subject quite a lot. All 4 of the lenses in this test can be picked up on eBay for around £5-£30 depending on your luck, sellers description, type of listing and condition. Some are sold in larger quantities than others, not to say that the rarer ones are the better ones. I’ll go through every lens separately and talk about pros, cons and my opinion on each of them. I’ve made the video above to go with the write-up, so you guys can take a look at the images these lenses produce and make up your own mind them. The closest lens that I could compare these to is my Canon 100mm f/2.8 Micro, which is a very nice, very sharp lens, but not great for video for one reason, the focusing ring has such a short through it’s virtually impossible to keep the moving subject constantly in focus. Every little adjustment on the lens shifts the focus significantly. The other problem that Canon EF lenses have, or something that they don’t have, are the hard stops, The lenses spin past the end focusing range and this can mess up the focus marks on a follow focus, if you use one. So lets start: HELIOS 135mm f/2.8. Like as said above, this was one of the first vintage lenses I bought and actually the one that I ended up using the most along side my Canon EF. Unlike the 100mm, this old Russian lens has very nice, long through focusing ring that really allows me to fine-tune the focusing very precisely. As I said in one of my previous posts these lenses remind me of Cine lenses. Well build, long through focus, aperture adjustment on the lens, on some lenses it is even fluid like on Cine lenses, so to me these are little budget cine-lenses, so much more suitable for video work and manual focusing than modern EF lenses. This applies to most vintage photo lenses, not just this Helios. These were made for manual focusing, so that is what they do best.
The build quality of Helios 135mm is lovely, but what about the optical quality. Well, for the amount of money I’ve paid for it ( about £15), the image quality is pretty amassing. I felt confident enough to use this lens on a few corporate jobs and even on a greens screen music video. Let me tell you, the images it produced were very crisp, with lovely colours and contrast. You can see in the video, how it performs comparing to the others. One of the best out of 4 for sure. One of the downside I’ve noticed in these vintage lenses, including this Helios, is a visible amount of CA (chromatic aberration), which is especially evident on silver wind chimes on the left of the frame. CA is not evident in every situation, but should be noted as a downside, although it is not uncommon in modern day lenses and can also be found in cheaper modern lenses too, so don’t let this put you of and look at more expensive, low-end modern alternatives in hope of better image quality; it is not always the case and paying more doesn't always mean better quality, which is what these test the my lens guide will be all about. Another little downside of Helios 135mm for some might be a 6 blade aperture which produces polygonal bokeh when the lens is stepped down, the bokeh is also much fussier than on some other lenses, which is not necessary a bad thing. Smooth like butter Bokeh might not always be the best thing, depending on what you are trying to capture and the feel you are going for. I personally didn’t have any problems with the lens. The overall look of the images matches the my other, modern lenses really well. Will definitely be taking a closer look at this lens and will do more test videos with it.At the moment I would give this lens overall score of 4 out of 5. PROMURA 135mm f/2.8. Not so impressed with this lens. While colours and contras are similar to Helios, the sharpness is nowhere as soon. Another downside is that the lens only focuses to 2.5m, which in not really acceptable considering that 3 others focused to my foreground object without any problems. Promura has a 6 blade aperture same as Helios and CA is similar to Helios too. The lens is made in Japan, but you wouldn’t say that by it’s optical quality. It is nicely build, no plastic parts that are usually found in modern lenses, but the focus ring is little stiff and the focusing through is very short comparing to the other 3. I’ve paid £10 for mine and even at this price I would only give this lens 2 out 5, there are just to many other 135s that are much better. Time to stick it back on eBay. :) The only weird thing, all the other
Promura 135s I found on eBay at the time of writing a completely different, so please note, that my conclusion only applies to this particular design. CHINON 135mm f/2.8. This lens has very obvious low contrast and washed out colours. Sharpness is quite good, but CA is really evident even though the lens is Multi Coated which is suppose to cut down the CA. The images captured through this lens looked like something shot on flat picture profile. Contrast can obliviously be added in post production (I tried and it looks fine), but I think it should really look as good as possible straight out of the camera. Since the lens is not really cheaper than the others (I paid £10 for mine), I see no excuse for such low contrast. The build quality is good. The focus ring is actually the nicest one of 4, very smooth and focuses easily. There is also an inbuilt, adjustable lens hood. The lens is made in Japan. This is not the only Chinon 135mm available. Most of Chinon 135s I found on eBay at the time of writing are actually different from this one. I’ll try to buy one of them cheap and see what the image quality is like. I suspect it might be different, so I wouldn’t judge of all Chinon 135s by this copy, but this particular copy only scores 3 out of 5 in this test. Dollonds 135mm f/3.5. At f/3.5 this is the slowest lens out of the lot, but in some ways the nicest. It is the smallest, lightest lens, which straight away makes it very suitable for smaller cameras like Mirrorless 4/3 cameras and Sony’s NEX range. I recently bought the NEX 5N and this lens will probably look the most organic out of 4 on such camera.
There are a few more advantages this lens over other 3 lenses, which are: The fluid aperture adjustment (no clicks), which is great for fine-tuning the exposure just like on Cine lenses. A lot of people de-click they photo lenses to archive such adjustment ability . There is a second ring, that lets you adjust the aperture in stops/clicks. The other nice advantage over the 3 other lenses is the 15 blade aperture. That is really nice and creates round, soft bokeh. There is some CA in this lens, but actually much more pleasant and unnotisable reddish colour rather than slightly annoying blue ghosting found on other 3. So while the lens is slowest, in some ways it is the best.
The lens is made in Japan, nicely build like the other 3. I paid £14 for mine which is still very cheap, the lens is well worth the money I paid. I give it a strong 4 out of 5. If it was f/2.8 it would be 5/5. The only bad thing, this lens is quite rare and at the time of writing there are none found on eBay. My Conclusion: The 2 that stood out to me are Helios and Dollonds, very different but both nice in their own way. The Helios is always available is a good investment, no matter what camera you have. If you can find Dollonds and you are using something like 5N which has excellent low light performance, then this a great choice, even though it is f/3.5. This is just the first test video. There will be more 135mm test and possibly dedicated longer test videos of Helios and Dollonds. Other than that I will be doing many more tests and my aim is to test around 100 manual lenses, so check back soon for more test. Next one will be: 4x cheap 200mm going head to head, so see you in the next post.