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Buying a Lens Set for MFT - Rokinon VS SLR Magic

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  • Buying a Lens Set for MFT - Rokinon VS SLR Magic

    I've got to decided within the next week which lens set I'm going to buy, Rokinon Cine lenses, or SLR Magic.

    ROKINON

    14mm T3.1 - $450

    24mm T1.5 - $750

    35mm T1.5 - $550

    85mm T1.5 - $350

    TOTAL = $2100.00


    SLR MAGIC

    12mm T1.6 - $600 (with 58-77mm step-up ring)

    25mm T0.95 - $650

    35mm T1.4 - $280

    TOTAL = $1530


    I was originally leaning towards the SLR Magic lenses, mainly due to manufacturing consistency and the constant praise I read all over the place (as well as the videos samples I've seen) - I also like the passion and commitment of SLR Magic's owner, Andrew. The Rokinon lenses get a lot of praise too, and from the samples I've seen, both stills and videos, they look damn good - however, I've seen a handful of people talking about their experiences of receiving bad copies, which in turn scared me off a little.

    Regardless, I started leaning towards to Rokinon's for the sake of "future proofing" - I thought, "these will fit on my GH3, my D600/D5200 (still trying to decide which to buy), and pretty much any camera I rent/buy as they are designed for full-frame sensors". Then the "sugar-on-top" came with the left-field announcement of the Metabones Speed Booster - I thought, "well, not only will they fit on virtually any present or future camera in existence, I can now make them wider, faster, sharper, as well as turn my BMCC into a camera with a crop extremely close to APS-C".

    However, the quality control of the Samyang/Rokinon lenses scared me again. I haven't heard a lot of complaints to be honest, but I'm one paranoid bastard! And given that I live in Australia, and that nobody sells Rokinon/Samyang Cine lenses here, if I were to get a bad copy, sending them back to B&H is gonna be a bitch.

    I guess what I'm trying to ask is; which is the better investment?

    P.S. I feel I should mention that the SLR Magic 25mm T0.95 is capable of covering an APS-C sized sensor, I think the others max-out on MFT sensors, please correct me if I'm wrong!
    My Official Blackmagic Micro Footage: https://vimeo.com/155747487

  • #2
    SLR Magic is not particularly stellar on their quality control either, and I wouldn't say they are immune to lens variation (not even Nikon or Canon are really). If repeatable focus is important to you, don't get the 35mm T1.4. I went through two copies that exhibited the same issue as you can see here: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/1017296/SLR...%20Problem.mp4

    Others have had the same issue. When I asked SLR Magic about it, they advised I get the 0.95 version (which isn't cheap). I really wanted to like that lens, but no repeatable focusing on a "CINE" lens was a deal breaker for me. That plus the Speed Booster coming out made me stick with F mount primes.
    aka Trucci on DVXuser

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    • #3
      Thanks for the reply!

      I guess all manufacturers suffer from quality control - Sigma went through a pretty bad phase, though their new 35mm F1.4 is being touted by some sites as one of the best lenses ever made (I think DxOMark ranked it as the best lens they've ever used).

      When you say "repeatable focus" was a problem, do you mean the quality of the focusing lens-gear?

      Also, your F-mount primes, are they Nikon's or Rokinon/Samyang (or another brand)?

      EDIT: Just watched your video - I wonder why that happened with your lens? Could it be caused by an element moving inside perhaps? I'm curious to know...
      My Official Blackmagic Micro Footage: https://vimeo.com/155747487

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      • #4
        If I ever get a camera, my lineup would consist of several brands, and I know people don't like to mix and match lenses, but I don't feel it's as crucial as people think.

        Also consider the Metabones adapter, which could give you two sets of lenses with just one set! So a Samyang 14 could also be a 10mm, even though, they're releasing a 10mm f/2.8 sometime...

        If the 10 comes out, I could live with the Samyang 10, 14, 24, and 35. With the adapter, they would be 7, 10, 17, and 25.

        The set I would prefer to have would be:

        Samyang 10mm f/2.8 (Nikon F)
        SLR Magic 12mm (if the MFT somehow becomes an active mount, or somebody finds a way to make the Olympus 12mm f/2 work on the BMC, then I'll take that instead.)
        Samyang 14mm f/2.8 (Nikon F)
        Voigtlander 17.5mm f/0.95
        Voigtlander 25mm f/0.95

        For me, 35mm is a bit long on the BMC, and wouldn't be used that much in narrative work, so it could be any old or new 35mm lens, fast or slow.

        Lots of options!

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        • #5
          So like one or two things here:

          The Rokinon's IMO are too soft wide open for Blackmagic. The further you dig out of the center of those lenses the more apparent it becomes. You can check Juan's tests, they show just how terribly soft they are at 1.4. You need to get to 2.8 before they really start to make a difference. If you don't care about the hazy 1.4/1.5 then it's fine. I have issues with that, honestly can't stand it. But I know there are some cinema lenses that perform similary and hey, it is what it is.

          On the SLR 35/1.4, well that lens costs 300 and it's sharper than most of the lenses it's competing with. Yeah, I can see the validity on the focus, but I guess there's no free lunch. The Rokinon equivalent is twice the price almost and isn't very good wide open. You could go for the Sigma, but it's more than double the price.

          The Sigma does look interesting, though! Looks like it's going potty all over the Canon lenses.

          And, the problem with the Speed Booster is that you're not getting 0.9s or even solid 1.4's out of your glass if it's not already close to solid wide open. A Zeiss 35/2 isn't too shabby wide open, but likely will not look great with the Speed Booster. The advantage is taking it to a 2.8 and then back to a 2 with the adapter, thus a sharper image.

          Of course, the SLR 0.95's aren't exactly pennies, but they've been getting pretty good reviews/feedback and the images are definitely sharp wide open.

          So, no free food anywhere! They've all got some sort of trade off happening. >.< I guess that doesn't make it any easier though.

          SKYPE (best way to talk to me): Camera_Kholi | twitter
          Avery and Pete: Superseeds Feature Film Trailer

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          • #6
            Originally posted by RobertJ View Post

            For me, 35mm is a bit long on the BMC, and wouldn't be used that much in narrative work, so it could be any old or new 35mm lens, fast or slow.

            Lots of options!
            Interesting. 35 was the lens I reached for the most, and I assumed it would've been somewhere in the 25~28 realm but the camera really likes 35. For me, the the 25 and 35 really need to be solid performers, and fast.

            It's still kind of tough to figure out which one to go with... Speed Booster or SLR Hyperprimes >.< First I need MFT camera though.

            SKYPE (best way to talk to me): Camera_Kholi | twitter
            Avery and Pete: Superseeds Feature Film Trailer

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            • #7
              I forgot to add that as soon as I read about the metabones adapter, I had a hunch that it might cause chromatic abberation on what would otherwise be a decent performing lens that doesn't have any, or has very little CA. So watch out for that, lol.

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              • #8
                Two options for me. The C/Y Zeiss glass with metabones or The SLR magic lenses! But even so... I'm more interested in a full set from SLR for the MFT. Perfect lenses, ajusted to perfort best wide open!!!
                Jorge De Silva - Photography & Filmmaking
                Personal Quote: "We should always learn from others! Life always teaches us something! Sharing is the key!"
                http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1843499/

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                • #9
                  i have
                  nikkor glass 20 mm 2.8
                  nikkor 35-70 2.8
                  nikkor 50 mm 1.4
                  tokina 11-16 2.8
                  for mtf

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                  • #10
                    The SLR Magic 35mm T1.4 is a great choice if you don't need repeatable focusing, but for people who need it, the 0.95 looks like a much better choice. I thought the 1.4 wide open was slightly soft, but 2.0 is fast and sharp enough for me anyways. According to lenstip, the Samyang 35mm is sharper than the Nikon and Sony equivalents (but softer than Canon L) which is good enough for me. I'll see for sure when I get my copy.

                    I don't plan to use any of these lenses at 1.4 though, so those apertures to me are for emergencies only. With the Metabones Speed Booster and Samyangs, I'll be able to get a sharp F2.0, which will be fast enough for 99% of the situations (especially with the BMC's 800 native iso). I'll also have F1.0 available if all my lights blow up on set.

                    Also, the Speed Booster will give the BMC a near-S35 DOF, which normally isn't that important to me, but for the BMC I think it is. When you have a smaller sensor, you have to open up the iris more to compensate for the deeper DOF. This means in bright daylight, you'll need heavier ND filtration. This is not a problem normally with DSLRs since the lowest ISO usually yields the most dynamic range, but if you want all 13 stops on the BMCC, you'll need to be at its native ISO of 800 (and daylight is where 13 stops is the most useful I feel). This means you'll need even more ND to get the equal DOF you got with your M43 camera (about 3 stops more). Since the BMC is quite prone to far red, I want to use as little ND as possible, even if I can use IRNDs.

                    Lastly, having the Speed Booster gives me two focal lengths per lens. I just have to take the adapter off or on depending on which I want. Not crucial, but it's nice to have extra options.

                    These are some reasons why I went with the MFT/Nikon Metabones route, and of course they won't apply to everyone. One thing I do miss with this setup is the controlled breathing of the SLR Magics. They're the only company in this price range that even cares about this. You can see a comparison I made here: http://vimeo.com/56969614
                    aka Trucci on DVXuser

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                    • #11
                      I have no expertise with the SLR Magic line; I have no opinion or info to offer there.

                      I do really love my 8mm Samyang fisheye, even though it has the well-known characteristic barrel distortion. I will be buying their 10mm rectilinear prime that's supposed to be coming out Real Soon Now. I can't wait!

                      I have coverage with other lenses in the rest of the range, but I've heard that the other Samyangs/Rokinons are great values. That's my contribution. Not a nay for SLR Magic, but a +1 for Samyang/Rokinon.
                      Randy Walters
                      boundlessinformant.com

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by mintcheerios View Post
                        The SLR Magic 35mm T1.4 is a great choice if you don't need repeatable focusing, but for people who need it, the 0.95 looks like a much better choice. I thought the 1.4 wide open was slightly soft, but 2.0 is fast and sharp enough for me anyways. According to lenstip, the Samyang 35mm is sharper than the Nikon and Sony equivalents (but softer than Canon L) which is good enough for me. I'll see for sure when I get my copy.

                        I don't plan to use any of these lenses at 1.4 though, so those apertures to me are for emergencies only. With the Metabones Speed Booster and Samyangs, I'll be able to get a sharp F2.0, which will be fast enough for 99% of the situations (especially with the BMC's 800 native iso). I'll also have F1.0 available if all my lights blow up on set.

                        Also, the Speed Booster will give the BMC a near-S35 DOF, which normally isn't that important to me, but for the BMC I think it is. When you have a smaller sensor, you have to open up the iris more to compensate for the deeper DOF. This means in bright daylight, you'll need heavier ND filtration. This is not a problem normally with DSLRs since the lowest ISO usually yields the most dynamic range, but if you want all 13 stops on the BMCC, you'll need to be at its native ISO of 800 (and daylight is where 13 stops is the most useful I feel). This means you'll need even more ND to get the equal DOF you got with your M43 camera (about 3 stops more). Since the BMC is quite prone to far red, I want to use as little ND as possible, even if I can use IRNDs.

                        Lastly, having the Speed Booster gives me two focal lengths per lens. I just have to take the adapter off or on depending on which I want. Not crucial, but it's nice to have extra options.

                        These are some reasons why I went with the MFT/Nikon Metabones route, and of course they won't apply to everyone. One thing I do miss with this setup is the controlled breathing of the SLR Magics. They're the only company in this price range that even cares about this. You can see a comparison I made here: http://vimeo.com/56969614
                        Thanks for the info

                        That breathing test is really interesting - the SLR Magic's perform really well there, big difference.
                        My Official Blackmagic Micro Footage: https://vimeo.com/155747487

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Kholi View Post
                          So like one or two things here:

                          The Rokinon's IMO are too soft wide open for Blackmagic. The further you dig out of the center of those lenses the more apparent it becomes. You can check Juan's tests, they show just how terribly soft they are at 1.4. You need to get to 2.8 before they really start to make a difference. If you don't care about the hazy 1.4/1.5 then it's fine. I have issues with that, honestly can't stand it. But I know there are some cinema lenses that perform similary and hey, it is what it is.
                          If a Rokinon/Samyang lens was stepped-down to T2.8, and then you added the Speed Booster (so T2), do you get the depth of field of T2.8 or T2?

                          I really, really cannot make up my mind on this - SLR Magic set, or a Rokinon/Samyang set in Nikon-F mount with Speed Booster...goings nuts
                          My Official Blackmagic Micro Footage: https://vimeo.com/155747487

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                          • #14
                            sorry to go all common sense on you people but no body needs to decided between the SLR magic primes or other lenses they may or not put on the MFT version cause well they haven't started selling it. And when they do you can look at footage others have done and make your mind up from there. I understand the issue though, I'm in the same boat. But I have to see how well the Speedbooster work with relatively cheap lenses. Another obvious thing is you can go both directions and have SLR as well as a few cheap lenses with the SB. But one thing I think is a fallacy to this issue is the idea of future proofing with lenses. Sure some lose value but generally they don't and some even increase in value so ebay is always there if you choose a new direction.

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                            • #15
                              I know what you're saying, but I'm trying to get a set ready so that I can begin shooting right away when my MFT BMCC lands. In Australia, nobody sells the cine versions of the Samyang/Rokinons, nor does anyone sell SLR Magic lenses - whenever I purchase from B&H or Adorama, it usually takes two-weeks minimum for my order to arrive here.
                              My Official Blackmagic Micro Footage: https://vimeo.com/155747487

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