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I bought a zebra farm... My ebay 72 hour vintage adventure. Frank made me do it.

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  • I bought a zebra farm... My ebay 72 hour vintage adventure. Frank made me do it.

    I was reading one of Frank Glencairn's blogs re Zeiss Zebras and have to say I was more than intrigued seeing some frame grabs and looking further on vimeo for examples.

    Whilst I have a comprehensive set of L glass I realised I had one I had not used for years, a 200l prime. So I put it on ebay, sold it next day and spent 48 hours trawling for a 50/80/120/180 family of primes.

    I could scarcely believe I managed to get what I believe are a full set of clean examples with detailed images of lens surfaces for less than my 200l and have enough left over to buy a couple of Helios and Mir lenses to play with.

    I realise these lenses will be long on the EF but for an upcoming tvc they will be great IF the look is right which I believe it will.

    When I receive them I will to do a side by side shoot with some L glass in prores and no post and split screen it for others to view.

    I did notice the HUGE variance in pricing with some auctions running red hot and others going under the radar. I always check seller feedback and take responsibility for a roll of the dice.

    So 4 zebras, 2 in original boxes, cases, hoods for less than 200 a piece... Worst case they will make for some interesting Objet d'ar.

    Closing confession... I also bought another lens from Germany that I am too embarrassed to admit to until I shoot with it and can show some footage. That will be another story that may result in humiliation, a shovel and a 6 foot deep hole.
    Last edited by Peter Culley; 11-17-2013, 11:56 PM.
    Peter Lloyd Culley
    Adelaide, South Australia

  • #2
    Congratulations... I, too, have been bitten by the Zeiss Jena Zebra bug.

    35mm, 50mm, 80mm... then switched to Meyer/Pentacon 15-blade bokeh monster 135 and 200! Still want a 20mm, too.

    Very curious about your mystery lens... hope it works out!
    Randy Walters


    • #3
      Randy, I will confess... AND it will be obvious I know enough to know nothing but often jump right in...

      Now the reason is I was looking for something to give me a super long shot for a few seconds of a lonley outlaw figure across a dusty desert scape with ideally a lot of heat swirl or at least abberation so sharpness is not a criteria out of camera.

      I bought a 19mmm rig and tripod head large enough (I HOPE) to handle this... As well as numerous weight bags etc.

      The glass? A 500mm 5.6 pentacon that i figure should give me 1150mm. (2.3x)

      Doing some research I found a number of encouraging examples and hope I got a good copy off ebay once again from Germany. Buyer beware as the prices on these vary wildly.

      So anyway. it should be here in 14 days and the test shall begin... If nothing else it will make a good doorstop...

      Peter Lloyd Culley
      Adelaide, South Australia


      • #4
        There is the Bower as well new.

        It's a T mount you can adapt to M 4/3 and the Bower is cheaper and shorter. On the BMPC will give you a 1500 FOV for $150 and might get a great shot out of it....


        • #5
          Peter... wow! And I thought my 200mm might be pushing the limits of practicality.

          But while it's not exactly your standard walk-around lens, as long as you can support it, you should be able to do some fascinating work with it. Just the thing for your Lawrence of Arabia long shot.

          I'll look forward to seeing how it works out for you!
          Randy Walters


          • #6
            I like where this is going. I'm learning to "go long" too. I really like the look when shooting spherical.
            Facebook - Angelis Digital Studio


            • #7
              I love the look of long lenses, that compression you get is second to none. Not something I always use but a 125mm looks great on the Bmcc!


              • #8
                Great thread! I love reading about people getting swept up and buying a whole bunch of funky lenses.

                JFR - i just got a 135mm zeiss Jena from eBay. Image is superb


                • #9
                  Thanks for the interest and enthusiasm gentlemen! I thought the majority just wanted wide wide wide... I was beginning to wonder if i was a heretic?

                  Randy your reference to that 'shot' in Lawerence of Arabia of Omar Shariff is the reason at the age of ten I became fixated on camera work and the 'look'. The story of that panavision lens is legendary. They still have it as a revereed object.

                  I bit the bullet and after ordering a 15mm rig decided it would be prudent to go to 19mm and a heavy baseplate. Walkaround it is not! Then of course I had to get a tripod heavy enough... Thank goodness for ebay, some patience patience I sniped a Vinten 100 after missing out on several. I stayed up for that one until 3am to bid in the last 10 seconds with a scream of EUREKA at my success. My girlfriend was not impressed or indeed the slightest bit interested.

                  So gentlemen... I give you this... Weighing in at 2300mm on the EF... What could we do and HOW? I have a client, 'silly', 'brave' enough who said... "Well, why don't we give it a go?"... Two tripods? An onsite cast concrete plinth? Any suggestions? Yes, I realise it will have the mirror issues and a depth of field that would need the subject a kilometer away... Anyone know how we can work that out?

                  Here it is for your viewing pleasure...


                  zeiss 1.jpgzeiss 2.jpg
                  Peter Lloyd Culley
                  Adelaide, South Australia



                  • #10
                    Footnote, apparently these were $42000 when released according to some forums... Yikes.
                    Peter Lloyd Culley
                    Adelaide, South Australia



                    • #11
                      Non mirror Rollei...

                      Last edited by Peter Culley; 08-31-2013, 04:28 PM. Reason: additional info
                      Peter Lloyd Culley
                      Adelaide, South Australia



                      • #12
                        Peter, first off - I am AGOG at the sight of that lens. What an engineering challenge, just to work with it!

                        Originally posted by Peter Culley View Post
                        I was looking for something to give me a super long shot for a few seconds of a lonley outlaw figure across a dusty desert scape with ideally a lot of heat swirl...

                        Randy your reference to that 'shot' in Lawerence of Arabia of Omar Shariff is the reason at the age of ten I became fixated on camera work and the 'look'. The story of that panavision lens is legendary. They still have it as a revereed object.
                        And of course, in your comment about a lone desert figure, there was no reference to Lawrence of Arabia... but the image your description immediately evoked was unmistakable. I knew the shot instantly.

                        And while I can't match your lens for impact, I can share a related anecdote...

                        I live in Bristol, RI - a tiny little seaport town, named after its much larger sister city across the Atlantic. For the last several years of his life, another Lawrence of Arabia alumnus, Anthony Quinn, lived a stone's throw down the road from me, on a tony little point that juts out from the town harbor.

                        I almost (literally) ran into him once, as we were each walking on a sidewalk, and rounding a corner from the opposite directions. I said "hello, sir," and he gave me a dignified little nod and a smile. He continued down the sidewalk to the Bristol House of Pizza, where he had lunch with his very young wife and two young children. He's now buried under an oak tree on the property where his wife still lives.

                        So every time I see Lawrence, like the amazing new Blu-ray restoration, I think of that meeting, and picture him without all that dark makeup, going out for a pizza.

                        Now have fun with your lens.

                        PS - And Peter, no need to stay up until 3:00am... say hello to my little friend...

                        Last edited by randyman; 08-31-2013, 05:23 PM.
                        Randy Walters


                        • #13
                          WOW! What an anecdote re Mr Quinn (They will never make an actor like that again!!!) Talk about a thread going somewhere i could have never imagined! Great story Randy. Man I love the internet!

                          So, I'll see what a handful the 500mm is and if it is getting the look before seriously outlaying for the zeiss or rollei... Maybe. Strange scenario the client just saying DO IT, we are paying for it, you get to keep it but I do still have some responsibility even though I am a self confessed hoarder.

                          I may come off as a wackjob to many but ocassionally I think because I am coming at this left field I could possibly jag this.

                          IF I, and a BIG if I can pull this off it will create a couple of seconds that will be the backbone of the brands identity for years to come across all media. Being a small concern, a co-director and myself both also as gaffer tape and tea ladies we keep it tight and very agile.

                          I have already spent a 1000+km 'outback' scouting locations with some huge flat vistas with beautiful hazy distant mountain ranges 20km or so away (Flinders Ranges, South Australia) Several of these are bookmarked on my Ipad via gps with sun/moon and shadow data for each day. Just an awesome APP with satellite etc so I can see down on a HUGE amount of information you cannot see on the ground and thus hone in on likely suspects.

                          Good bad or indifferent I will share my experience here right through to the tvc.

                          Disclosure: The images below are from google and not my own.

                          Peter Lloyd Culley
                          Adelaide, South Australia



                          • #14
                            Man, Peter... incredible, fantastic locations.

                            You gotta do it. You will regret it forever if you don't. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT CLIENT. Do it. Do it. Do it. Do it. Make that little snipe work for you. Do it. DO IT.

                            Lug that mother lens around and make it sing. Make it SCREAM. Make a shot that people will know forever, just like I knew the one that changed your life at 10, just like Stanley changed mine at 12 with 2001.

                            Do it. Only you can. So you have to. You can't let down the Universe that put you here. it's been waiting for you to pick up that hunk of glass, steel and mirror and CAPTURE THE PHOTONS that Sol took 8 1/2 minutes to send to you.

                            If you don't, they'll have come all that distance in vain.
                            Last edited by randyman; 08-31-2013, 06:35 PM.
                            Randy Walters


                            • #15
                              That 'snipe' is going to get me into lots of trouble... NOT that I need any help...

                              Thanks Randy!

                              Can anyone point me in the right direction to work out the depth of field on these 1000mm scenarios with the EF?
                              Peter Lloyd Culley
                              Adelaide, South Australia