When Los Angeles based director/cinematographer Hal Long evaluated prime lenses to outfit his RED EPIC digital cinematography camera, his number one goal was finding lenses that had a cinematic feel and best rendered skin tones.
“For me what was critical was how they looked on people,” said Long.
Long really put the Schneider Kreuznach Xenon FF-Primes to the test on a recent commercial shoot for gun maker, Glock. The spot was set in a taxicab, shot with his RED EPIC at 5K resolution. “The client was really happy with the way the skin tones rendered. This is a client that I’ve used nothing but extremely high-end lenses for. So it was as pretty big step for them to trust to use the FF-Primes for this spot. They were blown away with them.”
Long also praised the fact that Xenon FF-Primes are not as high contrast and razor sharp as some primes on the market. “To my eye it just gives you a little more latitude to work with.”
Because he also used a Fujinon Cabrio 19 to 90mm zoom lens for some shots in the Glock spot, Long was able to compare the Cabrio with the Schneider-Kreuznach primes. “The important thing is, when you cut between the lenses, do you notice a difference in look? I thought the FF-Primes matched up very nicely with the Cabrio zoom.”
Long had extensively tested primes in his price range before choosing the Schneider-Kreuznach Xenon FF-Prime lens family. “They’ve got a very distinctive look,” he said,” and I think it complements digital sensors well. You wind up with a very classic cinematic look, rather than a sterile look which is what can happen with a lot of more modern glass on digital sensors.”
To Long, “What makes a great lens is how the out-of-focus areas look: the bokeh.” He describes the FF-Primes look as “creamy and organic, with a very natural, classic look to them.”
And owning lenses that cover a full frame sensor was a critical requirement for him, “just given where sensors are going these days. And who knows what someone’s going to be releasing next year? I like that these are full frame cine lenses, and not a re-housed still camera lens.”
But Long would not sacrifice on quality. “The build quality and feel is excellent. It’s got the long focus throw, so the assistant can get precise focus pulls. And there’s very little focus breathing.”
Long described his Xenon FF-Prime lenses as fitting an important niche: “Of course, you can get higher end lenses. But when budgets constrict I want to have something I can offer and still be satisfied using. I think they fill that bill nicely.”
The Schneider Kreuznach Xenon FF Prime Lens series includes the 18mm T2.4, 25mm T2.1, 35mm T2.1, 50mm T2.1, 75mm T2.1, and 100mm T2.1. They feature 300-degree focus barrel rotation and are available with interchangeable Nikon F, Canon EOS or PL mounts.
For more: www.schneideroptics.com