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    You've Got a Decent Budget, So Which Lens Do You Get?
    #1
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    So I have a decent budget set aside for a zoom lens for my FS7 MK II. I already own a bunch of GM lenses in the 16-35 2.8, 24-70 2.8, 70-200 2.8, 100-400 4.5-5.6 as well as a Zeiss Batis 25 f/2 and a Zeiss Planar 50 1.4. Those lenses are great on my mirrorless cameras and they are ok on my FS7, but what I need now is one (or two) really good manual zoom lenses that produce a great image and that cover a decent range. I'm tired of using fly-by-wire lenses on my FS7 and I'm wanting to have a servo zoom. My intent is to use this lens (or lenses) for doc work, short films, events, commercials, corporate work and reality television (we do a variety of projects).

    Here are the options I'm considering:

    1) The Fujinon MK 18-55 & 50-135 set at $7,800

    These are obviously beautiful lenses that are fast, fully manual and lightweight. Together they also cover a huge range. But, they require an aftermarket servo kit to have a power zoom and aftermarket servos like the Chrosziel Compact Zoom Control Kit have been known to short out the lanc port on the FS7 as well as the motor on the Chrosziel itself. The aftermarket servos also bring the cost of this set up much higher and they require you to use the FS7's handgrip which I'm not crazy about.

    2) The Fujinon XK 20-120 Cabrio with the servo drive for $13,500

    This is another beautiful lens that has a fantastic range that requires less lens changes, comes with an awesome servo grip that's very responsive, and the entire lens setup works equally well in both an ENG environment as well as in a more tradition film environment. The downsides are the price, the weight, the T/stop at 3.5, and the fact that I'm not entirely sure how well it works together with the FS7 (as in how ridiculous is it going to be to get power to the grip?). I also think that this lens will need a lens support even with the FS7II's stronger mount. My #1 concern with this lens though is definitely the weight and how it rigs up with the FS7. I don't want something that's a nightmare to use.

    3) The Canon 18-80 & 70-200 Cine Servo Zooms for $9,600

    These lenses are incredible to work with on the FS7II. You don't need a lens support to use them, they produce nice, warm images, together they cover the biggest range I'm considering, they have image stabilization, and they (currently) come with awesome servo grips that are very responsive & very fast, getting their power from the lens mount. Ergonomically speaking, these lenses are amazing to work with. The downsides are that they are slower at T4.4 and not all of their buttons work when adapted to the FS7.

    4) The Sony 18-110 for $3,500

    This lens makes sense with the FS7 (especially the MK II) because it's lightweight, cheap, covers a massive range, has image stabilization, has native autofocus, and it works quite seamlessly with the FS7, even providing in-camera corrections while still being almost fully manual. The downsides are that it's electronically parfocal, you have to use the FS7's handgrip instead of a lens handgrip like the Canon lenses have or the Fujinon Cabrio (which is not as comfortable to me) and it's slower at an f/4. Also, the servo is kind of a joke as it's slow and laggy.

    5) The Fujinon MK 18-55 & 50-135 set with the Sony 18-110 at $11,300

    This three lens combo gets you a pair of true, fast cine zooms as well as a run & gun ENG lens. With this set you could use the Sony for the run & gun work and the Fujinons for everything else. The downsides are the cost puts you not that far away from the Cabrio, you have to carry three lenses and the Fujinons would still need the aftermarket zoom motors when wanting to zoom electronically for certain shoots, like docs. You also have to use the FS7's handgrip for everything as none of these lenses have available grips.

    I've worked with several of these lenses on my FS7II (expect for the Cabrio), but I cannot figure out the best route to go. If you were looking to go down one of these paths, which would you pick and why?


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    I've also spent a zillion hours on this exact question...

    I ended up with the Sony 18-110 and the Sigma 18-35 & 50-100 T'2s.

    The 18-110 is my go-to doc lens. It's a workhorse and gets the job done. 18mm is sufficiently wide, 110mm is sufficiently tight, and the IS is valuable. Great lens for the FS7II because you don't have to think too hard about when to use it; it just works. What it lacks in "character" it makes up for in overall usefulness.

    I pair it with the Sigma 18-35 and 50-100 T/2's (PL mount) for my b-roll and interview work, and for more creative work when I'm not in run-and-gun mode. Amazing lenses; all metal, proper gearing for a follow focus, heavy enough to balance out handheld shakes, but not too heavy that they throw off the balance of the FS7. T/2 is also really nice when you need that extra kick of low light performance. Overall a really nice set of lenses to work with, and a highly useful aperture and focal length range.

    I *didn't* buy the other lenses for these reasons:

    Fuji 18-55 & 50-135: lots of plastic parts, and the focus throw is long enough that it's hard to use as a single operator. The fact that they are "lightweight" is a negative, because they don't have IS, so for handheld they are the worst of both worlds. Also, T/3 just isn't enough sometimes, so you'll need to carry faster primes anyway.

    Cabrio 20-120. Straight up, 20mm isn't wide enough, so you still have to carry an extra wide lens. Add in a T/3.5 aperture, and this further reduces the usefulness of such an investment. To me the 20-120 is a compromise, which was not appealing to me. The 19-90 is much more appealing, but it doesn't seem to balance with the FS7 very well.

    Canons: Well actually these are very fine lenses, and you'd be happy with them, but you'll still need some fast primes for lowlight work or for interviews.

    I could see the Canon 18-80 paired with the Sigmas as a nice setup, but at that rate might as well just go for the Sony 18-110.

    Tokina also makes some nice cine zooms that may be worthy of your consideration.


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    #3
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    If you don't need a servo and can stretch your budget, I can highly recommend a set of used Angenieux Optimo DPs, 16-42 and 30-80. I have a pair and they work great on the FS7 with a simple PL Mount adapter, beautiful image and can be had for around 7000 these days.


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    #4
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    I use the 18-110 on my FS7 for most of my documentary shooting. I got it the when it was first released. Its main drawback is that it is about 1 stop too slow. I often find that I am shooting on the edge of underexposure with it. On the other hand it is very sharp wide open, has a very useful zoom range and I have learned to do nice even slow zooms using the zoom slider on the lens. (I have never liked or used the handgrip that comes with the camera.) I have a series of fast primes and the sigma 18-35 but they only get used 10% of the time. Because the lens is so versatile I use it a lot.


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    #5
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    That one stop is more than it looks on paper. To me at least it's a big step from F4 to F2.8.


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    #6
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    Another vote for the Sigma zoom s..T2 is great.. breathing in the 50-100.. but minimum focus on the 18-35 is great for "getting arty ".. I have the CN7 17-120 but pretty much never use it since getting the Sigmas .. and the Tokina 11-16.. those 3 lenses are total under $15k.. and you have everything you need really .. for 99% of shoots.. and they look a lot more expensive than they are !!.. BS I know ..but it does have a client effect on corp shoots ..


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    #7
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    Thanks for the replies. I'm kind of leaning right now toward option #5 which is the Fujinon MK set along with the Sony 18-110. I really am intrigued by the Fujinon 20-120, but I'm afraid it won't be a fun lens to work with on a daily basis thanks to its size and weight. I'm thinking with the two Fujinon MK lenses, I would enjoy their low T-stops as well as their weight while still having the 18-110 for run & gun work. It's not as comfortable to use as the Canon Cine Servo Zooms are, but I think it'll do.


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    #8
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    I needed a broadcast type zoom lens and opted for a used Canon 17-120 over the new Fuji. It’s a great lens for most situations but beware the big zooms need lots of counterweight to balance properly on the shoulder.


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    #9
    Senior Member Run&Gun's Avatar
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    For the options you've listed, I'd go Fuji 20-120, but that fits my style, being as my background is in broadcast/network. Personally, I own the Canon 17-120 and love it(besides having poor weight distribution), but you didn't list it as an option. I have a client with the 20-120 and I like it a lot better than I thought I would. Between the 20-120 and 17-120, I'd take the 17-120, though, obviously.

    1) MK set. You have to change lenses to cover "the range" and they're still not super fast.
    2) 20-120. Not as wide as I like on the back-end and PL only, but still decent range, servo zoom and good build. It's a good runner-up to the 17-120.
    3) Canon compact servo's. EF only. Slow, no hard stops for focus and focus scale is in a hard to see window just like their still lenses. Have a client with the 70-200 and the focus ring is already sticking.
    4) Never used it, so I can't speak authoritatively about it.
    5) See 1 & 4.


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    #10
    Senior Member Wes.'s Avatar
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    I have the MK set, and I really really like owning and using them. The 18-55 gets primary play for sure, but when I swap over to the 50-135 I find the limit of 50 on the wide end to be inspiring (when it isn't annoying, in those moments yeah it sucks, that's lens change life though).

    I also keep a Sony G 24-105 f4 for the times when I can't be doing lens changes and need some good range. Cheap enough, useful enough on the fs7 and finds additional use on my a7sii ...

    Those are the big, 2019 players for me. I sold some other stuff I had but kept around a set of EF mount rokinon primes, a speed booster EF-E, a non optical EF-E, and a canon 16-35 2.8 - I chose the canon for its ability to be used full frame on the a7s with the non optical adapter and then to use the speed booster with it on the fs7 and fill in the missing "eng wide angle" gap left by having an 18mm be your widest. Sometimes you just need that crazy wide!


    TL;DR

    Fujinon MK Set 18-55,50-135 t2.9
    Canon 16-35 2.8 with speed booster (effective 2.0 10-20mm)
    Sony G 24-105 f4
    Rokinon 24,35,50,85 T 1.5 EF mount.

    Seems to me, like an affordable way to check off kind of most of the boxes I find myself needing to check off on various shoots. Obviously everyone has their own specific needs.... If I could sell it all and end up with a set of angeniux EZ zooms (15-40, 30-90 t2) - I probably would.
    www.vanheestvisual.com
    FS7 / A7Sii Owner / Operator
    MoVi Pro


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