Wide angle reality check


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I think it is rather humorous that over the last while everyone has been clamoring for telephoto shallow focus solutions for video cameras, and as soon as someone builds one, everyone starts complaining about lack of wide angle. Compared to what? Yes there are super wide lenses for full frame stills for shooting big group interiors, but guess what we are movie shooters and can move the frame to take in the shot.

Our frame of reference if you want to talk crop factor should be the 1/3" cameras we've worked with for years. The widest standard zooms for these cameras is 4-4.5mm or 16 - 18mm in 4/3 format. You can't adapt much wider than that without introducing barrel and fish-eye distortion.

If you've been working with consumer cameras like the canon hv20 type the wide end is 6mm or 24mm in 4/3, again you can't go much wider without distortion.

All of the standard zooms in m4/3 start at 14mm which is already wider than any video camera you've ever used. Add the 7-14mm and it will blow your socks off. Yes at f4 it is a bit slow, but consider the pains we have gone through to shoot hv20 with no gain, f2 at maybe 100asa, that would be f4 at 400, if the cam is clean at 800 - 1600 it is a non issue, if so turn a light on.

On my 16mm kit the widest lens I have is 10mm and I've never had trouble getting a shot, that should have a FOV similar to the 20mm pancake, which at f1.7 should be more that fast enough to cover the dance at a wedding reception.

If You've ever read American Cinematographer Magazine, you'll see that most every shot in every movie you see is 25mm or longer. 18mm is typically the widest standard lens. The prime kits do go down to 12mm but lenses that wide are a speciality item. 10mm on a movie really stands out, there are only a handful of shots in Hollywood history that have used it, and if you saw it, you knew it.
Totally agree. The only way people would be missing something on the wide end with this camera is if they have been accustomed to shooting on the 5D which, frankly, is unlike shooting on virtually any film camera. I mean, how many films were actually shot primarily in Vistavision? I think about 30. And I don't know of any since about 1990.

If I really needed that look as part of my aesthetic, I'm afraid shooting on ultra-wide primes on S35 or on a 5D would have to tide me over until Canon decides to release a FF35 video camera (which they haven't even hinted at) or until the Scarlet FF35 ships (which is anyone's guess).
Really waited until somebody would finally mention what you wrote. A 14 mm is really good enough for most wide-angle shots. Thank you.

But: Would a 7-500 Zoom with constant f 1.4 make people stop complaining? Naaaah.... because it would not be a macro, probably..... ;-)
Nice discussion.

So, the 20mm 1.7 would be consider a nice wide angle option, acording to film standards, in a m4/3 chip?

I read the reaction to Phil Blooms review this morning and thought, oh god here we go again, Groundhog Day :cheesy:
If somebody really needs to shoot a film with a 180 degree circular fisheye @ f0.01, then, yes they will need to look elsewhere, but otherwise there are plenty of good options available for the format.
I think a 20 would be fine as a kind of "medium-wide". As dop16mm said, though, for a true "wide" I would consider something around 15mm.
yes, very good insight here. i have been searching around and buying some nikon glass this past week and havent been able to find something too wide, yet when the question is put into perspective, how wide do us filmmakers really go (unless to achieve a certain shot). i read that the nikon 15mm is similar to the tokina 17mm and the tokina is rated better so i am out for one of those. i think 17mm will suffice for the widest in the kit. thanks for the interesting take on this.
hear hear. complainers are obviously soiled by FF. guess what? if you want ultra wide, stick with a 5d moire II.
So, the 20mm 1.7 would be consider a nice wide angle option, acording to film standards, in a m4/3 chip?

No. But a 14mm 2.5 is not a bad start. A 7-14 mm f 4.0 is slow but a great lens. I you need it shorter than 14 mm and faster and have a PL adapter: rent a Zeiss .

Should there be a, say, 12 mm f 1.4 ? Yes. Nice to have. If anybody will produce it, I may buy it.


Voigtlander has just announced a 75mm f 1.8 with leica m-mount. Maybe they will go for shorter & faster soon.
A 12mm 1.9 zeiss can be had for about $20,000 or whatever the daily rent is, I don't think the superspeeds or newer master primes go that wide.

Everything is a compromise, but I think at the price point panasonic is offering usable solutions at the wide end.
Finally somebody came out and said it and got some attention...I am also so sick of people talking about crop-factor this and oh no the sensor is too small that. The sensor is too small compared to what?! It's the largest sensor ever put in a sub-$10,000 dedicated video-camera.

Also, there's that 14mm f/2.5 coming out soon, that'll be nice.

If you need wider than that just move the damn camera back, and if you need faster than that just add some damn lights.
11-16 f2.8 nikon mount tokina with the correct m43 to f-mount with aperture controller == problem fixed
The Panasonic 7-14mm is only f4, but as it's a rectilinear lens, it's a fantastic looking wide angle lens. In a low-light situation you could always drop the shutter to 1/24th which would give you an extra stop of light. And given the building opinion that 800 ISO is perfectly useable on the AF100, there's about another stop right there. I think the 7-14mm is a perfectly good (albeit mildly expensive) choice for ultra-wide angle. And if f4 at 800 ISO at 1/24th is not enough light, as Ben_B says, add some lights! After all, we're filmmakers!
I began thinking about those who have a Rebel, 7D, nikon D80 or other APS-C sensor camera any of the EF-S type lenses will be almost the telephoto size as is marked on the lens (a 24mm will be a 30mm), and EF-S lenses are often cheaper than EF lenses.

Think of it. Good but cheap glass from a variety of manufacturers, little telephoto effect and almost no chance of vignetting because APS-C is slightly bigger.

I know for electronics to function you'll have to wait for a Birger Engineering to offer thier mount, but they certainly aware of what a good market this would be for them. I expect it will be offered soon after the aF100 is offered.
Indeed, as mentioned focal length and field of view are related but not interchangeable when discussing topics such as these.

18mm tends to be the widest prime lens commonly found in 35mm motion picture or S35mm motion picture photography. Going wider is totally an option. Also, take into account anamorphics which double the horizontal FoV... so a 50mm anamorphic would have the FoV of a 50mm lens vertically, but horizontally would be the equivalent to a 25mm.

Of course, start talking about 4/3" chip, 2/3" chip, 16mm, full frame photography and etc.... these numbers change. Wide angle and telephoto can be relative.