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focus breathing (2 replies and 3 comments)

weaver
2 months ago
weaver 2 months ago

Hello Roger hope you are well.

I had a question about lenses; pertaining to how they react to changing focus between two regions. (focus breathing?)

It blew my mind when I watched this video with Art Adams from Arri showing how their signature prime lenses have mechanisms inside that compensate for the focus breathing; visualized with a chessboard.

@6:25 https://youtu.be/q1n2DR6H7mk?t=380»

The mechanism inside the signature prime seems to mechanically zoom in/out when changing focus; it would be interesting if someone developed software that crops the frame to accomplish a similar technique.

Are Arri lenses the best at reducing frame shifting? Are there other cheaper options that you know of? 

Thank you for your time.

The Byre
2 months ago
The Byre 2 months ago

Not Roger (obviously!) but here's my 30 cents worth -

The Arri SP anti-breathing mechanism is patented, so other manufacturers will have to wait a minimum of 20 years before they can copy it.  

You can always zoom in post in just about any and every software package out there.  It won't be exactly the same, as some objects will change size relative to one another in extreme cases, but it goes a long way to help.  It is also tricky to get right.

Low price with low breathing?  Xeen.  They are not only ultra-cheap, but breathing is slight to none whatsoever, depending on which focal length you go for.  Also flaring and bokeh, chromatic aberrations and other nasties are very good considering the ridiculously low price tag.  I compared them with Zeis, Schneider, Cookes and Cannons and all I can say is that price and quality seem to be inversely proportional!  The cheaper the lens, the more I liked them. 

OK, they are far from being Arri Signature Primes, but at the top-end of the lens market, despite being the best (IMO) the Sig-Primes are not the most expensive by a considerable margin!

 

weaver
2 months ago

Thanks for the input, I watched a few videos comparing lots of cine lenses, xeen seems like a great choice for the price. The lower mm models seem comparable to even cooke in terms of focus breathing. Though im still not satisfied, I might just rent a master or signature prime.

The Byre
2 months ago

Cookes have an OTT star effect and cost bonkers money for what they are (just my opinion of course!) The low mm Xeens have no breathing that I could find. As much as low breathing is desirable, it is not the only quality to watch for. Try the single light in a dark room test and look for phantom images, internal reflections and milking-out of parts of the image. That kind of test will surprise you! I feel that there is an 'Emperor's New Clothes' thing going on with many 'prestige' lenses that is being exposed by the newer models such as super-cheap Xeens and genuinely great lenses like the sig-primes.

Anyway, I put my money where my mouth is and bought five Xeens (12mm to 85mm) and a couple of cheap Leica zooms for multi-cam TV work that also performed amazingly well given their stupidly low price. Taking a leaf out of the Coen playbook, I want every dime up on the screen and not in a lens case or even in the catering van.

Roger Deakins
2 months ago
Roger Deakins 2 months ago

Some of the more recently released lens sets have been developed with the breathing problem deliberately ignored. Some cinematographers, supposedly, like the effect. Personally, I will always pay for a Master Prime or a Signature Prime as they don't breath and they are the most artifact free I have seen. I don't carry a large camera package and prefer to rent specific items (such as a zoom lens) for only those days on which we will need them so the expense of a set of lenses is rarely a problem.

I'll probably have to eat my words now!

weaver
1 month ago

I think I can appreciate the potential stylistic/creative choice of wanting breathing, but for my current project I would mostly prefer the viewer to be immersed and lost in the product, instead of thinking of the camera-work too much. Thanks for your time Mr. Deakins!

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