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Inspiring Vintage Lens Test Shows Affordable Cinematic Look

Oct 17, 2016 | Video Producers, Equipment, Filmmaking

Producing videos today gives us a myriad of equipment choices. Experience with the output of different camera and lens combinations gives video producers and filmmakers an incredible amount of control over the look and feel.

Contrast, color, focus, and highlight roll-off all play into producing video media that connects viewers with the brand narrative.

Last week I was inspired by this amazing vintage lens test filmmaker resource produced by Sharegrid. Make sure to check out the side by side vintage lens test comparisons too.

Determined to produce my Nikon vintage lens test video as nimble, quick, and light weight I took a set of three vintage Nikon lenses out to my favorite filmmaking testing grounds, with my trusty production assistant Bosco.

My PA and I headed up the hill behind my house with three old Nikon AI cine-mod Duclos lenses from the 1960’s and 1970’s.

 The lenses used in this vintage lens test video are:

  • 85mm f/1.4
  • 50mm f/1.2
  • 24mm f/2.0

The vintage Nikon lenses hold up well in this high contrast forest covered sunlight situation. Optically they’re just as tack sharp as compared to the other vintage lenses that cost 20X more. The bokeh is really nice on all three lenses. The bokeh of the 85mm f1.4 is really beautiful.

The weakness is that the image quality and color rendition can vary dramatically from one vintage Nikon lens to another, so getting a complete set together can take some time if you have perfectionist tendencies like me. The good news is they’re cheap and still readily available.

Fortunately being a video producer here in the San Francisco Bay Area we have access to just about any set of lenses to match any desired look and feel.

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