This week I received the new 35mm t1.4 CINE lens from Andrew at SLR Magic. This highly anticipated lens is the newest addition to the SLR Magic lineup, and I was fortunate to get my hands on one of the early models. I already own the SLR Magic 12mm t1.6 and I’m a big fan of it. I had been in the search for a companion lens in the 28-35mm range, so I was pretty excited when I heard about this.
I’ve been trying to get out and get some test footage this week, but we’ve had a run of pretty crappy weather in Montana. Today I woke up to a pounding snowstorm with several inches of new snow. Waiting any longer in Montana might mean waiting until spring. Knowing it would probably be pretty slow at the fly shop, I decided to head into work and see what kind of shots I could scrape together. Not ideal conditions, but maybe that’s good.
I Am Not A Pro
Two things. A. I am not a professional videographer and have never had any formal training. I learned videography at the University of Google. B. I don’t understand half of what I read at the U of G, so you won’t find any detailed charts, graphs, resolution tests, mention of distortion, pincushions, or comparison to uber-expensive cinema lenses from Canon, Leica or Zeiss. I just shoot video with manual lenses. Some I like. Some I don’t.
The above video was shot on a unhacked Panasonic GH2 / 35mm t1.4 SLR Magic lens / Hoya ND8 filter on outside shots. No color correction or post processing of any kind.
Here’s my impression after 1 day:
Like the 12mm t1.6 the 35mm t1.4 lens is built like a tank, which I like. The focus and aperture rings are similar to the 12mm as well; smooth but a little on the stiff side (which I also like). With time they will loosen up a bit.
The 35mm has “geared” rings designed to be used with a follow focus system. While I don’t use a gear system, I do like the rings. I was shooting outside under a Petrol rain-cover and it was very easy to get a grip and focus. I could even use a fingernail under the cover.
Also like the 12mm, this lens is very “forgiving”. It’s kind of hard to explain, but you seem to get the shots you thought you missed (in terms of focus). Some of my lenses look better on the viewfinder than they do after I download them. Both of my SLR Magic lenses look better on the computer than they do while shooting. That’s a good thing.
Focus seems sharper wide open than the 12mm, and there is less light falloff. Infinity focus also seems slightly better than the 12mm. Also like the 12mm, I can’t seem to get really sharp still images with this lens. It’s a great lens for video, but for stills I’ll roll my Panasonic 25mm f1.4.
I like the 52mm filter size. I have several Nikkor Ai and Ais lenses so I have plenty of 52mm filters. I also have a Hoya 52mm collapsible rubber hood, which was clutch in the blizzard. I don’t understand the metal screw-on lens cap – the 12mm has the same – but it’s an easy replacement with a 2 dollar plastic cover.
So far, it’s seems to be everything I wanted. It matches my 12mm as far as color, flare and boket. On the first try in some not so perfect conditions it produced some very good quality test footage. More to come…