How do you match lenses, if some lenses look sharper than others?
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Topic: How do you match lenses, if some lenses look sharper than others?

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    Default How do you match lenses, if some lenses look sharper than others?

    Basically if I am doing a movie shoot where I want to use different lenses throughout a scene, how do I match the look, since they look different at least to me.

    I have Canon 24mm and 50mm prime, along with a 70-300mm zoom lens. The two primes look very much the same in terms of sharpness and quality, but the 70-300m has a softer look to it, and doesn't look the same at all to me. But I do have a lot of shots, where a telephoto does come in handy.

    So is it me, or does this lens looks different than the others, and needs to be matched somehow, if anyone knows?

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    Junior Member   How do you match lenses, if some lenses look sharper than others? How do you match lenses, if some lenses look sharper than others? How do you match lenses, if some lenses look sharper than others? AJ Young's Avatar
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    It's difficult to match photography lenses, like the ones you've mentioned. On higher end productions, a DP would do a camera test on a certain set of lenses the rental house provides and determine which ones match the most in terms of color, contrast, sharpness, etc. They then take those lenses out for that specific production. Obviously in your case, that isn't an option. However you can do a few things:

    • Remember a key rule about changing lenses: they change perspective. Most DP's prefer to instead stay on one lens and move the camera in/out/around for coverage. It keeps the visual continuity the same for the audience and matches shots more easily.
    • Find the "sweet spot" of your lenses. Typically it's around a T4 or T5.6, but do a camera test to determine at which aperture all the lenses will look the sharpest.
    • Zoom lenses are typically softer than prime lenses. You're best picking one or the other.


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    Okay thanks. Well I want the telephoto for three types of shots mainly.

    1. It can pan with a much longer pan when zoomed in compared to nontelephoto lenses, and some shots I want, are with a long pan.

    2. The compression is really high in the telephoto lenses which is good for shots where I want things to be close together. For example, I want to get a close up of an actors face while he extends his hand towards the camera. The telephoto lens can make the hand look really close to the face, compared to a non-telephoto.

    3. I had a couple of dolly/zoom shots in mind for a couple of key shots. But if this will not work on the lens, than I still have the first two reasons to use the telephoto for some shots.

    But I actually want to change perspective intentionally. The DP will still move around and get coverage, but certain shots require that telephoto perspective change I want.

    I could just ditch the prime lenses alltogether and just use all zooms if that's best. It's just I really like the look of primes when it comes to wider shots though. What if I sharpen the telephoto shots in post to try to match the sharpness of the primes? Would that work do you think? I mean I can tell a difference, but would most viewers?


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