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Hesitations between two lenses to complete my kit
  • Hi guys, I know it will sound weird/stupid but I'm trying to decide which lens between Tokina 11-16 and Voigtlander 25 Nokton f.95 will better fit my needs and complete my kit... Theses two pieces of glass are totally different but both have pros that seduce me. I own a nikkor 35 f1.8 and nikkor 40 f2.8 macro. Here why I'm hesitating :

    The tokina produces wide shots with a relatively fast aperture, but I'm not sure it will mix well with 35mm (transition between Tokina wide shots and nikkor "close-up" shots will be hard)

    The Voigtlander's focal length fits better my actual kit, the super fast aperture gives a dreamy look that I love (I mostly shoot experimental stuffs, fictionnal shorts), this lens seems to be extremely polyvalent, some says it's a workhorse for the GH2. OTOH it's not that wide...

    So I'd like to know if you guys think (considering my actual kit) it's better to go for a wide lens or for a more "versatile" lens like the voigtlander.

    Thanks in advance

  • 28 Replies sorted by
  • It all really depends on what you shot. For example on much of the paid work that I get the Tokina might be used a fair bit since we're always crammed in a small space and the client wants a wide shot, but for my personal work the Nokton would be used much much more.

  • @krotal you could also look at the wider Voigtlander at 17.5mm it may help your dilemma :)

  • @matthere : I can't afford this one ;) @robmneilson : I was thinking the same about small spaces, that's the main reason why I decided to invest in a new lens. But I fear I won't be using it a lot compared to the Voigtlander.

    Give me your advices ! ;)

  • I have the SLRMagic 12mm 1.6 and the Nokton 25. They both focus extremely close and does the macro stuff great + they match in post. I would sell the Nikkors and get the 12+25. Add a cheap Canon FD 50 1.4 or 85 1.8 to the mix and you got a good trifecta. They all have great "experimental" character :)

  • I'd say 25mm focal length is very good on M43. Highly recommend it.

    Tokina 11-16 is an excellent lens, too. SLRMagic 12mm is ok. Lumix 14mm 2.5 is very good, too.

    Get'em all :)

  • Highly recommend the 25mm too; the aperture and ability to focus so close gives it the edge over a wider angle for me indoors. My favourite lens. The 7-14mm f4 Panny is great too (also not cheap) and it gets used almost as much as the 25mm, mostly for well-lit indoors and outside/steadicam.

  • I would not trade my Lumix 14mm unless I could for sure buy another one--one of the all time great lens bargains.

  • When I was getting my kit together, I looked at the Voigtlander 25 but came to the conclusion a FD 28mm would suit me more - cheaper, and while everyone gets hung up with fast apertures and 0.95 sounds great on paper, in practice the trouble with focus and interesting camera movement doesn't appeal to me. I'm more than happy with f2.8 :)

    I got the Tokina 11-16. Wonderful lens, I take it for any shoot and it always comes in handy. Recently filmed a single-shot short with it as wide as it goes, it adds lots of versatility in "real shooting conditions" (eg not on a sound stage, filming on real locations).

  • +1 on the Lumix Pancake.

    I just ordered a Pana-Leica 25mm 1.4 and excited about it. Way cheaper than the the Voig and quality is superb based on forum feedback (havent tested on my own yet so you decide), so I'd recommend that instead

    I'd suggest getting the panasonic 14mm pancake - very cheap via the bay and based on what you said, would do the trick for your wide shot needs.

    Just my 2 cents ;)

  • The lumix 14mm is insanely cheap. I got mine for $160 on ebay (new). To be fair though, it doesn't mix well with more vintage type glass, but neither does any panasonic or olympus lens. I have the voigtlander 25mm and I really like it, although don't expect it to be sharp untill about f2+. Very versitile lens to have. Although I almost like the 17mm better. Its such a great fov on the gh2.

    I didn't really like the Panny Leice 25mm. Its quite sharp even at f1.4 but its has a totally different aesthetic than the voigtlander. The voigtlander renders things much nicer in my opinion.

  • @DrDave @Soup @MattRobertson7 : I already considered the Lumix 14mm but I'm not fond of the Lumix look (not very cinematic, but not video-y either). Moreover I need a FF friendly lens, which isn't the case with Lumix lenses.

    I still haven't decide yet, the Voigtlander is by far one of the most cinematic lens out there, it has a lot of "character", it may be a bit soft, anyway I'm not into tack sharp lenses. FOV is good but I really don't know it's wide enough for wide shots in close spaces.

    The tokina should less compress backround, adding more depth in the shot (I guess), but I will need a new ND + focus ring (yeah I was stupid buying a 52mm variable ND)

    I will check out some footages shot with SLR 12mm

    Thanks for your answers, keep posting your advices ;)

  • @krotal

    May be just get two Samyangs :-) 14mm and 25mm ? If you want them to be FF friendly?

  • +1 on samyang/rokinon primes!

  • @Vitaliy_Kiselev @vicharris :Unfortunately the 14mm seems to have really bad distortion, plus it's impossible to screw filters on it (I don't have a mattebox)

  • I didn't mean the 14. It does have some bad reviews but I have the 35 and 85. Love em both! I plan on getting the 24 as soon as I can find a deal on a used one. I also picked up an old version of the Tokina 28-70 which is spec'd far better than the new versions and love shooting with it as well. It cuts very well with the Rokinon primes and my Tokina 11-16 but I'm not sure if it's FF friendly or not.

  • Oh, and if you are looking at the SLR, I have a test video some where on here where I took it out at night at the Santa Monica pier and played around with it. Everything is raw except two shots where I CC'd.just a little. I like it but I don't think it's edge to edge is very good.

  • @krotal Other than Oly/Panny m43 wide angle lenses, you can't avoid barrel distortion. Even SLRMagic 12mm 1.6 has noticeable distortion.

    To my eyes, rectilinear lenses are not friendly to wide angle portraits. It's good for architecture shots.

    About cinematic look, I still don't know what it is, but I know wide angle + tack sharp are happy marriage.

  • @stonebat : I shouldn't have talk about "cinematic" look of a lens because it's a stupid notion, what I mean is I don't like lenses that have a surgical sharpness, i'm looking for a certain "character" (i.e the Voigtlander's look)

    @vicharris : In think the SLR wins over the Tokina because it's faster, and sometimes I have to shoot in low light conditions, OTOH i read that some SLR lenses had issues like big loss of sharpness when f8 is reached (need to find the source of this statement)

    The real question is what focal length will better complete my kit ? I love the look of the voigtlander but will I manage to get wide enough shots in small interiors ?

    Important question : As I said, I need a FF friendly lens, but I use a lens support to avoid any twist or shake while pulling/pushing focus, I need to know the distance between the focus ring and the end of the lens ( ie bayonet side) because the lens seems too short to place the support + focus ring. Please tell me if you don't know what I mean.

  • Well if you are keeping the 35, then the 11-16 would be IMO your best choice. The 25 is too similar to your 35 and frankly I find the 35 focal length more "interesting" then the 25 which is a bit "normal" looking. Take a look at Musgo and see how the Nikkor-Tokina Combo looks like:

    @vesubio uses the Nikkor 28 2.8 and 50 1.4 but I think your 35 would fit in nicely. Later add a Samyang 85mm 1.4 to complement your kit.

  • I'm wondering how the new Panasonic 12-35 F2.8 would mix with vintage lenses? If it's good for narrative filmmaking and can mix with vintage lenses (so it doesn't look too sterile or clinical) it could be a great option for filmmakers. You would have wide field covered from 12 to 35... and would probably only need a 50mm and an 85mm. What do you guys think?

  • All you ever need are three lenses really, everything else is a bonus: 25mm or 35mm, 50mm, and a 85mm. You could argue that because of the crop you would need a widey like a 15mm. Well fair enough, but you could always adjust your vantage point on a 25 or 35mm to get wide.

    I sold my Nokton 25mm cos i found it hard to focus when i am on the run. Of course the same may be said of any fast glass, but lenses that go under f1.4 in general require alot more mastery and time.

    My Carl Zeiss lenses: 20mm, 28mm, 50mm, 28-85mm Angenieux: 35-70mm, 45-90 Samyang: 35mm, 85mm

    The zooms are in general slower, and they stop down when you tele, so they are mostly useful in broad daylight. The Angenieux 45-90 is tremendously sharp, and constant at f2.8

    As much as possible, i will use prime lenses for any given shoot. The zooms come in handy on corporate gigs when i haven't the time nor luxury to swap glass. Also, i much prefer manual lenses for their slightly more organic film look on a digital sensor. I tend to avoid AF especially the Panny lenses cos they are tack sharp and video-ey.

    But i think Driftwood's new hack can change all that

  • @Krotal The Tokina 11-16 and SLR are different beasts altogether! I really only use the SLR for night shots that I want to be different from the norm. I find the SLR hard to use and if you want to pull focus, well good luck with that. I really like the Tokina in my kit and use it often, but to be honest, I set it around 14-16mm most of the time. The 12mm just seems a little too much from time to time and the 14-16 just feels better to me. It's nice to have a little punch in or out when you want it without picking up and moving. Another question, do you use a mattebox and follow focus at all or just the cam, lenses and their hoods?

  • I really wish they had the 17.5 f.95 an adaptable mount, trying to steer away from investing in M43 lenses. But its a darn good lens. I keep renting it, I should just buy it but don't wanna plop down the cash. And the rokinon 35mm and 85mm combo seems far too tele for me on a crop sensor. You won't get anything wide with either of those. 85 basically restricts you to tripod only, and the 35 is a very awkward focal length on m43 for me. Something around 25-30 or 40-50 is much more logical to me. 35 just feels really in-between when you're using it. 70mm equivalent is a weird length.

    I really feel like this is the achillies heel of using a crop sensor. It makes it harder to get good, cheap, wides (barely any vintage wides, and the ones that are wide are crazy expensive) and with the lenses you get, you'll need them to be pretty fast so you don't have to push the noisy sensor too far. I feel like lens choice is super easy on like 5D. Yes, its a catch 22 to some extent since even though you can get cheaper lenses (you can film anything with a 35mm, 50mm, and 85mm, all the most common focal lengths), you can't adapt as much on a FF sensor as you can with m43.

    With the tokina, really its probably just gonna be used as mainly more of a specialty lens. 11 is too wide for me on m43, and 16 is not close enough to be a 35mm equiv. I'd get the voigtlander 17.5 if I were you. Its HUGE too if you're filming events. Its indespensible for weddings, especially getting sweet dancefloor footage. You'll be less shaky with it than the 25, its a really comfortable running around length, and you can shoot at night with it and not even push the iso much. It looks more cinematic, and even though its wider you can actually get some shallow DOF. Plus the voigtlanders always seem to hold their value really well in resale, so just look at it like you're renting the lens for the time being ;)

  • @ vicharris : I use the cam on a rig with FF but no mattebox, instead I use variable ND (the Singh Ray vari ND is coming :) ) I'm now more tempted by the Tokina because after some testing with panny 14-42 set a 25, the FOV doesn't change a lot from my 35. I watched this compilation of one point perspective in Kubrick's work

    and it made me realise that with a 25 I won't be able to figure perspective in a narrow corridor for instance.

    @MattRobertson7 : Thank you for your detailed advice ! But as I said this one's not in my budget, moreover I won't be able to use my lens support + FF on this lens because the length of the barrel is too short, it will cause camera shake while pulling/pushing focus...

  • Plus the Tokina is constant length which should work fine with your FF :) One more: Vitaliy keeps talking about the Tokina 12-24 Constant f4 which is cheaper then the 11-16. Could be good choice if you're not into super shallow DOF?