Boston Celtics

Angenieux 25mm to 250mm f3.2 Zoom Lens and Letus Elite Review

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I rented a Angenieux HP 25mm to 250mm f3.2 35mm cinema zoom lens from Boston Camera in Brighton, Massachusetts to shoot Boston Celtics footage for Comcast Sports Net. They will use the footage to build promos for their basketball coverage.

I used my Sony PMW-EX1 with the Letus Extreme and Letus Elite back focus module. I shot in 1080 30p on cheap sticks.

I really enjoyed using this lens. For $215/day, it is a little expensive, but it sure beats switching prime lenses every time you want to change your focal length.

Ten things I noticed about this lens:

1. It was very heavy. I had to have a camera assistant when working with it. I just felt safer having somebody else there to help me move to new locations or raise/lower the tripod.

2. The focus direction was opposite my normal broadcast tv zoom lens. This really messed with my head in the beginning and I had to remind myself constantly to follow focus the opposite direction.

3. I found quite a lot of vignetting with this zoom lens. With my Nikon primes, I run the EX1’s zoom at about Z70 and shoot most of the ground glass. The Angenieux lens forced me to run at Z85 (with slight vignetting) or totally zoomed in at Z99 for a clean frame.

4. The edge to edge sharpness was not so good. I found that even zooming the camera to Z99, the edge to edge sharpness was not perfect.

5. You must use the Letus Elite back focus module to keep this lens sharp through it’s entire zoom range. You can set infinity and the rest of the lens will follow.

6. Trying to zoom and focus at the same time was almost impossible. Trying to spin the manual zoom ring and focus with a mouse hair of focus was very tricky. Now I know why there are “focus pullers”!

7. You need more mounting plates and rods to make a lens of this size work. The Arri bridge plate, dove plate and heavy long rods added some serious weight to the camera.

8. You must use a strong tripod that can take the weight and maintain perfect balance. When shooting in wind at 250mm, it was very hard for me to keep the shot steady. I was using a heavy duty Vinten Vision 10 tripod!

9. The shallow depth of field was awesome. I even noticed it when I was running at 24mm.

10. This rig is a serious head turner. People want to know what it is when you are shooting on the street. I would have really dressed it up if I had though of using a matte box to knock down lens flare. Somebody asked me if the system was a RED ONE.

Oh and by the way, all of my “on-cameras” were shot with the Sony HDR-SR11 consumer camera (the one I reviewed). I used the UTX-B2 and URX-P2 Sony wireless mic system and plugged it right into the side of the SR11. It works well!

TRT: 4 minutes 44 seconds
Size: 108.2 MB
Type: Quicktime mpeg4 720p HDTV

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