Until the morning of the shoot, I didn’t know whether we would shoot in the studio or outside. Our wonderful models assured me that it wouldn’t be a problem to shoot outside, at about 45 degrees, it was the first sunny and “warm” day in weeks. As usual, my D800E with a rented Nikkor 58mm 1.4 G was set up for stills and a rented Sony A7r body with the Sony FE 28-70mm and the Sony A7 with the Zeiss 55mm, for video. Before we started on hair and make up, I snapped a few quick location shots with my models and decided to keep the Nikon as back up and shoot everything with the A7 and A7R, dedicating the A7/ Zeiss 55mm for stills and the A7r/ FE 28-70mm for video.
Set up and working impressions:
Both cameras were set up with battery grips, the lack of bulk, light weight and small footprint reminded me of the days when I worked with 35mm bodies.
Synchronized custom settings on FE 28-70mm as my main video lens.
A quick video specific test between the Zeiss FE 24-70mm and the Sony FE 28-70mm revealed that the cheap kit lens was a better choice for video. The Zeiss 24-70mm, a fine standard lens for stills ( if you can live with the distortions as a raw shooter) for video however, the obvious advantage would be the constant aperture and the one stop aperture gain at the long end, however, I found this wasn’t enough to off set the choppy feel of the zoom ring-it might have been my particular copy-whereas the manual zooming action on the Sony FE 28-70 was buttery smooth. Another pleasant surprise, stopped down to 5.6 on the kit lens, there was no noticeable iris adjustment as I zoomed from one end to the other, it acted like a lens with a constant aperture. OSS worked very well on both lenses and I wasn’t able to detect a difference between the kit lens and the Zeiss.
The Zeiss 55mm wasn’t as easy to use for video. AF tracking isn’t smooth, hick ups and jumps and I ended up shooting in manual focus mode.
I wish the Zeiss had OSS.
ND filters where used on both lenses.
Shooting in a crowded public place with gear that fits into a small DSLR video Pack with lots of room to spare will change your photographic life forever. I will post the magazine layout in a couple of days and share my thoughts about these cams when shooting stills with the Zeiss 55mm wide open. In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed watching the video.
UPDATE: Field report shooting stills, click here.
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