How well do you know your lenses?
Today we are reviewing a lens test that cinematographer John Brawley created and released on his blog.
John Brawley is a wonderfully accomplished DP based out of Australia. He has developed a reputation as one of Australia's most talented and sought-after Directors of Photography. As a cinematographer, naturally his blog is oriented towards camera reviews, technical advice, lighting setups and other key topics that provide filmmakers with a wealth of information to learn from. We highly suggest you check it out!
The video above, "Lens Families," provides a wonderful example of how to test out lenses in order to compare them. He starts by keeping all of his variables such as lighting, subject, camera, t-stop, and camera move the same. This helps the reviewer to later be able to analyze each lens effectively and note the variations and performances. There are several different tests that he accomplishes in each shot, testing each of the lens' versatility. He begins the shot by doing a camera move, moving from left to right. He has a light pointed at the camera to test what shapes and the sharpness he gets from lens flares. He uses different props to test color and by using bright colors (the roses), dark colors (the Green in the background), and the color chart (accuracy). Because he has a human as a subject as well, he can see how the lens does with skin tones. In the camera move, he lands on the skin tone, before racking to the minimum, and then through to infinity to check for focus breathing. Because he is in this rather large room, with subjects in the fore, mid, and background, you can really get a sense of how the lens focuses at the various depths. There's even a couple of strings of Christmas lights to see what the lens does with bokeh. This video is a great example of a well-done lens test.
Hopefully, this will help you when testing lenses or deciding which lens family to use on your next shoot!
A is SLR Magic
B is Panavision Primo
C is Zeiss CP2
Check out John Brawley's full post HERE.