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Meet the Extraordinary Zeiss Otus Lenses

What does the perfect lens look like? Is there even such a thing? We have a lot of philosophical lens conversations here at Rule. We’ve always had an affinity for vintage glass, and all the gritty imperfections that come with them. There are, however, plenty of shooting scenarios where a vintage look isn’t appropriate. Those modern, cutting edge, sharp-as-a-tack shoots. We’ve always had sharp glass, but the Zeiss Otus Primes (avail in 28mm, 55mm, 85mm) are a cut above.

As we work within the film and photography world when it comes to glass, there has always been a clear division between the two. Lenses that were very sharp, but not suited for on set use. Lenses that were geared and friendly for all our film accessories, but weren’t really that crisp — and if they could be both, they were pretty pricey. In this way, the Zeiss Otus series is a bridge between worlds. An expensive stills lens, and an affordable cine lens. Whichever way you decide to group them, the fact of the matter remains – this is extraordinary glass. 

The Zeiss Otus series was designed over a 3-year period, deep in the underground Zeiss bunker — somewhere, I assume, in the Alps. Zeiss made one thing clear upon announcing their new “affordable” lenses — they would not be compromising quality, in any regard. Did you know there are 6 elements in the construction of these lenses that are more valuable than gold? Vibranium unconfirmed. The body is a beautiful machined metal, and the overall feeling one has when shooting with them is a profound sense of modernity. These are the lenses of right now, and they’re great. 

Using these, I’ve found myself saying things like “Wow, the GH5 looks great!” “Wow, this FS7 looks great!” It took a second to realize that this lens is just a very nice addition to any camera. We can get into the weeds all day long about sensors, debayer patterns, relative sharpness, crispening — but at the end of the day, it comes down to the thing you put on the front of the camera. They are, on one hand, larger than every stills lens I’ve ever used or even heard of, which can be a bit of a bummer for compact shooters. They are no bigger than a Canon 24-70, though, and the weight trade-off is certainly warranted. Speed is also a consideration, as our 28mm, 55mm, and 85mm are all f1.4. While some lenses can achieve an f1.2, I find that to be an aperture I seldom use. I’ll trade a stop for the improved performance, no questions asked. 

In addition to freakish clarity, the Otus primes handle chromatic aberration with ease. Edges I found ringed with purple with my Canon L series glass were made pure and clean with the Otus. Even the edges of frame are well-defined and are not only very sharp, but match the sharpness of the entire frame. They are extremely reliable in their projected image, and certainly deliver on the promise Zeiss made — they’re the new standard. 

For me, I’m finding them to perform as a budget-friendly option to the Zeiss Supremes – and that’s an enormous credential to boast. So, if you’re looking for the Lens of The Future (or, perhaps, today), give rentals a call (or click here to email), and come check these things out!

– Alex Enman, Engineer

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Rent the Sony VENICE Digital Cinema Camera at 25% off in July

Rent the Sony VENICE Digital Cinema Camera at 25% off in July! Each month, we offer a special rental rate on equipment we think you’ll love. This month, we’re offering the Sony VENICE at 25% off the regular rate of $1,300.

The VENICE is equipped with a newly developed, full-frame image sensor, phenomenal color science, and a user-friendly design with clear and simple menu navigation. With the wide latitude and gamut recorded by the VENICE, freedom of expression is significantly expanded in grading and based on established workflow. Click here for product page and rental rate.

Contact RENTALS by email or phone at 800-rule-com for availability, details, and to book.

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Meet the Angenieux Optimo Ultra 12x Multi-Format Monster

As dependable as ever, Angenieux has released another perfect lens. The Optimo Ultra 12x cine zoom is really the next bar to measure other zoom lenses against. This time, they’ve created a multi-format monster that can cover 3 sensor sizes — including the new and exciting Full-Frame format that is on track to be this year’s summer jam.

As the format can change, the zoom range also changes slightly in regards to which lens element you’ve chosen. The options are for standard Super 35, Ultra 35 — a format created for S35+ formats like ARRI Open Gate, Sony Venice 5.7K 16:9, 6K RED Dragon, 8K RED Helium — and Full-Frame/Vista Vision targeted at large format cameras like the ARRI ALEXA LF, RED Monstro, RED 8K Vista Vision, and Sony Venice Full-Frame 6K.

The zoom ranges break down into these groups, and you’ll see that change in speed as well:

  • S35 [31.6mm] 24-290mm T2.8
  • U35 [34.6mm] 26-320mm T3.1
  • FF/VV [46.3mm] 36-435mm T4.2

Tests below are from the Sony Venice at 5.7K 16:9, with the Ultra35 format.

26mm [note the vingette is only visible in the “look around” setting at 16:9, and is not recorded].

 

320mm

This flexibility in format is exactly what rental houses are looking for — a lens that you can depend on, and that can change to fit your format needs from job-to-job. Just let your Rental Agent know which camera you’re using, and we can make sure it matches up.

The build quality is exactly what’s to be expected from the Optimo line-up, which is a visually near-perfect parfocal zoom that is very pretty, very heavy, and very expensive. No, this lens won’t be the everyday shooter’s go-to, but commercial and episodic productions will certainly get use out of this artillery-style zoom. With the 12x range, this isn’t something that’s meant to be taken off the camera that often. It’s your “on sticks, workhorse zoom”, just like the previous 24-290 models.

What excited me most about this lens is the Ultra 35 option. Yes, S35 is the standard, and, yes, Full-Frame sure is the cool, new kid on the block; but so many cameras have odd, non-standard sensor sizes. Having a lens that works well, specifically for Venice 5.7K, RED Helium 8K, and ARRI Open Gate is pretty phenomenal. Of course, designing a lens just for these odd sizes would be insane, which is where the flexibility of the multi-format option saves the day. I don’t know what the future will hold for imager sizes, but I do know that this lens will probably fit them.

More good news: You can take this lens for a spin at a 25% off in June. Just contact Rentals for details.

– Alex Enman, Engineer

 

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Rent the Angenieux Optimo Ultra 12x Zoom Lens at 25% Off in June

The best just got better! Rent the Angenieux Optimo Ultra 12x Zoom lens at 25% off all-month-long!

The Angenieux Optimo Ultra 12x Zoom Lens, with new optical and mechanical design, delivers unparalleled optical performance and mechanical reliability.  

Angenieux’s Interchangeable Rear Optics technology allows for the lens to be switched between 3 modes of coverage: Super 35mm, Ultra 35mm, and, coming soon, Full Frame/VistaVision.

Features include improved optical and mechanical design, no ramping, minimal breathing, superior optical characteristics, 321 degree focus ring with over 70 marks, and top carry handle. Click here to read Alex Enman’s blog post on this “multi-format monster”. 

Rent it for 25% off the regular rental rate of $695/day in June! Contact Rentals by email or phone at 800-rule-com for details, including multi-day rates.
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SL1 Mix + Mini Mix LED’s: High-Color Performance, Advanced Technology, Easy-to-Use

Durability, high-color performance, ease-of-use, advanced technology, and portability are all features that I look for when bringing new lights into our rental pool.  The SL1 Mix and the Mini Mix from DMG Lumiere provide all of the above, and make them a perfect fit for our rental clients.

Having the complete line-up of Rosco Gels at your fingertips is one of the many features of both the SL1 Mix and Mini Mix. While this isn’t new in the world of LED lighting, it’s nice to see these options integrated by many manufacturers.

Both fixtures can be powered by batteries, and this is, hands-down, my favorite feature. Production is a fast and furious business, so the ability to quickly power a fixture via battery is crucial!

Last but not least is the DMG Lumiere app that controls both of these units. Making your own colors, matching sources, dimming, and creating your own lighting libraries are just a few of the benefits that this app offers its users.

Both units are available to rent at Rule Boston Camera. Take either or both for a test run with our 25% discount in May. Click here to email rentals or call 800-rule-com.

-Dylan Law, QC/Logistics and MoVI Tech

 

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Rediscovering Celluloid: Film Capture with the Arriflex 535B

I’ve used the Arriflex 535B dozens of times on commercial shoots in the past, as an operator and as a DP. Sometimes you just take it for granted that it’s a tool to get a specific job done. But now, as a Professor of Cinematography, I watch my students learning the camera and rediscovering celluloid. I see that joy and wonder back in their faces the minute the camera starts running and they see the flicker through the eyepiece. It is so powerful.

When you’re shooting on film, 80 percent of the creative process happens outside of the camera. You have to think about your lighting plan, contrast ratios, and overall dynamics in a much more organic way. All of these things are also important when shooting digitally but the way they are approached is slightly different.

When working with film, you have to be more intentional at the outset. You’re not able to preview your imagery like you can with digital. There are no look-up tables or wave forms for you to rely on. You have to rely on your knowledge of the film stock and your light meter to tell you what’s going on. This causes you to pause and take more time with what you’re doing, as there is far less room for error.

The immediacy of digital technology and how it gives us what we want so quickly has really flavored how we approach image making. Film is the shoulders that digital stands upon. If we could all just take a step back and remember what film has given us, we will really think about what it is we are capturing, how we are capturing it and most importantly, why.

Thanks to Guest Blogger, Joey Kolbe, a talented Wildlife Photographer, Cinematographer, and Cinematography Professor for sharing his insight and experiences shooting with film. Be sure to follow him on Instagram

ABOUT JOEY KOLBE: Joey Kolbe is a Wildlife Photographer and Cinematographer for Live Action Narrative, Formula One and MotoGP, Special Effects and Stop Motion Animation. He also teaches Cinematography at Emerson College, Lesley University, and the Massachusetts College of Art where he shares his passion for filmmaking with the next generation. He lives in the Boston area with his wife and two daughters.

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Rent the DMG Lumière SL1 + Mini Mix LED’s at 25% Off in May

Go bright and save with 25% off either or both of the DMG Lumière LED’s — SL1 + Mini Mix — during the month of May!

Stylish, bright, and versatile, the new SL1 Mix is the perfect “go-to” light for all your on-set needs. RENT it at $195/day less 25% during the month of May!

Lightweight, compact, and feature-rich, the new Mini Mix provides a bright, reliable source in a small package. RENT it at $150/day less 25% during the month of May!

The rugged housing for both the SL1 + Mini Mix have multiple mounting points for the lights’ simple-to-use controller.  The AC power supply and battery plate can be controlled remotely via wired or wireless DMX or by using the MyMix app for your mobile phone.

Both lights are color-changing and outfitted with a library of Rosco gels for use in multiple applications, whether in the studio or on location.

Contact Rentals by email or phone at 800-rule-com for details + to book either or both LED’s.

Follow us on our social media channels for the latest products, events, and news!

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Gear up at 25% Off RED Digital Cinema Cameras in April

All-month-long, we’re offering a 25% discount on your favorite RED Digital Cinema Camera. Rent the Epic-W Helium, Gemini, or Weapon with RED Media at 25% off through April 30th.

RED Epic-W Helium 8K Digital Cinema Camera 

Powered by the HELIUM 8K S35 sensor, the RED EPIC-W is capable of shooting  8K Full Format at up to 30fps.

RED Gemini 5K Digital Cinema Camera

Featuring a dual sensitivity rating, the Gemini produces a clean high ISO image.

 

RED Weapon 8K S35

Capable of shooting motion and stills in 8K 2.4:1 at up to 75fps, or 8K Full Format at 60fps.

Contact Rentals by email or phone at 617-277-2200 (800-rule-com) to schedule your discounted RED Rental Rate in April!

You can also REGISTER FOR REDucation Boston, a 3-day workshop taught by AbelCine’s Director of Education, Jeff Lee, here at Rule Boston Camera over the weekend of May 3rd-5th. Click here to learn more and register.

 

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Professional Edit Systems + Support for RENT!

Post -production has always been an integral part of the process when creating visual media. From cutting-up film strips with a razor blade, to rendering out 8K composite images — the spectrum of technology used in post is huge, and, sometimes, prohibitively expensive. With the new advances in resolutions and codecs, it’s getting harder and harder to cut a project on your tried-and-true laptop.

Offering an edit system for rental is a lot harder than you’d think, so we’ve taken our time and listened to our clients to try and offer the smartest, most-reliable packages possible. As anyone who has used a computer can attest to — sometimes, they get weird. That’s a deal-breaker for a us. To go all-in on renting edit systems, we needed to make sure our builds and gear choices were as bulletproof as possible.

Rule is unique in this way — we’re the only Rental house offering professional edit systems and support for traveling editors, graphic designers, colorists, post supervisors, and even students. We figure if you can rent that new RED Digital Cinema camera, why can’t you rent a system powerful enough to work alongside it?

We came to the conclusion early on that Apple was the way to go when it came to reliability. Therefore, our entire fleet of edit systems is comprised of various levels of Macs — but that’s not the whole story. As any editor knows, it’s not just the computer that makes the system work. We’ve also sourced reliable hardware for all the other odds and ends you might need in your post suite, including I/O, audio monitoring, calibrated grading monitors, and everything in between. We offer a number of tiers, and, in addition to prepackaged options, we are more than happy to work with you to piece together exactly what you need.

Currently, we offer the latest Mac Pros, in both 8 core and 12 core options. For a more budget-conscious system, we’ve got you covered with the 27” iMac Quad Core, and, for our clients that are on the move, 15” Macbook Pros.

All systems come with FCPX, but we also have add-on software options offering Adobe Creative Cloud, Avid Media Composer, DaVinci Resolve Studio, and more. We are fully stocked with Blackmagic Ultrastudios, Mackie Mixers and Audio interfaces — all pumped through some truly awesome-sounding Genelec studio monitors.

Doing color work? Why don’t we add a calibrated Sony OLED or Flanders monitor to the mix? We’ve even got RAID and Shared Storage options available. You gotta put that footage somewhere, right?

We’re very excited to offer this variety of rental options (available as Edit System – Package A, B, or C), and we can’t wait to hear from you! Call or email to talk to our Rental Agents about our rental packages or our customized edit systems for rent! Whatever your post needs call for, we’ve got you covered.

-Alex Enman, Engineer

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Meet the Flexible + Foldable Aladdin Fabric-Lite 350W

The Aladdin Fabric-Lite 350W is our newest LED 3×3 panel that can be folded and flexed.  I’ve found that the best part about this light is its flexibility — because it’s made of fabric, it can easily be folded and packed into a backpack. This makes it easy to take pretty much anywhere.

The Fabric-Lite  can be mounted onto its frame with a diffuser and grid, or you can simply hang it wherever you need it. There are literally NO restrictions for where this light can go…

I took the Fabric-Lite on a recent shoot to NYC, and it was the perfect choice. I folded and packed it away in my camera bag for traveling, and when it came time to use it, I tied it up high around a pillar to use as a fill light.

Another fantastic feature about this light is that you are not restricted to AC power. It comes equipped with two gold mount plates for your battery power needs, which makes it easy to use. The light has a color temperature range of 2900 to 6200k with a CRI of 97.

Interested in renting the Aladdin Fabric-Lite 350W? Contact Rentals by email or phone at 800-rule-com.

Alex Lopez, Quality Control Technician