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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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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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EXTENDED! It’s Full-Frame February (through 3/15) with 30% OFF Zeiss Supreme + Sigma Cine Prime Lenses + Zeiss Zooms

EXTENDED + EXPANDED! Due to popular demand, we’re extending Full-Frame February to MARCH 15th with 30% off Zeiss Supreme Primes + Cine Sigma Primes, PLUS we’re adding Zeiss Zooms (28-80mm + 70-200mm) to the discount! All are available at 30% off through March 15th!

The Zeiss Supreme Primes aka “Super Speeds” for the full-frame, digital-cinema age, pack an incredible amount of optical clarity and refined imaging beauty into a lightweight compact lens. With each lens designed to cover a full frame 24x36mm sensor and a 46.3mm image circle, you’ll want to utilize the lenses’ “sweet spot” for astounding images with Super 35mm imagers. Zeiss Supreme Primes are available to rent in 25mm, 29mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm T1.5 Prime with the 100mm Coming Soon! The rate per lens is $200/day LESS 30%!

The Sigma Cine full-frame, high-speed prime lenses are compact + lightweight, delivering crisp, high-resolution images. Each lens in the set is matched, features standard .8 gearing on the focus and iris rings, and all have a common 95mm front diameter. The Sigma Cine Primes are available in 14mm, 20mm, 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, and 135mm ranging from $70-85 each per day LESS 30%! 

The Zeiss 28-80mm T2.9 Compact Zoom Lens is a standard zoom lens, great for motion picture production with full-frame coverage and no focus shift over the zoom range. The cine-style housing features calibrated focus scales and industry standard gearing for focus, iris and zoom. Lens is available in either PL or EF Mount. Rent it for $350/day LESS 30%! 

The Zeiss 70-200mm T2.9 Compact Zoom is versatile and robust, with cine-style housing, full-frame coverage and interachangeable mounts. Lens is available in either PL or EF Mount. Rent it for $350/day LESS 30%!

Contact Rentals by email or phone at 800-rule-com for more details or to schedule your rental. Click here for our flyer, and feel free to share! 
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Now Taking Orders for the Canon EOS C200 Digital Cinema Camera

Coming Soon to Rentals and Now Taking orders for Sales! The Canon EOS C200 Digital Cinema Camera is the latest “ready-to-go” production camera from Canon that delivers outstanding image quality, performance and versatility, making it ideal for film, documentary and television production, corporate and event photography, and newsgathering.

Features include:

• 8.85 Megapixel Super 35mm 16:9 CMOS sensor that supports 4K (DCI) recording with a maximum resolution of 4096 x 2160 pixels

• Fully compatible with new and existing Canon EF-Mount lenses

• Built-in Viewfinder with LCD Touch Panel, Camera Grip and Handle Unit

• Dual DiG!C DV 6 Image Processors

• Dual Pixel CMOS AF Technology

• Internal 4K RAW Recording with New Cinema RAW Light

• Internal 4K UHD and Full HD Recording in MP4

• Full HD 120P / 100P Slow Motion Recording

• Professional Workflow

• HDR Viewing

• ACES 1.0 Support

• Wide Range of Connectivity Options

Sales is taking orders. Contact sales@rule.com or 800-rule-com for details. We’ll be adding the C200 to our Rental inventory as soon as it’s available. Stay tuned for more details.

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The Sony PXW-Z150

  Sony_PXW-Z150 There’s a lot to be said for a good camcorder-styled camera — a format that, in recent years, hasn’t been given the love and attention I feel it deserves. While not the most exciting camera, more often than not (and especially for event and corporate shooters) — it is by far the most practical. The market was given a glimpse of the future late last year, with Panasonic’s release of the DVX 200. The camera provided a Micro Four Thirds imager, with a camcorder-styled body and attached zoom lens. The idea being that run-and-gun shooters needn’t compromise on depth of field any longer. By using the larger sensor, shooters could finally get images that rivaled those of their DSLR counterparts in the sub-$5,000 market. It’s a need that won’t be going away any time soon, either — producers and content creators have come to enjoy the shallow depth of field “look” that one gets from large imagers (the Canon 5D Mark II is probably to blame). But, rigging these small cameras with external recorders, audio interfaces, shoulder mounts, top handles, and shotgun mics was never the end-all, be-all answer shooters needed (although the DVX 200 delivered on these issues). Enter the Sony PXW-Z150, Sony’s newest offering in the PXW line, sitting happily alongside the popular FS5. At a little over three grand, this camera packs a punch. Its imager is slightly smaller than that of the DVX 200, but compared to the ⅓” and even ⅔” sensors of the prior generation of camcorders, the Z150’s 1” sensor adds just enough depth-of-field options to feel very versatile.   z150-medium In addition to its sensor, the Z150 has a few more tricks up its sleeve to bring it in line with its fancier, smaller counterparts. Sony has built the foundation of the camera’s acquisition on the now tried-and-true XAVC-L codec. While it’s not as dense as the FS7’s XAVC-I, it’s a huge improvement from the price-comparative a7SII (XAVC-S). The Z150 records a UHD 4K image internally, using the same SDXC cards as the FS5. It also has the ability to overcrank to 120fps in HD formats. Slowmo seems to be the new battleground for this market, and it’s great to see that Sony has matched the challenge. Perhaps the most interesting feature, for a humble colorist to appreciate, is its ability to record 10 bit HD. Traditionally, any camera under $10,000 recorded 8 bit images internally. To see a camera like this recording a nice and dense 10 bit image is a huge improvement. This camera has far more in common with an FS7 than an EX1. After that, the features meet all the new standards easily — built-in ND filter, a powerful autofocus and full auto mode, and XLR inputs. Run-and-gun shooters will feel right at home with the familiar Sony layout, and even though they’ve simplified the menus — I don’t find myself wanting anything extra. A common criticism of Sony’s latest camera lines is how complicated their menu structures are, so to see things paired down a bit in this camera is a welcome addition. It’s slightly disappointing that the Z150 doesn’t include any LOG gammas, but the normal picture profiles fill any creative gaps you may have. I don’t foresee many people shooting LOG on a camcorder, but with 10 bit, my question is ‘why not’? I would love to use the Z150 as a B camera to an FS7. Those are small potatoes, though, and I find myself very satisfied shooting with the Z150. For folks who are comfortable with the EX1 or NX cameras, this is, most likely, the 4K upgrade you’ve been waiting for. We are currently selling and renting the PXW-Z150, please contact us at answers@rule.com or 800-rule-com (800-785-3266) for more information! Alex Enman, Engineer, enman@rule.com

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The Arrival of the Alexa

The Alexa, the much-anticipated new digital cinema camera from ARRI, arrived last Monday in its factory-fresh box.  The Rule Boston Camera staff was obviously ecstatic to get their hands on the camera after various ARRI factory delays postponed its arrival.  Within its first few hours at our shop (Arri Unboxing), the Alexa was booked on its first rental — a week-long commercial job.  Our Alexa made its first public debut at the PBS Quality Workshop at WGBH on November 4th, where the camera was eagerly inspected by the many who attended. From a rental house perspective, the ARRI Alexa is a welcome tool in the transition from the ease and image quality of film-based acquisition to the current needs of digital cinema.  The camera will be an excellent choice for those looking for an alternative to both the RED and the numerous HDSLR systems currently being used in productions. We’ll be hosting an upcoming Learning Lab dedicated to the features of the new camera, but in the meantime call or drop by with questions or to catch a glimpse of the Alexa. Brian Malcolm, General Manager

Arri's Guenter Noesner provides an overview of the Alexa