Putting the Sony 28-135mm f4 lens through its paces for ENG use.

Categories: Miscellaneous 3 Comments

Testing

This is an honest assessment of the Sony 28-135mm f4 lens for ENG use. Firstly can I start by saying its a cracking piece of glass, its actually a lot bigger than I had perceived on the web.

There are no perceivable chromatic aberrations, no reds or blue ghosting hiding in the corner of frame or tree branches. Its not the longest zoom on the camera planet with a zoom ratio of just under 5x nor is it as wide as most of us would have expected. Canon’s 17-120mm is a 7x zoom ratio far more useful for 4K “Run & Gun” but ten times the price of the Sony and sadly not a constant aperture lens.

lens-v2

Although sitting at f4 the Sony is a constant aperture lens which in my opinion produces a very nice shallow depth of field between f4 and f5.6, the servo zoom is very smooth from creep to “Sony fast”. The timings are as follows…Slow = 18s from W to T and Fast = 4s.

This is where we start to lose momentum, the zoom is not fast enough in my opinion its almost as if its been set to accommodate the auto focus. You do have the option to switch over to manual zoom but unfortunately unlike a true ENG lens you don’t get a fast crash, its dampened to a set speed. I will ask Sony next week at BVE if there is anything that can be done to improve the speed of the zoom.

Black-white

It is a par focal lens so zooming in to get focus will stay the same when zoomed out, very useful. You also have the option to de click the aperture ring via a switch on the other side of the lens.

On the downside Sony decided not to produce a lens cap for the £2300 4K lens…you get what can only be described as a plastic cup lid, not what I expect from the likes of Sony, poor show. I have just ordered a 95mm front lens cap for a Hasselblad for £8 from WEX.

Scott-FS7-web

Back to the original question, how useful would this lens be for ENG work, the answer depends on what kit you have with you…If you solely depend on this lens it will be a struggle depending on the type of job you are filming. General shots, interviews and tight shots are the order of the day with this lens, wide shots…you will need to cross the road or have a second lens in the bag. I have the 10-18mm f4 Sony lens for this very purpose and it takes a matter of seconds to swap over.

This Sony PXW-FS7 is a two lens camera in my opinion till Sony update the lens to a 12-120 f2.8, I think most of us would stretch our pockets to afford such a lens as long as its not ten times the price !

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3 comments on this post

  1. Jiri Vrozina says:

    Thaks for that Philip.
    So, how slow is slow? How long will it take to zoom fully out or in? Can you time it?;-)
    Secondly, is Sony designing something wider?
    I really wonder if this zoom lens can be adjjusted like proper ENG lenses. There is too much electronics inside, like domestic lenses for Handycams.

    HDW : Slow = 18s and Fast = 4s.

  2. Jiri Vrozina says:

    For cameramen who are used to Manual Cinema lenses, this cheap Parfocal Zoom lens is the way to go.
    Pentax 28-135 f4

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Exc-SMC-Pentax-A-Zoom-28-135mm-f-4-f-4-Lens-5271-au-/321673659043?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_15&hash=item4ae53e82a3

    This lens will work on almost any camera and has great manual controls, including iris ring.
    About $150 these days.

  3. Owen says:

    Is there any theoretical reason why Metabones could not make a speed boaster for this lens so that it has the focal range of a standard zoom on the FS7?

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