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This New Series Provides a Comprehensive Test of 11 Documentary Zoom Lenses

Matt Porwoll and AbelCine have partnered together for a comprehensive new series that takes a look at and compares 11 different documentary zoom lenses. Porwoll chose lenses that had a zoom factor of at least 3X, weighed under 6.5 pounds and, to his eye, provided the quality he strove for when shooting 4K.

Writes Porwoll, “This test was specifically designed to highlight the advantages of each lens, or to find where it shines. What is it about each lens that draws us to it for a given need? We have devised multiple shooting scenarios–an interior daylight scene of someone playing pool, a night exterior of two dancers under cafe lights, and a lit interview scene — all chosen to recreate the types of shooting and lighting environments we regularly find ourselves in. At the end of the day, any lens test is a

subjective test

. Our approach stems from questions I had and elements I wanted to further explore, so we placed the lenses in the real world. The lighting may not always be perfectly consistent (clouds and shadows move in real life). The shots are not always on a tripod or dolly with repeatable precision (neither is my operating on a documentary). To me, understanding the technical elements of a lens better informs me on how I make creative decisions. We purposely set out to not pit one lens against another, but rather to look at how each lens reacts in various situations. At the end of the day, every lens we tested is a lens I would use. Each has its purpose and place, and it’s up to us to determine when and where they shine.”

Read the kick-off post