Electronics technology progresses at a dizzying pace—but, cinematographers agree, lenses often lag behind. And as manufacturers know, the camera operator community demands a lightweight, servo-operated, fast, constant f-stop, sharp as a razor, reasonably priced wide-angle zoom lens. For one-man-band run-and-gun shooters like me, a lens with all of those characteristics is the holy grail of documentary filmmaking and ENG.
We are getting close to the perfect with the Sony SELP18110G zoom lens. It’s 18-110mm. With a constant f/4.0, it weighs in at lean, mean 2.5 pounds.
Brooklyn’s Yuri Forman, winner of the WBA Super Welterweight belt in boxing, recently came out of retirement to fight for the championship again. I captured the event ringside using the SELP18110G, which is a serious step up from the SELP18200 that I used to have on my FS7. The lens is really sharp, especially around the perimeter of the picture. The shots of sweat spraying as the boxers slugged each other are spectacular. The range of the lens adequately covered the wide-angle shots in the corner and the zoomed in close-ups in the center of the ring. The servo is smooth, responsive, noiseless, and there’s no ramping.
Sony SELP18110G zoom lens
The action ringside is fast and furious, but with the SELP18110G, I stayed in focus in a fairly hostile and constantly changing and challenging environment. This lens is reasonably priced and will make your pictures jump and sing.
Too bad it couldn’t help Yuri win the fight. But the footage of him losing sure looks fantastic—the best I’ve filmed in 46 years.
Jon Alpert is a 16-time National Emmy Award winner and the only person to win in all three craft categories: audio, editing and cinematography. He’s been using Sony products since 1971—if you don’t count the little Sony transistor radio his grandfather Julius gave him in 1958. Jon’s latest documentary, co-directed with Matt O’Neill, is Rock and a Hard Place, about an innovative prison boot camp in Miami. It features Dwayne Johnson and was shot in UHD with the Sony FS7.