DP Jonathan Furmanski Covers 19-300mm with Two Zooms for TV Series, Documentaries, and Independent Features
Wayne, N.J. - Days off for the FUJINON Cabrios at AbelCine rental were rare this past summer. Even with a total of 15 PL 19-90mm, seven PL 85-300mm, and three 14-35mm Cabrios available, they rarely stayed put. AbelCine staff and DP customers attribute their popularity to a combination of factors, including: a detachable servo (on the 19-90 and 85-300mm), long focal ranges, light weight, and consistent image quality throughout the frame.
“Between the servo, the control, and the range, it covers so much ground that it effectively takes the place of six primes in one zoom,” said Mike Nichols, Business Development Manager, AbelCine. “The 19-90 lens is seen as a workhorse for TV and commercial production. We’ve always been busy with documentaries and independent features, but we’re now servicing a lot more episodic TV production clients with these lenses.”
AbelCine recently rented out six PL 19-90mm and four 85-300mm Cabrios for a Bravo Network “Real Housewives” wedding shoot. 19-90mm Cabrios are also used to shoot “Inside Amy Schumer” on Comedy Central and “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” on Netflix.
Nichols believes the Cabrio zooms will see much more feature work when DP’s realize the capabilities of the lenses: “Most feature film DP’s are accustomed to primes and prefer a more traditional cinema-style lens, particularly in a narrative set up. And while the removable servo is convenient, DPs may not yet see it as a lens that’ll work in a cinematic set up.”
One DP who doesn’t need convincing is AbelCine customer Jonathan Furmanski who purchased one of the first 19-90mm production lenses available from AbelCine and also owns an 85-300mm Cabrio. “As soon as Fujifilm made the announcement for the 19-90, I asked AbelCine to hold one for me,” recounts Furmanski. “I knew it would be exactly what I was looking for in a compact, high-performance, lightweight zoom. Before the 19-90 I had to have several lenses with me, and I don’t like being encumbered by a bunch of stuff. Now, with just two Cabrio zooms, I can cover 19-300mm with gear that fits in a backpack but still delivers beautiful images.”
Furmanski is also the DP for the Emmy-Award winning “Inside Amy Schumer” and the documentary “You Don’t Know Bo: The Legend of Bo Jackson.” He has worked as a DP on: “Oprah’s Master Class: Civil Rights Special,” “Oprah Presents: Master Class” documentary series, “Morgan Spurlock: Inside Man” television series, and “Nine Days and Nights of Ed Sheeran” – a television movie.
Furmanski has used the 19-90mm on almost every documentary he’s shot since the lens was released in 2012 and on several narrative projects. He’s currently shooting a comedy series for Netflix with the 19-90 and 85-300 Cabrios on the RED Epic Dragon (also with a set of Zeiss Ultra Primes), and he recently shot short- and long-form documentary projects for Nat Geo, ESPN, and Red Bull with his Cabrio zooms on an ARRI AMIRA camera.
“Above all else, the Cabrios give me great image quality, but they also have a good range of focal lengths to work with without compromising anything,” said Furmanski. “I knew the lens would be very well-engineered but I didn’t expect it to perform as well as it does — sharpness, contrast, flare and glare control, and color rendition are better than any other handheld zoom I’ve worked with. And the build quality is great.”
What surprised Furmanski most after shooting with his Cabrios was the reaction from producers and directors. “I usually don’t get phone calls the next day about the lenses I’m using, but it’s happened several times with the Cabrios,” said Furmanski. “After the first job I used the 19-90 on, a big concert film with a myriad of cameras and lenses across a half-dozen units, the producer called and asked if I was using any kind of ‘special sauce.’”
Two features of the zooms he relies on much to his surprise are the macro element and the detachable servo motor: “Those are two features that are hard to find in a 35mm format zoom. I don’t use the servo often because I’m usually hand zooming, but it’s great to have if you want to pull off a slow, smooth move.”
Furmanski plans to use the Cabrios on as many upcoming documentary and narrative projects as possible. “For small documentary shoots where it’s just me and three other people, they’re unbeatable,” he explained. “But I also appreciate them on the bigger scripted jobs with large crews — ten people in the camera department alone. On the Netflix series I’m working on, we go back and forth between primes and zooms all the time, even on Steadicam. The Cabrios fit in seamlessly and smoothly. We’re counting the minutes on this shoot, so it means a great deal to be able to change modes quickly and simply.”
The PL 19-90 Cabrio (ZK4.7×19) and PL 85-300 Cabrio (ZK3.5×85) feature exclusive detachable servo drive units, making them suitable for use as a standard PL lens or as an ENG-Style lens. Both lenses are equipped with the same indispensable features, including: flange focal distance adjustment, a MOD of 1.2m, a macro function for objects as close as 97cm (38-inches), and cover a 31.5mm diagonal sensor size. The digital servo’s 16-bit encoding assures operators that all lens data output—such as the position of the zoom, iris, and focus—is extremely accurate and the lens supports Lens Data System (LDS) and /i metadata formats.
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