Boudoir Shooting with ZEISS Milvus and Otus – the next generation of awesome
Michael Shu and his team from Onyx Cinema tested the new ZEISS Milvus and ZEISS Otus lenses. For this reason they did a Boudoir shooting mixing photography and cinematography. In the following article Onyx Cinema shares the pleasant experiences they have made with the ZEISS lenses by bringing along some behind the scenes photos.
The Onyx Cinema team first dabbled into the use of the ZEISS Classic ZE Primes back in 2010, when we rented them for a DSLR short film. We chose them because of their reputation for being sharp, bright, having amazing bokeh and long focus throw. We weren’t disappointed. The images they helped produce were super clean and sharp, and their buttery bokeh really helped raise the production value of the low budget short film. We’ve been hooked to ZEISS since. They have been the go-to lens whenever we needed the cleanest and sharpest image, as we moved from DSLR, to Red, Cinema EOS and now Sony 4K cameras, and wanted to show the full potential of these camera sensors.
The Onyx Cinema team does a mix of photography and cinematography within the narrative, industrial/corporate, documentary/event, and more recently educational world. So having lenses that were adaptable for all situations, as well as be super durable, is very important. The ZEISS Classic ZE lenses worked perfectly, because they can be used as-is for photography and documentary work, or be adapted with focus gear rings for cinema. Additionally, their all metal construction made them tough as tanks.
For our latest education video blog episode (which can be found on our youtube channel), we were given the opportunity to test out the brand new ZEISS Milvus Primes. We wanted to see how well they worked with our new A7s II in 4K in preparation for a period piece short film that was in development.
Onyx Cinema runs a boudoir photography company, On and On Boudoir, so we decided to create a hybrid photo/cinema shoot with a lovely boudoir model for the test. For this test, we used the bare bones A7s II with EF adapter to use the Milvus ZE lenses and a SmallHD monitor to nail focus. Cinematographer Michael Shu and boudoir photographer Georgia Yeh worked together to film the test footage, and fell in love with the new generation ergonomics and optics.
ZEISS really brought their A-game to developing these lenses, and our experience during the shoot and the resulting footage clearly shows it. The edge to edge sharpness and bokeh made the footage of our model both clean yet organic, which complimented the intimate nature of the shoot. Additionally, the ergonomics made the experience of using the lenses even more pleasant than before.
The Otus 28mm we had a chance to test for a couple of slider shots took this a step further. We didn’t think it was possible, but the light transmission from edge to edge and lack of distortion went many steps above the already amazing Milvus and Classic series. The Otus series is kind of the “big daddy” version of the new Milvus lenses, sharing the same body design, only larger to accommodate the superior optics.
At first we had reservations about the new curvature of the lens body ergonomics, not being sure if they could be adapted with focus gears for our future short film, where we needed a cinestyle camera rig. We were pleasantly surprised to see that the body of the lens itself easily fits the focus gears because of the wide and rubberized focus ring on each of these lenses. The curvature of the lenses were only towards the end of the lens, so the rest of the lens was gearfriendly. Additionally, when used the lenses bare and pulled focus from the barrel for our boudoir test, we found the Milvus lenses to be super comfortable to use, which actually made a great difference in pulling focus. We never really thought much about having a comfy focus ring and body design, but now we see how much of a difference it makes with the new Milvus design.
We were very happy with our experience with the Milvus and Otus lenses for the boudoir test, so they were a musthave for our period short film, which was shot with the A7s II in 4K, recorded in Prores with the Atomos Shogun recorder. We wanted every step of the image capture to be clean and high quality, and we came from the boudoir test shoot knowing that the first and most important part of the image capture process was using the top of the line lenses. We look forward to sharing the results and experience of the short film shoot!