Cinematography : Mini s4 by Ken Koh

Ken Koh

Mini s4

Anyone here own a set of mini s4? Wonder how it compares to regular s4, and do u get the same focus roll off?

Andrew Sobkovich

They looked the same as the S4 series at the same stop. The Minis are a stop slower than the S4's and 2 stops slower than the S5's which allows a shallower depth of field if that is desired.

Ken Koh

So the only difference is i loose 1 stop, coating and look the same. Do u have any footages of comparison?

Andrew Sobkovich

Yes, you loose 1 stop compared to the S4. Widest aperture is T2.8 as opposed to a T2.0. I tested the S4 mini with the coated front and rear elements. Since they are Cookes, I only looked at T2.8, T5.6 and T11. The resolution, contrast and color shift matched. Lens flare seemed to be about the same. I did not test the lenses with the optional uncoated front and rear elements so cannot speak to the contrast and halation changes. I will look at those when I have an applicable project.

Ken Koh

Ok thanks just found some footage online.

Andrew Sobkovich

As long as you are satisfied with the information you glean from the online video all is well. If not it might be better to do your own testing. These lenses work very nicely and certainly have the Cooke look.

Ken Koh

I definitely will do before I buy a set. It's either rent s4 for duration of my production or buy the minis. Only thing I don't like is the speed.

Andrew Sobkovich

Depends upon the production and the size of the lens set, or more likely sets, you will need. How many cameras in the main unit plus the second unit. How many shooting days? I'm sure you know the standard considerations. The T2.8 is not that bad, depending upon what you are shooting on.. If you are shooting 5219 you would only need 20fc. An Alexa would need 12fc and an F55 needs 8fc. None of these light levels should be daunting. Of course it depends on what you are shooting and what you want it to look like. Of course there may be some instances wherein you need faster lenses, which is a consideration only for those times when you need them. So many choices.

Ken Koh

This just one small unit. I'm wearing my producer's hat for now. Purely from a money viewpoint I'll be investing maybe not an entire set but 3 or 4 primes. My main camera is an Alexa, and using a red one for effects plates. I'm not worried on the sweet spot of a lens, I like shooting wide open. Unlike many people I don't over light, I use a lot of practicals on set. Alexa is good for that. I personally like working with fc, but it all really depends on the DP I eventually hire.

Andrew Sobkovich

Cooke lenses, in general look different at different stops thus the test range. Not a sweet spot so much as which look works best for what you are doing. Shooting with a limited number of lenses is easier on a stage with complete control, but easily doable anywhere. Rent for those days when you absolutely need a lens that you don't have. With an Alexa the amount of light you will need at T2.8 is easily provided. The S4 mini lenses seem like a good fit with your approach good luck

Ken Koh

Been shooting cooke s4 for years. I love shallow dof even though it's not the sharpest, it's a personal preference. Budget is always a consideration so I'm not going to have everything I wish for, but it'll be worth me buying the minis for 3 features I'm doing, the rental prices will work out to be almost the same anyway. In the end I'm not the DP on this film.

Jake Pasley

You get the cooke look with the minis.

Scott Mohrman

The mini S4s match well with the S4s. They both have the Cooke look. F2.8 is still fast and sensors are fast these days. Unless there is a specific reason for lower than f2.8, it usually isn't needed.

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