Shooting with a $160 Mega Zoom Lens at 2,600mm Mounted on a RED Epic

Having a decent number of lenses in your filmmaking kit is a common practice. While there are standard focal lengths that are considered essentials such as a 16mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm primes, etc., one can also find other lenses designed for let’s say more unconventional uses.

And what a better example of such a piece of glass than a mega zoom lens that has a focal distance of 1,300mm that with a 2x telephoto converter actually becomes 2,600mm. What does the image from a lens like that even look like? Let’s find the answer and have some fun with the hilarious video produced by Sam and Niko as the team goes out in the field to get some test footage and see how far they can push the envelope while filming with the ultimate spy lens.

At over twice the size of the Canon 70-200mm lens, mounting this behemoth seems to be a serious challenge. Therefore filmmakers had to get creative by ghetto rigging a mini slider and Guerrilla Pod-like tripod to support the unit and be able to mount it successfully to their RED Epic camera.

Obviously, the 1,300mm lens’ reach is impressive indeed, as opposed to the jitters and shakes that become very apparent when you step too close to the camera or even touch the unit. Additionally, there’s plenty of heat distortion as well which is quite normal considering the massive ultra-telephoto focal length.

To take things up a notch, the team decided to add a 2x telephoto converter to the lens to double the focal distance from 1,300mm to 2,600mm and go completely bonkers. With a focal distance that high, they were able to see multiple far-away objects such as buildings under construction, streets and signs many blocks away, and even airplanes that actually filled the frame because of the large focal distance.

For the relatively low price of $160, however, you shouldn’t expect much in terms of sharpness and detail from this lens, although text from far-away objects is definitely readable. Overall, if the pesky chromatic aberration and jitter artifacts don’t bother you too much, you could end up with some interesting results, especially if you get creative with your video editing.

Of course, it’s less likely that such a lens is going to become an essential piece of glass in your filmmaking kit. Nevertheless, it’s exciting to see how these crazy tools manipulate the image, possibly creating inspiration for a new technique that you might want to try out in your next production.

[source: Sam and Niko]

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Opteka 650-1300mm (with 2x- 1300-2600mm) Telephoto Zoom Lens

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