20-120mm Fujinon Cabrio 4K Cine Zoom (XK6x20)

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The new 20-120mm Fujinon Cabrio is the lens I wish I had when I first started shooting with large sensor cameras; it’s taken my Sony F5 camera to a different level.

The Cabrio 20-100mm brings 4K to the whole picture, right out to the edges and corners at every focal length. Most lenses will give just 4K in the centre, but the Ks go way beyond 4K in the Cabrio’s centre zone. Images have a good filmic quality, creamy, smooth and sharp with good contrast. This Cabrio is truly on par with prime lenses.

The 20-120mm range is perfect; a dream to work with.

For decades cine zooms have classically been 5 or 6x ratios. People who are used to shooting with ENG lenses with a 20x zoom ratio may find the Cabrios short 6x zoom range a little unnerving.

In reality, the whole 20x zoom range of an ENG zoom lens is rarely used in day-to-day shooting. Typically, the cameraman uses the extreme telephoto end to focus then pulls back substantially to frame the shot; they are actually working in quite a small zoom ratio to frame shots. I’m finding the Cabrio 20-120mm range falls within this sweet range.

The optical precision of a super35 cine zoom is quite different from an ENG zoom.

I’ve tried B4 lens adaptors to attach 2/3-inch ENG zooms to my Sony F5 camera. Yes it’s good to have the high zoom range back, but image quality is seriously compromised; I’ve never been really happy with the results.

The designs of lightweight ENG zoom lenses that news crews use are optimised for centre picture quality. The centre has to be the best because that’s where the main action usually is. Edge resolution is not as highly specked as the centre to keep the cost down. People just accepted this a compromise of cost v quality. Large sensor cameras need dedicated Super35 lenses, not workarounds.

Chrosziel Fluid Zoom Drive

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Although the Cabrio has a servo power zoom, I also like to use a Chrosziel Fluid Zoom Drive. The fluid drive achieves a very organic and extremely smooth zoom movement, in a way that can’t easily be achieved with powered servos. It works in a similar way to a tripod fluid head, increasing or decreasing the resistance of the fluid drive, controls the dampening to smooth out manual movements.

I was telling Dedo Weigert of Dedolight fame, how great the fluid zoom drive is, he said to me “Pete, I know how good it is, I designed it”!

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