We spoke with our friend and client DOP Si Bell, to find out exactly what he thinks after using the Leica Summilux-C Prime Lenses.
PC: So, what equipment set up did you use with the lenses?
SB: I used the Leica Summilux-C Prime Lenses with the Alexa Mini on two different shoots in the past month. The first was the UK second unit on ‘Hellboy (2018)’ and the second was a Visual Art piece with Natalie Dormer (of ‘Game of Thrones’ fame) on the new ARRI Trinity rig.
PC: And why did you choose to use this lens set in particular?
SB: The lenses have such a cinematic quality. The optical quality is so high but they have a beautiful soft three-dimensional look when photographing actors. The lenses perform perfectly when wide open and are T1.4 making their low light performance far superior to other lenses in the market place.
‘You don’t lose time when changing lenses’
PC: The lenses are noted for being compact. Does this make a difference when using them?
SB: The lenses are small considering their speed and quality. The most impressive thing I noticed when I first used them, was that they are all the same size and almost identical in weight.
The Visual Art piece was shot entirely on the ARRI Trinity Rig and because the lenses are all a similar weight and size, no time was lost rebalancing the rig when changing lenses. This would also apply when using a crane or a head, as you don’t need to worry about rebalancing.
PC: As well as saving time, what else makes the Leica Summilux-C Primes stand out?
SB: On fast paced shoots, in particular TV dramas which have tight schedules, saving time on equipment set up means creating more opportunities to perfect the look of a scene.
The full lens set also has 12 different focal lengths, meaning on location you have the creative flexibility to get the shot composition you and the director want, without having to compromise.
‘The Leica Summilux-C Primes are perfect for handheld work’
PC: Any other benefits of using the Summilux-C Primes?
SB: For handheld, which I always incorporate into my work, these lenses work perfectly. They are incredibly light and compact, which enhances my control over the camera.
I’ve often been in a position with other lenses where the shooting is fast paced and where a delay in changing lenses can mean you miss a pivotal take – if an actor is in the moment you don’t want to be the one slowing things down.
PC: Any final thoughts?
SB: When you combine the practicalities of the Summilux-C Prime Lenses with their cinematic high quality, both optically and in terms of speed, you get a really stand out performance. It is these reasons why they would be my first choice on any production that could obtain them – and I’m not the only one! Cinematographers on productions such as ‘Mindhunter’, ‘Stranger Things 2’, ‘American Gods’ and ‘The Night Of’ have all chosen to shoot with the Leica Summilux.
The full 12-lens set of Leica Summilux-C Primes are now available to rent from both our London and Newcastle offices. For more details, or to enquire about hiring the set, contact us on 0207 033 6555 (London) or 0191 265 0061 (Newcastle). Alternatively you can email [email protected].