One of the most difficult aspects of shooting on DSLR cameras and cameras designed like DSLRs such as the Canon C series is that they are intended to be used with still photography glass. Photography lenses can indeed produce great images, but they are not designed for video use. Even the nicest Canon L series lens doesn’t have servo-based zoom, the aperture is not declicked and the focus throw is short and not nearly as smooth.
Sony answered these complaints with their brand new FE PZ 28-135 f/4 G OSS lens, a real ENG-style lens. While it does not compare to the high end Angenieux and Fujinon video lenses, it does a lot for only twenty-five hundred dollars. The servo zoom works great either hand-operated or using a zoom rocker on a camera, though it does take some getting used to if you have only used photography lenses. We tested it with the Sony FS7 and it performed wonderfully. The two were a great match for each other. The focus throw is long, smooth and a real pleasure to use, while the autofocus is also surprisingly smooth. The image stabilization is the best feature of the lens, working great even when all the way zoomed in. Using a crop sensor DSLR, the camera works hand-held without a rig and the footage was very usable. The servo, autofocus and aperture declicking can all be turned off via switches on the side of the lens.
The only real complaint is the lens does not go any wider than 28mm, which isn’t quite wide enough to be an optimal ENG lens. All in all, this is a great lens that truly transforms DSLRs into what we all need them to be.
Jason Miller is a professional filmmaker, editor and visual effects artist whose work can be been seen in feature films and national marketing campaigns.