Two of the lens sets i own are the Schneider Kreuznach Xenon FF (6 lenses in the kit) as well as two Angenieux Optimo Style zooms. The primes cover from 18mm up to 100mm while the Optimo Style begin at 16mm and end at 130mm. The Xenons cover a fullframe sensor (such as the Alexa Mini LF) while the Optimo Style zooms cover Super 35+.

In this rather unscientific test I wanted to compare flaring between the lenses and at different T-stops as well as if there was any other discernible (or for that matter obvious) difference such as CA (chromatic aberration) since the scene that I setup was dark and has a point source within the frame. 

Exposure was adjusted to Ken the lighthead‘s skin and should be consistent. 

The biggest takeaway from this test is the difference in color of the flares between the Xenon primes but also how the light source itself appears round and soft at lower T-stops and transform into a starburst pattern at higher stops (tested at T4). When panning the camera the colour of the flare differs between a neutral, blue, purple and red depending on focal length. Additionally, the 35mm exhibits most visible CA which is well known and a bit of the black sheep in the set. 

In the test i didn’t push the Angeniux Optimo Style zooms to higher T-stops but was looking more how the flares behave at minimum and maximum focal length for each lens. The flares are very controlled and behave in a predictable way. I like this aspect as it makes it possible to reproduce a flare if I would like to. And the stronger the source the more of the flare is visible – making plenty of those lens elements visible in a long array across the image (if that is a look you want). 

What about similarity between the Xenons and the Optimo Styles? Can they be used interchanged in a production? They have similarities, a rather classical look, ever so slightly to the warmer side, neutral contrast but not soft. The Optimo Styles are superior in optical quality and I find that they are more forgiving in situations where light can be unpredictable. The Xenons generally need a little bit more controlled environments unless you stop them down a bit. Wide open they show most of their differences.  For documentary work the Optimo Style zooms are superb, not only for their optical/mechanical quality but for the speed these can be adjusted across focal lengths and T-stops while getting very consistent results.