DZOFILM GNOSIS REVIEW
Welcome, I'm Ben, I work as a wildlife cameraman. I have recently done a fair bit of macro and detail filming. I worked on Green Planet which had loads of details of the plants. I've recently started working on another BBC series where I'm filming quite a lot of small things. I heard about the DZO Gnosis full frame macro primes and I reached out to DZO and used them on my last shoot. Let me talk you through them.
There are 3 lenses, covering 3 focus lengths – the 32mm, the 65mm, and the 90mm. They come with 3 different mounts. I've got them with EFs on but they came with PL mounts which are here and there's also the option of LPL mounts so really easy to swap them out. They come with the screwdrivers to do it, nice little precision hex drivers, and hex screws. There are shims for making the scale on the lenses is correct; there are rods for the lenses if you're using support on 19mm bars; there's warranty information and stickers for the lens cap. And then the spare mount, PL mounts. The case comes with everything that you need to get going really to film close-up things on a wide standard and a telephoto lens.
Let's get them out and have a look. They are 32mm, 90mm, and 65mm respectively. They all weigh about a kilo and a half, so three and a bit pounds. They are a beautiful solid metal construction. A standard-size prime lens features a 114-millimeter front diameter, so they'll take a normal matte box. They have of course the standard two things for the follow focus and the iris.
Minimum focus distance of Gnosis
The really cool thing about them is just how close they focus. So this 32mm, if you had a matte box on it, you would be able to focus on the back side of the ND filter. You can literally focus there, which is quite amazing. It feels really cool when you have something just right up there. The other two are slightly further away. The close focus on here is about 24cm from the sensor plane, and then on the 90mm is slightly further away but you're still really close.
Magnification Ratio of Gnosis
In terms of magnification, the 32 mm will magnify it one to one, a real size. The 65mm will do 1.33 to one, 30 percent larger than the life size. The 90mm will do 1.5 to 1, 50% bigger than real life. They have all those details on the side of the lenses.
Measure System / T-stop / DOP
These lenses come in both metric and imperial, so they cater to Americans as well as the rest of the world. They're just a solid macro lens. On the barrel, you have the iris which goes from T2.8 to T22. It's really nice having that being able to let the light in, however, especially at close distances. The depth of field is so shallow, so you're going to be stopped down to probably five six or eight minimum. The focus however is 300 degrees so it goes all the way around and that really helps for the fine details of pulling focus at those macro distances. It means that you can be really precise with where you put the focus. The other thing that is really useful on these guys is the lens support. It's a 3/8’’ mount and anytime you're doing macro photography, I would always try and recommend having the lens supported.
Field test – Gnosis 32mm
Let's get them on the camera and have a play. I I'm a fist length from the lens, so 10cm from the lens and now on the 32mm. I'm at f5.6 and you can see that at this distance, depth of focus is pretty shallow. My forehead is resting on the lens. One of the negatives of having a full-frame macro lens like this is that it gets in the way and shades the area that you want to film. So especially on the the wide angle, the 32mm, where your subject can be right up at the front of the the lens, the width of the lens actually shades the subject quite a lot. That is one thing to bear in mind if you are shooting close up to the lens, you need to have a way of getting light right up in on your subject.
Field test – Gnosis 65mm
This is the 65mm, as with the 32mm there's a bit of lens breathing.
Field test – Gnosis 90mm
It's an amazing lens, and I'm quite enjoying playing with it. I have just filmed my eye, a big close-up of my own eye, that far away from the lens, quite tricky getting light in even with this big soft lantern nearby right next to the lens. This is at about four or five feet away. It renders the background quite nicely and I think the drop-off from in-focus to out-of-focus is pretty smooth and nice.
Comprehensive evaluation of Gnosis
I quite like the purple in the flares. You get a little milkiness but it feels quite wonderful and I think fairly similar, well controlled in relation to the other two Gnosis lenses. Hopefully, that has shown how nice a set of lenses they are.
1. They are pretty big but solid and professional. They have really nice fall-off on the out-of-focus bits.
2. The 300-degree rotation on the barrel means that they are great and really fine for focusing. It does mean that most of the barrel is dedicated to the distance from the lens to about a meter, and so it does make focusing between a meter and infinity really quite precise.
3. But also one of the things that gives them their character is that they are a macro lens that can focus at infinity when you’re working beyond about a meter, and in the last little bit of that lens. They are predominantly designed and intended for macro filming.
4. Colors seem to be pretty even through the three lenses, wide aperture of 2.8, useful although at macro distances. It’s unlikely that you’ll be filming like that but it does mean that for a bit further away. You have a nice soft background, so it’s good to have all options. There is a little bit of breathing but to be honest, with the range that these lenses are working over, you would expect some breathing because the focusing element is doing a lot of work, it’s moving quite a long way, it wasn’t massive I’ve seen considerably worse in other lenses.
5. Their size is a benefit but also negative, it means that they fit well into a production sort of workflow, that they’ll be a similar size to other lenses. This will be on set, but you can’t get light in when you’re really close because the macro lens blocks the light, especially on the 32mm where you can film so close to the lens.
Price and Availability
They’re about five thousand dollars each, so I think the full set is about fifteen thousand dollars. They have similar characteristics and so if you’re looking for a set of macro lenses that will have continuity between when you swap lenses depending on the shot sizes, and the use you want for them. I’d say that they are a set of professional macro lenses that work really well for close focus, macro filming, and anything sort of closer than about a meter and a half from the lens. That’s where these lenses shine. I’m very glad I’ve got to use them and I will definitely use them on future shoots.