For those of you who have never heard the term “Cine Lens,” you can pretty much assume what they are used for, and that is cinema or motion pictures or even simpler, movies. There is a big difference between cine lenses and still lenses. Most of us with DSLR cameras use and own still lenses. One, because they come with the camera, and two, we shoot photos much more often than video, and three, they are vastly cheaper. Still lenses are perfect for photos because of their auto focus and range. Let’s be honest, photography is usually more of a setup while video is always moving. Still lenses have a tough time moving quickly while staying sharp even when you’re manually focusing, while cine lenses move fast and extremely smooth giving you excellent image quality all the way through.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m shooting video I’m all over the place. I’m up, I’m down, I’m panning, I’m running. That being said, wouldn’t you want a lens that is durable and well constructed? Cine lenses will ALWAYS come weather sealed and built with a solid, rugged construction to ensure performance across demanding situations. Cine lenses will usually come with PL mount meaning you can swap them out with other camera bodies without needing an adapter. This helps a lot because all video camera bodies add something different. For an example: maybe you want ultra slow motion and you have that feature on a particular camera but the one you’re currently using does not have that feature. Well, you can swap that lens over to the other body and get the same image quality while using whatever feature you need.
Another important aspect when shooting video is the ability to control your aperture for more light. Aperture (or Iris) on still lenses are controlled electronically nowadays where cine lenses will always come with an aperture (iris) ring giving you full control over the light coming through the lens. So if you’re filming a car driving through downtown and the car goes from sun to shade, you can smoothly and quickly add more light while maintaining the same look and viewers would never know. Not only do these lenses provide an aperture ring, they also come with focus gears or as some call them, “teeth.” These gears allow accurate and consistent focus pulling. There’s also a much better grip on your hands and most videographers can then use motors attached to the gears so you can focus pull without always putting your fingers on the lens.
These are the main components for why you should chose cine lenses for video. Probably the biggest factor when it comes to choosing lenses is price. The main downside of cine lenses are their price. They are very expensive and the most affordable ones are usually prime lenses but can come in kits. Here at KE we use Rokinon cine lenses that are affordable and provide exactly what we need. Cine zoom lenses can cost you the same amount as new SUV, so take that into consideration. However, this blog is aimed at those who want to get serious about video and in most cases, it takes money to make money.
For those that like to see rather than read, check out this video from Stray Angel Films below: