Understanding The Soul Of Your System: Lenses (Camera Lesson 07)

Summary: Ryan covers the important aspects of the camera lens, how they affect the images you create for your film, and what you should consider when selecting a lens for your next purchase or film shoot.

Length: 12:45 minutes

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Depth of Field, Part 1: How Aperture and ISO Affect Focus
Your Guide To High Speed, Part 6: Five Tips For A Successful Shoot
Your Guide To High Speed, Part 5: Lighting Six High Speed Sets
Your Guide To High Speed, Part 4: Common Lighting Problems
Your Guide To High Speed, Part 3: Camera Operation & Workflow
Your Guide To High Speed, Part 2: Frame Rate
Your Guide To High Speed, Part 1: Introduction
12 Crucial Questions Before Lighting Your Set (Cinematic Lighting Lesson 15)
Negative Fill: The Best Kept Secret (Cinematic Lighting Lesson 08)
3 replies
  1. aurelienbrentraus
    aurelienbrentraus says:

    Hi Ryan, Would you recommend a modified lens–from photography lens to cinema lens–for feature film work and renting it, like G.L Optics 18-35mm. They converted Sigma zoom lens f1.8 in to cinema housing. I am thinking of buying one. Please share your thoughts; it could be used as variable prime.

    • Ryan E. Walters
      Ryan E. Walters says:

      I think rehoused photo lenses are a great choice for more budget friendly lenses. They can be rehoused to work well in a feature film workflow. In fact, there have been many times over the years where a production will have a photo lens rehoused for a film specifically because the cine version either doesn’t exist, or the cine version is too big / heavy / whatever for their particular needs. (For example the film The Bourne Ultimatum rehoused two Nikon Lenses (28-70mm & 80-200mm).) So it’s done all the time at all levels of production.

      In regards to a specific recommendation, I have not personally used rehoused lenses from G.L. Optics so I cannot speak from personal experience. The specs on the web site look good and it seems like they would be well done (aluminum bodies, steel mounts, etc.). But only real world use will be able to tell if the specs live up to the experience. I have used rehoused lenses from Duclos Lenses, and I know they do quality work. I’ve never had a bad experience. So what I would recommend is contacting G.L. Optics if that is who you want to buy from, and see if you can rent a lens or two from them. Then I would play with that lens to see if you like it and feel it meets your needs. Then you can buy it.

      Other alternative “rehoused” lenses are the CP.2‘s from Zeiss and the CN-E’s from Canon.

      A couple drawbacks to most rehoused photo lenses is that: 1) they breath more (image changes when focused) than cinema lenses, and 2) they change in length, weight, and diameter more than a set of cinema lenses (which can slow you down if you are having to rebalance your camera, move accessories around, etc. with each lens change). Just something to keep in mind. 🙂

      Schneider has come out with a set of affordable cine lenses (Xenon Full Frame Primes) that looks interesting. (I haven’t used them.) Instead of taking photo lenses and rehousing them like Zeiss and Canon did, they came at it from the other direction and took their knowledge from their cinema lenses and made a more affordable version. So they have similar weights, sizes, diameters, and length.


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