What Type of Lens Should I Use? SLR vs. Cinema (Camera Lesson 09)

Summary: Ryan covers the differences between Cinema and SLR lenses and reveals the strengths of each type of lens.

Length: 4:08 minutes

Video Lesson

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Are Cinema Lenses really worth the extra money? I mean, they can cost well over 50 time what an SLR lens costs? In this video I’ll help you answer that question.

SLR vs Cinema

Why Cinema Lenses Are Better (Camera Lesson 09)

The benefit of choosing cinema lenses over SLR lenses boils down to two factors, superior consistency, and superior mechanics. SLR lenses were never meant for pulling focus. They have small focus scales and a short focus throw, or rotation. And that makes maintaining critical focus a real challenge. Especially when the camera or your subject moves. On the other hand, cinema lenses have a focus scale that has been spaced out, and they have a long focus throw- almost a complete 360 degrees. And that makes pulling focus a whole lot easier.

SLR Lens Focus Scale (Camera Lesson 09)

Cinema Lens Focus Scale (Camera Lesson 09)

Another reason…

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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)
4 replies
  1. Rich49er
    Rich49er says:

    Do you have any experience with the Samyang 85 mm T1.5 AS IF UMC II VD SLR lens? At £269 it looks like a decent starting off point for me.

  2. rtfilms
    rtfilms says:

    great information! I was curious if you have any experience working with Xeen lenses? I believe they are produced by Rokinon as well.

    • Tim
      Tim says:

      We have not worked with Xeen lenses very much, but we are very impressed with them. If you have the chance to use them for a project, definitely get them! They aren’t cheap, but at the same time you get a lot for that price too.


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