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Cine-Style Lenses VS Still Photography Lenses

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Josh highlights the differences between shooting video with cine-style lenses and still photography lenses in this comparison video.
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Text Comments (99)
Kenneth Stevenson (4 months ago)
The reason I use cine lenses is that I am an old school motion picture film guy and I am used to manual and like it better.
kliveo (4 months ago)
When you've used cinema lens it make you realize how bad the mechanics are in still photography lenses.
BROis (1 month ago)
Most photographers use AF, so mechanics rarely, if ever, matter. No different than modern automatic transmissions don't give you the control of manual transmissions. However, they shift faster than any human, smoother, etc. Same is true with modern AF lenses/systems.
Dennis Raymond (5 months ago)
I would like a comparison of the lenses.
Fred Films (9 months ago)
No image quality test? Really? ...
golden, the merciless (11 months ago)
absolutely excellent, clear video. thanks for this.
Daniel Stearns (11 months ago)
Do you think Cine lenses will ever have autofocus capabilities? 5 years ago I think that would have been a stupid question, but I trust my 1DX's dual pixel autofocus more than I trust my own focus pull - especially when the focus is really shallow.
Dave O. (11 months ago)
cine lenses are expensive because they know, movies make millions of dollars so what's 23k to the production crew. Businesses know what they are doing it's all about marketing. But in reality that lens at best should cost no more than 3k.
Michael Maneage (11 months ago)
I'm trying to shoot narrative films and am on the fence between buying Panasonic's 12-35mm f2.8 mk. II lens, or Veydra's mini prime cinema lenses. I was wondering which lens anyone could recommend .
WillDaThrill (11 months ago)
I just bought the Rokinon 12mm F 2.0 wide angle lens, and i want to be doing more video work than photography. Should i return this lens and go for the cine 12mm?
Neil van Niekerk (1 year ago)
Seriously ... that shaky-cam shit drives me insane. Use a tripod or a stabilizer.
Jaffy (1 year ago)
would have loved to see footage examples :c
Eugene C Jones (1 year ago)
Thanks. Very Informative
Roozbeh Misaghi (1 year ago)
what camera do you use to shoot your videos? tnx
Jason Lloyd (1 year ago)
Can you take photos with a video lens if I put one on a DSLR? For example a Canon XL 3.4-10.2mm lens on a Canon 80D? Thanks :)
Scott Craig (1 year ago)
Thanks for the good overview of photo vs. cine. For a video on shooting video, however, I wish you would have used a tripod or stabilized system for your close-ups. Your handheld approach is very shaky and hard to watch at the close-up range.
TheA_Mboom (1 year ago)
not really worth it unless you are making a professional film where you would have the money for it anyway
Between both lenses. Which is the difference in the Crystal quality for 4k?
IAN 4000 (2 years ago)
Good thing Rokinon Cine lenses are so cheap.
Antoine Dennison (2 years ago)
I'm using a Rokinon 35mm T 1.5 Cine with a Canon 5D Mark II. I'm not getting the results I want-- are there any settings or troubleshooting videos for this set up?
Desolo Zantas (2 years ago)
why doesnt companies simply make a Cine lens with automatic functions like the sony RX10 series? best of both worlds
Ryan O'Hara (1 year ago)
The main reason is mainly because in cinema production, for which they are meant to be used, they don't use auto focus. There is a focus puller who makes decisions where focus should be, when it should change and how it should change stylistically. Robots cannot do that yet. Panavision has built motors inside of their new 70mm lenses, but not for auto focus, but rather to simply eliminate the need for external motors and cables to make the camera a little less bulky. New light field technology will allow for all focus planes to be captured simultaneously and focus will be changed or set in post production most likely in similar fashion to how they do it now on set, should that technology take over the industry.
Zhorell Ski (2 years ago)
What about still shots? quality pictures the same?
Pascui Rivas (2 years ago)
Hello! Thanks for this video. Isn't ther also a crop difference involved - as the the cheaper canon zoom is designed for photography right?
Ryan O'Hara (1 year ago)
Crop factor doesn't have anything to do with it. Most cinema lenses, if not the vast vast majority, are made to cover S35mm sensors, which are approx APS-C sized. A cinematographer knows the FoV a 50mm gives on Super35, and he knows what it gives on 16mm format. No need to change the name of the lens because the lens isn't changing. Crop factor is for people who need relative lens comparisons because they can't understand relative format comparisons. A XYZ lens is always XYZ no matter what camera it's on. The real mistake is people assume the name of a lens is it's FoV... it's not. It's a formula based on many other things.
Anthony Brown (2 years ago)
Many still zoom lenses are parfocal and the Red EF mount is Posi Lock and shimmable, I mean for Christ sake a $200 Tamron 17-50 is Parfocal but if it's adapted and the backfocus isn't adjusted it will fall out of line and no longer be parfocal. These two lenses are not a one or the other comparison, as someone pointed out there's a $23000 pound vaccine between the two lenses. One is made for stills and the other for film production
BROis (1 month ago)
Anthony, I'm not sure I buy it... The cameras you mentioned can't backfocus, because they're mirrorless. Backfocusing is a DSLR problem. You're also shooting an f/2.8 on an APS-C crop with an effective DOF of f/4.2. So I'm not sure how you're measuring whatever you're measuring in millimeters. That's also assuming Nikon is even using the entire sensor for video (possibly not, so even further crop). Lastly, Tim Kyle was right, just read this: https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2016/03/mythbusting-parfocal-photo-zooms/ Apples and oranges, my friend.
Ryan O'Hara (1 year ago)
Another excellent point. Cinema lenses typically are hand built and tested over and over to ensure excellence in alignment. Most typical photography lenses are stamped out on a factory line and tolerances for accuracy and quality are not as high. Thus you get greater variations from lens to lens.
Anthony Brown (2 years ago)
You did some "research", great, i own the lens and it's Par-focal. What you will find is that people are adapting a canon or nikon mount lens to a Sony, Panasonic or Blackmagic camera and the backfocus is out. This is due to the sensor stack and/or any internal ND safety window throwing the FFD out. If you use the Tamron lens on a native mount (Canon version on a Canon camera, Nikon on a Nikon etc) you'll find the lens is Par-Focal with no shift, i'll upload a simple example from my Nikon D7100, i used a tape measure which means i am dealing in millimetres here, if my lens on my camera is holding a millimetre of focus that means if i focus on someone's eye it will hold focus, in addition, zooming out from 50mm is going to extend the depth of field so you would need a large amount of shift for it to not be considered Par-Focal.
Tim Kyle (2 years ago)
I did some research... the Tamron 17-50 is not parafocal. It doesn't shift quite as much as other zooms, but it does shift focus when zooming. I also found out that from copy to copy there is veriation.
A.A GAMING (2 years ago)
does it give you the same exact result?? like does it give you the same quality and picture??
Atheos (2 years ago)
This isn't a really informative comparison. There are plenty of still lenses that offer a manual (even declickable) aperture ring, a long focus throw and hard stops, and most of them are parfocal too. The REAL differences (that you sadly did not mention) that make cine lenses so much more expensive is that these lenses: - Are color calibrated when they come in a set - Have better controlled CA, barrel-distortion and more consistent sharpness (center/corner) - Do not breathe when focussing (many still lenses tend to slightly zoom when focussing) - Have more accurate markings (distance/light input in T-stops) - Do not extend during focussing or zooming - Have a consistent front diameter/thread So there you go.
tonytober (23 days ago)
Thanks for clarifying why it is not worth their 4-6 figures... Money is better spent elsewhere for most of us
Djuy Doiu (1 month ago)
better CA would be awesome a lot of lenses lose res to the corners and get chromatic corner sharpness would be nice to see if the lens can do this from like f1.4 to f32
samgod (1 year ago)
All good points. You left out another difference: Different cine lenses from the same line, if not the same vendor, can generally be interchanged on a rig without readjusting focusing gears. The distances between the focus ring and the end of the lens are arbitrary on still lenses, while cine lenses come in either short, medium or long barrel lengths.
Ryan O'Hara (1 year ago)
Yes, even the best lenses in the industry have barrel distortion or pincushion distortion but on cinema lenses it's generally much less, which is important because in a still photograph distortions are hard to see. Start panning or tilting the camera and when door frames start bending in the shot, you notice right quick. But yes, it's almost never gone on the widest focal lengths, but it is almost gone in longer lenses. Talking about <1% distortion. Also, cine zooms tend to be worse than cine primes (all other things equal) because of design limitations. Everything you said is pretty spot on. It's about reliability, repeatability, and saving time. Time is big money on cinema sets. Not so much on wedding videos and corporate interviews, where photo lenses are more than adequate. Something most gear lust videographers don't understand. :P
Atheos (2 years ago)
+Tim Kyle The front diameter is extremely relevant. If you have different front diameters with a mattebox you need different donuts to block out the light, which isn't practical at all. And of course you can't declick modern EF lenses, they don't even have aperture rings... There are plenty who use Contax, Nikon or Leica lenses though which ARE declickable.
Arek Rusek (2 years ago)
what about the quality of glass ? is it generally the same?
Kurdman Pouyesh (2 years ago)
Hi. Im going to buy a sony a7sii for short film business. what choices I have for lenses. I can spend up to 1500 dollars
Mike Swartz (2 years ago)
I shoot still and wanted to know what makes a cine-style lens what they are. This was a great explanation and I totally see the benefit for those shooting live action. The fixed focal plane during zoom would actually be nice for many still shot situations too.
John Doe Films (2 years ago)
Or get the red THC which gives you focus and iris control via the internal motors of ef lenses and you have an almost 360 degree focus way for your focus puller. On dsmsc2 just get a rtmotion lattitude. Works the same way and saves you a lot of money and weight on drones and gimbal. No need for expensive cine lenses.
Film Atlas (2 years ago)
Question when looking at cine lenses I noticed on ebay they're customized reformatted lenses that are turned in to cine lenses are they equivalent to regular cine lenses?
Bernard Bertrand (2 years ago)
good demonstration as always :) thanks
Jeffrey Danford (2 years ago)
+stray angel films what lav are you using in this video? What are you recording into? Thanks!
Tosin Oduwole (1 year ago)
Stray Angel Films I have a black magic Ursa mini and I'm trying to decide if I should go with the rokinon xeen Cine Lenses or the s4 cookes. Obviously there is a considerable difference in price however I want to buy a set of lenses and not have to buy more. I want to be able to produce crystal clear and sharp footage that my colorist will be able to grade without issues. What are your thoughts ?
Stray Angel Films (2 years ago)
Sennheiser GH3. Recording into camera.
Vijay John (2 years ago)
thank you very much..
How To Make Sushi (2 years ago)
holy crap that cinema lens is 23k$ in bhphotovideo.... that's so crazy my exclamation marks are upside down ¡¡¡¡¡¡¡
mattes (2 years ago)
how's the image difference? more than how they are build
Photographic elements (2 years ago)
how much do olympus om zuiko vintage lenses breathe?
TheCompleteGuitarist (2 years ago)
Super clear and very interesting. Thanks.
zvxcvxcz (2 years ago)
One other possibly important aspect: some cine lenses are part of a line/set that are all color matched, your color grader/s will thank you.
2BadMen (2 years ago)
Thanks for the information:)
Small Water TV (2 years ago)
A lot of these comments are from run and gunners. The Cine lens is not really for you, nor was it intended for you. When your shooting a project that can easily go to b-roll on a bad shot, you can get away with a still zoom lens. When you're pulling a slow 20 sec. zoom at 2.8, from 50 mm to 135 mm, you can't afford to have your focus off when you hit 135 tight on an actor starting to cry with DOF at 2 inches. Also, the cine is great for some run and gun stuff. I shoot often with a slow zoom in/out. I CAN'T STAND seeing footage with focus bouncing in and out. It's amateur, at best. Youtube has gotten people used to this kind of stuff. I can't stand it. It's funny to hear people say auto focus is better than manual. They've never shot a movie. That's why there called Cine lenses.
Djuy Doiu (1 month ago)
hmm the most lenses i have has a AF but it can be turned off, on 1 of those lenses it needs power to change the focus the other can be moved without power on this make certain you focused where you wanted also you can make follow the focus very fast and precise if you record a video or something i personal mostly use manual focus (as manual mode) so i can use my cameras best (useally a lens have a best aperture) and i try to reach iso 100 or better if the iso is higher then 400 i try to use a flash or light, shutter speeds i also use manually depening on what i fotograph but fast is always prefered even on humans that stand still 1/2000 just make sure nothing moved in your pictures, the same goes for a windly landsscape or animalphotography, 1/60 is useally already good depending if i can use a tripod or not videos are also incredible good in high shutter speeds i saw some videos that this "might" be bad but the eye crates a natural motion blur itself even if it was faster recorded but that goes only for faster shutter speeds then 1/200 if the framerate increases to 60 or 120 fps with 1/2000 your video looks almost flawed sadly that is useally not possible , and the lenses are not made for that so you can make indoor photography at that rates i tryed to find a solution for this but there is nothing much you can find about there is some physic stuff like the double slits experiment or photons but then there is no lens that blend the photons so they could reach a better iso
BROis (1 month ago)
Anand, although DPAF is awesome, it's not perfect. It can and does lose/change focus in a dynamic scene. The AF lenses you're using are probably made for photo as well; I recommend rewatching the video you're commenting in. AF is not used in Cinema.
Djuy Doiu (1 month ago)
i dont understand why the diffrens is made this way i have some lenses that have a focus ring for distance, zoom, aperture aperture is shown in f-stops, distance useally in feet up to unlimited (thats when the bend of the lens is sharp for everything beyond that distance) how smooth this goes depents hard on the lens itself, i have absolutly nothing against a manual lens i like them but the most newer lenses got it automatic like on a phone i want to see some photos to see the real diffrens
Anand Vyas (1 year ago)
Small Water TV You my friend have not used the Canon C200 Dual Pixel Autofocus - I can track a tennis ball at f 1.8 on a 85 mm lens
Ryan O'Hara (1 year ago)
You're my hero.
Kamukix (3 years ago)
Very very helpful for a still guy trying to get his first cine lens, and understand the differences. Thank you :)
Delduked (3 years ago)
so your paying thousands of dollars more because they didn't incorporate extremely simple features that could have been installed in the normal lenses in the first place..... its like im gonna charge 100 buck for this shirt because this is the black version with a design on it where the original shirt was just was white and cost 10 dollars.... no difference in the shirt but they decided to up the price because they added something that is cheap to incorporate but will still gouge money from people.
Abraham Arthemius (2 years ago)
+Nick Hansbauer so to make it simple, we buy (or rent) them for the extreme parts of the lens..
Nick Hansbauer (3 years ago)
+Delduked Hm yeah but bear in mind how much more precision goes into making the expensive lenses with all those features. It's a bit more than just printing a t shirt in a different colour, extremely precise craftsmanship needs to come into play here, we're talking fractions of millimeters that these lenses need to be calibrated spot on to! There are also some other technicalities that go beyond just some simple features, for example that expensive cine lenses will often be able to open up a lot wider than cheaper alternatives. And even if you find a cheap lens that opens up to the same f stop, usually the quality of the expensive cine lenses will stay a lot more consistent even when fully open. And of course there's also some other parts of the glass itself that need to be taken into consideration that have more to do with the overall look. With expensive cine lenses you'll often get a lot nicer depth of field or bokeh and if you have anamorphic lenses, then that gives your image a whole 'nother dimension and feel to it :) Of course I'm not saying that one can't achieve similar things with cheaper lenses (especially when you begin to stop down, a lot of lenses start looking quite similar) and like 98% of the audience won't really be able to tell exactly how much you might have really ended up paying for a lens (if lighting, camera, performance, etc. are good, then no one will notice if a cheap lens is slightly better or worse than an expensive one) but was just listing some examples as to why some lenses do in fact cost more and go beyond mere "simple features" :)
Okto Putsch (3 years ago)
Thanks for this very interesting introduction to the T stop difference, i'm gonna investigate more this question now !
Rafael Aguayo Figueroa (3 years ago)
i think they missed the most important aspect of all in this video and thats its the glass quality, the aspect and full cover of diferent type of sensors
Doug Vandegrift (3 years ago)
The photo lenses work better for controlling "in camera" i.e.: allowing the camera to change F stop and pull focus.  On these newer EOS Cinema cameras they do a great job at handling this so I'd prefer the L lenses over the Cine lenses especially as a one person crew.  The Cine lenses are nice but require a lot of rigging and crew people to manage.
Andrew Conway (3 years ago)
I enjoyed this but my first experiences using Cine lens is asking for trouble... I had the heartbreak of a bunch of unusable footage.
Nick Hansbauer (3 years ago)
+Andrew Conway (: no problem, excuse my typos, was in a hurried rush and typing on my phone^^
Andrew Conway (3 years ago)
+Nick Hansbauer Thank You very much
Nick Hansbauer (3 years ago)
+Andrew Conway Of course, always need to get a 1st AC on board, especially when working on cine lenses... I suppose if you're ever in the situation again and you don't have a focus puller (and other than a subject sat down talking & slightly rocking back and forth), you could always try increasing you F stop (and adding a bit more light to avoid underexposing) which will expand your field of focus. Theres a great free app by KODAK called Kodak Cinema Tools that lets you calculate it, should you want to double check (y)
Andrew Conway (3 years ago)
Now I know why camera personal have someone just on focus. If your objects of interests move back and forth, it's nearly impossible to keep them in focus.   
Nick Hansbauer (3 years ago)
+Andrew Conway Why so Andrew? What happened?
Nishant Gogna (3 years ago)
Great video! Thanks for this info! I'm shooting a feature soon, really indie and low budget. Should I spur for the cine lenses or should I spend that money elsewhere? I'll be shooting on 5D MK3s.
Nishant Gogna (1 year ago)
+Ryan O'Hara Thank you! Yes I ended up discovering this :)
Ryan O'Hara (1 year ago)
Your options of Cinema lenses in EF mount are limited. To my knowledge the Canon CN-E's, Zeiss CP-2's, and soon to be EF Cooke Mini S4's are the only big options at the moment. There are modded photography lenses called Cine-lenses, like Rokinon, which might be more in your budget. Most true cinema lenses are PL or PV in panavison's case.
Franz Scaramelli (3 years ago)
Thank you so much for your information....
Franz Scaramelli (3 years ago)
Excellent!
Jerry Roe (3 years ago)
Everything Josh said, but...........I found that running and gunning gives one very little time to take light meter readings/set apertures, pull focus and set composition/zoom while trying to catch a once in a lifetime shot. I rely on auto aperture and auto focus when I have to. The modern digital camera has enough dynamic range to work with in post and the occasional softening of an image while auto-focus makes up it's mind, can usually be covered by "B" roll.  Parfocal is, to me, the most valuable asset to have. That said, when one has the time, as Josh says, cine lenses are the way to go. And if you can't afford one.........rent it.
Ola Tko (3 years ago)
Wat did u use to shoot this video
Renzo Melgar (3 years ago)
I'm planning to get my first cine lens, Do you think it would be good a Rokinon 35mm T1.5 or do you suggest another? I can only spend 500 dollars.
Ryan O'Hara (1 year ago)
That's because it's really only a cine lens in marketing form. It's a great bargain but the name 'cine lens' is a stretch. It's a manual photography lens more or less. It's a good lens for a budget like yours. There is a reason even the cheapest, true design, cinema lenses are $5k-$7k per lens....
Renzo Melgar (3 years ago)
+Stray Angel Films Oh, I see. Well thank you anyway!
Stray Angel Films (3 years ago)
+Renzo Melgar There is really no other cine lens at the same price as the Rokinon, so for $500 and under it is the way to go.
TOON215 (3 years ago)
What are your thoughts on these lenses? any good? ROKINON CINE 12MM T2.2 ROKINON CINE 16MM T2.2 Thumbs upped the video!
Dennis Kussener (3 years ago)
what do you think about the customized "photography" lenses ? :)
MANIA (3 years ago)
Is there a huge diference in picture quality using these lenses? Could you maybe post a picture shot with still lens and one with cine lens, for comparison.  Thanks for the video!
Songololo.me (3 years ago)
+MANIA I would also like to see that
Russ Tanner (3 years ago)
+MANIA I'd like to see this comparison also.
Saieash Mohanadas (3 years ago)
for a run and gun type application where there is only 1 person at the camera - are cinema lenses practical? i've never used one and am planning on getting one - but i'm not sure if it would be good for me. 
Areia Creations (3 years ago)
+Saieash Mohanadas Other than Rokinon and the mid-priced Tokina zooms, the only other "cheap" solution is rigging vintage manual lenses (like the Canon FD). To my understanding neither the quality nor the focus control is as good as the brand new Rokinons and they are not actual cinema lenses after all.
Saieash Mohanadas (3 years ago)
Thanks for the tip. I'm keen on the cine rokinon 50mm as a first step into cinema lenses. Any other good cheap options (i.e. not cannon)  I should consider?
Areia Creations (3 years ago)
+Saieash Mohanadas Having shot a few projects with cinema lenses alone, they are totally workable and it feels really great to focus smoothly. The analog aperture control is also great. Generally you will feel more in control of how you are shooting. After shooting with cinema lenses it can feel almost suffocating shooting video on still lenses. One of the bad points of high-end cinema lenses though is their weight. You really don't want to carry all that weight around for run and gun. The rokinon cinema lenses are much smaller in size and affordable. Same goes for the tokina's cinema atx series if you are looking for cinema zooms. Both offer supreme quality for their price and never heard anybody disappointed. Hope this helps.
Juan Carro (3 years ago)
Interesting,. As a starter kit for shooting shorts or documentaries, can the still lenses on a dslr give a good picture on screen?
Evackuation (3 years ago)
+Pedro Pescador D3300 FAMILY!!! Exactly what he said. I just ordered my Rode NTG2 with a WS6 Deluxe Windshield. There is kits for the camera that come with a Nikon D3300 with 55-300mm which has a more smoother zoom, than the regular 18-55 kit lens, and it's the same price as the regular, so yea. I hope you found a camera before this recommendation!
Pedro Pescador (3 years ago)
Nikon d3300 and a good cheap lens will be enough for video.For audio, Zoom h1 and a Rode mic , nice starter kit. Good day,

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