cinema-lensNo two lenses are the same, namely if you're talking about stills lenses and cinema lenses. There are pretty significant benefits in the latter, features like consistent front diameters, durability, and minimal (if not zero) lens breathing, but these do come at a cost. If you, like many of us, went the economical route and snatched up a bunch of stills lenses to lower the cost of adding to your gear repertoire, but are still wanting the added benefit of shooting with cine lenses, Caleb Pike of DSLR Video Shooter offers a DIY tutorial on how to apply an inexpensive cine mod to your stills lenses, giving your whole set several desired features of a cine lens for a fraction of what it would cost to buy a single one.

Modding your lenses includes several steps, the most important being de-clicking the aperture ring (for smooth aperture adjustments), adding 0.8 pitch focus gears (so you can use a follow focus), as well as an 80mm front ring (for the ability to use matte boxes and other accessories).

Pike explains that there are certain lenses that work better with the mod. Zooms can be used, but he says that primes, like the more expensive Zeiss and Leica R lenses, or the less expensive Nikkor, Pentax, or Olympus lenses, are the easiest to mod. (Here's a link to Pike's write-up of affordable primes that he says would work great for the mod.) Pike uses the Olympus OM 35-70 F4, 75-150 F4, and 50mm F1.8 lenses in the tutorial, saying that, no, they're not the best choice for the mod, but they are "great, cheap lenses."

Here is a list of accessories Pike lists in his post, which ended up costing him $231 (keep in mind, he modded 3 lenses):

  • 3x $15 OM to Canon adapters
  • 3x $40 Cinevate lens gears
  • 3x $16 80mm Adapters
  • 3x $1 80mm Caps
  • 3x step up rings (around $5)

Without further ado, check out Pike's tutorial below:

Pike will be uploading a tutorial on how to de-click the lenses he used in this tutorial, but if you're itching to find out how to do it now, there are several tutorials online that show you how to go about doing it with different lenses. Just to get a general idea of what it entails, here's a video tutorial by Casey Chin who de-clicks a Nikon lens.

And here's a quick video from Matthew Duclos that demonstrates the difference between the footage taken from a standard lens and a de-clicked lens when changing apertures.

If you're not a DIY kind of person, Pike says that you can get your stills lenses professionally modded. He recommends sending them to Duclos, who charges $60 to $250 per lens.

Be sure to check out Caleb Pike's original post, which has tons of information on which photo lenses to choose for the project, as well as links to all of the necessary gear you're going to need.

Link: Turn Your Photo Lenses Into a Cinema Lens Set -- DSLR Video Shooter

[via Filmmaker IQ]