December 13, 2015 at 11:44PM


Affordable Cinematic Lensses


What are some good affordable cinematic lenses that give you that cinematic sharpness & details?
DSLR/photography lenses are great, but I feel they're limited in terms of cinematic looks, sharpness, and details.

So I'd like to know some good and affordable cinematic lenses?


What camera are you shooting with ?

Generally cine lenses are not the absolute sharpest lenses around, but they do perform very well wide open. Many filmmakers are finding lenses to be too sharp when shooting 4K footage, so they are often looking for slightly softer lenses to shoot with.

My favorite lenses to shoot 4K footage with my Panasonic GH4 are the older Nikon AI-S lenses, mainly because they are not too sharp and generally have a very nice look to them. ( they are also very low cost compared to anything else )

December 14, 2015 at 8:45AM

Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer

There really is no such thing as "cinematic sharpness" because the final resolving power of the image found in professional feature films varies greatly depending on use of diffusion and lenses (often DPs use older sets of primes for their lack of optical sharpness). An overly easy example of this is "12 Monkeys" which is very soft, especially for a film that often uses short focal lengths…

The only two lens characteristics that are even remotely exclusive in cinema are that they generally have minimal "breathing" when you rack focus, and with anamorphics there's the horizontal flaring and ovular bokeh. The biggest differences in cinema lenses are actually their ergonomic attributes and usually quality control (since they are made in much smaller numbers and are a lot more expensive).

Many affordable contemporary medium-end still photo lenses are actually considerably sharper than the lenses used on big budget studio films in the 90s. Though of course nowadays Arri Master Primes are razor sharp (which is why many DPs use diffusion filtration in front of the lens to soften them on close-ups). I believe this was shot on them…

If it's not so much sharpness you're looking for, but rather a "cinematic look", then that's primarily due to well-crafted lighting, and also a skilled colorist.

December 15, 2015 at 12:36PM

Jaan Shenberger
designer/animator & live-action director/DP

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