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When Do Cinema Lenses Really Matter? How Do They Compare to Vintage Lenses?

With videography and filmmaking becoming a busier and busier discipline, many look to take the next step: How can you push your work further and make it truly stand out from your peers?

Many professional photographers — myself included — have enlisted video into their work by accident, design, or necessity. For me, there were gaps I could see that were going to be filled sooner or later, and I'd rather it be me that fills them. Furthermore, there were several projects I am still passionate about and wanted to work on that had a strong focus on videography. Fortunately, most modern DSLR and mirrorless cameras can comfortably shoot video, with mine offering 4K, so the transition was far less painful for my wallet that it might have been even a decade ago.

That said, it isn't particularly long before you're bored of what you're creating with photography lenses and naturally want to progress. That usually comes in the form of glass on the front of your body which brings you to a fork in the road: vintage glass or modern cinema lenses. My experience of video has lead me to roughly the same beliefs I have of stills photoshoots. That is, if you get the lighting and composition right, which lens you used can be far less important. Have a watch of this video and see what you think.

Which lenses did you prefer, cinema or vintage? What are your go-to lenses for video? Share in the comment section below.

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4 Comments
Rick Rizza's picture

I used an EF85 f/1.4 for that cinematic feel, Lensbaby for dreamy nuance, and EF8-15 for that majestic landscape. All attached to my 6K Blackmagic cam. Never use any real cinematic lens though.

Mini Buns's picture

Vintage lenses are neat. I own a Helios 44-2 and like what it does for video.

Gonzague GB's picture

The Super Takumar 50mm F1.4 on my 6K = amazing cine like combo for just 99 USD (the lens)

paul aparycki's picture

As long as people shoot film, and many high end, high profile productions do, they will need cine lenses. Partially for the look, but also because they are all t-stop calibrated. No modern digital lenses are. Without that, any shoot would be a nightmare.