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Still Lenses vs. Cine Lenses


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#1 Benjamin G

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 07:40 PM

What are the biggest differences between cine and still lenses?

I understand that still lenses have smaller focus rings and don't have smooth apertures. I have read something about still lenses being 4:3 and cine lenses being more widescreen. What else are the major differences causing the drastic price difference between say a Nikon prime and a Zeiss/Cooke cine prime?
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#2 Stephen Williams

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 01:03 PM

Mechanics, Quality control, more user friendly & hand made.

Lenses produce an image circle, so it's BS about cine lenses being more widescreen.


What are the biggest differences between cine and still lenses?

I understand that still lenses have smaller focus rings and don't have smooth apertures. I have read something about still lenses being 4:3 and cine lenses being more widescreen. What else are the major differences causing the drastic price difference between say a Nikon prime and a Zeiss/Cooke cine prime?


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#3 Mark Dunn

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 02:28 PM

Cine lenses are still made of metal in small numbers and are not mass-market consumer items. The apertures are marked in T-stops to take account of the actual light transmitted -the f number is just a geometrical ratio- so any lens set to a given T-stop will have the same effective speed. Otherwise, zooms, for example, would be effectively slower than expected, because the large number of elements means that they absorb more light than a prime- maybe half a stop.

Still lenses will typically only have a few focus marks and so will be difficult to set with a tape. Additionally, because they're usually focused by eye, the markings may not be accurate enough anyway. On a lens intended to be hand-held, the mount diameter may be too small for convenient focus-pulling; looking at the short zoom on my SLR, it rotates less than 90 degrees from close focus to infinity. The only witness mark is at infinity.

All this assumes that you can even buy the lens you need in manual focus with marked apertures.

A cine set will match in colour transmission so as not to affect colour grading. There's no need for a set of still lenses to do this as colour can be adjusted for each photograph.
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#4 Benjamin G

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Posted 03 April 2011 - 07:34 PM

Thanks for the info. I already understood about the short focus ring and the inaccurate marks and whatnot.

I guess I was more wondering about the specifics of the Mechanics and build quality rather than general differences. Like why cine lenses match color transmission and stills don't is it the way the glass is smoothed or coated. . .etc. I guess I should probably read a book on lenses and how they are made to really understand it.

And thanks for clearing up the widescreen thing for me. I thought it sounded a little strange.

Edited by Benjamin G, 03 April 2011 - 07:34 PM.

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