How to get a fake Canon 50mm cine lens for $800 instead of $5000 – and what to expect
Cinematics, a company based in Shenzhen, China, offers several solutions to get you a “CINE stlye” lens, no matter what. A full 50mm F/1.4 Canon mount cine-style lens as seen above costs only $800. Whew. So what’s the deal here?
This lens, which has some similarities with Canon’s $5000 version of a 50mm cine lens, is actually a rehoused Canon 50mm photo lens.
Cinematics uses photo lenses like the Tokina 11-16mm (as seen below) and lenses from other manufacturers (Canon, Zeiss, Nikon, Contax), does some modifications and rehouses them.
The nice thing is, they do not only sell the modified lenses, but also individual kits for all the lenses they have on sale and will custom house any lens you send them, including any lens they don’t sell yet. They also add PL mount optionally by the way and do other modifications like declicking the iris. The CEO also told us he will add hard stops for specific lenses and that some modifications cannot be undone.
The modification kits are not listed on the homepage, but Leon from Cinematics told us the kit for Canon 50mm F/1.4 will cost $350 and between $475 to $1065 for other lenses.
That’s an impressive pricepoint for a cine lens!
But how cine is it?
We asked the same question, talked to the manufacturer at NAB 2013 and tried some of the lenses they had on display there.
When looking at these lenses up close you quickly realize the following:
– Real metal casings
– feels professional
– feels nice and heavy
– standard mod 0.8 gears for follow focus etc.
– unified 114mm front diameter as any normal CP.2
– but (see below)
But knowing real cine lenses you also realize that:
– no hard stops on most (Canon) photo lenses
—> making the markings somehow irrelevant
– some secondary (iris) gear rings don’t actually move (iris controlled from inside camera on most photo primes)
– markings not accurate (photo primes just not accurate)
– obviously only minor improvement to focus throw (short focus travel distances on photo lenses)
– rehousing doesn’t make the optics (eg: focus breathing) any better.
– rehousing doesn’t make the lenses stronger (a Tokina 11-16 WILL brake with some wireless focus motors)
– the Zeiss models might serve you best among the models to choose from if you’re looking for strength and quality as close to cine style as possible. These lenses don’t need much to make the work for semi-professional cine use and the Cinematics solution might get you there.
As we could have imagined, these very affordable cine lenses are lacking most of the features real professionals need in their cine lenses. The intention of the manufacturer seems to have been to make them appear professional, and I think they succeeded.
If all you need is a lens that simply LOOKS really cool (and I know there’s a lot of you out there) and makes you seem like a pro among people who have no clue, then this might just be the perfect lens source for you.
The lenses and modifications can be acquired at the Cinematics website: www.pchood.com
If you’re looking for a more high end solution there’s also the company Prime Circle based in Italy who offer very high end Zeiss rehousing and modification: LINK