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Cinema And Photo Lenses: The 7 Main Differences - Graphics/Video Market - Nairaland

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Cinema And Photo Lenses: The 7 Main Differences by rfremote: 4:01am On Sep 03
Film and photo lenses share some common characteristics, but they are two completely different worlds. If you want to get started in professional video and dabble in film, find out the differences between these two types of lenses in this article.

Not all lenses on the photo market are the same, even when we talk about one brand: their lenses have different focal lengths, different apertures, different sizes, different weights and a long list of qualities that make them specific or useful for one photo discipline rather than another. If you are confused by the many acronyms, values and inscriptions on lenses, don't miss this article. You will immediately understand them better!

If we talk about a lens with a focal length of 15 mm, for example, we are talking about a wide angle lens, suitable for landscape photography, while if we talk about a lens with a focal length of 500 mm, we are talking about a lens for photographing wildlife, for example

Before purchasing a lens, it is important to consider its characteristics to know if it will give you the results you are looking for. Don't forget to make sure that the lens in question is compatible with your camera.

But when it comes to cinema and photo lenses, these differences are even more pronounced. Cinema lenses have specific features to provide the highest resolution and quality video.

From photography to video
If you've been wanting to get into the world of video and filmmaking for a long time, here are a few articles that will help you get started in your professional career in the industry.

And those of you who are into photography know that there are specific lenses for film, even though at first glance they all seem the same. But nothing could be further from the truth: here are the main differences.

1. Iris opening
The aperture is indicated by the letter F on photo lenses. As explained in this introductory article, maximum aperture values such as f/1.4 or f/2.4 allow more light to pass through the sensor, while values such as f/22 or f/32 allow very little light to pass through.

The larger the aperture of the lens, the better the quality of the image, even in dimly lit areas or at night.

However, we never question the veracity of these values indicated by the major manufacturers in the sector.

The prestigious website DxOmark provides image quality ratings for cameras and lenses and according to their findings, the actual light transmission is lower than the values stated by the manufacturers.

But this is no longer a problem with cinema lenses.

In film and advertising, it is essential to know the exact light transmission because lenses from different manufacturers are used in the same production.

The T-value of a lens is more accurate because it determines the actual amount of light by a third. For example, if a DZOFILM cinema lens has an aperture of T3.0 (which is equivalent to f/2.8 in photography), you should know that this is the actual value.

2. Continuous aperture rings
One of the big differences between cinema and photo lenses is the aperture rings.

In the cinema, it is essential to avoid sudden changes in brightness in the scene, and taking into account that we usually work in manual mode in this sector, this would be almost impossible to do with a photo lens.

On photo lenses, the aperture rings move in thirds jumps or full stops, while on film and video lenses, the aperture ring takes a longer journey, resulting in smoother, more fluid movements for a professional transition.

3. Design and Construction
The external design and construction of film and photo lenses is one of the big differences. As we saw at the beginning of this article, in photography there are lots of lenses with very distinct characteristics, but in cinema, the external construction must have more or less standard lines.

Why is this so? If we think for a second about the equipment of a filmmaker, we imagine a big camera surrounded by lots of accessories, such as flashlights, microphones, stabilizers, a monitor...

The cinema lenses are not left out since they are supported by Follow-Focus systems for more delicate transitions, stabilization bars to avoid vibrations and even by a large Matte Box with folding flaps to avoid reflections on the image.

In cinema and in advertising, you can't afford to lose a single second, which is why the lenses generally have the same diameter, weight and design. Similarly, the focus ring will be located on the lens in very similar positions. The standardization of DZOFILM cinema lenses avoids the pitfall that changing one lens for another becomes a real odyssey. This way, no time is wasted in adjusting the accessories needed to work.

4. Internal zoom
Another big difference between film and photo lenses is the internal focus barrel. On photo lenses, the zoom is usually external and moves forward or backward. That being said, as we have seen in this article, lenses that do not stay fixed give more technical quality results.

Something similar happens with professional film and photo lenses. These lenses always have the same external design: their length does not vary, so that for the filmmaker it is easier to install filters and other accessories on them, while avoiding unwanted vibrations during the shooting.

5. Focal length breathing
Two new terms come into play here that you may not be familiar with, but which will quickly become terms of everyday use if you are completely immersed in the world of cinema. We are talking about varifocal and parafocal lenses.

We are generally referring here to photo lenses. When the focal length used is visibly changed and the focus also changes, the lens is said to "breathe".

Parifocal lenses
These are generally lenses for film and video. The internal construction of their lenses makes it possible to maintain the frame and especially the focus, even if the zoom is changed from a focal length of 18 mm to another of 200 mm.

6. Easy and intuitive to use
As we have seen above, the acronyms and nomenclature of photo lenses can be complex, sometimes even more so when we know that each manufacturer has its own terminology.

On cinema lenses, the inscriptions must be as simple and intuitive as possible because, as we have seen, we have to work quickly in cinema and advertising.

Since their design follows a standard, the cameraman will immediately know how to work with the lens. The controls for focus, iris and focal length are more precise and thorough. Most of them employ toothed rings that provide an unparalleled transition through the Follow-foucs system.

In addition, the information on the barrel is easily readable. In fact, it is usually written in large letters on both sides of the barrel for convenient operation even in low light conditions.

7. Durable construction on film and photo lenses
Finally, one of the big differences between film and photo lenses is their external construction.

It goes without saying that video lenses will withstand more extreme conditions than photo lenses. Although it is also true that more and more manufacturers are focusing on ultra-resistant photo lenses such as the Irix lenses with special dust and moisture shielding that even protects against water splashes.

A video lens must be able to withstand extreme climates, as it must allow extended shooting over several hours in polar temperatures or in the middle of a desert. And they must have a super resistant structure so that they don't fall off after a fall or a shock.

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