What are some budget cine lenses for Indian filmmakers?
Filmmaking is the big brother of photography. Indeed, the subtle difference between the two is the time they pause in their storytelling through their pictures. The huge cost of the lenses used for making movies puts a damper on the aspirations of new and low budget filmmakers. But, there always are a few cine lenses for the budget Indian filmmaker.
Dependable Zeiss quality lenses
You have a fine line of cameras known as Compact Primes from Zeiss. They made this for the budget minded filmmaker and these have a lesser quality than the Master Primes. They give you longer focus rotation and other features that make filmmaking such a breeze. They have interchangeable mounts and cine style housing. The aperture range is from T 2.1 – 3.6.
Next, you have the Cooke Optics Mini S4. You have the downsized version of the S4 but the optics and resolution remain comparable. The focus is cam-style and the aperture size is T 2.8. It is a lot costlier than the Zeiss cameras.
Going for the art lens
A little on the costly side, we have the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens. Here the alternative is to spend Rs 62,000 for an Art Lens but here you get it for a little less. The feel and build are good and it produces good images. The speed you get on this lens is not so great considering that it is only f/2.8 but you may not always want a fast lens. Setting your lens to a little above f/2.8 will get you sharp pictures.
Back to the budget level, we have the Sigma Normal 50mm f/2.8 that costs Rs 22,334. This camera has a cinema housed lens which is a great thing. It is fast at T1.5 and you get sharp images when you stop it a little. As with all other art, you need some skill to create great pictures but as the saying goes, it will get better with time. But, having the right equipment will help a lot.
More budget lenses
Going down the ladder a little we have the Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm F/1.4D Prime Lens which is a little over Rs 19,851. This is a normal high-speed lens that produces distortion-free images when the lighting is right. You get high contrast images even when you open the aperture out full.
The Canon 50mm f/1.4 definitely has to make the list here. It is affordable at Rs25, 536 and has all the right features you need in a cine lens. This Zeiss super-speed lens is quite affordable. Typical of all Zeiss lenses, it delivers top-class quality. It has a robust body build and it handles well. This is good quality at an affordable price which is saying a lot for this lens.
In the end, filmmaking is a personal choice and so is the choice of the camera for filmmaking. But, on an average, they all deliver the same type of quality with some minor differences for some extra features that you see reflected in the price tag. You must pay for quality but if you are careful you will get a great camera for your budget.