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Cine Lenses and DSLR's: What '60s/'70s Lenses Can I Use?


Jeff Norman
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I'm gearing up to begin prepro on my upcoming short film, utilizing a DLSR -- most likely a Canon 550D, but it's not yet in stone.

 

I've created threads in the past that addressed how much I hated being forced to choose digital over film, but time and financial constraints demanded the choice. I'm ultimately content with the DSLR option at this point, except for one particular pet peeve --

 

Why is it that virtually every DSLR project these days strikes the same visual look?

 

Something about film forced a distinctiveness from filmmakers of old. You can tell a Truffaut picture from a Cassavetes from an Antonioni from a Scorsese. Obviously being touched by genius helped these folks out (just a smudge). But still, I'm a bit upset with how "samey" the low-budget projects of today seem to my eyes. Does anyone else feel the same way?

 

Having done my newbie director homework has hammered into me three of the most important words for any kind of cinematic success: lenses, lenses, lenses. It's in the choice and preparation of the lens kit that a picture can live or die. I have a hunch that pinpointed, sophisticated lens work can also create a look that's more personal and distinctive for the filmmaker. Am I wrong about this? Not looking at it broadly enough?

 

This all leads me to the following questions:

 

- How do I fit a cine lens onto a DSLR camera?

- What cine lenses were in popular use during the 1960s and 70s?

- How does one track down such a 60s/70s vintage cine lens these days?

- Is it possible to mount a vintage cine lens onto a DSLR camera?

 

 

Any and all responses will prove enormously helpful to me and the team. Thanks a lot!

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Cine lenses of that vintage probably won't be able to cover a full frame 35 DSLR, although a number may cover the smaller sensor on the Canon 550D. These old lenses came in a range of mounts, you'd need to check if a particular mount could be adapted to your camera, however, you'd probably need to have them especially made.

 

Cooke, Zeiss, Schneider, Bausch and Lomb and Angenieux lenses were used.

 

You could check out ebay, but suitable lenses tend not to be cheap because they're now being picked up and modified for use on digital cinema cameras.

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Cine lenses of that vintage probably won't be able to cover a full frame 35 DSLR, although a number may cover the smaller sensor on the Canon 550D. These old lenses came in a range of mounts, you'd need to check if a particular mount could be adapted to your camera, however, you'd probably need to have them especially made.

 

Cooke, Zeiss, Schneider, Bausch and Lomb and Angenieux lenses were used.

 

You could check out ebay, but suitable lenses tend not to be cheap because they're now being picked up and modified for use on digital cinema cameras.

 

Thank you Brian! In lieu of tracking down a vintage lens, I may end up just more deeply researching the makes of lenses you specified, brands which I think might help to achieve a particular look without having to necessarily break the bank.

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