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Patrick Vernae

Cine Lens for Stop Motion?

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I'm looking to get a lens to use for a stop motion film and am not quite sure on the type of lens to use. Would it be recommended to us a cine lens or a stills lens? Would their be any benefit to using a cine lens over a stills lens? I'm currently using a 90mm macro lens and  am looking to get another. Any informative advice would be greatly appreciated.

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"Cine" lenses exist to give shooters geared rings, long focus throws, manual non-click iris, and usually wider apertures. Your adjustments will definitely feel easier using them, but they aren't necessarily features you need. And since you're likely shooting miniatures, you'll want to close the iris down, so fast lenses don't matter.

I don't know your setups but I would suggest wider focal lengths with as short a minimum focus as possible, or wide macro lenses if they exist. I own a sigma 18-35 and it's minimum focus is really close. But there must be others that get closer. I suggest wider lengths because it'll make the space feel less constricted.

With that, still lenses will be cheaper. But you can get really good prices on older manual lenses if you have an adapter to your camera. For instance Canon FD lenses to an EF mount. If you want the ease of cine lenses, Rokinon makes terrific ones, but I am unsure of their minimum Focus range.

Hope this helps.

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Also, you may find extension tubes helpful, as they reduce your lenses focusing distance. Keep in mind that some tubes do not have electronics passthrough making your camera unable to autofocus or adjust the iris.

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thanks for the advice, i'll likely go with a wide angle stills lens. Also, would zoom lenses be adequate for stop motion or would it be more practical to use fixed prime lenses?

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You may want to test old fully manual Nikon AI-S lenses, they are good quality and very affordable and have good enough resolving power. For stop motion it might be better to use the F2.8 versions because of the better contrast when stopped down compared to f2 and 1.4 / 1.2 versions.

The ai-s are very good if stopped down at least from 1 to 1.5 stops depending on the lens. You can test the ai-s 35/2.8 first and have couple of extension tubes (the cheap ones, no electronics needed) to use if necessary. 

most of the ai-s lenses can be declicked relatively easily if needed though one needs to make some diy friction adjustments to the iris ring after declicking

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thanks everyone, i'll look into the old nikon nikkor lenses. Are their any particular "essential" focal lengths i should consider?

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Posted (edited)

Focal length's really depend on what look your trying to achieve, same with normal cinematography.

That said I would imagine a lot of the time you might err on the longer length of lenses to give the animators a bit of room to work.

With wider focal lengths you  might end up with the camera and lens butting right up against the model and risk being within the MOD.

I don't do stop motion, but whenever I'm doing product photography - my go to lenses tend to be the 85mm and 135mm - but thats very much a personal thing. 

Edited by Phil Connolly
grammer

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thanks. yeah, I figured longer focal lengths would minimize bumping the camera during the animation process. 

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