Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Converting Manual Lenses to “Cine Style” Lenses

Cine Style lenses are the best lenses with which to shoot video, but most are unattainable to the average DSLR cinematographer.

Older manual lenses can be converted to “Cine Style” lenses by removing the bearing that “clicks” the aperture into place.  This allows for in-between aperture settings, and also allows one to turn the aperture ring (stop up or down, or open/close the iris) during shooting without adding noise to the audio or shaking the camera.  Once the bearing is removed, it is important to introduce grease/lube to the aperture ring to prevent unwanted movement (so that the aperture ring functions in the same way the focus ring does).

Here is a link to a page on DSLR News Shooter about the de-click master, Eddie Houston (also formerly a guitarist for Thin Lizzy and Status Quo, and before that, a technical manager for Canon in the days of “FD”).


Mr. Houston even has an E-bay page with converted lenses.  You’ll have to pay in Pounds though.

White Lithium grease is often recommended, but there are dangers of it separating into two components over time (one of which is liquid and will get all over your lens innards). I’ve had a hell of a time finding a grease (damping or otherwise) for greasing a lens.  There seem to be thousands of discussions on this topic, but no one will say, “Try this grease; here’s a link (or at least a store) to where you can buy it.”


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