A Guide to Cine Lens Accessories


When contemplating the array of available cine-style lens accessories, you may ask yourself where to best spend your hard-earned cash—or really, where to swipe that card or insert that chip! Let’s look at the multiple options available so you can determine which accessories will prove to be the most useful for your projects.

First and foremost, Lens Mount Adapters can be used to fit one style of cinema lenses to a differently mounted camera, enabling you to use select cine lenses with several cameras. Batting second, a Lens Support Bracket is used to transfer the weight of a heavy lens away from the camera’s lens mount, saving wear and tear on the mount. A Hard Shell Case will cradle your lenses as you tote them from location to location, and will provide secure storage. Various features offered include foam interiors custom-cut for specific lenses, waterproofing or water-resistance, padlock inserts, wheeled bases, and retractable or folding handles. Besides being protected from jostling and jarring, your lenses will also look more professional as they are lined up ever so neatly in the case.

Metabones Canon EF Lens to Blackmagic 2.5k Cinema Camera T Speed Booster

Pro Video Matte Boxes and Sunshades, whether clamp-on or rod-mounted, prevent unwanted glare and flares from hitting your lens. Some have one or more filter trays, rotating filter stages, extension “whips,” snap-on mattes, and top and side flags. They also perform the valuable function of keeping dust and debris away from the optically coated front element of your cine-style lens.

A French Flag is a flexible alternative or addition to a matte box; consisting of a rigid flag on an articulated arm; it can be positioned to block flares.

Dinkum Systems CINE lens shade / French Flag Assembly

A filter itself acts as a protective, physical barrier in front of the lens, while at the same time providing the optical effect for which you’ve chosen it—e.g., neutral density, diffusion, polarization, color correction, etc. Two popular sizes for cine-style lenses are 4 x 5.65" Filters (a.k.a. Panavision size) and 4 x 4" Filters. There is an almost endless variety of filters and a wide price range; higher-quality, optically consistent glass construction will up the price accordingly. If nothing else, start your filter collection with one of the various Optical Flat Filters available. An optical flat (clear) filter protects the lens without altering light as it passes through the filter.

Formatt Hitech 4 x 4" Combination Color Conversion 85/Linear Polarizing Filter

Manual Follow Focus Systems are consistently popular accessories. They enable smooth shifts in focus, whether gradually over a long, slow dolly move, or quickly alternating between participants in an attorney-versus-prosecutor-style dialogue. Practically, besides being used to focus, the more robust models can also serve as a handgrip in a shoulder rig when the camera operator is pulling focus. Most cine-style lenses are built with gears designed to mesh with follow focus rigs, so the geared lens belts included with some systems can be set aside for use with other lenses. An electronic alternative is the Varizoom Wired Focus Control, providing focus control for cine-style lenses and including .08 and .06 gears.

Vocas MFC-2S Limited Edition CINE Kit 2

Wireless Lens Control Systems (also known as FIZ units, pronounced “fizz”) enable you to control your focus, iris, and zoom from a distance. These systems run the gamut from single-axis units to full kits, priced accordingly. Use these wireless systems to adjust focus, zoom, and/or iris parameters from one hand-unit controller. A FIZ system is a must when employing a Steadicam or other stabilizer. They are also handy for dolly shots, handheld work, moving vehicles, or any setup where it is important to avoid any jostling of the camera by the A.C., or where it’s physically impractical for the A.C. to be next to the lens.

Redrock Micro microRemote Tandem Deluxe Bundle

A wired system provides another option for zoom control. The ikan Wired PD Movie Remote is available in two torque strengths and will work with cine-style and ENG-type lenses, offering wired zoom or focus control. The handgrip control in this system features multiple rosettes, enabling mounting to different tripod-head, shoulder-rig, or gimbal handles.

A rather unique zoom control you may not be familiar with is the Manual Zoom Control Lever. This device adds drag to your cine-style zoom lens, enabling you to zoom more smoothly than by just turning the barrel with your hand, but without the higher cost of an electronic zoom control. This zoom control mounts on a standard 15mm rod; versions offered by ikan and Lanparte include .08 and .06 gear module-compatible units. Chrosziel Fluid Zoom Drives are available in thumb knob and lever-style versions.

Lanparte Manual Friction Adjustable Zoom Controller 0.8 Mod

Servo controls may be purchased for select cine-style zoom lenses, adding ENG-type control features, such as a rocker-switch zoom control, camera power on/off control, a display window, lens return, and a built-in wireless control module (not all servos include each feature). Cine-style servo controls include the Angenieux MSU-1 Universal Cine Servo for the 30-90mm EZ-1 and 15-40mm EZ-2, the Canon ZSG-C10 Zoom Grip for the 18-80mm COMPACT-SERVO lens, and the Fujinon ESM-15A-SA Digital Servo for the 25-300mm ZK12 x 25 Cine Zoom lens.

Canon ZSG-C10 Zoom Grip for COMPACT-SERVO Lens

Last, but not least, lens lights enable you to better see your focus marks and other controls when working in a dimly lit area. Redrock Micro rigLights are specifically designed for camera illumination; these Gooseneck USB Lights are general-purpose items but can be used with your camera’s USB port.