It’s a recent development that I’ve been putting together a “run and gun” Canon mount lens set for use with my RED Epic camera. This is primarily for lower budget shoots that aren’t bringing on cine glass for the production. My Canon mount adventures with the RED Epic began with the Sigma 150-500mm and a few macro lenses; primarily focusing on shots that can not be achieved affordably with cinema lenses. Then when I picked up the Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 lens the idea to put together a Canon mount set of lenses for indie shoots quickly developed. With that, one of the lenses I picked up was the Cinematics CT.2 – 50mm f1.4…
To be clear, the Cinematics CT.2 is more of added lens housing than a new lens. The housing attaches to an existing Canon 50mm f1.4 lens. From all the pictures I saw online, this looked like it would be a good fit. I liked the look of the lens gear and focus markings so I took a leap and went for this lens. At the time of this entry, the cost of this product is roughly $800 (compared to $300-$400 for the original Canon 50mm f1.4 lens).
Here’s the run down:
In this entry, I’m going to skip to the end and work my way backwards with some info and explanation. All in all, I didn’t like this lens/lens housing product at all. The pictures looked great but when I got the product I instantly regretted the purchase and contacted the company about a refund. Since the seller is international, I’m going to take a loss of a little more than $200 total for the international shipping costs both ways. These things happen… You win some, you lose some.
So what were the issues?
The focus markings correspond to absolutely nothing. On any other lens, you have a static marking that remains still as the lens turns. You twist the focus ring and get the focus distance set how you need it; this focus marking properly lines up with the marking indicator and you have your distance measurement. If you’re pulling your own focus and not looking at the barrel of the lens, then this isn’t an issue. For film shoots when you have a 1st AC, however, focus markings are often key… The way the housing is designed, there are focus distances marked onto the housing but there is no static point indicating where any of those distances are landing. I can’t even begin to understand to point of having focus markings that don’t correspond to anything other than having a housing that “looks legit”. In the end, they seem totally pointless since the markings can’t be used to actually help with any focus distances.
The hard stops for focus distances seem to be completely removed. Again, with pretty much all lenses, there will be a hard stop at your close focus point and also one at infinity. When it comes to working with wireless follow focus systems – almost all of them are self-calibrating these days. This self-calibration uses a lens’s hard stops to find its focus pulling end points (close and infinity). Since the Cinematics CT.2 seems to have these hard stops removed, the lens will just turn and turn and turn endlessly – making the self calibration process impossible for most current wireless follow focus systems.
Here is a quick video illustrating this issue.
Attaching the lens to any camera body is rather difficult and requires extra effort because the amount of the original Canon 50mm lens that extends out of the Cinematics lens housing is roughly 3/4″ (1.9cm). Keep in mind the previous issue of having the hard stops removed – this impacts the lens in such a way that the entire housing moves. As such, you are left with less than one inch of lens to actually grab on to that you can use to properly seat the lens into a camera body and then turn to lock into place. If you try to use the lens housing to turn the lens into place, it will simply turn and turn and turn – and never lock in. The end result makes this lens one of the most difficult to attach to a camera that I have ever encountered.
A lot of the other lenses that I have picked up for the “run and gun” Canon lens set have been the Rokinon Cine series primes or a properly cinevised lens. I feel it’s important to have proper lens gears to work – even for a run and gun set. Since Rokinon has not released a 50mm prime yet, I tried out the Cinematics CT.2. For my purposes, this product failed to meet my needs and I put in for a refund and return of the product.
In the long run, I will probably pick up the Duclos cine-mod 50mm Zeiss ZE prime for only a couple hundred dollars more than the Cinematics CT.2 and have a product that does what I need it to.
Here are a few extra photos of the Cinematics CT.2 lens housing – Canon 50mm lens: