Guide: Best Affordable Cine Lenses (Budget, Mid-Range, and Professional) 2022

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So, you’re planning on buying a cine lens. As we covered in my General Guide to Cine Lenses, there are many reasons to purchase cine lenses, from image quality and build to the fact that they offer much more control for video production than a still lens.

Tip: If you’re looking for RF-mount cine lenses, in particular, check out the FilmDaft Complete Overview of RF-mount Cine Lenses.

However, the world of cine lenses can still be quite daunting and finding what model and brand to select can be a big choice. Furthermore, there are a lot of different brands and often quite a bit of confusion between them.

Therefore, I have selected some of the most respected brands at affordable price ranges for independent filmmakers and videographers.

Tip: If you’re already familiar with cine lenses you can skip the introductory guide and jump straight to our recommended lenses section by clicking here.

Though by no means all cine lenses, these are some of the most respected and readily available models at relatively cheap prices.

If you’re looking to get your hands on really expensive and high-end cine lenses such as Zeiss Supreme Primes, Schneider Cine-Xenar III, or even Tokina Vista, renting might be a better option. In that case, sites such as www.lensrentals.com can be very helpful.

However, if you’re looking at building your own personal cine lens kit, this article is for you.

We will briefly describe different types of lenses and how to ensure you choose the best lens for your needs before going over different lenses from brands such as Rokinon to Sigma.

After this article, no matter your price range, you will be prepared to take the first steps to build your lens kit.

Different Types Of Cine Lenses

Cine lenses can vary quite a bit between manufacturers, however, certain things remain consistent.

In describing any lens, wide-angle refers to focal lengths under 50mm, normal lenses are around 50mm, and telephoto lenses are focal lengths above that.

I will also briefly discuss zoom cine lenses, meaning cine lenses that have an adjustable focal length.

These lenses do cost quite a bit more but can take the place of multiple prime lenses.

Finally, while it is possible to convert vintage still lenses to function similar to cine lenses, we will only be focusing on cine lenses manufactured as such.

How to Choose The Best Cine Lens For Your Video Camera

To select the best lenses for you, it is important to know your budget and shooting requirements. It is also important to be aware of the camera you’re shooting on and how that may affect your image.

Certain lenses will be designed for full-frame sensors, and if you’re using an APS-C cropped sensor it will make the field of view equivalent to larger focal length.

For example, if you’re using a 50mm lens on the APS-C, it has a 1.5x crop factor and will result in a 75mm equivalent image.

Likewise, if you’re using a 50mm cine lens on a Micro-Four-Thirds sensor like in the Panasonic GH5 or BMPCC4K it will have the equivalent field of view of a 100mm lens on a full-frame sensor due to the 2x crop factor.

Notice, the sensor does not change the focal length or aperture of the lens. Instead, it changes the perceived image.

However, if you’re looking for a wide-angle lens but have a cropped sensor, it is important to multiply the crop factor by the focal length.

Using Lenses Meant For Bigger Sensors On Cameras With A Smaller Sensor

As a rule of thumb, you can adapt lenses for bigger sensors for cameras with smaller sensors, but not the other way around. If you try to do the latter, it can cause heavy vignetting.

But some lenses are built for different sensor sizes. Therefore, be sure to take the time to read about the lens you’re buying and the camera you have.

For example, adapting lenses for larger sensors to a Micro-Four-Thirds sensor (also known as an MFT sensor or m43 sensor) often results in images not being as sharp since the lenses weren’t designed for the sensor size.

However, if you pick up a focal reducer such as the Metabones Speedbooster, not only can you adapt the glass, but you can gain some T-stops in the process.

In addition to sensor size, double-check the mount on your camera and make sure it matches the lenses your purchasing or that you have the appropriate adapter.

Finally, if you plan on using any filters, you may want to use be sure to check the filter thread size.

For all the lenses in this article, I have included specifications, and most manufacturers make the same lenses for various mounts.

Best Affordable Cine Lenses – From Budget to Professional

To help with the selection process, I have separated different brands and manufacturers into three different categories; budget, mid-range, and professional.

Additionally, within each category and brand, I have tried to include a wide-angle, normal, and telephoto lens.

This is partial to explore options, and also so that you may begin building a lens kit. In selecting your first set of lenses I strongly recommend ensuring you have variation in focal length and trying to stick with one brand.

Many brands offer kits themselves, however selecting your own focal lengths may allow you to find a lens that better match your needs and styles. Furthermore, it is entirely acceptable, to begin with, one lens and build up your library over time.

Sticking with one brand is helpful to ensure consistency. Certain lenses between manufacturers can have varying degrees of tints and contrast and swap between such lenses may cause trouble for you later on.

Furthermore, the lenses of one brand will also have similar qualities in terms of sharpness. Though a high-quality lens may look amazing, using it in conjunction with lower quality glass will make the difference much more apparent.

Sticking with one tier of quality, at least, to begin with, will help limit any shortcomings from standing out too much.

The Best Budget-Friendly Cine Lenses

So, let’s have a look at three of the best affordable brands to get you started with building your first kit of cine lenses; SLR Magic, Rokinon, and Meike.

SLR Magic

To start off our budget lenses, I will be including three SLR Magic lenses. SLR Magic is a UK based manufacturer and known for offering affordable and well-built lenses. The three selected lenses are very affordable.

SLR Magic Cine 25mm F/1.4 Lens For Sony E-Mount

Aperture: Maximum f/1.4, Minimum f/16

Minimum Focal Distance: 10” / 0.25m

Filter Thread: 52mm

Weight: 18.34 oz / 520 g

Length: 3” / 78.4 mm

The SLR Magic Cine 25mm F/1.4 lens is a beautiful wide-angle lens for full-frame sensors. It is available for in the Sony E-Mount, so if you intend to shoot on another camera an adapter will be necessary. It’s compact size, relatively low weight, and sturdy build make it a great option for filmmakers on the go.

Check the current price on Adorama (other mount options also available).
Check the current price on Amazon (other mount options also available).

SLR Magic Cine 35mm F/1.2 Lens For Sony E-Mount

Aperture: Maximum f/1.2, Minimum f/16

Minimum Focal Distance: 1.0’ / 0.3m

Filter Thread: 52mm

Weight: 18.9 oz / 535 g

Length: 3.1” / 77.4 mm

Like the 25mm, the SLR Magic Cine 35mm is only available for the Sony E-Mount. It’s a great wide-angle lens for full-frame sensors, and if you are shooting with an APS-C sensor it’s equivalent focal length will be that of a nifty-fifty 50mm lens. Between the selected SLR Magic lenses another added benefit is a consistent filter thread diameter.

Check the current price on Adorama (other mount options also available).
Check the current price on Amazon (other mount options also available).

SLR Magic Cine 75mm F/1.4 Lens For Sony E-Mount

Aperture: Maximum f/1.4, Minimum f/16

Minimum Focal Distance: 2.3’ / 0.70m

Filter Thread: 52mm

Weight: 16.1 oz / 455 g

Length: 3.1” / 78.4 mm

The SLR Magic Cine 75mm lens is a great telephoto lens on a budget and, as the other options, it is light enough and sturdy enough to carry around. If you are shooting on anything besides a full-frame sensor the crop factor may make this lens difficult to use.

For example, on an APS-C sensor, it will read 112mm which may be a bit too telephoto for typical shooting conditions.

Check the current price on Adorama (other mount options also available) .
Check the current price on Amazon (other mount options also available).

Descriptive Summary of SLR Magic Cine Lenses

Pros: These lenses create a great look for the price. They are solid and durable and have great glass, while still being a small enough size to easily carry around with you. The warm tint and soft corners create a very cinematic and almost dreamy look.

Cons: Some of the issues with these lenses is that the SLR Magic lenses have a sharp center but soft corners. When using lenses between the manufacturer, this issue may be less noticeable, but pairing it with a higher quality piece of glass may make this stand out.

The 75mm lens especially has trouble with creating a sharp image when completely opened up. If exposed a couple of T-stops above, the image will be cleaner, however, it still is great looking.

Finally, in measuring their aperture in f-stops, it will be more difficult to match these lenses with other cine lenses measured in t-stops.

Finally, these SLR Magic lenses are only available for the Sony E-Mount on a full-frame sensor, meaning conversion will be required if you shoot under different specifications.

Conclusion: Overall, SLR Magic makes great lenses. Furthermore, while the lenses I have selected are for a full-frame sensor and Sony E-Mount, they manufacture different lenses for all types of sensors, so if you are shooting with Micro Four Thirds, there still may be an SLR Magic lens for you.

The warm tint and soft corners help create a very cinematic look, even though the lens is not very sharp. These three lenses also share the same filter thread diameter, making it easy to swap filters, and all are very compact and portable.

Rokinon

Rokinon Cine Lenses are available as kits where you can often save some money compared to buying each lens separately. We found this great kit for Canon EF-mount, which consists of a 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, and an 85mm T1.5 lens. Plus you get a lens hood, soft bags, a cleaning kit, and more. In other words, the four most important focal lengths to get you started. Check the current price on Amazon. Check the current price on Adorama. Also, check the sites for other kit figurations.

There exists confusion about Rokinon and Samyang lenses and whether or not they’re the same brand. The reason behind this confusion is that Samyang partners with companies using private labeling to sell them.

Rokinon does not manufacture the glass, so besides the labeling and perhaps a few small adjustments, Samyang and Rokinon glass are essentially the same.

However, as the name Rokinon is much more recognizable in the United States, I have selected three Rokinon lenses to look at; a 24mm, 50mm, and 85mm.

The lenses listed below are for a Canon EF mount, though the same lenses can be found for a variety of mounts.

Rokinon Cine 24mm T1.5 For Canon EF Mount

Aperture: Maximum T1.5, Minimum T22

Minimum Focal Distance: 9.8” / 25cm

Filter Thread: 77mm

Weight: 1.4 lbs / 615 g

Length: 3.8” / 9.7 cm

The Rokinon Cine 24mm T1.5 lens is an incredible and affordable full-frame, wide-angle lens available in many different makes and models. Though I listed the specs for the Canon EF mount, it’s also available in MFT, Nikon F, Sony Alpha, and Sony E mounts.

Check the current price on Adorama (other mount options also available).
Check the current price on Amazon (other mount options also available).

Rokinon Cine 50mm T1.5 For Canon EF Mount

Aperture: Maximum T1.5, Minimum T22

Minimum Focal Distance: 1.5’ / 0.45m

Filter Thread: 77mm

Weight: 20.3 oz / 575 g

Length: 2.9” / 7.37 mm

Built for full-frame sensors, the Rokinon Cine 50mm lens is hard to beat a normal-length lens. It is available in many different mounts, as is the 24mm, and is a full-frame lens. These lenses are slightly heavier and larger than the SLR Magic lenses.

Check the current price on Adorama (other mount options also available).
Check the current price on Amazon (other mount options also available).

Rokinon Cine 85mm T1.5 Lens For Canon EF

Aperture: Maximum T1.5, Minimum T22

Minimum Focal Distance: 3.6’ / 1.0m

Filter Thread: 72mm

Weight: 20.5 oz / 580 g

Length: 2.84” / 7.22cm

The Rokinon Cine 85mm T1.5 lens can create a very shallow depth of field and is a good starter telephoto lens.

It is a full-frame lens, so converting it to other sensor sizes will make the equivalent focal length even higher. As with the other Rokinon’s, it is available in a variety of mounts so adapters shouldn’t be necessary for most cameras.

Check the current price on Adorama (other mount options also available).
Check the current price on Amazon (other mount options also available).

Descriptive Summary of Rokinon Cine DS Lenses

Pros: Rokinon lenses’ greatest pro is their price, which puts them in a very affordable price range. They produce a relatively sharp image, especially if you are not shooting with a completely open aperture, and they offer sharp images and consistent color, which is essential if you are wanting to build a lens kit.

Cons: As they are so cheap, Rokinon lenses do come with some small cons. Their images can be a bit soft towards the edges of the frame, and they also have small issues with focus breathing and vignetting.

Their sharpness especially suffers when the aperture is wide open, and they don’t produce sharp images and rich colors in comparison to more expensive glass.

Conclusion: Rokinon is one of the most recognizable budget cine lens brands and with good reason.

Though they are heavy and have some very minor issues with the build quality, they are difficult to beat for the price. The colors match great between lenses, their fast speed allows for great lowlight shooting, and they offer great color.

As is expected with lower-priced glass, there are some minor issues with vignetting and lens breathing, and they won’t produce the sharpest colors on the market, especially if you plan shooting with it the aperture completely opened up.

Meike

Though we cover Meike for Micro-Four-Thirds sensors in the section below, you can also find Meike lenses for Sony E-mount. The lens above is for cameras such as a6400 with APS-C size sensor. Click the photo to check the current price on Amazon.

Meike lenses are another cheap option and can provide great quality. Lesser known than brands such as Rokinon, these lenses are limited in terms of variety and Micro Four Thirds native, meaning their equivalent focal length for full-frame cameras is twice what is listed.

Purchasing a lens adapter will add weight to your rig, and raises the potential for light leaks, but high-quality adapters like the Metabones Speedbooster can add a couple of T-Stops.

Finally, it should be noted that if you are adapting the Meike lenses to a different sensor size you will need to make the conversion.

For example, a 25mm MFT native lens will be a 50mm equivalent on a full-frame sensor. Therefore, while the options for Meike lenses are limited, they may not all appear wide-angle on all cameras.

Meike 12mm T2.2 Cinema Lens For MFT Mount

Aperture: Maximum T2.2, Minimum T22

Minimum Focal Distance: 8.66” / 22 cm

Filter Thread: 77mm

Weight: 1.33 lbs / 606g

Length: 3.50” / 89mm

The Meike 12mm Cine Lens is a full-frame, MFT mount wide-angle lens. The equivalent focal length for an MFT sensor is 24mm, still offering a wide-angle field of view. This lens is durable and produces a great image but is only available for MFT mounts.

Check the current price on Amazon.

Meike 16mm T2.2 Cinema Lens For MFT Mount

Aperture: Maximum T2.2, Minimum T22

Minimum Focal Distance: 7.87” / 20 cm

Filter Thread: 77mm

Weight: 17.3 oz / 490g

Length: 4” / 101mm

Like the 12mm lens, the Meike 16mm Cine Lens is full-frame and only offered for an MFT mount. It is another great wide-angle option for filmmakers on a budget.

Check the current price on Adorama.
Check the current price on Amazon.

Meike 25mm T2.2 Cinema Lens For MFT Mount

Aperture: Maximum T2.2, Minimum T22

Minimum Focal Distance: 9.8” / 24.9 cm

Filter Thread: 77mm

Weight: 1.23lbs / 557g

Length: 3.56” / 90.4mm

The Meike 25mm T2.2 is a full-frame, wide-angle, MFT mount lens. Converting this lens to an MFT sensor will have an equivalent focal length of 50mm, giving you a normal length lens.

Unlike the 12mm and 16mm lenses, the Meike 25mm CT2.2 Cine Lens is available for an MFT mount, E-Mount, and X-Mount.

Check the current price on Adorama (other mount options also available).
Check the current price on Amazon.

Descriptive Summary of Meike Cine Lenses

Pros: Meike lenses have some of the most positive reviews for lenses in this price range. They produce hardly any vignetting, very little lens breathing, have sharp images, and are extremely durable with an all-metal housing. Furthermore, though the lenses in this kit are all wide-angle, they have no significant distortion.

Cons: One of the greatest cons is of the Meike lenses is their weight. Due to their durability, the lenses are quite heavy and can get loose in the mount.

The lenses also produce soft corners, though they are sharpest roughly between T2.8 and T5.6. Finally, the Meike lenses have very limited options making it difficult to build a full kit. But we expect more focal lengths to be released in the near future.

Conclusion: Meike lenses are durable and provide great image quality. For the price, they do an incredible job limiting problems such as vignetting and focus breathing.

However, the limited options in focal length and being MFT native limits your options if you are trying to build a kit. Depending on your camera you also may need to pick up a lens adapter.

A high quality and durable adapter is strongly recommended as well since the Meike’s weight can be cumbersome and cause issues with mounting.

Irix

The Irix 45mm T4.3 for Canon on Amazon.

If you haven’t heard of Irix Cine lenses, you should be excited. Irix is definitely a manufacturer to consider.

While not as commonly seen as Rokinon and Canon, Irix Cine lenses are relatively affordable cine lenses, good quality, and produce a very nice cinematic look.

The lenses are also available in various lens mounts, meaning you won’t have to purchase an adapter. Irix lenses feature what you’d expect in cine lenses; consistency between their lenses, gears for focus pulls, and an adjustable aperture.

These lenses also have a solid build quality, are weather-sealed, and have minimal distortion. If you’re looking to build a cine lens kit, Irix is a great point of entry.

Currently, Irix has four cine lenses available; an 11mm T4.3 lens, a 15mm T2.6 lens, a 45mm T1.5 lens, and a 150mm T3.0 Macro lens. For this article, we will be looking at the 15mm, 45mm, and 150mm lenses to cover a variety of common focal lengths.

The lenses listed below are for a Canon EF Mount. However, Irix also manufactures lenses for PL, Sony E, MFT, Canon RF, L-Mount, and Nikon Z mounts. Do a quick search on the stores to check for availability.

IRIX Cine 15mm T2.6 Lens with Canon EF-Mount

Aperture: Maximum T2.6, Minimum T22

Minimum Focal Distance: 9.84” / 25 cm

Filter Thread: 86 mm

Weight: 1.97 lbs / 895 g

Length: 3.5” / 89 mm

The Irix Cine 15mm T2.6 lens is a very solid wide-angle lens. It is weather-sealed and features a very durable construction.

A consistent filter thread size between the Irix family (except the 150mm macro lens) makes these lenses great to build a kit with.

There are plenty of ergonomic features, such as fluorescent markings and a ¼” support foot to stabilize the lens, that also helps to set these lenses apart.

Check the current price on Adorama (other mounts available)
Check the current price on Amazon

IRIX Cine 45mm T1.5 Lens with Canon EF-Mount

Aperture: Maximum T1.5, Minimum T22

Minimum Focal Distance: 1.3’ / 0.4 m

Filter Thread: 86 mm

Weight: 2.49 lbs / 1.13 kg

Length: 4.41” / 112 mm

The Irix Cine 45mm T1.5 lens is a great cine lens for a solid price. With a high-speed aperture, this lens can produce some beautiful images, create a wide depth of field, and produce beautiful bokeh if that’s what you’re looking for.

Like the 15mm lens, this 45mm cine lens has all the cine features you’d expect as well as Irix’s solid and durable build.

Check the current price on Adorama (other mounts available)
Check the current price on Amazon

IRIX Cine 150mm T3.0 Macro 1:1 Lens with Canon EF-Mount

The Irix 150mm T3.0 for PL Mount on Amazon (I haven’t been able to find it with EF-mount on Amazon).

Aperture: Maximum T3.0, Minimum T32

Minimum Focal Distance: 13.78″ / 350 mm

Filter Thread: 77 mm

Weight: 2.44 lbs / 1.11 kg

Length: 5.35” / 136 mm

The Irix Cine 150 T3.0 Macro lens is another great lens in the Irix line. If you’re looking for a telephoto and/or macro lens then this is definitely one you should consider.

It has hardly any chromatic aberration and very minimal distortion. The filter thread is not the same as the other Irix lenses, however image-wise, this lens matches great.

Check the current price on Adorama (other mount options available)

Descriptive Summary of Irix Cine Lenses

Pros: Irix lenses are built extremely well, are weather-sealed, and durable. Except for the 150mm lens, they have the same filter thread diameter, which means you should be able to use your filters across the different lenses. These lenses do a great job at matching each other and produce a very nice cinematic look. They are great lenses to build a kit with.

Cons: There aren’t a lot of cons to Irix lenses. Especially for the price you’re paying, you get a wonderful image. Of course, more expensive lenses can produce a more cinematic look and may have a marginally better color or less distortion, but it is hard not to be impressed with Irix lenses. For the price, these lenses are tough to beat.

Conclusion: Irix may not be the most popular lens manufacturer currently, but they are gaining in popularity and definitely worth considering. Especially if you’re looking for durable and weather-sealed lenses, these are right for you.

Irix takes special care to ensure consistency between their lenses, meaning they are great to build a kit with. While there are only four lenses currently available, they cover wide, normal, and telephoto lengths. As Irix continues to grow, it will be exciting to see what else they have to offer!

The Best Mid-Range Cine Lenses

Now let’s have a look at some of the best mid-range cine lenses. The lenses in this category are used within a variety of small video production companies around the globe. We will be taking a look at will be Rokinon Xeen lenses and Tokina Cinema ATX zoom lenses.

Rokinon Xeen

Rokinon Xeen Cine Lenses are also available as kits where you can often save some money compared to buying each lens separately. We found this great kit for Canon EF-mount (also available for MFT-mount, Nikon F Mount, PL Mount, and Sony Mount), which consists of a 24mm, 50mm, and an 85mm T1.5 lens. Plus you get a high-quality carry case. In other words, the three most important focal lengths to get you started. Click the photo above to check the current price on Amazon.

Rokinon Xeen lenses are the big brothers to the Rokinon lenses we just looked at both in terms of price and quality. However, with that added price comes sharper images and richer color, as well as smoother and more ergonomic focus and aperture gearing.

If you’re looking to take your work to the next level, Rokinon Xeen lenses may be for you. Listed below are the specs of three different Xeen lenses for a Canon mount, though they are available for MFT, Nikon, Sony, and PL mounts as well.

Rokinon Xeen XN24-C 24mm T1.5 For Canon EF

Aperture: Maximum T1.5, Minimum T22

Minimum Focal Distance: 10” / 25cm

Filter Thread: 114mm

Weight: 41.6 oz / 1.2 kg

Length: 4.8” / 121.7mm

The Rokinon Xeen XN24-C cine lens fixes the problems found in the cheaper Rokinon models. It is built for a full-frame sensor and also offered in MFT, Nikon, PL, and Sony FE mount. These lenses are sturdy with smooth gearing, but also quite heavy.

Check the current price on Adorama (also available with other mounts and as kits).
Check the current price on Amazon.

Rokinon Xeen XN50-C 50mm T1.5 For Canon EF

Aperture: Maximum T1.5, Minimum T22

Minimum Focal Distance: 1.5’ / 0.45 m

Filter Thread: 114mm

Weight: 40.9 oz / 1.2 kg

Length: 4.8” / 121.7mm

This lens is a great normal-length lens. Also offered in MFT, Nikon, PL, and Sony FE mount, the XN50-C 50mm lens is readily available for most mounts. It offers a clear and sharp image at a budget still available for many independent filmmakers.

Check the current price on Adorama (also available with other mounts and as kits).
Check the current price on Amazon.

Rokinon Xeen XN85-C 85mm T1.5 For Canon EF

Aperture: Maximum T1.5, Minimum T22

Minimum Focal Distance: 3.6’ / 1.1m

Filter Thread: 114mm

Weight: 43.0 oz / 1.2 kg

Length: 4.8” / 121.7 mm

The Rokinon Xeen XN85-C Cine Lens is a great telephoto lens and a great addition to any kit. Built for a full-frame sensor, this lens is offered in the same variety of mounts and has the same great features as the XN50 and XN24 lenses.

Check the current price on Adorama (also available with other mounts and as kits).
Check the current price on Amazon.

Descriptive Summary of Rokinon Xeen Cine Lenses

Pros: The Rokinon Xeen lenses are very sharp and of higher build quality than the cheaper Rokinon cine lenses.

Whereas the cheaper versions have issues with the focus ring dragging and plastic housing, the Rokinon Xeen lenses are very sturdy and very smooth.

They also have great color reproduction, offering a beautiful, slightly warm image.

Cons: When opened all the way to T1.5, the images can be a bit soft. The Rokinon Xeen lenses are also quite heavy when compared to the aforementioned lenses.

Conclusion: If it is in your budget, it is hard to go wrong with the Rokinon Xeen lenses. They are sturdy, smooth, and provide great quality images for a reasonable price. Building a kit with these lenses can be expensive, but the Rokinon Xeen’s solve most of the problems found with their cheaper alternatives.

Tokina Zoom Cine Lens

The Tokina Cinema 50-135 and 11-20mm lenses are the first zoom cinema lenses we will be looking at. Though zoom cinema lenses can be more expensive, these options are relatively affordable at around $2,500 each, giving you a variety of focal lengths to shoot with. The Tokina lenses we’re looking at are for Canon mounts, though other options are available.

Tokina Cinema ATX 50-135mm T3.0 For Canon EF

Aperture: Maximum T3.0, Minimum T22

Minimum Focal Distance: 39.4” / 1m

Filter Thread: 114mm

Weight:. 3.4 lbs / 1.5 kg

Length: 6.12” / 155.5 mm

The Tokina ATX 50-135 Cine Lens is a great option for anyone looking for an affordable zoom cine lens. It is a full-frame lens covering focal lengths from normal to telephoto. It is offered in a PL and Canon EF mount, though anything else will require adaptation.

Check the current price on Adorama (also available for other mounts).
Check the current price on Amazon.

Tokina Cinema ATX 11-20mm T2.9 For Canon EF

Aperture: Maximum T2.9, Minimum T22

Minimum Focal Distance: 0.98’ / 0.3m

Filter Thread: 86mm

Weight:. 2.43 lbs / 1.1 kg

Length: 3.92” / 99.5 mm

The Tokina ATX 11-20mm cine zoom lens is full-frame and parfocal, offering many of the great qualities found in zoom cine lenses at a relatively low price. It is a wide-angle lens, offered in Canon EF, MFT, PL, Nikon F, and Sony E mounts.

Check the current price on Adorama (also available with other mounts).
Check the current price on Amazon.

Descriptive Summary of Tokina Cine Zoom Lenses

Pros: The Tokina cine lenses have solid housing while still not being too heavy. These lenses offer quality sharpness and great colors that run a little warm.

They are also some of the most affordable zoom cine lenses out there, offering a variety of focal lengths at a relatively low price. They are parfocal as well, meaning focus won’t shift while zooming, and the lens has minimal distortion.

Cons: On the 50-135mm Tokina lens, there have been some issues with stiff focus. Additionally, if you are using a lens adapter there may be trouble holding focus while zooming, negating the benefit of a parfocal lens.

Furthermore, while the 11-16mm lens is offered in a variety of mounts, the 50-135mm lens is only available for Canon EF or PL mounts, and the Tokina Cinema ATX lenses are offered in limited focal lengths. The 11-20mm lens provides only wide-angle images, whereas the 50-135mm lens is primarily telephoto.

Conclusion: The Tokina Cinema ATX lenses are a great option if you are looking for an affordable zoom lens. Being parfocal and having a constant maximum aperture of T3, these lenses offer many of the benefits of zoom lenses at an affordable price.

However, their limited availability in terms of mounts can be an issue, especially as adapters can mess with focus. Finally, the rather extreme focal lengths they cover limit your options when you want a more normal focal length.

The Best Affordable High-End Professional Cine Lenses

Now we will look at some of the higher range cine lenses still used by many independent filmmakers. These Cine Lenses offer professional quality and are found in many different projects, from commercial work to narrative, to documentary filmmaking. The brands we will look at are Sigma and Canon.

Sigma Cine Zoom Lenses

The Sigma Cine Zoom Lenses are also available as a kit (here with EF mount). Click on the photo to check the current price for this amazing cine zoom lens kit, which includes a case, on Amazon.

The next two lenses we will be looking at are zoom lenses as well. The Sigma Cine Lenses are incredibly popular due to their high quality in terms of build and picture quality. But still, they’re quite affordable compared to the zoom you find used in Hollywood Production. Sigma offers these lenses natively for PL, Canon, and Sony mounts.

Sigma 18-35mm T2 High-Speed Zoom Lens For PL, Sony E and Canon EF

Aperture: Maximum T2, Minimum T16

Minimum Focal Distance: 11” / 27.94cm

Filter Thread: 82mm

Weight:. 4 lbs / 1.81 kg

Length: 6.12” / 155.5mm

The Sigma 18-35 zoom cine lens is a full-frame, wide-angle zoom lens. It is great for documentary filmmakers and filmmakers who find themselves with little time to swap lenses. It is offered for PL, Canon EF, and Sony E mounts.

Check the current price on Adorama (also available as kit).
Check the current price on Amazon.

Sigma 50-100mm T2 High-Speed Zoom Lens For PL, Sony E and Canon EF

Aperture: Maximum T2, Minimum T16

Minimum Focal Distance: 3.17’ / 96.5cm

Filter Thread: 82mm

Weight:. 4.27 lbs / 1.94 kg

Length: 7.92” / 201.2 mm

The Sigma 50-100mm zoom cine lens is also full-frame and offered for PL, Canon EF, and Sony E mounts. It covers focal lengths from normal to telephoto, and, paired with the 18-35mm zoom lens, filmmakers will have a very useable variety of focal lengths to choose from with just two lenses.

Check the current price on Adorama (also available as kit).
Check the current price on Amazon.

Descriptive Summary of Sigma Cine Lenses

Pros: The Sigma Zoom lenses offer a very sharp, clean, and neutral image. As expected with zoom lenses, versatility is a huge benefit and being able to zoom is great for documentary and on-the-go situations.

Additionally, unlike the Tokina zoom lenses, the Sigma Zooms cover a much more useable range of focal lengths. Their fixed aperture means they remain consistent. Finally, a maximum aperture of T2 allows you to achieve a shallow depth of field and a much wider aperture than is offered in most zoom lenses.

Cons: These lenses are quite heavy, which can be an issue for run and gun filmmaking. They also have some minor lens breathing, which is worse in the 18-35mm lens than the 50-100mm.

Also, as with their still counterparts – the Sigma Art-series zoom lenses – there are some inconsistencies when it comes to whether the lenses are parfocal or not. Some have lenses, which are parfocal. And some don’t. If this is limited to specific product ranges, I don’t know, but it is something to be aware of.

Description: For the money, the Sigma Zoom lenses are some of the best zoom cine lenses you can get. These lenses cover almost all focal lengths needed in everyday shooting and do well to limit most of the problems present in zoom lenses.

Though they are large and heavy, they can do well to replace a full lens kit, especially for run and gun filmmakers who find themselves changing lenses far too often. If you are a documentary filmmaker and shoot on location, the Sigma Zooms are great lenses to pick up.

Canon CN-E Cine Lenses

The Canon CN-E cine lenses are some of the highest quality cine lenses within a somewhat reasonable budget for independent filmmakers. Though you could probably buy a car for the price it would take to build a kit of these lenses, their price tag is not without reason.

These lenses are for a Canon EF mount and full-frame sensor, so if you intend to use them with different mounts and sensor sizes, an adapter and conversion will be required.

Here I’m listing the 24mm, 50mm, and 85mm options, but the Canon CN lenses are also offered for 14mm, 20mm, 35mm, and 135mm.

Canon CN-E 24mm T1.5 L F Cine Lens

Aperture: Maximum T1.5, Minimum T22

Minimum Focal Distance: 12” / 31cm

Filter Thread: 144mm

Weight:. 2.6 lbs / 1.2 kg

Length: 4” / 10.2 mm

The Canon CN-E 24mm cine lens is a wide-angle and full-frame lens built for Canon EF mounts. It is a professional quality cine lens and will give you a professional quality image. These lenses are quite heavy and are best suited for controlled environments.

Check the current price on Adorama (also available as kits).
Check the current price on Amazon.

Canon CN-E 50mm T1.3 L F Cine Lens

Aperture: Maximum T1.3, Minimum T22

Minimum Focal Distance: 18” / 45.7cm

Filter Thread: 114mm

Weight:. 2.4 lbs / 1.1 kg

Length: 4” / 10.2 mm

The Canon CN-E 50mm lens is a great normal-length lens built for full-frame, Canon EF mounts. The same filter thread diameter, form factor, and optical design shared between the CN-E lenses allow for a kit of these lenses to be easily swapped without any adapters or changes in image quality.

Check the current price on Adorama (also available as kits).
Check the current price on Amazon.

Canon CN-E 85mm T1.3 L F Cine Lens

Aperture: Maximum T1.3, Minimum T22

Minimum Focal Distance: 3.16’ / 96cm

Filter Thread: 114mm

Weight: 2.9 lbs / 1.3 kg

Length: 4” / 10.2 mm

A great addition to a kit of CN-E lenses, the Canon CN-E 85mm Cine Lens will give you a telephoto option that shares the same strengths as the 24mm and 50mm options. If you are looking for a professional quality telephoto cine lens, it is hard to go wrong with this option.

Check the current price on Adorama (also available as kits).
Check the current price on Amazon.

Descriptive Summary of Canon Cine CN-E Lenses

Pros: The Canon CN-E lenses are amazing pieces of glass and some of the best lenses you can find for the EF Mount. They are sharp throughout the aperture range and have no noticeable vignetting, lens breathing, or lens distortion. Their gearing is of very high build quality and extremely smooth, and they offer great color.

Cons: Their weight. If you are shooting on a DSLR, chances are your lenses will be heavier than the camera itself so make sure it doesn’t tip over.

Another con is the price. The CN-E line offers some great glass, for many independent filmmakers building a kit with these lenses is not possible. Finally, these lenses are only offered for Canon EF mounts and will have to be converted if you shoot with anything else.

Conclusion: If it is within your budget, you can’t go wrong with the Canon CN-E lenses, especially if your shooting on a camera with a Canon EF mount. Otherwise, an adapter will be needed.

These lenses are truly impressive and will offer you professional grade sharpness and colors. The lenses are also of professional build quality, though that also means they are quite heavy.

In Conclusion

As independent filmmakers, it is important to know our options to get the best quality image we can and with any of these brands, it is hard to go wrong.

The lenses I’ve presented in this article are some of the best and most affordable cine lenses available.

While in many cases a simple Rokinon lens will do a great job, a zoom lens may be more functional if you plan on shooting projects such that involve hiking or require little or no time to set up.

Depending on the camera you intend to shoot on, certain brands may be better suited, or at least not necessitate the purchase of an adapter.

Regardless of your needs, in selecting your lens it is important to keep in mind the law of diminishing returns.

If you’re picking up your first cine lens, any of these options will surely be an improvement over a kit lens or cheap still lens.

However, as you move from Rokinon’s to Rokinon Xeen’s, to Canon CN-E’s, the added benefits you’re paying for become smaller and smaller, from smoother gearing to subtle improvements in sharpness and color.

While the nicer build quality is great to have, don’t be dejected or intimidated by the price tag if you can’t afford it. Cheaper brands can still produce great images if used correctly.

One more note is that the conditions you’re shooting in do much to bring out the quality of the lens. Before you pick up a Canon CN-E lens, make sure you’re able to provide good lighting and a steady camera. Even a great lens will do little to save a poorly exposed or shaky shot.

That being said, any of these lenses can create a great image and a cine lens is a must for any filmmaker. The control and consistency offered by these lenses will be a lifesaver in any upcoming project you may have, and if you’re upgrading from a kit lens, you will be shocked by how much better your image looks.

Personally, I am a fan of Rokinon as a brand and love the quality they offer at such a low price. However, the look of all these lenses is great and all have their own strengths and weaknesses.

Often picking a lens comes down to your needs and style, so if you have a preference in a brand or know which lens you’ll pick up after reading this, leave a comment below and let us know. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and hope you get to use some of these great lenses in the future.


Cade Taylor is a filmmaker and writer based out of Los Angeles. Originally from Seattle, he continues to work as the Outreach Coordinator for the Bigfoot Script Challenge, where he helps connect up-and-coming writers with industry professionals. When he’s not working on his own projects, helping out with Bigfoot, or covering desks, Cade loves to share what he knows with other filmmakers and promote great content.

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