How to get a fake Canon 50mm cine lens for $800 instead of $5000 – and what to expect

April 25th, 2013 icon / message-square 5
How to get a fake Canon 50mm cine lens for $800 instead of $5000 - and what to expect

Cinematics Cine Prime 50mm 1.4

Cinematics, a company based in Shenzhen, China, offers several solutions to get you a “CINE stlye” lens, no matter what. A full 50mm F/1.4 Canon mount cine-style lens as seen above costs only $800. Whew. So what’s the deal here?

Cinematics Fake Cine PrimesEven thought the jpeg compression is beyond comparison on these images, this lens seems to look very nice. It’s big, it has lots of writing on it, large gears, and most importantly: it’s big.

This lens, which has some similarities with Canon’s $5000 version of a 50mm cine lens, is actually a rehoused Canon 50mm photo lens.
Cinematics uses photo lenses like the Tokina 11-16mm (as seen below) and lenses from other manufacturers (Canon, Zeiss, Nikon, Contax), does some modifications and rehouses them.

The nice thing is, they do not only sell the modified lenses, but also individual kits for all the lenses they have on sale and will custom house any lens you send them, including any lens they don’t sell yet. They also add PL mount optionally by the way and do other modifications like declicking the iris. The CEO also told us he will add hard stops for specific lenses and that some modifications cannot be undone.

The modification kits are not listed on the homepage, but Leon from Cinematics told us the kit for Canon 50mm F/1.4 will cost $350 and between $475 to $1065 for other lenses.

Cinematics Fake Cine PrimesThat’s an impressive pricepoint for a cine lens!
But how cine is it?

We asked the same question, talked to the manufacturer at NAB 2013 and tried some of the lenses they had on display there.

When looking at these lenses up close you quickly realize the following:
– Real metal casings
– feels professional
– feels nice and heavy
– standard mod 0.8 gears for follow focus etc.
– unified 114mm front diameter as any normal CP.2
– but (see below)

But knowing real cine lenses you also realize that:
– no hard stops on most (Canon) photo lenses
—> making the markings somehow irrelevant
– some secondary (iris) gear rings don’t actually move (iris controlled from inside camera on most photo primes)
– markings not accurate (photo primes just not accurate)
– obviously only minor improvement to focus throw (short focus travel distances on photo lenses)
– rehousing doesn’t make the optics (eg: focus breathing) any better.
– rehousing doesn’t make the lenses stronger (a Tokina 11-16 WILL brake with some wireless focus motors)
– the Zeiss models might serve you best among the models to choose from if you’re looking for strength and quality as close to cine style as possible. These lenses don’t need much to make the work for semi-professional cine use and the Cinematics solution might get you there.

As we could have imagined, these very affordable cine lenses are lacking most of the features real professionals need in their cine lenses. The intention of the manufacturer seems to have been to make them appear professional, and I think they succeeded.
If all you need is a lens that simply LOOKS really cool (and I know there’s a lot of you out there) and makes you seem like a pro among people who have no clue, then this might just be the perfect lens source for you.

The lenses and modifications can be acquired at the Cinematics website:

If you’re looking for a more high end solution there’s also the company Prime Circle based in Italy who offer very high end Zeiss rehousing and modification: LINK

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June 28th, 2015

I got tired of the focus rings breaking and having shitty quality so I bought the Sigma 18-35mm 1.8. I concur on the review of the 50mm Canon. The problem with the lenses are that none of the Canon lenses with auto-focus have hard stops. I’ve since sent the lens back for a Nikon version and paid the difference. If you want any of PCHOOD’s rehousing ALWAYS ask if the lens have hard stops. The Nikon version of the Sigma Zoom is great. I’d recommend it to anyone. The focus throw is between 180-200 degrees and the markings are accurate. I to have replace my knockoff gear with real gear and bought the Bright Tangerine matte box and I agree there is a big difference. For the price these lenses can be justifiable as long as they have hard stops and a good original build quality, metal over plastic.

October 19th, 2019
Reply to  Tilden High

I buy Chinese gear… I buy second hand gear.. I love my hand me down c100.. I love my shitty rokinon lenses just as much as if they where leica zeiss crap..

July 6th, 2014

That is because so much of the Chinese gear IS garbage. I have owned Cinematics gear that looked great and didn’t function properly from day one – like the Cinematics Mattebox…. Compare that to the Vocas mattebox and it’s night and day difference. There is a reason the pro gear costs more. They have been in business for a while, they have experience, they have workmanship – the Chinese try to COPY other peoples gear- and they don’t even match the quality! That is why a Chinese man posted here with a jewish name too – pretending to be someone he isn’t to make a review or post a comment to try to get people to like their products. But it’s easy to see that the poster doesn’t have a firm grasp of the english language and has tall-tale signs of a Chinese man trying to write english. Who does that? I’ll tell you who does that – someone who is trying to deceive you. And is that who you really want to buy something from? Someone who posts under assumed names to try and build “support” for their product?

You want respect? try not lying to everyone – hiding behind fake names, make your own products instead of faking a CN-E lens – and then try to steal from people by selling it as a cine lens on ebay at or near full price of a CN-E lens. That is not ethical behavior.

Leo Katz
Leo Katz
May 7th, 2013

It seems to be an automatisme by some people to criticize chineese stuff. Those guys make it possible that the bloody MKIII and Co cost 3000 and not 10000… Yes maby those gears are not perfect but they cost not much and it puts the overpriced europeans under pressure.
I allways belived that the results of the shooting work ,separate a pro from a beginner and not the gear. Maby things chenged, who knows I dont incist. But I tend to thank People who make Things possible. Just take it or leave it, but why the whole poison?

Sebastian Wöber
Sebastian Wöber
May 9th, 2013
Reply to  Leo Katz

Great question, I also wonder everytime I read a filmmakers blog. There’s no respect anymore.

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