The Cine Lens Manual – Interview With Co-author Jay Holben

April 27th, 2022 Jump to Comment Section

Jay Holben, co-author of the Cine Lens Manual, hosted us at the ASC booth at NAB Show to explain more about the thought process behind the book. Co-written by Christopher Probst, ASC, this in-depth guide will take you on a journey through all the technical and creative aspects of cinema lenses. The book is now available for purchase for $175. 

The internet really is a wild place. Oftentimes, filtering the massive amount of information to find a trustful source can be tricky. This is especially true for extremely technical aspects, such as camera sensors and cinema lenses. Here’s where the authority behind a well-written book kicks in.

A few weeks ago, we reported about the release of the Cine Lens Manual. This extensive guide (836 pages!), written by Jay Holben and Christopher Probst, ASC, covers literally every aspect regarding cinema glass, from its history to the design and maintenance. We had the chance to sit down with Jay to learn more about the process behind this educational masterpiece.

The Cine Lens Manual. Image credit: CineD

The Cine Lens Manual: an 8-year project

If you take some time to notice how massive the book looks in Nino’s hand, you probably already get an idea of the amount of effort and commitment that went into this project. Indeed, it took the authors 8 years from concept to publication. Jay and Christopher started out with one main goal: providing a trustful alternative to the amount of misleading information out there.

The Cine Lens Manual. Image credit:

According to Jay, the main target of the book are professional cinematographers, but the Cine Lens Manual can also be a useful resource for directors, 1st ACs, VFX artists, animators, or rental house technicians looking to deepen their knowledge of this intricate topic.

Jay Holben signing copies of the book. Image credit: CineD

More generally, the book is approachable for readers of all kinds, since the authors decided to leave out all the complicated maths and physics that stand behind the design and functioning of optics. Instead, the duo focused on proving an in-depth yet casual reading that covers 140 years of history, from the origins of cinema glass to the most modern, sophisticated lens series.

The Cine Lens Manual: content

  • Defining the lens: the basics
  • Defining the lens: optical concepts
  • Crafting the lens: optical designs in action
  • Crafting the lens: mechanical designs
  • The History and evolution of cinematographic formats
  • Utilizing the lens: the creation and progression of cine lens designs
  • Modifying the lens: customizations and alterations
  • Evaluating the lens: testing and qualifying lenses
  • Maintaining the lens: service and care

Price and availability

The book is currently only available for purchase via and the ASC Store, but by the end of the year, it should become available on a larger distribution chain. Its official retail price is $175. Finally, if you want to get a sneak peek of the content within, make sure to visit the Look Inside page on the Cine Lens Manual website here.

What of you think about the Cine Lens Manual? Are you going to buy this book? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!

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