Insights Into Hollywood’s Favorite Lenses

As Gray Kotzé points out, there are bushels of reviews for entry-level cinema lenses on the web, lenses you might look to pick up on sale maybe. However, most feature films are shot on prohibitively expensive lenses that were always intended to be rented out over their multi-decade lifespans. The cost for these lenses puts them out of reach for most filmmakers who aspire towards ownership, but, if you have a budget and you’re looking to shoot feature/cinema quality films, it’s important to understand what’s available for rent.

Kotzé’s two recent YouTube essays evaluate the ergonomics and look (achievable results) from each lens set he focuses on. These essays are designed to be used by filmmakers to get a handle on what is available and what might be useful for each project.

Each essay provides examples of how these lenses look, a critical first step when moving on to cinema-quality glass without an endless budget to test. Kotzé’s discussion of the ergonomics, or ease of use, provides us something that can’t be learned without hands-on experience. Kotzé looks at the sensor coverage, metadata collection, ease of focus pulling, flare, sharpness, contrast, bokeh shape, and color and T-stop matching across the various sets.

Kotzé is clear that he isn’t a lens technician, but over his career, he has worked with most of the lenses he references in his videos.

In his first video, Kotzé looks at:

  1. Zeiss Super Speeds
  2. Panavision C – Series
  3. Cooke S4 Set
  4. Hawk V-Lite Set

In his second video, Kotzé looks at:

  1. Cooke Speed Panchro Set
  2. Arri/Zeiss Master Prime Set
  3. Angénieux Optimo 24-290mm
  4. Canon K35 Set
  5. Arri DNA Set

Have you shot with any of these? Do you have any comments on the lenses Kotzé chose to look at?

Lead images of Cooke’s S4i lenses, from B&H Photo


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