How to Find the Right Lenses

Best Cine Lenses for the Canon C300 Mark III

What are the best cine lenses for the Canon C300 Mark III? Here’s the list for both EF and PL mounts.

Let’s look at the best cine lenses for the Canon C300 Mark III.

The Canon C300 Mark III in its base configuration has a standard EF mount that is non-locking. You need to pay $2,199 extra for a locking EF mount (called EF-C) from Canon.

Should you opt for a locking mount?

It depends on the lenses you are going to use it with. If you’re using cine lenses or heavier zoom lenses then definitely yes. If you’re just using Canon still lenses then probably not. Canon sells the following adapters, both with shim kits:

EF locking (CM-V1)

EF to PL mount (PM-V1)

B4 mount adapter

If you need PL lenses, then you’ll need the EF to PL mount (PM-V1) adapter.

First, here are some criteria for the lenses to qualify:

  • True cine lenses, not rehoused still lenses.
  • EF-mount lenses
  • PL-mount lenses
  • Must at the very least cover an image circle of 43mm.

We won’t be looking at specialty lenses or anamorphic lenses.

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Cine lenses are not cheap. They are for working professionals who earn money from their cameras, and who need the extra features a cine lens brings.

What do you get with cine lenses?

Generally speaking, you get the following benefits with cine lenses (though not all might be true):

  1. Less focus breathing.
  2. Some zoom lenses are parfocal.
  3. The construction is solid and designed for heavy use under many scenarios. Being heavy, they also don’t shake much on touch.
  4. Manual focus rings are precise so a focus puller can use tape to nail focus. You can also use wireless follow focus systems standardized for this.
  5. The aperture ring is de-clicked so you can smoothly ride the aperture during a shot.
  6. The size, shape and weights are very similar so you can swap lenses without readjusting balance on gimbals, steadicams, cranes, etc.
  7. True cine lenses should be color matched, so they cut well together.

Canon cine lenses come in both primes and zooms. Let’s start with cine primes.

The advantage of the EF mount cine lens is you get great dual pixel autofocus with Canon cameras. So you can use many kinds of lenses made my Canon, not just manual focus cine primes. The ecosystem is seamless and integrated, and that is very important to a lot of professionals.

Canon Cine Prime Lenses

As for primes, Canon makes two sets of cine lenses:

SetMountsFocal lengths
Sumire PrimesPL and EF mounts14, 20, 24, 35, 50, 85, 135^
CN-E primes EF mount only*14, 20, 24, 35, 50, 85, 135^

*Some companies offer a conversion service from EF to PL convert it to PL at an additional cost.

^Average T-stop is T1.5, though the range is from T1.3 to T2.2, and the 14mm for both is a T3.1.

The Sumire lenses are almost twice the price. What is different about them? Canon claims these are completely new optical designs, and the lenses were designed for a more aesthetic look to them.

I’ll let Canon explain the difference:

Many other manufacturers also provide cine cameras in the EF mount. E.g., the Panasonic Varicam and Red cine cameras.

To be honest, at this price range and budget, you owe it to yourself to test both sets and see which one you like. To my eyes, I prefer the CN-E primes, though they don’t come in PL mount. For the person the C3000 Mark III is mostly aimed at, I don’t think that’s a huge problem.

Third-part cine prime lenses

If you do opt for the C300 Mark III with a PL mount, you have amazing choices from the Super35mm world – Arri Master Primes, Leica Summilux-C, Cooke S5/i, ad infinitum…

Probably the best bang for your buck in the PL mount is the legendary Cooke miniS4/i T2.8 series.

With the EF mount, check out the Schneider CINE-XENAR III prime series that covers Super 35mm, is rated at T2 and is available in the EF mount.

Canon Cine Zoom Lenses

Canon has zoom lenses that are in both the PL and EF mount (they were launched near to the CN-E prime set, so I don’t know why they were offered in the PL mount while the CN-E primes were not).

One key difference between the cine primes and cine zoom lenses are that the primes cover full frame cameras, while the zoom lenses are designed for APS-C and Super 35mm cameras.

If you could only pick one, get this: Canon CN7x17 KAS S Cine-Servo 17-120mm T2.95 – you could shoot entire projects with just this one lens.

Three amazing lenses to add to your kit:

  1. Canon CN-E 15.5-47mm T2.8 L S – for wide angles.
  2. Canon CN-E 30-105mm T2.8 L S – for telephoto work.
  3. Drool over this, the most popular lens among wildlife documentary filmmakers: Canon CINE-SERVO 50-1000mm T5.0-8.9

Cheaper cine zoom lenses for the Canon C300 Mark III

These zoom lenses are rehoused still glass, but have really proven the test of time and are well-loved by many filmmakers:

That’s it! These are my suggestions for the best Canon lenses for video and cinema work. Hope you found it useful!

What do you think?

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