Choosing the Perfect Lens

The lens is a key part of the filmmaking process and integral to controlling how the image is captured and the quality of the final picture. There are multiple lens elements that make up a lens, allowing light to pass through to the camera. High-end lenses minimize chromatic aberrations, distortions and vignetting as light passes, resulting in the sharpest image possible captured on the sensor. Having an experienced crew and director that understands all the possible cinematic adjustments controlled by the lens is key to achieving exactly the look you imagine. Let’s take a look at some of the key features of a lens.

Know Your Lens

There are several considerations when selecting a lens. The f-stop or aperture of your lens will determine how much light you allow into your camera. This can tell you whether you are able to shoot in low light situations, or whether you need an ND (neutral density) filter to block out bright sunlight to achieve a narrow depth of field. A lower f-stop lens is more desirable. Is your lens compatible with a full-frame body? What kind of focal length is required for this shot? Is it a telephoto lens? Is it a zoom lens? If working with a focus puller, is an adapter required? Should the image be wide, or narrow? Considering the angle of the action, is the chosen lens suitable to capture the necessary image? The list goes on and on. 

Extra Features

Nowadays, lenses come packed with extra features that have the possibility to minimize the rest of your gear load. Most high end lenses are designed with ‘in-body image stabilisation’ (IBIS) which means you don’t need any complicated or heavy stabilisation rigs to support the size and weight of your setup (there are usually indicators on the lens for IBIS). Most cinematic setups will rely on fixed lenses but maybe your shot requires zooming in and out to achieve a certain feeling or mood. Are you going to be shooting underwater? Underwater filming is a specialty on its own and requires knowledge of waterproofing your whole setup and finding lenses that are compatible for remote control. The deeper you dig the greater the possibilities!


Contact Moonji today to see how we can build the perfect lens kit to meet your project’s needs and explore the possibilities together!