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Affordable PL?

Dave Maze

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You can probably get your lenses "rehoused" with PL mounts, but it could cost up to US$1,000 per lens, depending on who does it.


Here and here are some cheap PL lenses.  Don't know if they qualify as "best bang for buck."   Also, some of the Sony PL lenses for the F3 can sometimes be had for a deal

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Rokinon Xeen's are the most affordable PL 35mm lenses I can think of on the market.

if you're talking S16, there's a lot of affordable options - however 35mm coverage PL lenses, you'll struggle to find much that's of any decent quality for <$2500+ per lens. 

The Zeiss CP2s are, honestly, affordable PL lenses despite being $5k/lens

You might get lucky on an eBay deal, but you're still looking at a few thousands..

Some of the older RED zooms and Sony primes you might find a bit cheaper, but their build quality leaves a lot to be desired (there's a reason they were quickly discontinued).

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17 hours ago, DaveAltizer said:

I was wondering if you guys knew of the best bang for buck way to get a PL lens set. Also, was wondering if there was any way to mod my CONTAX Zeiss set to PL. 

in purely aesthetic terms..

best value is lomo oct-18 lenses (35mm) adapted to PL with an adaptor.  Works out at about £300 per adapted lens.  fast, characterful, and filmic.  next are arri standard mount zeisses (35mm).  about £450 per lens adapted.  

IMO going for anything from Samyang or SLR Magic is the sure fire way to remove any sense of 'cinema' in visual terms.  Neither of these types of lenses are designed by artists or optical geniuses.  They're simply low cost copies/variants of existing canon lenses - of which impart the look of photojournalism rather than Hollywood IMO.  CP2's lack character and the majority of the cost is made up largely from the mechanical work - to provide solid workhorses to the rental sector.  glass in them is gross - the same fringing you get from the cheaper zeiss lenses for canon and nikon - immediately makes an image look like low budget zeiss offered as the cheapest option for film school renters.

Sadly adapting contax zeiss to PL is a costly and complicated process - it's hard to move such big elements far enough into the PL port to permit infinity focus.  IMO the contax zeisses aren't very nice either - the purple/green fringing makes the lenses a no go for contrasty scenes with apertures opened wider than f4 IMO.  


Out of curiosity, why PL?  personally I think early Leica R Summicron lenses are the ones to zone in on.  remounted with Leitax adaptors to EOS and these badboys are the most.  If you can rework your plans to allow for an ef mount camera your options for cost effective filmic lenses gets broader and cheaper!  


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Lomo Oct18 primes with a PL adapter. If you can deal with the usability issues they can be excellent, sharp across the frame and zero breathing. I picked up a set of 6 ranging from 28mm to 135mm for $700 and use a single adapter for all of them which was $350. Adapters can be had for about $100 but they alter the way the focus works and the front of the lens ends up spinning while focusing. Not going to find anything cheaper than that.

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8 hours ago, Kristoferman said:

Looking at Sony primes, xeen primes, Schneider primes, or rehoused stills glass. In any case you'll still be paying thousands per lens. 

I think our friend rich here sells his DSO in PL!

hahahaha.  thanks for the plug.  though I'd advise against the DSO lenses as a primary lens set.  I am always quick to warn potential customers that the lenses are a speciality lens rather than a go-to lens set.  For me, some 1970's -1980's lomo's are the best option for 'cinema glass' that is affordable

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4 hours ago, richg101 said:

For me, some 1970's -1980's lomo's are the best option for 'cinema glass' that is affordable

I find Lomo's a bit.... ehh hit & miss. I like some, I dislike others. 

Personally, I can think of few cameras these days that are only PL mounted. And if you're using one (like an Alexa or Varicam35), why the hell are you skimping out on your lenses? 

If your camera does have other mounts/adapters available, then I think there are at least equal quality lenses to the Lomos for similar prices, which are a bit more.. er.. modern filmmaker friendly. I thought about a Lomo set, but went with Nikon AI primes, because I don't particularly like dealing with the 'rabbit ears' for focus (though I also don't particularly like the backwards focussing of the Nikon's).

There are others though - the OP already has Contax mount glass... so my question would be what camera do you want to use them on? Can you adapt the Contax to it somehow?

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