A number of manufacturers, including Canon and Zeiss, make cine-optimised lenses for still photography mounts (e.g. EF). For reasons well-covered elsewhere, these lenses are stupendously expensive, mostly for reasons which aren't particularly relevant for still photography: none of focus breathing, a varifocal lens or slight colour shifts between lenses are a serious problem for most applications of still photography.

If I did suddenly happen to come into a ridiculous amount of money, would I notice any significant advantage in using one of these very high priced lenses for still photography, or would it be just a waste of money because they're optimised for a different use case, and I'd be better off using a regular still photography lens instead?


2 Answers 2


There are a few potential advantages, for example:

  • The really long focus throw on some cine lenses is very nice for accurate manual focus.
  • A stepless aperture enables some extremely specific special effects (e.g. simulated apodization) by way of changing aperture during an exposure.

None of them I would call "significant" when compared to the added weight and bulk of cine lenses which will just slow you down unless working in a studio.

Being parfocal, which you dismiss, is actually of benefit to action/sports photography.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ photo.net/equipment/sony/135STF \$\endgroup\$ Feb 17, 2014 at 19:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ Could you give me a one-liner as to why a parfocal lens is advantageous for action photography? Thanks :-) \$\endgroup\$
    – Philip Kendall
    Feb 17, 2014 at 22:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PhilipKendall, ask that as a separate follow-up question. \$\endgroup\$
    – Reid
    Feb 18, 2014 at 3:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PhilipKendall the one line answer is that it allows you to take a tight cropped photo and then quickly zoom out and get a wider shot without losing focus on the subject. \$\endgroup\$
    – Matt Grum
    Feb 18, 2014 at 15:22

While it may not cause a difference in image quality, you'd be better off with photography lenses because of their features, such as autofocus and image stabilization. Granted, not all lenses have these features, but most of your quality lenses are going to.

  • \$\begingroup\$ lots of quality lenses dont. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 17, 2014 at 19:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ Most currently manufactured "mainstream" lenses do. The ones that don't are sold in significantly smaller numbers, so "most" quality lenses do include AF and a good many of them also include IS. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Feb 17, 2014 at 20:38

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