Which Lenses To Buy For DSLR Filmmaking

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There’s a saying that a camera will only last you for X amount of years, but a good lens will last you a life time. Although it often boils down to a balance between backwards compatibility and for the manufacture to never change the lens mount, but nonetheless, the notion stays the same; bodies can become obsolete, lenses are timeless.

Recently I’ve invested in a set of Nikkor Ai-s lenses from the 80s, and the 50mm 1.2 is one of the best lenses I have ever used. Despite the missing function of an automatic focus and electronic aperture, it would take a lot of persuading to put a modern lens back in my hand.

Here in this vintage IndieTips tutorial we run through the basics of what lenses are needed to get started in DSLR filmmaking. We also look at what different characteristics can be found in the different lens groups; standard, wide, telephoto.

Below the video you can find the list of recommended lenses separated by budget and region.



Budget List


About The Author

Lewis McGregor is an aspiring filmmaker, photographer and online content creator from Wales.

  • Zai

    Hi Lewis,

    I was thinking to invest in a set of Zeiss ZF.2 lenses. They come in a kit of 28, 35, 50 and 85mm for about 3.5K USD and it comes with a pelican case. I’ve worked with the 35 and 50mm before and liked the feel of what I see and also the feel of the lens’ construction. I thought about how these lenses have been used on DSLR cameras all the way to the Red Scarlet. Since I’m getting a GH4 with Speedbooster, I figured this would be the best lens investment and the Nikon mount is much more versatile. Don’t really care for electronics since I like that it has manual aperture. I’ve used DSLR lenses both primes and zooms but didn’t like the mechanics of the focus. Canon’s seem especially plasticky. Anyway, I want to know your opinion on these lenses.