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  • Writer's pictureBrett Turner

The 5 Best Lenses For Video Under $100

Updated: Jun 5, 2019

The beauty of shooting video with a mirrorless DSLR (or a cine camera with a DSLR mount like the Sony FS5 & FS7) is that it opens up a whole world of amazing low-cost lenses that can produce stunning results. I've bought many of them over the years (WARNING: collecting lenses can be addictive!) so I thought I'd list my Top 5 to help you guys just starting out or on a budget, along with a rough price of what you can expect to pay for a mint condition example on eBay.

5. Canon FD 24mm f2.8 $100 Wide angle lenses tend to be the most expensive and this is up there in terms of price in this list. Those needing a great wide-angle though need look no further. I use this lens when I'm shooting on a gimbal - infinity is very close to a lens this wide so focusing isn't an issue. It's light but full-frame of course and very little distortion. At this price, it's a steal.

4. Jupiter 9 85mm f2 $60 Some old Russian lenses are amazing and this is one of the very best. Portrait photographers swear by this lens - it's extremely sharp and a fantastic lens to have at your disposal.

3. Super Takumar 35mm f3.5 $50

35mm is a great size lens - nice and wide but not too distorted. This one has legendary lens flare and if that's your thing, look no further. It's ridiculously small - when it arrives in the post you'll wonder how it can possibly be any good - but it's pin sharp and like I say, shine a light source down it and you'll be in love.

Photo taken with Super Takumar 35mm f3.5
Lee Ryan shot with the Super Takumar 35mm f3.5

2. Helios 44-2 58mm f2 $40

A legendary Russian lens that many people would have at No.1 on this list. It's old looks betray how sharp it is and the metal construction is great. The reason people love it is for the lens flare, and that's why it's my No.2. It has a ridiculous amount of flare which isn't ideal for every shoot. There's also a faster option, so my number one is...

1. Canon FD 50mm f1.4 $50 Owners of this lens will be nodding sagely, everyone else will be saying "what? 50 bucks??". Yep, this lens is incredible for videographers and indeed photographers alike that know how to turn a focus ring, which is smooth and has those great hard-stops that massively aid racking focus. It's very sharp with a lovely character all it's own, and goes down to a ridiculous f1.4. Like all the other FD lenses the newer they are, the lighter and less durable (you don't one one made of plastic if you can avoid, same price but nothing like as durable) so go for one like in the photo, they are entirely made of metal and very solid. I literally use this on every shoot and it's my favorite lens, full-stop.

Canon 50mm f1.4 FD
The Canon FD 50mm f1.4 - King of Vintage Lenses

Shot with Canon 50mm FD 1.4
All the shallow DOF you can take. The Canon FD 50mm f1.4.

So that's my Top 5. Incredibly you can buy a whole kit of prime lenses that will give you stunning results for only $300 - and no matter how successful you become or how much you expand your kit, you'll still be using them for years in to the future. Do you have a favorite lens under $100 that didn't make the list? Tell me about it in the comments.

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