Cine-Mod FAQ

Duclos Lenses began offering their Cine-Mod service almost 10 years ago and has expanded and refined the process many times over. As with any custom service, there are a lot of variables involved which lead to a lot of questions. While Duclos Lenses tries to answer as many questions as possible in a timely manner, it can be difficult to continue a steady workflow and customer service simultaneously. We’ve collected a few common questions we receive on a regular basis that may be able to answer some questions you might share with previous customers. Please feel free to browse this FAQ and if you still have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us. We look forward to helping you with your cinema lens needs in the future.

-Duclos Lenses

Frequently Asked Questions about the Duclos Lenses Cine-Mod

  1. What is a Cine-Mod?
  2. How is the focus gear installed?
  3. What is the purpose of the 80mm front ring?
  4. Can my lens be Cine-Modded?
  5. What lenses work best with the Cine-Mod
  6. Can I order the Cine-Mod parts and install them myself?
  7. Do I have to get the whole Cine-Mod?
  8. What does a Cine-Mod cost?
  9. Will the Cine-Mod damage my lens?
  10. Does the Cine-Mod void the warranty?
  11. How long does the Cine-Mod take?
  12. Can the mount on my lens be changed?
  13. Can the focus direction of my Nikon mount lenses be reversed?
  14. Can the focus throw of my lens be expanded?
  15. Can focus breathing be corrected?
  16. How will de-clicking the aperture effect my lens?

1) What is a Cine-Mod?
The Cine-Mod is a modification process developed by Duclos Lenses that improves still photo lenses in several ways, making them more useable for motion picture applications. The Cine-Mod consist of three primary parts: A seamless focus gear, an 80mm front ring with 77mm filter threads, and de-clicked, damped aperture movement.

2) How is the focus gear installed?
The focus gear is machined from solid black delrin to specific dimensions for every lens individually to ensure a precise, no slip fit. The gear is pressure fitted for an even 360° fit. No screws, no clamps.

3) What is the purpose of the 80mm front ring? 
The 80mm front ring provides a smooth, flat surface for mounting 80mm accessories such as a matte-box or filter holder to the front of your lens. It also provides a common 77mm filter thread across a range of otherwise varied front filter thread sizes.

4) Can my lens be Cine-Modded? 
Most lenses can accept some of if not all of the Cine-Mod process. Modern auto focus lenses do not work well since many new style lenses from Canon or Nikon lack a manual aperture ring as well as precision focus and zoom mechanisms required for motion picture. This is really a matter of preference and personal attachment to specific lenses.

5) What lenses work best with the Cine-Mod?  
The lenses that benefit from the Cine-Mod the most would be Zeiss ZF.2 lenses and Leica R series lenses. Other lenses such as the older Nikon Ais series and Zeiss Contax lenses can also be used along with the Cine-Mod for cinema with great success.

6) Can I order the Cine-Mod parts and install them myself? 
Some of the parts such as the 80mm front ring and it’s corresponding cap can be ordered from the Duclos Lenses Store online. Other parts of the Cine-Mod such as the de-clicking cannot be shipped as they are an in-house service performed by our technicians. We do not ship to the focus gears as they are individually measured, cut, and applied to each lens. Some lenses such as the Zeiss ZF.2 lenses have very high manufacturer tolerances but other lenses such including those with rubber grips can vary in diameter by a relative large amount.

7) Do I have to get the whole Cine-Mod? 
Not at all. The Cine-Mod process can be broken down into parts. Duclos Lenses can customize your lenses however you like. If you only want one part of the modification, we can accommodate accordingly.

8) What does a Cine-Mod cost? 
The Cine-Mod cost can vary from lens to lens. On average, a standard prime lens costs about $250 for the three part Cine-Mod which includes the 80mm front with cap, focus gear, and de-clicked, damped aperture movement. Additional services such as mount adaptations can be applied at an average cost of about $160 per lens.

9) Will the CIne-Mod damage my lens? 
Not at all. We designed the Cine-Mod to be non-destructive in that all the parts are secure and usable yet removable if needed. In the event you wish to remove the Cine-Mod, perhaps for resale purposes, simply send your lens back to Duclos Lenses for “demodification” at no charge.

10) Does the Cine-Mod void the warranty?
Not usually. For example, the Ziess ZF.2 Cine-Mod does not void the warranty. However, it’s usually best to send a ZF.2 lens to Duclos Lenses to forward onto Zeiss for proper repair. Other manufacturers such as Nikon and Canon don’t really matter since the only modifications applicable to lenses within warranty are superficial and do not compromise the warranty.

11) How long does the Cine-Mod take?
Duclos Lenses is an active motion picture lens repair facility which makes a concrete turn-around time difficult. On average, you can expect to have your lenses at Duclos Lenses for approximately one week. Our turn-around time fluctuates with our work-load as well as other factors. For a more accurate idea of turn around time, it’s best to contact Duclos Lenses.

12) Can the mount on my lens be changed?
This is a very broad question. Certain mounts can be easily changed such as the Leica R-mount to Canon EF-mount we supply from Leitax as well as the Nikon F-mount to Canon EF-mount adaptation. 99.9% of the time, putting a PL mount on a still photo lens is not a good idea. Read here for more info on converting Canon EF lenses to PL.

13) Can the focus direction on my Nikon mount lenses be reversed?
Yes. But not quickly, economically, or easily. The cost for such a conversion would be similar to the cost of a brand new professional motion picture lens with proper focus direction and all the other bells and whistles you could want. So forget about it.

14) Can the focus throw of my lens be expanded?
Adding a focus gear and using a good follow focus can greatly increase the accuracy and help with focus rotation. However, designing, machining, prototyping, and installing a new focus mechanism in a still photo lens is simply not economical. Again, forget about it.

15) Can focus breathing be corrected?
No. “breathing” is an optical mechanical design characteristic that is part of a lens from it’s birth. This is a major factor in determining the cost of a lens which is why motion picture lenses which are much more expensive than still photo lenses do not breath when racking focus.

16) How will de-clicking effect my lens?
The aperture de-clicking varies from lens to lens based on it’s original design. Leica lenses utilize a wire spring that keep a specific amount of tension on the aperture blades to keep them tight and accurate. This can sometimes cause the aperture to spring open. We take specific measures to reduce and eliminate the “iris creep” of Leica R lenses. The process is a fine adjustment and some lenses may require additional adjustment after they’ve been de-clicked and broken-in. Zeiss ZF.2 lenses do not suffer from this design nuisance. Instead, ZF.2 lenses can be effected adversely by a Nikon camera. 99% of the ZF.2 lenses that we Cine-Mod are being used on Canon, Sony, or Red cameras. With the increasing popularity of the Nikon D800 and other HDSLR cameras from Nikon, interference is becoming more common. The problem stems from the Nikon cameras itself. There is a spring loaded tab around the circumference of the mount on a Nikon camera. This tab is intended to rotate in synchronization with a tab on the lens to communicate aperture settings based on the rotation of the aperture ring. However, with newer electronic mounts including the ZF.2s from Zeiss, the aperture must be locked fully closed at f/22. This makes the aperture de-clicking sort-of useless with a ZF.2 on a Nikon camera like the D800 since the lens stays locked at full close and the camera controls the aperture. Take this into consideration when using a Zeiss ZF.2 lens on a Nikon camera. There are work-arounds… But every scenario is unique and should be discussed with a Duclos Lenses technician.

45 replies

  1. Can you declick Voigtlander lenses? Thanks.

  2. Good article. Was interesting to hear your opinion on Leica R lenses, never used them, but want to try them out now.

  3. For Lens mount conversion (Zeiss Contax to Canon), do you add/program a chip for Focus confirmation? Similar to the ones available over at leitax.com.

  4. Can you Cine-Mod Zeiss ZS lenses? I have a two that would need Fluid Aperture and lens gears? 25mm 50mm.

  5. Can you Mod Hasselblad Lenses?

  6. Is it possible to modify a Nikon F mount, APS-C lens, with manual aperture, to a Full Frame lens?

    • Sort of. This could be done by expanding the image optically but there are side effects. You’re essentially blowing up the image as it lands on the sensor. This will effectively change the field of view as it is with an APS-C sensor, but remain similar when used on a full frame sensor. You’ll also lose lots of light. Depending on the magnification required, you’d be losing between 1.5 and 2 stops of light. This is the exact same effect a tele-extender has on a given lens. Going from APS-C to Full Frame is a bit of a stretch. It would really depend on the lens in question but it’s not out of the question.

      • Thank you for the information. I have lens in Nikon mount (Sigma 15~30mm aspherical EX f3.5) which I bought a few years ago that I’d like to utilize with an Epic, but since it’s not a full frame lens, I’m not able to utilize the 15mm wide angle focal length, and was curious as to whether it was possible to modify the lens for this purpose.

  7. Can you add PL mount to the cine Rokinon Lenses?

    • It’s possible but not really worth it in my opinion. I’m sure Rokinon is well aware of the PL market as well as many other budget lens manufacturers. It’s only a matter of time before someone releases an entry level set of PL mount prime lenses.

  8. Do the outer diameters of your cine-mod focus rings vary (depending on the diameters of the lenses they’re fitted to), or is the outer diameter constant?

    • The outside diameter of our Cine-Mod step-up rings are all 80mm.

      • Thanks for the response! to clarify though, it’s the outer diameter(s) of your focus gears I’m curious about (rather than the outer diameter of the front ring). I’m wondering whether cine-mod might allow lenses with different diameter barrels to be swapped out during a shoot without making lateral adjustments to one’s follow focus.

      • Sorry, not sure why I read that differently. Our focus gear outside diameter is based on the diameter of the surface it’s being attached to. The most common size we offer is 3.3″ OD. We offer a variety of sizes up to a 4″ diameter. Our gears are what we consider semi permanent, so they cannot be swapped easily.

  9. I have a set of declicked nikkors… and a D800. Needless to say, I am very frustrated right now. Can you help explain a workaround? Thanks so much.

    • Christian,

      The cheapest and quickest workaround is to simply tape the spring loaded aperture linkage ring all the way open.

      The most effective solution is to shave the tabs off the back of the lens so that it doesn’t interfere with the silly camera connection.

  10. What is the additional cost per lens to add an iris gear in addition to the de-clicking, focus gear, etc.?

  11. Hi Matthew — have you cine-modded any of Voigtläender Noktons? I’ve been considering the 17.5mm MFT lens to go with the Blackmagic Pocket Cam.

    http://www.voigtlaender.de/cms/voigtlaender/voigtlaender_cms.nsf/id/pa_f0_95_17_5.html

    thanks

    -andy

  12. Thanks Matthew — do you know if this lens is “de-clicked” out of the box, or is that nesc? The literature is little confusing:

    “Especially interesting for video and film functions is the selective aperture control system, which allows a continuous and soundless change of the aperture”

    General question: do you mill your own 80mm step up filter rings? Is it possible to order it up with an 82mm instead?

    • The Voigtlanders do have clicks from the factory. We can remove them as part of the Cine-Mod. We don’t have any 82mm step-up rings. We can make a custom ring but it may be quite pricey as any one-off product can be.

  13. Would you be able to Cine-mod any Minolta MD lenses?

    I know to some that would be like putting lipstick on a pig,(or whatever that expression is) but I really do love those lenses like very cheaply acquired children.

  14. Have you modded any Canon FD lens to fit EOS?

    • Oh, you are evil!! I want Canon FD and FL lenses for my Canon still cameras!
      Some of the most wonderful lenses ever made! Now I’m in the market with new guys who want them for motion capture with digital. Get outta here! ;-)

    • I can apply most of our Cine-Mod™ to the Takumar lenses such as the focus gear and 80mm front. De-clicking on the Takumars can sometimes be a bit cost prohibitive. Which lens in particular did you have in mind?

      • 15mm M42 Ashai Super-Multi-Coated Takumar t.3.5
        28mm M42 Ashai Super-Multi-Coated Takumar t.3.5 ø 49 mm
        35mm M42 Ashai Super-Multi-Coated Takumar t.2.0
        50mm M42 Asahi Super-Takumar Lens t.1.4 ø 49 mm
        85mm M42 Asahi Super-Takumar Lens t.1.8
        100mm MACRO M42 Ashai Super-Multi-Coated Takumar t.4 ø

  15. Can you add a PL mount to a Zeiss Contax Lens?

  16. Hi Matthew,

    Big fan of your work – 2 questions:

    – Can you Cine-Mod Leica M lenses?

    – In your opinion, and just in terms of image quality for HDSLR use, Zeiss CP.2 50/T1.5 or Otus 55?

    Cheers,

    Mathieu

    • We can modify Leica M series lenses with parts of our Cine-Mod. We can usually install a focus gear and the 80mm front, but we don’t de-click Leica M lenses because the aperture movement is at the front of the lens. This means that the entire lens (or most of it) must be taken apart to get to the click mechanism. Not only is this time consuming, it’s also very costly and we don’t want to offer a service that we don’t think is economically beneficial to our customers.

      As for the Otus, it well definitely out-perform the CP.2 50mm T1.5 in terms of image quality. This is likely why Zeiss started the Otus line with the 50mm; because it was the lens that needed a refresh the most.

      • I am interested in knowing for which Leica M lenses can the focus gear be installed. I am looking at Leica M lenses for my cam on Movi. I am planning for a Red Dragon Carbon body with Leica M mount. I am looking at the whole Leica range from wides to tele. I am interested only the focus gear installation to fix my redrock micro remote wireless. Thank you.

  17. Hi Mathew, i have a set of ZF.2: 21mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm & 135mm that i’d like cine-moded. I’d have to courier them by DHL from Nairobi, Kenya (East Africa) so i’d like to know if any documentation is required for them to enter the US. (Customs clearance and stuff like that).

  18. Hi Matthew —

    I’m using a Sony a99 with a Ninja 2 HDMI recorder. I have two Sony/Zeiss lenses, the 24mm prime (SAL24F20Z), and the 24-70mm F2.8 zoom (SAL24F20Z), can either of these be modified?

  19. Hello there!

    I have a set of Contax Zeiss of 12 pieces

    (Contax Zeiss: 15, 21, 25, 28, 35, 45, 50, 60, 85, 100, 135, 180mm)

    I would like Cine Mod and Canon Mount. I know is $250 for the Cinemod plus $160 for the Canon mount. For each lens. But… May I have a discount because I have so many lenses to convert?

    Thanks.

  20. Matthew,

    While I know that you wouldn’t be able to modify the aperture, would you be able to install a focus ring mod and the same mod on the zoom ring for a sigma 18-35 f/1.8?

    -Nathan

  21. Hi Matthew,
    I wish to know if the Leica R 70-180 APO Lens can be converted to a PL mount. Thank You.

      • Hi Matthew,
        Thanks for your reference. I have read and understood it prior to messaging you. Sorry that I should have framed the question correctly.
        I have ordered for the Epic M Dragon and I don’t mind waiting for the Camera to come. I am wanting to buy the Leica R 70-180 APO Lens and get it Cine-Mod by putting on a PL mount and the Focus gear. It is a great lens that I have seen in that particular zoom range. It will be great if you don’t mind quoting me the details.
        Thanks for your time.

  22. Hi Matthew,

    Thanks for all your support when it comes to technical stuff. Just saw your answer on Leica M, further question(s):
    1.Besides de clicking, any other feature that makes them any less preferable to the R when it comes to cinemod? Problem with the Rs, no fast wide lenses, right? Im curious why they are more “popular” than M
    2.Is the focus rotation as “good” (around 250 degree) as the Rs?
    3. Voigtlander 21mm M. Any issues there for your process?

    Thanks again!

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