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.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Duclos Lenses Cine-Mod
- What is a Cine-Mod?
- How is the focus gear installed?
- What is the purpose of the 80mm front ring?
- Can my lens be Cine-Modded?
- What lenses work best with the Cine-Mod
- Can I order the Cine-Mod parts and install them myself?
- Do I have to get the whole Cine-Mod?
- What does a Cine-Mod cost?
- Will the Cine-Mod damage my lens?
- Does the Cine-Mod void the warranty?
- How long does the Cine-Mod take?
- Can the mount on my lens be changed?
- Can the focus direction of my Nikon lenses be reversed?
- Can the focus throw of my lens be expanded?
- Can focus breathing be corrected?
- 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 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.