The Cine Lens Manual

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The Cine Lens Manual

By Jay Holben and Christopher Probst, ASC

Co-authored by Jay Holben and Christopher Probst, ASC, The Cine Lens Manual is a journey through the world of cinema lenses investigating every possible aspect — from the formation of glass to today's top cinematographic optical tools.


Since the proliferation of digital-cinema cameras, the demand for vintage and contemporary lenses has increased exponentially. Lenses that had fallen into dusty disuse have been revived for a whole new life and manufacturers scramble to introduce new lenses to keep up with demands. Now, more than ever, cinematographers, visual-effects artists, camera assistants and filmmakers of all types require a deep understanding of their optics choices.


The Cine Lens Manual is a comprehensive examination of the art and science of cinema optics. Written in clear, easily digestible language and extensively illustrated, this sourcebook is designed for readers of all levels, from novice to expert. With more than 60 years of experience between them as cinematographers, technical journalists and educators, authors Holben and Probst break down the most complex concepts into easy-to-understand ideas, without requiring a mastery of calculus or physics.


Detailing 300 lens families, this uniquely comprehensive hardback reference is written for all individuals with an interest in motion-picture optics — cinematographers, directors, visual-effects artists, camera assistants, animators, technical journalists, historians, students, instructors, rental-house technicians. Its 836 pages cover 140 years of cinema lens history, filled with 1,500 full-color illustrations including photographs, diagrams, and graphics. Meticulously indexed chapters explore a primer on cinema lenses, introduction to optical design, advanced optical design and early photographic lenses, optomechanical design, evolution of motion-picture formats, the history and genealogy of purpose-built cinema lenses, modifying lenses, testing and maintenance.

“It's an essential text for all filmmakers.”
— Greig Fraser, ASC, ACS
“The Cine Lens Manual is truly invaluable.”
— Russell Carpenter, ASC
The Cine Lens Manual is my new Bible... engrossing and immensely graspable for all filmmakers.”
— Reed Morano, ASC
“I can't put the book down. It's brilliant what Holben and Probst have created. This is a must for every cinematographer.”
— Markus Forderer, ASC, BVK


Jay Holben is an independent director and producer in Los Angeles. A former (“recovering”) cinematographer, he is an associate member of the American Society of Cinematographers, the chair of the ASC’s Motion Imaging Technology Council’s Lens Committee, and a technical contributing editor for American Cinematographer magazine. He has authored over 500 articles on the art and science of cinematography and is an international lecturer on the subject as well as serving as a faculty instructor for the Global Cinematography Institute, a school stated by the late Academy Award-winning cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC, HSC. He is the author of two previous books on cinematography: A Shot in the Dark: A Creative DIY Guide to Cinematic Lighting on (Almost) No Budget and Behind the Lens: Dispatches from the Cinematographic Trenches. He is the director and producer of Before the Dawn.

Christopher Probst, ASC is a working cinematographer and an active member of the American Society of Cinematographers. He is also a self-professed lens junkie and an all-things technical geek. He served as the technical editor of American Cinematographer magazine for more than 20 years and has taught/lectured about cinematography for the ASC Master Class, the Camerimage Festival and the Global Cinematography Institute. Best known for his ASC Award-nominated work on director David Fincher’s Netflix series Mindhunter, his extensive body of work in music videos spans hundreds of clips for artists such as Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, Eminem, Billie Eilish, Shakira, Lana Del Rey, Kelly Clarkson, Black Eyed Peas, Katy Perry, Pussycat Dolls, Jay-Z and Muse. (In this arena alone, his work has amassed more than 35 billion views on YouTube.) He has also shot thousands of commercial ads for clients such as Apple, Samsung, FOX Sports, Turkish Airlines, LG, Johnnie Walker, Adidas, Lexus, Mercedes, Infiniti, BMW, and Ford. Probst is also well versed in narrative and has photographed the feature films Detention for Sony Pictures, Fire with Fire, and the sci-fi actioner Beyond Skyline.


Pages: 836

ALLOW 2 to 3 weeks for delivery.

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