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“The Cine Lens Manual” Released – An In-Depth Guide on Cinema Lenses

“The Cine Lens Manual” is an extensive guide that promises to walk you through all the fundamental concepts revolving around cinema glass. From the history of cine lenses to choosing the right series, this in-depth manual covers it all. Written by Jay Holben and Christopher Probst, ASC, the book is now available for purchase for $175.

Picking up the right glass is definitely one of those choices that have the greatest impact on the look and feeling of a movie. However, it’s not an unchallenging one. In fact, when getting to know and comparing the character of different series of cinema glass, it’s easy to get lost in the technical and creative aspects of optics.

“The Cine Lens Manual” is here to help you navigate this vast sea. Wether you are a beginner or a well-established cinematographer, I’m sure you still have something to learn from this book. Let’s take a closer look at its content.

The Cine Lens Manual cover. Source:

“The Cine Lens Manual”: the ultimate lens guide

“The Cine Lens Manual” definitely sits among the most complete books ever written on the subject. Its chapters wander between all technical and aesthetic aspects of cinema lenses, from the history and evolution of optical designs to learning how to properly test and service cinema optics.

The authors worked hard to simplify the most difficult concepts, thus providing an easy approach that is suitable for a wide public. In fact, they claim no specific prior knowledge is required, wether it be scientific or artistic. Moreover, the book is largely illustrated to help readers absorb even the most challenging topics.

The Cine Lens Manual. Source:

“The Cine Lens Manual”: the authors

The book, published by Adakin Press, was co-written by Jay Holben and Christopher Probst, ASC. Both authors have been technical contributors of the American Cinematographer magazine for years, but that’s not it.

Jay is an independent director and producer based in Los Angeles, USA, that already has two books about cinematography published under his name. On the other hand, Christopher is a lens-geek famous for serving as part of the crew of David Fincher’s Mindhunter as A-camera operator and additional cinematographer.

Jay Holben (left) and Christopher Probst (right). Source:

Their joint effort is already receiving the praise of worldwide famous directors and cinematographers. For example, here’s Greg Fraser, ASC, ACS’ take on their manual:

“What Jay and Christopher have done with this book is to help demystify the often technical nature of optics, to allow people like me to become more qualified to articulate my feelings and instincts with an expanded vocabulary to discuss the look of lenses. It’s an essential text for all filmmakers.”

Greig Fraser, ASC, ACS

All you need to know in 9 chapters

“The Cine Lens Manual” consists of 836 pages divided into 9 chapters, laid out as follows:

  • Defining the lens: the basics
  • Defining the lens: optical concepts
  • Crafting the lens: optical designs in action
  • Crafting the lens: mechanical designs
  • The History and evolution of cinematographic formats
  • Utilizing the lens: the creation and progression of cine lens designs
  • Modifying the lens: customizations and alterations
  • Evaluating the lens: testing and qualifying lenses
  • Maintaining the lens: service and care

Price and availability

The book is now available for purchase from The Cine Lens Manual website for $175. In the Look Inside section of the site, you can also find a preview of the book’s content. This is a must-have for cinematographers, but it can also come in handy for directors, 1st ACs, and rental house technicians who want to deepen their knowledge on this subject.

How deep is your knowledge of cinema lenses? Do you think this book can help you learning more about optics? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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