Chances are that if you have enough money to spend on a RED Dragon Camera, you’ve saved a little extra for a very high-quality lens to match the beast of a sensor available on board. When it comes to buying a decent set of cinema lenses, you need to be prepared to shell out a few tens of thousands of dollars even for the less expensive brands such as Rokinon Xeen Cine Lenses.
On the other side of the lens pricing spectrum, there are incredibly inexpensive lenses made by companies like Yongnuo. For instance, their dirt-cheap 50mm f/1.8 rival currently sells for less than $50, which is an absolute bargain for a nifty-fifty lens. That being said, many folks are curious to find out how this extremely cheap piece of glass would look like when mounted onto a RED Cinema Camera costing at least 200x more? Here are several sample clips of the setup in action provided by Potato Jet, that should give you a great insight on the topic.
Overall, the footage produced using the lens is still very impressive regardless of its price and mediocre build quality. Sharpness is also decent although it could be improved. In addition, the f/1.8 aperture means that getting low-light shots and shallow depth-of-field is much easier to achieve. Then again, a lot of the perfections in the image are attributed to the RED’s proprietary camera sensor technology.
When looking at the footage shot indoors, for instance, there is one key difference between the Yongnuo lens and a traditional lens which is the shape of the bokeh. While more expensive cinema lenses produce rounder and softer spherical shapes, the bokeh from the Yongnuo lens has some harsh and imperfect edges – a common culprit among entry-level photo lenses.
In addition to the minor imperfections in the bokeh, the Yongnuo lens is also not as sharped and detailed as a cine lens. Besides using lower quality glass and coatings, the Yongnuo lens also has a minimal focus throw. This makes it difficult to obtain precise focus since the distance from close to infinity using the focus ring is a lot smaller compared to a cinema lens.
While this lens may not be your go-to cinema piece of glass, especially if you own a RED Camera, it’s still an excellent option if you need something insanely compact and cheap for your shooting situation. Also, if you’ve got only a few bucks to spend on a 50mm lens for your non-RED camera, the Yongnuo 50mm lens is still a worthwhile purchase.