Top 5 Lenses for Documentary Filmmakers

Top 5 Lenses for Documentary Filmmakers

Whether you’re on a tight budget or you have a nearly unlimited budget, there are documentary-style lenses for every budget production. We’re outlining the top 5 lenses for documentary filmmakers with a lens for every budget. Add at least one of these documentary film lenses to your documentary film equipment list to ensure you get the most out of your project.

  1. Budget-Friendly Canon 17-55 f/2.8 EF-S

The Canon 17-55 lens is available at a very budget-friendly price point, making it one of the most used documentary film lenses on budget-conscious sets today. This documentary film lens was introduced in 2009 and continues to be produced without any changes or updates made along the way–it’s just that good! Image quality and features that can be picked up with this lens making it ideal for documentary filmmakers.

The Canon 17-55 is a crop sensor lens with excellent optics and adequate zoom that features fast aperture and image stabilization for the perfect shot. Cinematographers love the versatility of this lens and the fact that it fits well within the guidelines for low budget productions.

  1. The Professional Fujinon MK18-55mm T2.9 Lens

Documentary films being shot with MFT or Sony E-Mount cameras benefit from the use of the Fujinon 18-55 lens. Featuring the ability to quickly capture documentary footage with a 2.9 constant aperture and rich history, the Fujinon lens provides pristine optics, excellent form, and top-notch image quality.

  1. The Workhorse Canon CN-E 18-80 T4.4

One of the most functional documentary-style lenses on the market, the Canon CN-E 18-80 T4.4, is a true workhorse. This lens features a slower aperture that yields beautiful images despite the slight speed reduction of T4.4 versus F4.0. The lens features constant aperture, image stabilization, and a focal range that is perfect for capturing documentary footage.

  1. Versatile Canon CN-E 17-120mm T2. 95

The versatile Canon CN-E 17-120mm lens is an established documentary lens that offers filmmakers a wide range of features to produce footage that ranges in scope. This lens is definitely more expensive than some of the previously listed documentary lenses but, budget permitting, the Canon CN-E is a staple for any documentary film camera equipment list. The long-range and fast aperture produce impressive shots with pristine cinematic optics.

  1. The Crema de la Crema Angenieux Optimo 28-76mm f/2.4-T2.6

Anyone that has had the opportunity to use the Angenieux zoom lens for a documentary film knows firsthand that this lens is a really special piece of equipment. It renders some of the sharpest colors imaginable and produces documentary footage that simply cannot be beaten. If you’re considering any of the top 5 lenses for documentary filmmakers and budget is of zero concern, head straight to the Angenieux Optimo and let us know what you think!

AbelCine uploaded a really great talk on the best lenses for documentary shooting:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *