An hour with the $30 Fujian 35mm CCTV lens

Originally published at:

Still shooters have long raved about this weird little wonder, but how does it look on video?


That video had a very David Fincher feel to it.



I love the “pre/post-rain” color and lighting. Very… well… Pittsburgh.


The camera’s set to the basic “film” setting. The idea is that you get something that’s flat and desaturated, but with lots of data, so you can color it in post. But I guess that basic look is fashionable in its own right – looks retro and a bit severe, like it was shot by druids in 1976 or whatever.


I would love it if there was a set of 3 primes like this in a box. Like, the 35mm, a 17 or 19mm, and a 45-50ish, all cheap CCTV, all covering these sensors without vignetting, and then you can have a lovely set of usable primes.

CCTV’s are so picky a lot of the time, you get a lot of vignetting if you buy the wrong ones that don’t cover the sensor fully, and a lot of weird markups. But they are very tempting.


Good idea! SLR Magic has 25 and 35 lenses like this, but they charge more for the rest of the lineup and you can’t really make a set without spending so much you may as well go for the Veydra or Kish primes

Kickstarting a $200 low-end set of pseudo “cine primes” based on these lowest-end CCTV lenses sounds like it might be a neat idea.

IIRC the 25mm SLR magic (and the Fotasy/Fujian/Whatever 25mm generic equivalents) don’t cover super35/APS-C

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Nice pictures! I have one of these lenses and maybe it’s time to break it out again…

I like the look the lens captures, but for me the build quality is just too low- I’m always accidentally unscrewing the elements of the lens- plus you never actually know what aperture you are using in case you want to recreate the settings.

Not deal breakers for $25, but if you are filming often, you owe it to yourself to use something better… I don’t like those SLR magic lenses much for the money- just relabeled knock-offs from what I hear.

For my money I would choose any of the rokinon primes- all around $300-$500 and work great for any sensor 35mm or smaller.

Rumor has it Shane Carruth used Rokinon lenses on Upstream Color with a GH3.

God, this sounds like an ad. Sorry.

Oh!! I almost forgot- that CCTV lens can do some crazy macro stuff if you detach the lens and hold it out from the body!! Takes some practice, but often you have decent results. Also my copy came with a little lens extender to prevent light leaking when you do this…

For me the macro ability of this lens is whats most exciting…

Here’s some (cat) pics I shot with it:


That ‘ability’ is not unique to that lens. It’s based on…wait for it…how lenses focus!

When you get near 1:1 enlargment (or roughly double the focal length away from the image-capturing media, you’ll usually get a better/sharper image if you turn the lens around. You can google “reversing ring”.

/is it just me, or do the images indicate that the Fujinan lens has poor coverage? That is, it’s kinda in focus in the center third of the images but soft outside of that.

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I know, all it needed was a couple fat sweaty guys with no shirts!

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That ‘ability’ is not unique to that lens. It’s based on…wait for it…how lenses focus!

The only difference is that 1:1 macro lenses expressly designed for the purpose usually keep optical artifacts to a minimum, are, on average, terrifically sharp, and most of them will retain the ability to focus at infinity. Otherwise, they don’t sell very well…’
Greater than 1:1? Well, that’s more of a niche…

What’s the flange focal distance of that thing? $30 sounds like a brilliant opportunity to further procrastinate the Angenieux 35-70 refitting project lying on my lab desk…

Most of my favorite lenses are 35, for example the Steinheil Auto Quinaron and the Zeiss Flektogon. But this one definitely has something worth exploring.

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I have one of those, shot with NEX APS-C


Its c-mount, so 17.526 millimeters (putting it on mft is a wee slice of metal, but putting it on anything full frame you’ll probably end up with more adapter than lens

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Wait, more importantly: do you have a one-eared bunny?

Or does your bunny just keep one ear flopped?

(I don’t know much about bunnies.)

Yes, that’s true thamtechnicia- I guess I was just suggesting that it is particularly interesting to use the Fujinan in this way because of the particular effect the lens produces (“shitty”, in a word). Also, since it’s C-mount, it sits much closer to the sensor and thus is easier to get it to the correct distance for the macro focus- and with a lot less light leaking or hassle holding the lens backwards…

And you’re absolutely right: the coverage is bad- the image kind of swirls around the center- but that’s basically the look that people are going for with this lens. It works well for portraits because it creates a sort of false shallow DOF effect, putting greater emphasis on the subject. Sort of the “toy camera” look:

When it comes to shallow depth of field effects, I much prefer “creamy” to “swirly”

Why, the wacky lens flares and washed out look are half the fun of freelensing (or lens whacking if you’re feeling naughty). That, and the non-perpendicular, ever shifting, imperfect planes of focus and handheld alignment can be very expressive and complement this kind of lens/camera combo very well.

(not my video, just a nice one I found)

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How about “chunky?”

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