Popular Lens Picks for the RED RAVEN & SCARLET-W Digital Cinema Cameras


Of all the lens choices out there, which are the best fit for your RED camera? One answer is found right in RED's full name: "RED Digital Cinema." Here we present a select list of cine-style lenses for the RED RAVEN or SCARLET-W, with an eye on affordability, corresponding to these cameras' entry-level and next-step-up positions in the RED camera ("brain") lineup.


The diminutive RED RAVEN is well suited for handheld, drone, or gimbal configurations, and is the only RED iteration with an integrated lens mount (Canon EF). Use it to shoot 4.5K footage at up to 120 fps, or 2K full HD at up to 240 fps. The SCARLET-W features a wider sensor area to capture up to 5K video, a minimum 4:1 compression rate, and an interchangeable OLPF (optical low-pass filter). Both these Super 35 sensor cameras capture HDR content with 16.5+ stops of dynamic range. One tempting reason to bump your budget up to a SCARLET-W is its interchangeable lens-mount system. This expands your possibilities for lens selection to include a wide variety of PL and Nikon F-mount lenses, in addition to Canon EF mount lenses. A boon for users with a still-photography background is the SCARLET-W's ability to make use of select 50mm or longer Leica-M lenses with the RED Leica-M mount. Be aware that modification may be required for clearance of the rear element in the camera.


If you're not completely familiar with the term, "cine-style" refers primarily to non-autofocusing lenses that are designed for use with hands-on manual or remote electronic FIZ (focus, iris, zoom) systems. While autofocus capabilities in still photography or ENG-type lenses have advanced rapidly, when competently executed, manually controlled focusing and zooming is still smoother and more reliable, thanks to the precise, solid construction of the lenses and the controllers.

Each of the lenses listed below incorporates cine-style attributes, such as focus and aperture scales, on both sides of the lens barrel (to accommodate use by the operator or an assistant), industry-standard FIZ gearing, minimal breathing when focusing, wide lens barrels with generously spaced focus marks, clickless aperture rings, and lens coatings that minimize glare. All the zooms feature a constant aperture over the entire focal-length range, with no ramping down on the iris as you zoom in. If part of a brand series, most of these lenses feature a common front-diameter size and standardized FIZ gear positioning to help minimize time otherwise spent adjusting lens motors and matte-box adapters.

EF Mount Primes

These Canon EF-mount lenses are compatible with the integrated EF mount on the Super 35-sensor RED RAVEN. Rokinon Cine DS Primes are available singly or in 4- to 6-lens kits at B&H. You can choose from a range of 10mm to 135mm focal lengths, and the core 24, 35, and 50mm primes offer a fast T1.5 maximum aperture, with the wider and tighter prime apertures ranging from T1.9 to T3.1. A bonus is that should you update to a full-frame format camera in the future, these Rokinons will have you covered. Samyang Cine versions of these primes are available individually in 12mm to 135mm focal lengths, at similar pricing. The Canon CN-E Cine Primes range from 14 to 135mm, feature very fast apertures, and cover full-frame, as well as Super 35 formats.

Rokinon 35mm T1.5 Cine DS Lens for Canon EF Mount

PL and EF Mount Primes

When you're ready and able to splurge on your glass, here in alphabetical order are some fine higher-end lens choices available at B&H for your RAVEN or SCARLET-W in EF mount and with a choice of the more robust PL mount for the SCARLET-W: HANSE INNO TECH Celere HS, Rokinon Xeen, Sigma FF, Schneider Xenon FF, Tokina Cinema Vista and Zeiss CP.3 primes.


If you prefer a zoom for its ease of use, and have the higher exposure levels to work with their somewhat slower maximum apertures, here are some relatively affordable compact zooms. While priced considerably higher than a set of less expensive primes, a zoom provides a whole range of focal lengths in one lens. A zoom can also hide a subtle change in length within a dolly move, etc., and, of course, you can blatantly snap in or out if that's your desired look for the shot.

EF Mount Zooms

The Canon CN-E T4.4 COMPACT-SERVO series consists of two compact zooms. Choose between 18-80mm or 70-200mm versions, each weighing less than 3 lb, and measuring around 7" in length. These Super 35-format lenses feature a 9-bladed iris that produces round bokeh (out-of-focus highlights), and a rubberized grip for comfortable manual focus-pulling. Sigma Zooms feature fast T2 or T2.2 apertures, luminous focus marks for easy visibility, and a removable support foot. Both Super 35 and full-frame zooms are available, individually priced, or in kits comprising two zooms.

PL and EF Mount Zooms

Fujinon Cabrio zooms are available in PL mount, and the PL- mount Angenieux EZ and Optimo Style zooms can be adapted for EF-mount use. Tokina Cinema Vista and Cinema ATX wide zooms come in PL and EF versions, as do the versatile Zeiss CZ.2 compact lenses, which offer the option of purchasing additional mounts.

Fujinon XK20-120mm T3.5 Cabrio Premier Lens

While you'll want to avail yourself of the best optics out there, remember—it's your vision that matters the most. Explore the entire selection of RED DIGITAL CINEMA lineup and cine-style lenses on the B&H Photo website, or for a hands-on look, stop in to the B&H SuperStore, in New York.

1 Comment

I think some of the first lenses may be nice for the Raven & Scarlet but those other lenses cost as much or more than the cameras! The majority of filmers I know that use these cameras have the cheaper rokinon (and similar) primes & now the Sigma Art lenses as well as some canon or sigma zooms 16-35, 24-70 & 70-200.