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A $48 Yongnuo Lens on a $12,500 RED Camera: Here’s What You Get


What do you get when you pair an extremely high-end cinema camera with an extremely low-end still photography lens? LA-based filmmaker Gene Nagata of Potato Jet wanted to find out, so he mounted a $48 Yongnuo 50mm f/1.8 lens onto a $12,500 Scarlet-W RED Dragon 5K camera.

The Yongnuo 50mm f/1.8 is a popular clone of the Canon 50mm f/1.8 II, offering the same look for less than half the cost. It’s a thriftier version of the Canon “nifty fifty”, and a lens that’s not exactly designed for professional-grade cinema projects.

Here are some still frames of the test footage Nagata captured with this unusual camera and lens combo:

Nagata says that one of the biggest downsides to this duo is the extremely short focus travel on the Yongnuo lens — there’s not much flexibility in making precise focus adjustments. But overall, Nagata was impressed by the performance.

“I thought it performed pretty d*mn good,” Nagata says. “This lens costs less than to fill up my jeep with gas […] This could potentially be the best $48 investment you could make to your camera arsenal.”

You can find more of Nagata’s work on his YouTube, website, Twitter, and Instagram.

Image credits: Video and still frames by Gene Nagata/Potato Jet