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Pro Video Tips is designed for busy videographers like you. This series brings you a new tip every week, on everything from controlling reflections to hiding mics. Host Anthony Q. Artis covers shooting techniques for particular video challenges like portraits, tools to help you control light and judge exposure, and advice for the traveling videographer, such as putting together a great lens kit or packing a truck. Come back every Tuesday for a new round of tips.
Now, another popular lens mount is the PL lens mount. PL lens mounts were developed by Arri for use with their 16 and 35 millimeter professional film and video cameras. This is the high end of the film making food chain. In fact, it's so high that I don't even have the PL camera here to show you as a demonstration. PL mounts are probably what you're most likely to come across if you're on a feature film set, national commercial, or other big budget work. By the way, the PL stands for positive lock, if you like to know that kind of thing.
PL mount lenses can be recognized by the four little notch leaves around them. These notches line up with little pins on the mount that hold them in place. Many, if not most of the most expensive and high quality professional lenses come with PL mounts. Some of the most popular high-end video cameras that come with or have a PL mount option are the Arri Alexa, the Red One, as well as the Red Scarlet and Epic cameras, the Sony F3, the ultra high-speed Phantom cameras, the Blackmagic Cinema cameras and Canon C300 and C500 cameras.
So there are all really nice, high end cameras that start well above the $10,000 mark. If you're only doing high end, big sensor, big budget work, a PL mount is practical and nice to have. However, if you're not quite living in that world yet but have saved up enough to get a nice camera on the low end of the high end, like Canon C300 or Red Scarlet, then you'll probably be better off buying the EF mount version of those cameras simply because it'll be easier and more affordable to buy, rent or borrow EF lenses that it would be to buy, rent or borrow PL mount lenses.
So to sum it all up, PL mount cameras and lenses are pretty much strictly for the big budget Cadillac shoots. When you get to the top of the film making food chain, that's when you'll most likely be shooting on PL mount lenses. Until then, I say keep it affordable and practical.
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