The Simmod Lens CineShade is a mask that slips over your lens to block stray light

Sep 11, 2023

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

The Simmod Lens CineShade is a mask that slips over your lens to block stray light

Sep 11, 2023

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Simmond Lens has announced the CineShade (buy here). It’s a cover that slips over the end of our lens, providing a mask that matches the field of view of your composition. Like lens hoods and matte boxes, its goal is to block stray light, which causes flare.

While it can’t hold filters, it’s a much smaller option than a matte box for blocking unwanted light while filming. If you don’t actually need any filters – or you’re using screw-on filters – this might be a practical option.

Three’s Company: The CineShade Set

The Simmond Lens CineShade comes as a set of three masks that fit over the lens on your camera. Each covers a different aspect ratio to match the mask to your composition. They slip onto the end of your lens with an 80mm diameter and will also fit onto the company’s own 80mm OD CineRings.

The company doesn’t say exactly what those aspect ratios are on the website, but some quick Photoshop analysis shows that they’re around 16:10, 2:1 and 2.35:1. This covers most aspect ratios you’d want to use for filming.

CineShade: The Matte Without the Box

Photography and cinema lenses tend to work differently when it comes to shading. I don’t mean in a technical sense. I mean in terms of what comes in the box with the lens. Most photography lenses have some kind of bayonet mount, and a hood is provided with the lens when you buy it.

Cinema lenses, on the other hand, generally come with no such luxury. So, we typically have to resort to matte boxes. While an array of “compact” matte boxes exist in the market, they’re still quite bulky compared to a slip-on cap like the CineShade.

They’re not always going to be a valid alternative to a matte box, but they are going to be a viable solution in a lot of situations, depending on the needs of the shoot and the lighting conditions at the time.

CineShade vs. Matte Boxes

There are two big differences between the CineShade and traditional matte boxes when it comes to their technical capability. The first is that matte boxes generally allow you to mount filters inside them. Usually, these are industry-standard 4×5.65″ cinema filters or 4″ (100mm) square filters.

Some matte boxes use their own proprietary format filters. I’d always recommend avoiding these wherever possible. You’re very limited in which filters you use because you’re reliant on that manufacturer making the one you need – and you’re reliant on the company still being around in a few years to keep making them. Industry-standard size formats avoid these issues.

The other big difference is that matte boxes often allow you to attach flags. The CineShade attempts to perform the same function as a flag, blocking light from hitting the lens’ front element. But it’s not quite the same.

The shallow depth of the CineShade means that lights in front of the lens but not in the shot can still potentially hit that uncovered section of the front element. If the sun is high in the sky in front of you, even if it’s not in the shot, its light can still hit the optics.

On the other hand, the flag of a matte box blocks the sun and casts a shadow over the entire lens. This means the sun isn’t hitting any part of the optics, completely eliminating all flare.

Depending on where in the world you live and the weather you’re experiencing at the time you want to shoot, a matte box may be overkill for your needs. And this is where CineShade steps in.

Price and Availability

The Simmond Lens CineShade 3-shade kit is available to buy now for $89 from the Simmond Lens website. Items are shipping now.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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2 responses to “The Simmod Lens CineShade is a mask that slips over your lens to block stray light”

  1. Vlad Moldovean - Visual Artist Avatar
    Vlad Moldovean – Visual Artist

    looks like we can diy a 3d print to check out the concept

  2. Paul Aparycki Avatar
    Paul Aparycki

    I have a couple of Lee hoods, and of course the various bits and pieces supporting the system.

    Many years back I purchased a thin sheet of aluminum and made cut outs that would fit the 4″ slot. I then marked them out with various formats pertaining to what I was shooting . . . 35mm, 9 x 12cm, and a couple of cine formats. Took me about 1 or 2 hours to cut and file holes perfectly for each and every format (5 in total) and then I spray painted them matte black.

    Voila . . . mattes pertaining to a variety of formats . . . all for less than an afternoon and about twenty bucks.

    These are a cute idea . . . but you could readily buy a series of cheap no-name lens caps (which these undoubtedly are), make a few holes, grab a file, and have the same result for about twenty bucks again.

    No doubt for the lazy, these will appeal, but no question, at $90 for three cheap lenscaps . . . these are robbery.