So what makes a “Cine” Lens more than just a “Stills” lens? The difference is not so much the lens as a whole, but more the body of the lens. In reality, cine lens manufactures will often take the optics from stills lenses made by companies like Canon, Nikon, Sigma, and Tokina and install them into custom made housings. These custom housings are made from metal instead of the plastic housings that stills lenses are normally made out of. These metal housings not only provide more protection in the harsh environments of Film and TV productions, but also provide tools to aid the camera operators and camera assistants. These metal housings will have gears build into the Zoom (if it’s a zoom lens), Focus, and aperture rings. This allows assistants to attach a follow focus, or wireless focus motors to help them operate the lens. Also the number markings on the lens will be bigger and much more clear so the operator and the assists can easily see what focal length, focus distance, and t-stop the lens is set too.
And that is about it, image quality wise they are going to be more or less the same. 4k in the video world is about 8 megapixels in the stills world, and that isn’t even close to a challenge for most stills lenses. There are stills cameras out there that are shooting 50 megapixels, which would be the video equivalent of 10K. So any decent stills lens is can easily handle 4k. Actually, in some cases, having a super sharp lens isn’t necessarily a ideal for film and tv. In fact, some cinematographer will purposely choose lenses that are slightly softer and have almost a milky look because it looks more cinematic. It also helps to hide defects in makeup (for both male and female) and in the set itself.