CINEFLARES.COM Launched – World’s Most Complete Lens Flare Library by Markus Förderer, ASC

Markus Förderer, ASC, has just launched CINEFLARES, a unique platform to find, test, and compare cinema lenses and how they react to light. This library shows users the particular flares, contrast, distortion and chromatic aberration from hundreds of lenses, making it easier to decide which ones to choose for a specific project. Let’s see what we can get from CINEFLARES.

As you already know, there is an seemingly infinite number of different lenses available on the market today. If you follow us, you’ll know we constantly cover new releases because brands improve their products and offer new alternatives for us every year. Even though some manufacturers discontinue older lines of lenses and mount systems come and go, we can still use them, thanks to active and passive adapters. This means that we can put to work virtually every lens on the market in one way or another. Because of this vast catalogue, we usually stick to the lenses we know, the lenses we own, or, if we are renting, the most popular and tested lenses.

But imagine we want to go beyond and we want to test rare or unknown brands. Sometimes, we don’t have information or the possibility to test all the equipment before using it. Have you ever wondered how a specific lens looks and reacts to light before a shooting? 

A look at the CINEFLARES website, where you can compare the flares of hundreds of lenses. Image credit: CINEFLARES

A vast flare library for reference and study

CINEFLARE is the answer to that as it is the world’s most extensive interactive flare library, aiming to help professionals compare cine lenses, their character, and how they react to light. Its creator, Markus Förderer, ASC, has created a visual database by filming a bright point light source in front of a black background to show each lens’s characteristics, flare pattern, ability to hold contrast, distortion, and chromatic aberration. 

CINEFLARE was created as a solution and a reference library for professionals looking for a particular aesthetic. Now, they can compare lenses side by side for a specific flare or character reminiscent of a particular era, or they can look for the most neutral lens for VFX plate filming. Cinematographers, directors, VFX supervisors, and game designers, among other professionals, will now have a reference before deciding which lenses to use. Those without access to rental houses will also benefit from this library.

For me, lens flare is like the fingerprint or like the DNA of a lens.

Markus Förderer, ASC

Shot with motion control under the same controlled conditions, the CINEFLARES library covers hundreds of cinema lenses. It is also a vast learning tool for those wanting to learn about lens history and those without the opportunity to test the massive number of available cinema lenses. 

Flares from an ATLAS ORION 32mm at T2 – Image credit: CINEFLARES

Markus Förderer started this idea ten years ago while preparing Hell, an apocalyptic film where the sun played a crucial role. Fascinated by lens flares, he continued testing lenses and capturing material from almost all vintage and modern cinema lenses, which led to the creation of CINEFLARES. 

An essential first stop for cinematographers when comparing lenses. The ease of which it allows us to examine flare characteristics between lenses with a simple mouse click is extraordinary.

Erik Messerschmidt, ASC

Price and availability

Thanks to the collaboration of Markus’ wife and a team of programmers, CINEFLARES has launched to the public with free access to the limited beta library at The CINEFLARES beta version has been already tested by top cinematographers like Erik Messerschmidt, ASC, Seamus McGarvey, ASC and BSC, and the Emmy award-winning producer and director Michelle MacLaren. All of them have given very positive feedback about the library.

I’ve had the privilege of using CINEFLARES, it is a unique resource for me to discover and compare the vast choices of cinema lenses, explore their distinctive visual character and communicate with my cinematographer to choose the right lens to craft the look of our projects.

Michelle MacLaren

For now, the platform offers a minimalistic interface on purpose, waiting for user feedback to keep improving the library. A larger version with full access to their complete database and extended functionality will also be available with a paid PRO version in the future. For now, they are collecting feedback from users. Stay tuned!

What do you think about this library and lens flares in general? Is it an essential feature for you when selecting a lens for your project? Let us know in the comments!

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