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Samyang Adding to Budget Cinema DSLR Lens Line with 14mm T/3.1, 24mm T/1.5, and 35mm T/1.5

08.20.12 @ 2:58PM Tags : , , , , , , , ,

Samyang (also known as Rokinon in the U.S.), is adding to their cinema DSLR lens line with three new lenses, a 14mm T/3.1, 24mm T/1.5, and a 35mm T/1.5. Since Samyang’s lenses were already all manual lenses, it wasn’t too much of a stretch to add focus gears for a follow focus and declick the iris ring to allow for smooth exposure pulls. They have already released one cine-modded lens so far, the 8mm T/3.8.

Here is what Sebastian at cinema5D said about these lenses:

Before you get really excited keep in mind that these lenses are very affordable and while their build quality has been good for photography and HDSLR shooting we don’t know if these lenses will take the force a follow focus or even remote focus can sometimes put to these lenses.

The 8mm T/3.8 Fisheye was the first in the cine line, but it was definitely the most unconventional choice among their lenses to be the first to receive that treatment. Now they are adding a 14mm T/3.1, 24mm T/1.5, and 35mm T/1.5. If you are wondering why there is a T instead of an F, T is the way cine lenses are rated, and it refers to actual light transmission, rather than just the physical opening of the iris. Since no lens is perfect (meaning there is some light lost to optical imperfections and physics), the T-stop calculates this lost light and gives an actual transmission number so that you can get more accurate exposure information.

I personally would get these lenses in the Nikon F mount since they are all manual anyway, and could be adapted to the Canon mount with a relatively simple mechanical adapter. If you’ve got a Sony DSLR with an Alpha mount, however, you’d have to get these lenses in the Alpha mount as neither the Nikon nor the Canon can be adapted to that mount.

As far as performance, they should be identical to the non-cine versions since these are just manual modifications to the lenses (as far as I know). Depending on who you talk to you, the 24mm and 35mm are either great lenses or not-so-great lenses, which usually means actual performance is somewhere in the middle. I’ve seen tests comparing the 24mm vs. Zeiss lenses and they do very well in the center and better in the corners once you stop down a few stops. Since DSLRs throw away so much information in video mode, chromatic aberration (color fringing) will actually be a bigger factor than how well the lenses resolve detail.

Here are some breathing samples of the 35mm T/1.5 lens:

Either way, these could be a great starter set for a cinema style workflow, especially because of their low price. The 35mm T/1.5 is available right now for $550. The 14mm and 24mm lenses do not have definite pricing, as they are set to be released sometime in September. Without the cine-mod, the 14mm is currently $400 and the 24mm is just about $680.

These three focal lengths would actually work very well with the Blackmagic Cinema Camera, since they would roughly translate to wide, normal, and short telephoto lenses (which also happen to be very close to the three focal lengths I like to use the most).

What do you guys think?


[via cinema5D]


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Description image 48 COMMENTS

  • How bad is the breathing on these “cine” lenses? That’s my biggest issue i have with still lenses.

    • I would imagine it’s the same as their still lenses, which if you aren’t doing a lot of crazy rack focuses, isn’t necessarily that bad. I’m going to go with that assumption until I learn otherwise.

    • I just tried the stills version of the 14mm on my 5d3 to answer your question (I don’t have Samyang 24/35). I found the breathing to be nicely controlled (something like 3% zoom difference from infinity to minimum) and what’s more, the hyperfocal distance is so short with that combo it’s unlikely you’d be racking much anyway.

      Getting lenses that correct breathing fully are expensive, I understand the primes have to be implemented as zooms internally to balance the breathing.

      With a BMCC you might have more of an issue. However, shooting 2.5k RAW means you can correct for more things in post without worrying about the cropping side effect on resolution so much.

      So relax and fix it in post! =)

    • what’s breathing? shoot how would I spot it? will these fit on to my 550d? apologies for being a twit but it is quicker to ask sometimes

      • Chad Hustlington on 08.20.12 @ 4:23PM

        Breathing is the lens physically elongating when focus is altered. I was just on a shoot with an Optimo 25-250 – the difference in length of the lens was about 2 inches between mins and infinity.

        • Breathing is actually the focal length changing as you focus from minimum to infinity. What you’re talking about is telescoping – it means the front element actually moves out from the original starting point as you focus the lens. I was always under the impression that the Optimos did everything internally.

      • Breathing is a side effect of focusing that involves the image zooming in or out when you focus, even though the lens is listed as having a fixed focal length (a “prime”) or you have not engaged any zoom function on a zoom lens. This is not a problem for still photography as you only care about one image, but it is a problem for moving pictures as zooming is generally undesirable when not intended. If you “rack focus” between one character and another in a shot, the slight zooming factor in a lens that suffers from breathing will be a bit annoying to the viewer, breaking the illusion that they are there (the “suspension of disbelief”) in the worst case by reminding them they are looking through a camera.

        An internally focusing lens will not elongate when focused, nor will its front element turn. That is a separate issue from what we are calling “breathing”…and in fact a lens that corrects for breathing may indeed elongate as a means of compensation (though I don’t have examples of such off hand).

  • It is not true that a canon lens cannot be adapted to an alpha mount. I do this every day. I have 3 samyang lenses and a bunch of con tax zeiss lenses that I adapt to an fs100 all the time. Also, samyang quality is pretty good. I don’t recall any breathing that needed noting.

  • Chad Hustlington on 08.20.12 @ 4:25PM


    I’m so down for this glass. Once they mod the 85mm, I’d seriously consider getting the set.

  • could you guys post some more about getting the most out of your DSLR for videos? thanks!

    • In terms of what? I mean avoid shooting brick walls straight on, try to save highlights as best as possible by slightly underexposing in certain situations. Use 5DtoRGB to transcode. Don’t push color too much or it will start breaking down.

      • what’s this about 5DtoRGB?

        should i do something to my footage after i shoot and get it on the computer? wow, if so, i’ve been missing out. does this cut down on render times?

        • It’s interesting and a current topic for me as my existing workflow for the 5D3 is getting challenged a bit by the addition of the RX100. Using FCPX, rendering is done working from the original source media (which for the 5D3 is in H.264 format), while previews can be accelerated greatly by “creating optimized media” (ProRes 422 format) or “creating proxy media” (ProRes proxy, which is a very lower-resolution version not many people use). So for me in FCPX, it’s arguably better not to use 5DtoRGB for the 5D3 footage as FCPX works with it natively and will render off it, preventing a generation loss of quality. While at the same time letting me adjust settings using ProRes 422 for faster operation than if it had to re-render previews from H.264 as I worked.

          But the RX100 is using AVCHD and while FCPX allows that to be imported (“from Camera”), it makes it into an H.264 file, which may be worse for me than going into ProRes 422 directly via 5DtoRGB, and editing the ProRes footage as opposed to the H.264 intermediary. H.264 is a good codec though much maligned in these parts, its main problem is decoding speed is slower than ProRes. So I don’t know the answer to that yet, please chime in if you have evidence one way or the other to save me doing tests.

          If you are using CineStyle picture style on the 5D3 you need to use 5DtoRGB to apply the log curve when transcoding into ProRes, but I don’t use CineStyle, I use Faithful 0 -3, -2, 0. I like Faithful better than Neutral which is brownish to me, but faithful has the same dynamic range as neutral.

          5DtoRGB in the batch mode version costs $99 or something at the App Store so I’d rather not buy it if I don’t need it. There is an older version that works file by file and takes forever.

          • AVCHD is another flavor of H.264. FCP X is not transcoding it when it makes an H.264 file on import, it’s just rewrapping it as a QuickTime movie.

            You can probably edit natively with all your FCP X media; transcoding to ProRes only makes a small performance difference, on my Mac at least. Here’s an article I wrote about it:

            As far as I know, importing and playback through FCP X do not use QuickTime, and therefore avoid any legacy gamma shift problems. Compression and playback apps can still introduce their own issues though.

          • Very useful comment and article Iain! Thank you!

            Your conclusions mirror mine to an extent but on my older Mac Pro (which I have resisted upgrading thinking the next gen Mac Pros had to be coming out soon) I find using the optimized media to play with filters helps quite a bit. I also haven’t experienced faster render on export but I should try that. May be the old Mac Pro can’t do that.

            I guess then I will just let FCPX put the AVCHD into a .mov container that it’s happy with and not worry about.

            No what do you (or anyone else) know about Rec.709 and sRGB color spaces and the issue of 0-255 vs. 16-235 color values? Is this the so-called “chroma smoothing” or is that just the codec massaging the values to avoid artifacts? In your histograms I see the shadow levels come up which makes me think the ProRes conversion is taking a 0-255 color space and mapping it onto a 16-235 space. Apparently Vimeo compression assumes all videos uploaded are encoded to the 16-235 space and maps it back to a 0-255, which darkens your videos on Vimeo, something that annoys me quite a bit. I would really love to know the details of what I should be doing in that regard with the footage from both my cameras.

      • btw, i shoot with a nikon d7000. my video have been OK, but not exactly where i want it to be in terms of quality and clarity.

        • 5DtoRGB doesn’t cut down on render times, but it avoids using Quicktime to do its conversion, which should yield better results because it avoids the gamma issues in Quicktime/Final Cut, and also applies chroma smoothing. As far as the D7000, it’s not going to get much better if you’re already recording at the lowest possible compression. DSLRs are what they are, and the only real way to improve quality is to move up to a more expensive camera that deals with the pixels a little better.

          • Joe, while we’re on the subject… I wanted to know your thoughts on 5DtoRGB if you are using Premiere CS6, and if it is even necessary or desirable using that NLE. Thanks

  • john jeffreys on 08.20.12 @ 8:24PM

    Wouldn’t be surprised if the glass is shit quality.

  • thadon calico on 08.21.12 @ 12:08AM

    I dont know what you guys are talking about but THEY MAKE CINE STYLE LENSES WITH ABSOLUTELY NO BREATHING. why are you guys still talking about breathing, theres focusing tests on vimeo


  • I own the 14, 35 and 85 of these lenses.
    ASAP I’ll be buying the CINE 8mm and 24mm, and eventually I’ll upgrade the rest.

    They are terrific lenses for the money. Breathing is very good, chromatic excellent.
    I even use the 85mm for stills on occasion. Its a great way to practice focus pulls :-)

    I also own two full sets of Nikons (both 80s and current) and use Zeiss Distagon 35mm and 85mm.
    IMO These Roks are everything you’re going to need in a lens until you can afford the CP.2s or rent Arris.
    They’re even better than RED primes IMO.

    Note: Apart from the 50mm 1.4, the best DSLR lens ever made, I don’t rate Canon glass at all.

    • @marklondon,

      How would you say the Roks compare to their AIS counterparts?

      • The Roks have much longer focus throws with good resistance which definitely helps.
        The 85 is sharper/as sharp as my Nikkor 85, the older Nikon 35mm I have is slightly sharper than the Rok, but the Rok wins for useability because of the size and ‘drag’ of the focus ring.

        Let’s put it this way: since I’ve had the Roks the use of my manual Nikons has declined dramatically, and I will probably buy the complete CINE set, so I’m voting with my wallet. They work very well on DSLR and they’ve timed this CINE series perfectly for the BMDCC if you can’t afford CP2s.

  • I’m sold on these lenses for personal work. Joe, has nofilmschool ever done a post on care for lenses? not just for transportation, but cleaning, avoiding fungus and mold etc. I have now moved from London to tropical Singapore, so am concerned about how best to look after lenses is certain environments, be it super hot and humid, or very cold locations. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

  • Hey guys, I’ve been checking out your site for about a year now, and I’d like to say it’s Fantastic with a clearly capitalised “F”! I’d like to suggest you write an article about this news story straight from the depths of physicists in Harvard: the first perfectly flat, and almost 2-d lens has been created – I wonder how you guys think this might affect the industry?

    • Erik Stenbakken on 08.25.12 @ 9:23PM

      THAT is the coolest development in lenses I’ve seen in a long time. Now we wait to see how (or if) it applies to us. But I sure would love a credit card thin camera with primes on a tiny turret!

  • I’ve one quick point & one short question:
    1. The adapting of Nikon to Canon mounts is not the complete nirvana sometimes portrayed for two reasons in my experience, the back focus is off making barrel marking redundant, and there is always a little ‘give’ in the mount which can cause a minor but noticeable image shift when the lens is operated. That has been my experience.
    2. Do these ‘Cine’ lenses address the problem of short barrel rotation to make focus pulls easier than on their stills siblings?

  • Just received my SAMYANG T1.5/35mm Cine lens with Nikon mount for my D7000. Yes, I can focus manually, but from the look through the viewfinder the lens itself is not quite focusing on the camera’s focal plane. It does not seem to have that problem when viewing on the camera’s LED screen. Weird. The camera does not recognize there is a lens on it in “shutter priority” mode (duh, it’s a manual lens, took me 20 minutes to figure that out), so when I switch to live view/video mode I get the “F–” error message and no video functionality or operation. The camera works fine with the lens in “manual” and “aperture priority” modes. It does NOT adjust the shutter while in “aperture priority,” but I’ve already settled on shutter speeds as multiples of the 24p I’m recording in anyway so I can use the LED screen and aperture ring to handle that if I forget to put it in manual mode. I tried taking some photos with it, including multiple consecutive shots. The auto white balance was confused on some shots and the camera’s viewfinder shows no difference when turning the aperture ring during multiple shots, other than to show the aperture number itself. Put the Nikkor photo lens back on and everything changes in the fiewfinder as the aperture is adjusted. I’ll have to remember to put on my video hat when mouting this lens, as this is really not a bad thing. The results are obvious when reviewing those same multiple shots in the LED viewscreen. Use the LED screen to set the aperture for photos, use the viewfinder to take your shots and bracket them with the aperture ring. It will work fine. It’s a smooth-turning ring (on my lens, anyway) so you can fade to and from black with it. I thought this lens was a lemon five minutes after I unboxed it; an hour later I wondered how I’ve done without one of these for so long. And I haven’t done a real video yet. What a great buy!