March 28, 2013

Schneider Jumps Into the 'Mid-Range' Cinema Lens Market with the Xenon FF Primes

Various lens manufacturers are finally responding to the need for cinema-quality glass at an affordable price and in multiple lens mounts. Schneider already makes some Super 35mm primes, the Cine-Xenars, but they are coming out with a completely new product line called the Xenon FF Primes. As the name would suggest, these T2.1 lenses will cover a 36mm x 24mm full frame sensor -- that's right 5D users, that's you, but that also means that a S35 sensor would be utilizing the sweet spot of each lens. Get the skinny after the jump.

Here's what you need to know (thanks to Matthew Duclos for the heads-up):

  • A 35mm, a 50mm, and a 75mm with plans to expand the set.
  • T2.1 across all lenses.
  • Both focus and iris gears with distance and witness marks.
  • 14-bladed irises.
  • Each lens weighs 2 pounds and has a support foot.
  • The lenses have a 100mm front diameter and a 95mm filter thread.
  • Coming in Canon EF, Nikon F, and PL mounts, these lenses look sexy and I want them.

Made to contend with other mid-range cine primes like the Canon CN-Es or the Zeiss Cp.2s, the Schneider Xenon FF lenses take their design from the Schneider Cine-Xenars. Matthew Duclos talks lens heritage:

Both Zeiss and Canon borrowed optical designs from their photography war chest whereas Schneider used their high-end Cine-Xenars as inspiration. The point here is that the technology and design trickled down from higher up with the new Xenon-FF lenses, instead of the other way around like other manufacturers. Don’t get me wrong… Anyone who has used Canon L Series lenses for photography knows that they are all great and sharp. Same goes for the Zeiss ZF.2s. They are awesome photo lenses and both can be modified and used for cinematography with great results. But it’s a compromise. Let’s hope that Schneider stands out from the crowd and offers fewer trade-offs with their new Xenon FF-Primes.

Pricing information is yet to be released, but it's likely that they will fall competitively in line with the Zeiss Cp.2s and the Canon CN-Es (Duclos speculates they will probably be $3,000-$5,000 per lens). They will certainly come in at a lower price than the new Leica mid-range primes, which are expected to be around $17,000 per lens.

These look great to me, though we'll have to wait for definitive testing to know. As always, share your thoughts in the comments below.

Link: Schneider to Offer 'Mid-Range' Xenon FF Primes -- Matthew Duclos

Your Comment

21 Comments

Nice price range, but are these really the focal lengths you're looking for? If you had to choose just three lenses of any focal length, would it include a 50mm?

March 28, 2013 at 11:53PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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James

Well if you're putting them on a full-frame sensor, I like the focal-lengths. If you're putting them on Super 35mm, obviously you're missing a wider lens.

March 28, 2013 at 11:56PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Joe Marine
Editor At Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

I love 50mm on S35, probably my favorite length actually. So yes!

March 29, 2013 at 12:04AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Micah Van Hove
Writer
director, producer, dp

Me too. I only have old AI and AIs Nikkors but, my 50 1.2 is my favorite on my Super 35.

March 29, 2013 at 2:09PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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dixter

I agree. The 50mm lens is the classic standard lens for S35. Unfortunately, most modern cameras have vertically challenged 16x9 sensors instead of taller 4x3 sensors (the only one I know of is the Alexa Studio w/rotating shutter & optical viewfinder).

March 30, 2013 at 10:43PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Jonathan

"They look sexy and I want them." Lol. Me too!

March 29, 2013 at 12:28AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Me second. The non-PL lens market is finally heating up. These should look great.

March 29, 2013 at 12:36AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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marklondon

The amount of time I've spent staring at these photos today is unreal.

March 29, 2013 at 12:43AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Micah Van Hove
Writer
director, producer, dp

Dope! I wish Tokina would do this too.

March 29, 2013 at 1:51AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Jenkins

I am really excited about these lenses. The telecentric optics are nice and up to now only Zeiss made a cine for Nikon mounts. Don't get me wrong I love Zeiss glass, but to my eye it tends to be a little too contrasty. The Schneider Cine-Xenars tend to look flatter which I feel allows for better post correction. Of course all you Canon shooters have had the option of using the Cine-Xenars for a while now so you can probably sense that I am salivating over this ;-) . Good times ahead for all shooters. Our options keep expanding.

March 29, 2013 at 2:52AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Ken

Are mounts interchangeable?

March 29, 2013 at 5:52AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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BJNY

Very nice, much more interesting to me than the CP.2's for some reason. Maybe a little too chunky though.

March 29, 2013 at 10:17AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Agent55

These lenses look great, but anybody else noticing a disconnect. There are all these full frame lenses, but no full frame cinema grade camera, there are also all these 35mm cinema grade camera with no affordable 35mm lenses.

March 29, 2013 at 1:59PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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ryan

It's not really a problem since you can use full frame lenses on s35 cameras. As was mentioned in the post, by using the full frame lens you're only using the best part of the lens, which means better image quality.

March 29, 2013 at 6:11PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Jake

Micah, you mentioned the new Leica lenses. I haven't shot anything with them but, I got to fondle a few recently and talk with the lens specialist who was available to discuss them. These lenses are some of the, if not the most, precision engineered lenses on the planet. It may be of little impact or consequence here but, I was struck by the specialist's comment that the barrel engravings on the Leicas are less than 1/4 the width of the engravings on comparable Zeiss units. I took his word for it and it may not mean much but, it stuck in mind.

March 29, 2013 at 2:49PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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dixter

They look great but way above my budget! Lol. Just wondering, are these (or any other cinema lense) worth the extra $$? Or can you get similar quality video on the same camera with a standard kit lense? I don't care about the usability and efficiency of using a high end lense, but is the picture quality improved enough to warrant an extra 3k? Or 50k for really high end?

March 29, 2013 at 10:34PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Noah

FYI, Schneider rep at PhotoEast Show in NYC Oct. 2012
said these lenses are not as well corrected for breathing as their premium series.

March 30, 2013 at 12:48PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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BJNY

Since when is 36X24 "full frame"? We are talking about making movies here, right?

May 2, 2013 at 3:56PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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I didn't realize VistaVision was the benchmark by which to compare all movie cameras.

May 2, 2013 at 4:05PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Man, these with a BMCC or PC is gonna be pretty sweet.

August 11, 2013 at 11:36PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Daniel Christensen

We were the first to have the Schneider Xenar 3 lens set for rental in Singapore. I must say that Schneider lens provide a very pleasant bokeh with no cut out effect. Look forward to add this to our camera rental service here in Singapore. Hope this will be another great German glass for the Japanese DSLR body.

February 13, 2014 at 9:24PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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