We got our first look at the Xeen cine lenses from Samyang/Rokinon last week, and now we've got the full scoop.
While the company already made lenses with a clickless aperture and geared focus/iris, they were basically slightly modified still lenses, not true cine lenses with a better housing, longer focus throw, and consistent marks.
Now they've got the real deal, and their first three lenses out of the gate are 24mm, 50mm, and 85mm T/1.5 primes.
Check out this first look video from Hot Rod Cameras:
We already talked about the specs, but here's a look again for all three:
- Covers Full-Frame 35mm/Vista Vision
- Available in PL, Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony E, and Micro 4/3 Mounts
- Metal Construction & Fully Manual, No Electronics
- Internal Focus Design
- Multi-Coating for Color Consistency
- Dual Side Focus and T-Stop Scales
- 11 Blade Iris
- Cinema Gearing for Focus and Iris
- 200° Focus Rotation
- Min. Focus Distance: 24mm — 10", 50mm — 18", 85mm — 3' 9"
- 114mm Front Diameter
- 1/4"-20 for Lens Support
- Weight: 24mm — 2.6 lbs., 50mm — 2.56 lbs., 85mm — 2.7 lbs.
- 3 Year Limited Warranty
- Availability: August 2015
- Price: $2,500 each
And a more in-depth look:
- This is a 24mm lens that has an image circle that covers a full-frame sensor. When mounted on a camera with a full-frame sensor it provides you with a wide angle of view.
- The lens features metal construction to withstand the rigors of daily production, and it incorporates a support that can help take strain off your camera's lens port.
- Dual right and left side focus and T-stop scales allow your focus puller to work from either side of the lens, without having to flip the lens in the mount, or facing upside numerals.
- Each lens in the XEEN series share common focus and iris gear ring positions, which speeds up lens changes as accessories such as follow focus units or iris motors don't have to be re-positioned.
- The common 114mm front diameter allows for quick lens changes as you don't have to swap out anti-reflection donuts or adapters to use the same matte box.
- The non-rotating front allows you to use optional clip-on matte boxes.
- "Clickless" aperture ring for smooth iris pulls.
And the 85mm:
These are the MTF charts for these lenses, and if you compare them to the still version MTF charts, they look essentially identical, which tells us that in terms of sharpness, these are going to be pretty similar to the lower-end versions (and it's quite possible they are using some or all of the same glass in these, just like Zeiss does with their CP.2 and ZF/ZE line):
These are the cheapest true cine primes you can get in the US that cover full-frame. Having some real PL glass for a little over $2,000 is going to make these lenses available to a much wider audience than cine lenses from Canon and Zeiss which are all around $4,000 or more per lens. For the three lens set you're looking at $7,500 (plus tax, etc.). That's not an easy pill to swallow if you're shooting on a DSLR right now, but if you've got a camera package that's already in the tens of thousands, it's going to break the bank a little less, and if you've got something like a RED EPIC, these will cover at all resolutions.
For example, Canon's CN-E three lens set of the same focal lengths will run you $12,720, and while those might be better lenses in certain respects, a savings of over $5,000 is nothing to scoff at. The biggest difference and advantage for some people is the fact that these are available in PL mount, while the Canons are not (except if modified by Duclos). Zeiss CP.2 are available in PL mount, and are actually interchangeable mount, and based on the B&H review, it looks like the Xeen may in fact be interchangeable with the separate mounts available at some point in the future.
I would hope that these are released in a set at some point with a little bit of savings, and that would make these an even better deal. Obviously if you're more budget-conscious, you can get four of the Rokinon Cine DS for less than the price of one of these cine lenses, though if you want to get those rehoused, they are probably going to come in around the same price as the Xeen lenses. Those are going to be a better option for a lot of people, but it will all depend on your needs.
The biggest thing is that these are made for a cinema environment, and you should be getting consistent results across the set, both in focus/iris positions as well as performance. Add to that the security of a PL mount lens, and these could be excellent choices for building a real cinema lens set at a much lower cost.
You can pre-order them from B&H right now, and according to the site should be available to ship this month, but I expect demand to be pretty high.