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:
Here is a video look at the lenses from B&H, which has a full review up now, and also confirms that we are likely to see more focal lengths coming eventually:
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.
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I'm looking forward to seeing some real world use out of these. Not a bad price to make a small 3-lens kit.
August 9, 2015 at 12:38PM
What's the point of these if the optical performance is the same as the cheaper versions. A longer throw and less breathing isn't really worth the difference in price.
August 9, 2015 at 12:39PM
It's the same with Canon and Zeiss with slight differences, similar optical performance but you're paying for the better lens overall.
Plus these are PL mount, and presumably these can actually be serviced. Break anything on the plastic primes that they sell now and you're buying a new lens.
It all depends on your needs.
August 9, 2015 at 12:56PM, Edited August 9, 12:56PM
Not really. I've seen tests that have concluded that CP.2's at times breath even more than their ZF.2 counterparts. Only optical difference is the smoother boken on CP.2.
The difference here is that the ZF.2 and Canon L series are considered to be some of the best glass in the world, whereas the Samyang lenses, while good (especially for the price) are not in the same league. On top of that, they already have cinevised versions. Don't know why they'd need two.
August 10, 2015 at 5:56AM
I think these are a great next step for their cine line, but they are priced way too high for the quality. They should be $1500-1700.
When Sony has to discount their CineAlta Lens kit by almost 50% to sell them, your quality has to be exceptional to compete at that level.
August 10, 2015 at 1:07PM
"considered to be some of the best glass in the world"
That is not even kind of true.
August 10, 2015 at 4:57PM
In the stills world (bar medium format) it certainly is, which is what's being compared here. Obviously there's better glass out there but comparing this stuff with Master Primes or Summilux-C's would be absolutely pointless in this regard.
Personally I'm not a huge fan of Canon's glass, but there's no denying they have some excellent lenses out there and what they're not innovating on the camera-side, they make up for in glass. Their 11-24 f/4 is insane for instance. No one has anything like it.
August 13, 2015 at 4:49AM
I get that everyone has different needs, but it's hard not to criticize when the optical performance just isn't there. Their 24mm is absolutely unusable at wide apertures except for in very specific, creative type shots. It's especially unusable mounted on a speedbooster, which amplifies its flaws. The 85mm lacks contrast, has lots of CA, and has the WORST flare control - and that's coming from a guy who loves his lens flare). The 85 is great if you want a vintage look, but real vintage glass can do that for a fraction of the price. The 50mm is the only decent optical design. I hope those with the purse to afford the XEEN realllly need the standardized cine design to improve set workflow and increase the quality of their films....not just to look cool and impressive on set.
August 9, 2015 at 8:04PM
Why not get the GL Optics standard PL Zeiss Contax lens set? Seems to be superior and you can get super speeds, too: http://cinemaglass.com/
Here is the review and forum thread on REDUser.net: http://www.reduser.net/forum/showthread.php?99249-GL-Optics-Test-Re-hous...
August 9, 2015 at 8:57PM
GL Optics no longer rehouse the Super Speed Contax lenses. Only the slower, smaller glass.
August 13, 2015 at 4:49AM
3 lenses is not a set
August 10, 2015 at 10:34AM
Yeah. And also, if there are gonna be other sizes, will they be slower or will they cost a whole lot more? This is the issue Zeiss faced between the first cinema primes and the CP.2's. You can have apertures all over the board, which is really annoying in a lens set...or you can have some cost way more than others. It's easy to make a 24/25, 50, 85 fast and still be "full frame", but much harder for other lens lengths
August 23, 2015 at 10:38AM, Edited August 23, 10:39AM
Cheap enough to buy or good enough to rent?
At $2500 cost, I can't see the per day rental price being much different than Zeiss or Canon lenses, so if you had the choice, would you pick these?
Since they're optically similar to the stills version, would you opt to save $2K and buy those? Is the increased focus throw, unified body and better bokeh worth that price for those optics?
I think these are too expensive to buy and not good enough to rent.
August 10, 2015 at 12:59PM, Edited August 10, 1:00PM
It seems like a new cool phase for Rokinon and I look forward to see more footage and tests.
But I have to say that they aren't the cheapest set out there. Sony has dropped the price for their Sony CineAlta 4K Six Lens Kit (PL Mount) to $12,900, making each lens cost $2,150.
Of course, I'm not considering anything like lens mounts, character, coating, t-stops, bokeh, etc.
But I just wanted to share with the community since I really think it's a good deal.
August 11, 2015 at 8:19AM, Edited August 11, 8:27AM
I feel like something along the lines of this is a significantly better deal. Same functionality, the option of electronic aperture control, same price, Zeiss (better) glass. http://www.lockcircle.com/store/?p=primecircle/xm/primecirclexm25mm
August 11, 2015 at 3:37PM
Unfortunately some of the preliminary tests I've seen on the web show that there is a color shift as the lenses are stopped down, and it seems all three of the current offerings suffer from this. Also that they are indeed rehoused versions of the DS series, however with better coatings and 11 aperture blades. So they will most likely be better performers than the DS series. I'm looking for comparisons to others like the Sony CineAlta series, current DS series, Zeiss compact primes and the Schneider FF versions. I feel that $2,495 is too high of a price for these, considering the dollar is now stronger compared to the Euro, Zeiss compact primes can be purchased from European dealers at a lesser cost compared to US dealers if you don't mind purchasing from overseas. I would consider the Xeen lenses if they sold for $1,495 and if additional lens releases are also T1.5.
August 13, 2015 at 1:33PM, Edited August 13, 1:33PM