When Rokinon rolled out its XEEN line of Cinema Zooms last summer, most users were happy with the options on hand. With 6K resolving power, 200° focus rotation, 11 iris blades and a variety of mount options (E, F, EF, PL, and MFT mounts), all coming in around the same $2500 price point, the XEEN line offered a great option for those looking to expand their prime selection without the expense of more traditional name brand cine lenses.

The main frustration, however, was the lack of a wide lens with an aperture to match the rest of the line. The 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, and 85mm all open to a consistent T1.5, and even the 135mm opens to a T2.2. But at the short end of the scale, if you wanted a wider field of view than the 24mm, you were left only with the 14mm which opens to a T3.1, or the T2.6 of the 16mm. This is a normal tradeoff for working with glass outside the middle of the range, especially to keep costs down in manufacturing. But when you are on set, with only the power to light the scene to a T1.5, it's mighty frustrating to have to find an extra stop or more of light for your widest shots.

Slide0120mm prime in the full XEEN FamilyCredit: Rokinon

With the newest lens in the Rokinon line, that frustration will be mitigated. While it only opens to a T1.9—not the full T1.5 of the rest of the line—the aperture is still close enough to the rest of the line to be considered a reasonable match. It's slightly more than 1/3 of a stop, and bumping up one notch of ISO on your camera should make the exposure nearly identical with the longer lenses at T1.5.

Combined with some artful noise reduction in post, this becomes a very useable lens. It has a wider field of view in addition to the features that filmmakers appreciated about the rest of the range.

Xeen_20mm_three_viewsThree views of the 20mm PrimeCredit: Rokinon

This is especially important considering how much aperture and close focus are the real remaining arguments for using primes. Image quality in zoom lenses is often on par with primes, and there are cine quality zooms coming down the pike, including the T2 Sigma zooms, that are a strong competitor for owners choosing their next lens purchase. Of course, these primes offer not only a wider aperture, but also coverage for a Full Frame sensor (which is a pricey feature in zoom lenses), and of course lighter weight, which can be a real bonus for long handheld days or working with a stabilizer.

Xeen_aperture_and_focusConsistent Focus and Aperture ring position makes lens swaps faster.Credit: Rokinon

Available for pre-order for a March ship date from Duclos for $2495.

Tech Specs:

  • Full Frame coverage
  • E, F, EF, PL and PFT mount available (not field switchable)
  • 40° iris rotation, 200° focus rotation
  • All Metal Body
  • Color matched with rest of XEEN line
  • Three Year Warranty
  • X-coating technology
  • 114mm non-rotating front 
  • 11 Bladed Diagram
  • Left and Right side T stop scales