Chinese manufacturing has disrupted lighting in the last few years. Are lenses up next?
The last few years have seen a dramatic rebalancing of the lighting market as Asian manufacturers like Aputure and Came-TV (China), Fillex (Taiwan), and many more bring LED units to market at difficult-to-beat price points, some with some pretty impressive features. However, while Japanese manufacturers like Sigma, Tokina and Fujinon have brought aggressive pricing to the cine prime market (when you compare the $5k/lens price on a Tokina to the $30k/lens price on Cookes, for instance), we haven't seen a large impact from Chinese manufacturers on cine glass yet.
We did meet the nice folks from Taiwanese company Bokkelux at NAB last year who claimed to be coming to market with Full Frame primes at around $3000/peice. However, if you go to the company's site, you'll now see this notice:
Thus, it is exciting to hear hints that mainland Chinese manufacturer Meike, already known for flash units, extension tubes, battery grips, and some still photo lenses, is going to be making its first cine focused prime lens. The oddest part of the launch is that thus far it seems they are starting with only a single prime, 25mm, for cine shooters. Generally, when manufacturers take the plunge into pursuing the cine market, they go after a full set of focal lengths, or start at least with a zoom. Starting with a single focal length feels more like dipping a toe in the water than it does a real commitment to pursuing cine, but perhaps if the lens proves popular the company will dive in whole hog. It already has a variety of focal lengths of still lenses available for as little as $72.
From the image on the homepage, these seem more designed to compete with Veydra then they do to be pursuing the full frame coverage of the Tokina Cine Primes, for instance. It's a crazy time, watching a market get disrupted, and we wonder if this is the first drip in a coming wave. What do you guys think: will Chinese manufacturers be making a full-on push for cine primes in the near future?
Check out the Meike site for more info.