If you’ve dipped your toe into the budget cine lens world, SIRUI is a name you’ve heard of quite a bit, especially if you’ve been looking at budget anamorphic lenses for all sorts of sensors. 

Now SIRUI is tackling the night with a set of Super 35 (APS-C) lenses that have a T1.2 aperture across the board. The SIRUI Night Walker series is all about affordability and low-light sensitivity. 

So, how do they perform, and should you get one for your kit? That all depends on how many corners you're willing to cut. 

Cinema Night Vision

The SIRUI Night Walker series is a three-lens set offering 24mm, 35mm, and 55mm. Made for APS-C/Super 35 sensors, the entire set has a T1.2 aperture, geared focus and iris rings, and similar proportions for efficiency builds. It’s even being offered in several mounts, including Sony E, Fujifilm X, Canon RF, and Micro Four Thirds.

SIRUI Night Walker 24mm w/ RED KomodoNight Walker 24mm T1.2 w/ RED KomodoCredit: SIRUI

Each lens only weighs about 500g. They seem to be everything a cinema lens should be. Fast, versatile, and standardized. 

Each lens will cost you $349 dollars, or $309 if you get it during the IndieGoGo campaign. That’s not only dirt cheap, but an absolute steal.

So, where did SIRUI cut corners in order to get it to such a price point?

For starters, it's definitely not in the focus mechanism design. From what we’ve seen, there is barely any focus breathing, leading to a nice focus transition from your different planes. The lenses also seem to be well built with solid metal housings and the image is super sharp even at T1.2. 

SIRUI Night Walker 35mm T1.2SIRUI Night Walker 35mm T1.2Credit: SIRUI

But like with other offerings from the past, SIRUI lenses tend to have some difficulties when it comes to color matching, especially between the 24mm and the other two in the set. Give this video from Spencer Sakurai a watch to see the issue in action:

While the 35mm and 55mm seem to match fairly well, the 24mm lens has a pretty severe color shift. While budget creatives might not worry too much, it’s downright unusable in most professional productions. But having said that, most professional productions have the budget to rent more expensive lenses. 

Who Is This Lens For?

If you’re a cinematographer or filmmaker on a budget that is just starting out, the SIRUI Night Walker cine lenses feel like a great starting point. You’ll get the experience of working with a true cinema lens and have a blazing-fast aperture for low-light shooting. 

However, you will sacrifice some mental headspace and time in post-correcting all those color shifts. There may come a time when you probably won’t even pick up the 24mm.

It’s nice to see SIRUI offering glass at such a price point. But I would have loved to pay a little more to see the lenses match across the set.

SIRUI Night Walker 55mm T1.2SIRUI Night Walker 55mm T1.2Credit: SIRUI

Finally, one last thing to consider is tolerances. While I haven’t had a chance to work with the more modern SIRUI offerings, the original 1.33x anamorphic lenses had some pretty glaring issues with the mounts. In the set I had, the 24mm f/2.8 1.33x anamorphic had a thicker MFT mount than the 35mm of the same line. This caused the lens to have issues with fitting on most of my cameras. Hopefully, these issues have been worked out in the Night Walker line.

If you’re willing to sacrifice color matching and deal with possible mount tolerance issues, the Night Walker series might be a great budget set for your first kit. To get the set for only $309 a lens, go support the IndieGoGo campaign and stake your claim

But if you’re looking for an upgrade, there might be other tools on the market that will be a better fit. Finding the right set will be up to you.