5 Good Reasons Why The New XEEN Lenses Are A Big Deal

August 11th, 2015
5 Good Reasons Why The New XEEN Lenses Are A Big Deal

xeen-lenses-cinema

The new XEEN budget cinema prime lenses are a big deal. I have not referred to them as “low budget” because at $ 2,495 each, they aren’t exactly “cheap”. They are however specified and priced perfectly to take advantage of a gaping hole in the lens market that is growing year on year and has not been filled, until now.

Here are 5 reasons why the new XEEN lenses could make a significant impact on our landscape.

A long overdue market correction in the price/performance ratio

We’ve all seen our camera specs and capabilities go through the roof, and at the same time prices have hit the floor. The same cannot be said of our glass. Up until now, the established lens manufacturers have been propping up prices for “entry level” cinema glass simply by not introducing products at a lower price point.

The closest we’ve had so far are the Zeiss Compact Primes, Canon Cinema Primes, Sony Cinealta and Schneider Xenon FF which while far more affordable than a set of Ultra Primes, Master Primes or Cookes, have still left many of us out in the cold making do with photography glass.

The problem with using stills originated photography lenses for video is that the requirements are different enough to cause problems. Photo lenses breathe a lot more than their cinema counterparts, this means that there is a slight but noticeable change in angle of view with movement of focus.

Cinema lenses are usually built a bit tougher, they have metal housings of a unified size and front diameter, and some meaningful weight to them that instills confidence. They have manual focus and iris only, a long focus throw and smooth detent free aperture. They “feel” good, and lets face it, many plastic photo lenses do not.

Strategic positioning

Samyang have strategically placed themselves front and center already for many of us with their fantastic VDSLR primes. These lenses are just really good considering the price point. Many of us rely on them and will continue to do so.

The VDSLR range have already placed Samyang right where they needed to be to introduce XEEN.

Performance

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XEEN really have gone all out and covered all the bases. These are more than just rehoused Samyang VDSLR (Rockinon Cine DS) optics. XEEN have been careful to build proper cine lenses here in every way that matters. Let’s just take a quick look.

 

1. Full Frame Sensor Coverage
2. High-speed T1.5 aperture
3. High resolving power and high tech coatings
4. Interchangable Lens Mount
5. Unified front diameter
6. Aluminum housing
7. Standardized positions for focus and aperture gear rings

Perfectly priced

Some may disagree, but I actually believe these lenses are priced perfectly. There is a formidable amount of engineering, precision manufacturing, assembly and testing that goes into a cinema lens. These lenses represent amazing value.

The XEEN primes are in a very affordable space for many pro videographers and cinematographers who will quickly be able to realize a return on the investment.

You can find pricing on individual XEEN lenses and pre-order HERE.

More to come

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The current three lens set comprises a 24mm, 50mm and 85mm which is a pretty much ideal set for the vast majority of shoot situations. However, it will be filled out with three more yet to be announced focal lengths “coming soon”.

For more information check out the following links.

Official XEEN Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/xeenglobal
XEEN Website: http://www.xeenglobal.com

A great article by Matthew Duclos: Rockinon Takes Aim with New Xeen Cinema Prime Lenses

First Look Xeen Cinema Primes by Cam Noir on Vimeo:

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Ebrahim SadaawiOnsetoffline | Two New Xeen Cinema Lenses from Samyang Recent comment authors
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Jorge De Silva
MemberAugust 11th, 2015

The only “problem” in the article for me is:

“Zeiss Compact Primes and Canon Cinema Primes”

Well the “Second Generation” of Sony Cinealta PL lenses are way better then the CP2 and the Canons. In reality they are on the same league of the Zeiss Ultras for the price of the XEEN lenses… Only difference is the image circle for that lenses are S-35 instead of Full frame. Anyway… cinema Standart is still S-35.

Ronald Vonk
Ronald Vonk
GuestAugust 11th, 2015

Hmmm nice!

Jorge De Silva
Jorge De Silva
GuestAugust 11th, 2015

The only “problem” in the article for me is:

“Zeiss Compact Primes and Canon Cinema Primes”

Well the “Second Generation” of Sony Cinealta PL lenses are way better then the CP2 and the Canons. In reality they are on the same league of the Zeiss Ultras for less the price of the XEEN lenses… Only difference is the image circle for that lenses are S-35 instead of Full frame. Anyway… cinema Standart is still S-35.

Alex Zemtsov
Alex Zemtsov
GuestAugust 11th, 2015

Pretty sure Duclos said they are using the same optics as the VDSLR line.

Richard Lackey
Richard Lackey
GuestAugust 12th, 2015

Yep, they are the same optics, only the coatings have changed. This was unclear in the article so I changed the wording, I’ll add the link to Duclos article too, read that yesterday and it’s very helpful. Thanks for the feedback!

Michael Hammar
Michael Hammar
GuestAugust 11th, 2015

Hmm… I don’t buy into the “X amount of reasons Y is great”. It’s just too Marketing 101— and has the opposite effect on me…. (YMMV)

Patrick Stephan Marshall
Patrick Stephan Marshall
GuestAugust 11th, 2015

i don’t know. i read that the internal design is the same as with their standard line, so you are basically paying 1500,- more for a housing – and apparently for some new coating.
I mean i like Samyang and i love their cine primes (certainly best bang for buck), but i am not sure if that’s really worth it.

Ian McCann
MemberMarch 15th, 2016

The mechanical design is vital, too, just not sexy.

I have a colleague who had problems with a Samyang lens not changing aperture when he adjusted the iris ring. Months later, I had the exact same problem with a different Samyang. Unfortunately, for me I also had focus issues, where after easing past perfect focus, by a very small amount, I would correct but only after a huge rotation in the opposite direction was focus found. So the mechanics are unreliable and imprcise.

Imagine telling the director, after the actors delivered a great take, that you need a reshoot, because the focus, or pulling iris, did not quite work-out. Imagine doing it again and again. Imagine the director’s and actors’ state of mind, their performance when full of frustration and emotion, imagine the schedule and the budget. Imagine never working again.

Its kind of like 2 cars with identical high-powered engines. I’d go for the car with the best build quality so I could rely on the steering, suspension and brakes making the driving experience fun but safe, for many many miles/years.

Power without control is nothing as the Continental tyres ads used to say.

Haitham Elsayed
Haitham Elsayed
GuestAugust 11th, 2015

I have this lenses

Alexander Tardif
Alexander Tardif
MemberAugust 11th, 2015

Ok, and? Feedback? Sample footage? Anything?

Phil L
Phil L
MemberAugust 11th, 2015

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 $2,150.00
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.

Marcel van Leeuwen
MemberAugust 12th, 2015

Well since we are comparing S35 with FF glass, Veydra just annouced they are going to make Sony E-mount (so S35) versions of the new MFT only lenses (and also a C-mount). They are cheaper also .. but hey … S35 vs FF ..

Eric Darling
MemberAugust 13th, 2015

Well, for most folks, FF vs. S35 doesn’t matter – unless you’re shooting on a RED Dragon or for some awkward reason you’re running real cine lenses on a 5D… Not saying the Veydras won’t look good on a Sony camera, but I’m not sure that the image circle of a given lens has any bearing on quality.

Ebrahim Saadawi
Ebrahim Saadawi
GuestAugust 13th, 2015

Full Frame is growing in the cinema/video world and will continue to grow. If I am buying a universal lens set with interchangeable mount I’d much prefer they cover FF. There are many FF camera solution being used for video now as many love the aesthetic it renders in depth of field.

-Canon 5D (and in 14bit raw, one of the highest quality images available today)
-Canon 1DC (at 4K mode is 1.2/1.3x crop therefore needs a FF lens)
-Sony A7s (massive hit among videographers)
-Sony A7RII
-Nikons D750 and D810 which are highly praised for great video

and all the S35 sensors that are being used as FF with a Speedbooster (very common)

-Sony A6000 + SB
-Sony A7s in s35 + SB (to improve rolling shutter, a very common practice)
-Sony A7RII in s35 + SB (Best 4K mode)
-Sony FS100 + SB
-Sony FS700 + SB (very common)
-Sony FS7 + SB (very very common)
-GH4 + GH4SB (1080p is 1.2x crop)
-Kinifinity cinema + KineSB (FF 1x crop)

and of course the high end cinema cameras that are going larger than s35 like
-Red Epic 6K mode (1.3x, very commonly used camera)
-Red Weapon 8K Visavision
-Arri Alexa Open Gate (1.2x)
-Canon HSf20 (4million ISO, FF)

My point is having FF coverage is a great addition and will be used by a huge number of cinemato/videographers.

Our viewers are liking FF for some reason (especially lower end clients, I believe it’s due to the DOF/FOV aesthetic) and companies are pushing lots of great video FF solutions.

Takeshi Fukushima
Takeshi Fukushima
MemberOctober 23rd, 2015

Just to add on to Ebrahim, a7s II-s are FF and don’t do crop mode in 4k, so will need FF coverage. Lenses are not cheap. and if you are going to invest on them, you should think about 3,4 generations of cameras down the line.

Ian McCann
MemberMarch 15th, 2016

For me I’d rather have s35 so my wide angle lenses actually deliver wide angle field of view. But I accept that many use FF DSLRs etc for cine shooting although I do think it a bit odd to use a £1500 camera for cinework with a set of say six cine primes costing many times that amount.

There are of course many new and lower cost s35 cine cameras being sold, too so lenses for both s35 and FFDSLRs should be welcomed, especially the s35 type as the cost of most legacy s35 cine lenses would make a glass eye weep. Even a set of CP2s cost almost £15,000 which for a brilliant but reasonably affordable camera such as an FS7 or FS5 is disproportionately expensive. And Master Primes are about £15,000 each so you do the maths.

Ali Wael
Ali Wael
GuestAugust 12th, 2015

super

Takeshi Fukushima
Takeshi Fukushima
MemberOctober 23rd, 2015

Looks like a nice set.
I never paid any attention on what lens housings are made out of, but is Aluminium a good material? I thought Aluminium was a soft metal.

Joy Elaine Watkins
MemberNovember 1st, 2015

Great article! My personal favorite is the Sony Cinealta. I’ve only done a camera for hire http://www.aimimage.com/benefits-of-camera-hire/ to use one and I loved it!

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