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.
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.
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
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
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.
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: