Four years ago, when Samyang/Rokinon introduced their own take on cinema prime lenses, the XEEN lineup was born. Now, for IBC 2019, they introduce a new and improved line, called XEEN CF. Again, the first triple of lenses cover 24mm, 50mm, and 85mm, all three rated T1.5.
XEEN CF lenses are more compact and much lighter than the original XEEN lenses. The CF stands for Carbon Fiber and that’s one of the reasons these lenses are pretty lightweight indeed. Compared to the original XEEN 24mm with EF mount which tipped the scale at 1.2kg (2.6 lbs), the newer XEEN CF 24mm (again, with EF mount) only weights 900g (2.0 lbs). It’s smaller in size as well: 98.5 mm (3.88″) in length. The original XEEN pendant measures 121.7 mm (4.8″).
XEEN CF Cinema Prime Lenses
Since these are being advertised as cinema prime lenses, the XEEN CF sport all the good stuff you would expect: Smooth iris, long focus throw (200°), 0.8 pitched gears, lots of focus marks on the lens barrel, a decent number of aperture blades (11) and, of course, full-frame coverage!
If that list above isn’t satisfying enough, fear not! There’s more:
- T1.5 aperture
- Bidirectional scales for pulling focus from both, operators or AC’s, side of the lens.
- Unified positions of gears and same front diameter (95mm) for swapping lens hassle-free
- Fully luminous paint for all markings on the lens
- “X-Coating” for controlling flares, ghosting and internal reflections
- Three mounts to choose from: EF, E-Mount or PL
- Supports resolutions up to 8K
All these features are nice to see and they sure seem to be impressive on paper, but what about optical performance? Well, we haven’t had a chance to try one of these new XEEN CF lenses, yet (but we will sure do at IBC 2019 – our team is working the show floor as we speak!). The only hint we got so far is the video by Samyang below in which you can see some samples shot on XEEN CF lenses as well as some BTS footage.
Unfortunately, the video is only HD, a 4K version would be more adequate in order to really judge these new lenses but that’s what we have so far.
As you can see, the XEEN CF lenses make a lot of sense when used with a gimbal such as the Ronin 2 pictured in the video above. All three available lenses, 24mm, 50mm and 85mm, sport the same dimensions, same gear positions, and same front diameters. The 85mm is 100g (0.2 lbs) heavier than the other two, that’s it. perfect for quick lens swaps, especially on a gimbal or Steadicam.
Here is a quick overview of all the specs regarding the three available XEEN CF cine primes: 24mm T1.5, 50mm T1.5, and 85mm T1.5. Parts of the lens body is made of carbon fiber but the overall lens body is made of aluminum.
So what’s next, you might ask? The XEEN CF instruction manual offers more specs of upcoming focal lengths: The alert reader will find specifications about a 16mm T2.6 lens and a 35mm T1.5 lens. According to Samyang/Rokinon, the 16mm and 35mm primes will be released in early 2020. You can check out the manual here.
For now, only the 24mm, the 50mm, and the 85mm represent the official launch trio but as stated above, the lineup will grow quickly.
Pricing and Availability
The first three focal lengths 24mm, 50mm, and 85mm should be available soon. You can preorder these XEEN CF cine primes fitted with your mount of choice (EF, E, PL) through official channels. Each lens is $2,495.00.
Links: XEEN Website
What do you think of these XEEN CF lenses? Did you use the original XEENs? Share your thoughts in the comments below!