Wednesday, September 12, 2012

New EF Mount Cinema Lenses

One of the problems with shooting films on DSLR and a few other new cinema cameras is that lens choices are severely limited. Really, the only choice for a true cinema lens with a Canon mount is the Zeiss CP.2 compact primes at over $4,000 per lens. Up until now, the next best thing was simply using still lenses, which are very difficult to pull focus on, are prone to breathing when focusing and do not have gears for a follow focus to make use of. They also have an obvious visible transition from f-stop to f-stop. Of course, film makers have had to find work-arounds and make modifications--or simply accept these problems as a part of their productions.

Rokinon has recently released the first couple of lenses in their new Cine Lens series. They solve all of the above problems and have a consistent front diameter between lenses, which is a real time-saver when working with a mattebox and rail system. The 8mm Fisheye and 14mm lenses (T3.5 and T3.1 respectively) have been released already and the 24mm is coming any day. The 24, 35 and 85 lenses will all have a T1.5 rating, which is even better than the Zeiss CP.2's, most of which are at T2.1. Now, no one is saying these are better lenses than the Zeiss. They still do not have as long a focus throw as the CP.2's and the glass is not quite at the same level. Early reviews, however, say that the Rokinons are very sharp (aside from maybe the 8mm) and are great lenses--and the stuff they have had on the market for still shooters is top-knotch. Here's the thing. For an average price of only $600 per lens, you really can't go wrong using them for most projects. Low budget indy films will all be shot on these lenses for the next couple of years, since you can purchase a set for the same price you would pay to rent Zeiss lenses for a month of shooting. Definitely worth a look.