Samyang’s range of VDSLR prime lenses offer a good deal for anyone looking to build up a range of focal lengths on a budget. If you’ve got a bit more to spend the XEEN cine lens are an interesting proposition. They’re considerably more expensive than the VDSLR range even though they share the same optical design, but for the extra money you get all-metal construction, geared iris and focus rings, witness marks and a consistently sized front barrel. Image is also supposedly improved too with better coatings. They’re available in PL, Sony E-Mount, Canon EF and Micro Four Thirds versions so they’re suitable for use on a wide variety of different cameras.
Until now the XEEN range has been comprised of 24mm, 50mm and 85mm lenses, so the addition of 14mm and 35mm options rounds the selection out a bit – in fact there’s also a carry case designed to accept a complete set. We previously tested the 24mm and 85mm lenses here. More XEEN lenses are expected soon.
But just how different are the XEEN 35 and 14mm images? Are they a significant step up from the VDSLR versions?
At BVE in London where they were on show we bumped into DP Geoff Boyle and as well as a wide-ranging chat about the state of the camera industry, we pressed him into service as a model while we pointed both the XEEN and Samyang 35mm and 14mm lenses at him (mounted on a C300 MkII camera).
This was far from being a scientific test – done in a bit of a hurry with borrowed lenses on a show floor dominated by a very bright central display that switched on and off. Nevertheless although the differences between the two lenses are subtle, when you see them side-by-side there does seem to be a little more contrast in the XEEN – particularly in the 35mm examples where the Samyang appears a bit flatter by comparison. Bokeh does however look very similar wide open, which comes as little surprise.
While they’re considerably more expensive than their VDSLR counterparts, in the rarified world of cine lenses the XEENs are very competitively priced – and if you think the additional features of the cinemised body might be useful to you, the new XEEN lenses are available now for around £1599 inc VAT each.
You can find out more about the lenses on the XEEN website.