Canon Sumire Primes NAB 2019

The Canon Sumire Prime Series, are a range of seven fast T-stop cinema prime lenses, all with an interchangeable PL mount, which can be modified to an EF mount.

The lenses consist of:

Canon Sumire Primes First Look

It’s only taken eight years, but Canon finally decided to make prime cine lenses with a PL mount. When I asked Canon at NAB as to why it has taken so long, they couldn’t tell me.

Canon Sumire Primes First Look
24mm CN-E on the left and the 24mm Sumire on the right

At first glance, the Sumire (pronounced ‘Soo-mee-ray’, is Japanese for violet – the flower not the color) Primes look almost exactly the same as the existing CN-E Prime lenses. They have the same focal lengths, same T-stops and are almost identical in size and weight. So what’s different?All seven Sumire Prime Series lensesAccording to Canon, the new full-frame Sumire Prime lenses feature a completely new optical design. They have been designed to have a “softer” look that allows them to create a more organic looking image. 

Canon Sumire Primes First Look

I’m not quite sure just how much the optical design differs from the CN-E Primes. I asked Canon if these lenses were just CN-E primes with different lens coatings, and I was told no. Still image from launch videoCanon claims that the Sumire subtly modify the textural renderings of the human face, and have a smooth fall-off to out of focus areas.

Canon Sumire lenses

The lenses feature a large diameter aspheric element and anomalous dispersion glass, that Canon says “Offers a delicate, velvety nuance when the aperture approaches its maximum setting during shooting. This unique optical design results in solid and natural image rendering, bringing impressive image quality and warmer tones to cinema productions.”

All seven lenses have an 11-blade iris which Canon says “Provides cinematographers with richer levels of rounded bokeh for better impression of subjects and softer rays of light – perfect for creating intimate shots that direct the viewer’s attention to specific details.” 

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The Sumire lenses are claimed to have the same uniform color balance as CN-E primes. Just like the CN-E primes, the Sumire Primes all share the same 114mm front barrel diameter, 300° focus rotation, 36° iris rotation, and focus and iris gear positions.

The Sumire lenses have the personality and look of older optics, but with a modern twist. We are seeing a lot of lens manafacturers now coming out with modern day optics that have been designed to try take the harsh edge off digital cinema cameras. It’s interesting to see that as resolutions have gone up, more and more cinematographers are looking for lenses that have a softer, more organic look. I’m not quite sure why Canon decided to give the new lenses a name that no one is going to be able to pronounce correctly. From a marketing persepective, I personally think it would have made more sense to call them something like K-35X. 

Canon Sumire Primes First Look

You can swap the mount between PL and EF. The PL mount on the Sumire lenses can be changed to EF mount. Now, unfortunately, this is not something you can do yourself. It has to be done at a Canon Service Center or authorized Canon dealer. It’s important to note that if you do swap them over to EF, those EF mounts do not have any electrical contacts.

Price & Availability

The Canon Sumire Primes will cost $7,410 USD per lens. 

This is almost double the cost of the CN-E Primes. The CN-E primes cost between $3,950 USD and $4,220 USD each. 

The 24, 35, and 50mm focal lengths will start shipping in July, with the 14, 20, 85 and 135mm to be released somewhere between Augiust 2019 and January 2020.

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