Wednesday, 7 May 2014

New Cine lenses from Samyang

When Samyang, the South Korean optics company, designs a new lens, the make the most out of it. Not only do the market it under a number of different names, including Rokinon, Bower, Walimex, Vivitar, Falcon, Opteka, Polar and Pro-Optics. They also make the lens design available with a number of different mounts, usually many mirrorless and DSLR mounts.

To top this off, they also tend to make two versions of the lenses, even in the same mount. They often make special "Cine" versions of existing lens designs. The Cine versions are made specifically for video use. They recently launched Cine versions of three lenses.



The main differences between the ordinary lenses, and their Cine variants, are:

  • The maximum brightness is specified in T-stops, rather than f-stops. The difference is that T-stops specifies the maximum light transmission, including light loss inside the lens. f-stops, on the other hand, only specify the max aperture size, not the actual light transmission. Hence, the T-rating is always smaller (bigger number) than the f-rating.

    Here are the specifications from the new lenses from Samyang, illustrating this:

    LensSamyang 7.5mmSamyang 10mmSamyang 12mm
    f-stop
    3.5
    2.8
    2.0
    T-stop
    3.8
    3.1
    2.2
  • The aperture ring is stop-less. This makes it easier to adjust it smoothly, which is better for video use.
  • The aperture and focus rings have geared rings. For connecting the lens to a motorized camera rig. This is typically done when you want very precise and smooth changes to the focus or aperture. With a remote controlled motor, you can operate the focus and aperture more ergonomically, and also more smoothly.

The three lenses are:

Samyang Cine 7.5mm T/3.8


The ordninary version, the Samyang 7.5mm f/3.5 fisheye (my review) is a very good lens, at a reasonable price. It is one of the very good value for money lenses in Micro Four Thirds. The lens is very compact and light, and has a nice metal construction and a smooth, well dampened focus ring.

The Cine version is essentially the same, but has the geared rings, the stepless aperture:


Personally, I don'y see the need for this specific cine lens. One does not normally need to change the focus much one the original lens anyway. It is only with closeups that one needs to operate the focus ring of the fisheye lens. And how often do you video record in closeup mode?

Samyang Cine 10mm T/3.1


This is the Cine version of the Samyang 10mm f/2.8. This lens is designed for APS-C DSLR cameras, which makes it unnecessarily large. If it had been designed for mirrorless cameras from the start, with a shorter register distance, the lens would have required a less complicated retrofocal design, making it much smaller and lighter.

This is one of the very widest APS-C DSLR rectilinear prime lenses. At a fairly reasonable price, this makes it good value for money.

The Cine version has the normal characteristics and looks:


Personally, I would get the Nikon F mount version of the lens, with a basic adapter. Functionally, it would be the same as buying the Micro Four Thirds version, but you would be free to use the lens on other camera mounts later, if needed. It makes your lens investment more flexible.

Samyang Cine 12mm T/2.2


Unlike the previous lens, this one is designed for mirrorless cameras from the start, making it fairly small, even if it is a wide and fast lens.


Should you buy this lens, or the Olympus 12mm f/2, with the same basic specifications, but autofocus in addition? The ordinary version of the Samyang 12mm f/2 is about half the price. And with the focus peaking feature of modern Micro Four Thirds cameras, focusing manually is quite easy. So the Samyang lens is a good alternative.

LensOlympus 12mm f/2Samyang 12mm f/2
PriceUS$750US$400
AutofocusYesNo
Filter thread46mm67mm
Diameter56mm73mm
Length43mm59mm
Weight130g260g
Lens elements/groups11/812/10
Number of aperture blades76
Hood suppliedNoYes


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