Cine lenses at Photokina 2016

I’ve heard from Dan Chung at News Shooter that Sigma lenses weren’t shootable samples and publication of images was prohibited as they were a pre-production models.
Nobody at Sigma told me that. I asked them openly if I could record the footage on the Odyssey 7Q. They said ok, as long as I don’t mess with the settings on the cameras. You can see from the photos below that I didn’t and couldn’t hide what I was doing.

I recently visited Photokina 2016 in Köln the biggest photo exhibition in Europe. It is primary a photo show but lately the interconnection between photo and video is very prominent. I went there with the guys from Lumu. They were presenting their new Lumu Power, a device that transforms your iPhone to light and colour meter. But more on that in a later post.

I wanted to test a few lenses that I haven’t had the chance to see before. The new Sigma CINE lenses, SLR Magic ANAMORPHOT-CINE lenses and Schneider-Kreuznach Cine-Xenar III and Xenon FF-Prime lenses.

Below you can find some footage shot with those lenses at the booths. All exhibitors were so kind to let me connect my Odyssey 7Q recorder on the cameras they had there so that I could record some footage with the lenses.

I was most eager to test the new Sigma CINE line. They were announced this year at the IBC show. It comprises five FF High Speed Primes, two High Speed Zooms and one Full Frame Zoom. All will be available in E-mount, EF mount and PL mount, except the FF zoom which won’t be available in PL mount. They will be out later this year costing from 3999$ down. The High Speed Zooms will be the priciest and they have their prices announced, but according to Sigma representative at the booth the primes will be cheaper. I wasn’t interested in the FF Zoom as there won’t be a PL mount version available. The E-mount and EF mount lenses communicate with the camera so that you have the aperture and focus distance info on the camera.

The lenses are basically their Global Vision still lenses lineup rehoused. So they are optically photo lenses with the new Cine mechanical structure.

I only tried the 50mm Prime and the two High Speed Zooms (18-35mm and 50-100mm).

The 50mm has minimal breathing, lovely bokeh rendered with rounded diaphragm and minimal flaring in an interesting yellow and blue colour. The 50-100mm zoom is the worst in my opinion. The breathing is severe. The range is also the least useful for me. T2 is great for the zoom. I was so bothered by breathing that everything else great on this lens faded away. The aperture diaphragm also seemed the least rounded. 18-35mm doesn’t have the breathing problems of its bigger brother. Out of focus highlights have some rings in them but otherwise the bokeh is ok. The lens also has a lovely greenish yellow flare. The loveliest of them all.

I think that 18-35mm T2 fast zoom and the T1.5 Primes will be lovely lenses in it’s price range. I would need to test the other primes besides the 50mm.

Next in the line for the test was the SLR Magic ANAMORPHOT-CINE 35mm T2.4 2x Anamorphic lens MFT. It was attached to the GH4 at the Panasonic booth. The setup there was preventing me to connect my recorder but they let me record internally on my SD card. If I wanted to record internally in 4K I couldn’t connect external monitor so I had to pull focus on the built in monitor and that is why some shots aren’t quite in focus.

This is a lovely lens to have. Flares are magnificent, precisely what would you expect from the anamorphic lens. There is some horizontal breathing when focusing but that is also expected from this kind of lens and it is not to severe. I would love to try their whole 2x Anamorphic MFT line and also 1.33X PL mount line (35mm, 50mm, 70mm). Maybe the set needs two more lenses on both ends.

The third manufacturer I visited was Schneider-Kreuznach. I already own a Schneider Kreuznach Variogon 1:2/18-90 C-mount lens which I used extensively on my Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera so I was really looking forward to test some of their newer lenses. They have two lines of lenses. The low end line Xenon FF-Prime lenses and the high end line Cine-Xenar III.

Both lines are similar in lens focal length offerings, with maximum apertures ranging from T2 to T2.4. Cine-Xenar III line are mechanically better in Canon EF-S and PL mount and ultra close focus down to 26cm/11″ from sensor plane, but the Xenon line offers full frame coverage and an additional F mount (interchangeable mounts). I liked the flaring of the Xenon line better as it is more pronounced.

The footage was shot on different cameras and there are some differences between the cameras (Panasonic GH4, Red Epic, Arri Amira, Blackmagic Ursa 4.6K, Sony FS7, Canon C300).


Panasonic booth


SLR Magic Anamorphot


Recording footage of Arri Amira


Sigma 18-35mm High Speed Zoom


Recording setup at Sigma booth