Best Lens Announcements of 2016
2016 was the year that gorgeous cinema lenses became available for the mass market. Unless you previously worked on Game of Thrones, getting your hands on a lens from Angenieux was a distant dream, or relegated to very special shoots. Thanks to companies like SIGMA, ZEISS, Tokina and Angenieux themselves, we’ve seen new “budget” cinema-friendly primes and zooms pop up throughout the year. Here are our picks for the best lens announcements of 2016:
Zeiss LWZ.3 21-100mm T2.9-T3.9 (EF, PL, MFT): cinema5D’s very own Nino Leitner took the Zeiss LWZ.3 21-100 T2.9-T3.9 to South Africa earlier this year and loved it for field doc shooting, except for the lack of a servo control. My very favorite documentary shooting lens range falls right in line with the Canon 24-105 F4 w/IS, so 21-100 is an excellent range for doc coverage in my opinion. With a price tag of $9,900, this is also a rare sub-10K purchase option from Zeiss. With a weight of 4.4 lbs, this zoom also won’t break your back while filming in the field.
SIGMA Cinema Lenses (EF, Sony-E, PL): We announced SIGMA’s impressive lineup of new cinema zooms and primes after IBC earlier this year. The Sigma FF High Speed Cinema Prime lineup, shipping in 2017, will be available in focal lengths of 20mm, 24mm, 35mm, 50mm and 85mm, all at a speedy T1.5. The two new Super 35 SIGMA High Speed Cinema Zooms covering 18-35mm and 50-100mm at T2.0 are slowly making their way out into the wild, too. We are currently working on a review of the two High Speed Cinema Zooms, and they look great with no visible vignetting until you reach 6K at 18mm. Both of the high speed S35 zooms are priced at a fantastic $3,999 and carry the prestigious ART lens pedigree into their image.
The High-Speed Zooms are available for purchase and the primes are available for pre-order HERE.
Tokina Cinema Primes (EF, PL): Announced at IBC 2016, the Tokina 35mm, 50mm, 85mm T1.5 cinema primes are being touted by cinematographers such as Phil Holland for their coverage of the 8K RED Helium sensor. As for their price, the Tokinas are competitive with the indie favorite Zeiss CP.2 lineup, priced at between $3,999.00 and $4,499.00. Tokina also introduced their “affordable” cinema zooms earlier in the year, such as the Tokina Cinema 11-16 T3.0, Tokina Cinema 16-28mm T3.0 and Tokina Cinema 50-135mm T3.0.
Angenieux EZ Line (PL): Angenieux’s “affordable” EZ line was also announced this year and is available for pre-order now, with an expected availability in Summer of 2017. Despite the long wait, the chance of getting an Angenieux cine zoom image for a cost of $10,185 makes this a B&H shipment worth waiting for. Available in both Full Frame/VistaVision and Super 35 versions, these new zooms cover 30-90mm T2.0 (EZ-1) and 15-40mm T2.0 (EZ-2) in their S35 configuration.
Available for pre-order HERE.
Sony 18-110mm f/4 G OSS (E): Announced at IBC in Amsterdam, this S35 Sony zoom lens aimed at pro videographers covers a wide range of focal lengths with a consistent F4 aperture throughout. Sony has packed a new technology into this lens called Smooth Motion Optics, which promises to reduce breathing, and remove focus and axis shifting. Optical steady shot (OSS) is also built into this lens for improved handheld work and there are three separate rings for zoom, focus and aperture control.
Available for pre-order HERE. Expected to ship in January, 2017.
ZEISS Otus 28mm f/1.4 ZF.2 Lens (EF, Nikon): The Otus line is quite simply gorgeous and we couldn’t do a list like this without mentioning the ZEISS Otus 28mm f/1.4 that shipped this year in EF and Nikon mounts. This is the kind of lens you want to take out for night-time star timelapses, and although it isn’t especially cheap at $4,990.00, you get what you pay for with this beast of a lens. If you were going to send in any lens in your kit to companies like Duclos Lenses for cine modification, this would be the one.
- XEEN Line from Samyang: The Xeen line of cinema primes is slowly being fleshed out to be a complete set, with the 135mm T2.2 just released this year, albeit at a somewhat slower speed than its predecessors. You can now purchase the complete Xeen set of 14, 24 , 35, 50, 85 and the new 135mm HERE.
- Canon CN-E 18-80mm T4.4 SERVO Cinema Zoom Lens (EF): The Canon CN-E 18-80mm T4.4 features a great focal length range for documentary and includes servo control and image stabilization. The addition of the servo brings smooth zoom moves back as an option on cameras like the Canon C300 MK II. Its price of $5,225.00 makes it an attractive “budget” purchase, but the T4.4 speed is limiting and will mean high ISO shoot days for any interiors. The lens also lacks hard focus stops, which makes it less than ideal for follow focus use. Its auto focus and stabilization tech are also only designed to pair well with Canon Cinema EOS cameras at this time, so if you have a Canon C-line camera already, then this just might be the zoom for you. Purchase HERE.
All around, a great year for optics manufacturers looking to give owner/operators a chance at owning their very own cinema lens kit. Several of the lenses listed above have yet to ship or are just now making their way out into the hands of happy shooters worldwide.