First Impressions of the CELERE HS Prime Lenses

CELERE HS prime lenses, manufactured in Germany, were first introduced in 2015. What makes these lenses special is that they are high-quality, affordable cine lenses with uniformed weight and size. Cinematographer Konstantin Konstantinou had a chance to work with the new lenses and shares his experience with them in this guest article.

–  Intro by Sebastian Wöber


Working with CELERE HS Prime Lenses

Two weeks ago I had the chance to shoot a TV commercial with the new CELERE HS prime lenses, made by the German company Hanse Inno Tech, who are most commonly known for their camera support accessories.

Disclaimer: I’m not an employee or affiliate, nor do I receive any money from Hanse Inno Tech for this article.

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Celere HS 85mm T/1.5 Cine Lens

So why on earth would I take a new, not even finished set of PL prime lenses (I only could get hold of the 25, 36 and 85mm) to shoot an actual TV commercial?

A few weeks ago I read about these newly developed lenses here on cinema5D and became a little curious about them. Four lenses with a maximum aperture of T1.5, slight form factor overall with the same dimensions (!) (weight: 1050 g (2.31 lb) with 85mm front diameter and 77mm filter threads!). All of them color matched—for the same amount of money that would buy me a new VW Polo, fake emission values included. Sounded more than affordable!

So I called Lars Andersen from Hanse Inno Tech, and he arranged for me to get the set for a small test. I’m a cinematographer, not a tech-guy, so I thought I’ll let the others film their charts and try the CELEREs in an actual production environment—and here’s how they performed:

Celere HS in use

I must admit, after two days of shooting, I’m really impressed. They’re “the best bang for your buck” you can get at the moment if you’re looking for true PL cinema glass! Don’t get me wrong; they aren’t Cookes, nor are they Masterprimes—and nothing like Leica Summilux-Cs. Keep in mind, however; these lenses will cost you at least 5x as much as the CELEREs. For their price (€11.800,- for a set of 4), they deliver solid performance.

The Celeres play more in the price range of CP.2s, Samyang XEENs, or rehoused GL Optics glass. In all honesty, though, they knock all of them out in the very first round! If you take a set of CP.2s for example (25, 35, 50, 85) you’re going to spend about €21,000 (almost double the price) and only the 35, 50 and 85 are super speeds. The Zeiss CP2 25mm (which is one of the worst CP.2s I have ever used – better take the Zeiss CP2 21mm T2.9) has a maximum aperture of T2.1.

The CELEREs are sharp stopped down from T2, deliver a beautiful and not too saturated, not clinically sharp image with a nice contrast, and their focus breathing is minimal. The focus rings travel 250° (which is nice if you don’t pull your own focus) and both the focus and iris are smoothly damped.

Overall finish is beautiful, and they just feel like they were made by a German engineer (which they were). Because of their small size, you can put (when available) a set of 6 lenses in a single case. Which is an excellent benefit for owner/operators.

We shot the commercial on the Arri ALEXA, and the CELEREs delivered a beautiful image—they are constructed to cover a full-frame sensor, and so we found no vignetting or distortion on the edges of the Alexa’s super35 sensor. Of course, wide open at T1.5 you will get some corner softness.

Celere HS with Alexa ARRI

The AC’s Take on the CELERE HS Prime Lenses

When taking the lenses out of the case for the first time, my 1st AC and Steadicam operator Martin Kreslehner was more than curious. But after handling them for over two days, he wanted to keep them and send back an empty case! What impressed him the most was the uniform weight (as an SC operator, this is a key feature for him).

The transparent back-caps seem a little strange at first (they are a little stiff to put on the lenses because of their o-rings). But if you have ever accidentally dropped the cap of an Ultra Prime into a muddy puddle when taking the lens out of the case, you will appreciate these caps made by TLS. Just another very well thought out aspect of these lenses.


So, after a full weekend of using the CELEREs on an actual commercial shoot, what are my final thoughts? Would I buy them? Would I recommend others to purchase a set?

The lenses truly met—and exceeded—our expectations. With the possibility to change the PL mount to Canon EF in the near future, and the not yet ready but newly developed exchangeable front lenses (this lets you match the look of your set to almost any other PL set on the market), at their price range, they really rock!

This is the first in-between PL Set, having cinevised still lenses on one side and expensive cinema glass on the other end of the spectrum (both quality—and price—wise). If you plan to upgrade from stills to cinema glass, consider the CELERE HS primes as a valuable and future-proof investment.

If you are not completely sold yet, rent them and buy after the exchangeable front lenses are available (at least that’s what I’m going to do).

The CELERE HS Prime Lenses are available at:

Unfortunately the TV commercial is still in post production. Here are a few films shot on CELERE HS lenses:

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Stefan Sietzen Reply
Stefan Sietzen March 23, 2016

vermietet die irgendwer in Wien?

Daniel Dajakaj Reply
Daniel Dajakaj March 23, 2016

ab anfang april gibt es die bei mir zur miete :)
Mit PL bzw. auch mit Vario Mount (EF)

Benedict M. Heinzl Reply
Benedict M. Heinzl March 23, 2016

gut zu wissen ;)

Konstantin Konstantinou Reply
Konstantin Konstantinou March 23, 2016

Das Set, das wir getestet haben hat Richy Bayerl – ich denke, der vermietet sie gern :-)

 Richard Bayerl Reply
Richard Bayerl March 23, 2016

dachte mir gleich daß sie euch gefallen! warte zwar immer noch auf die 50er, sollte aber in kürze da sein!

Richard Bayerl Reply
Richard Bayerl March 23, 2016

hätte sie auch…

Ryan Castañeda Reply
Ryan Castañeda March 23, 2016

Can’t wait to rent them, any of these lenses in California?

 Dain Fuentes Reply
Dain Fuentes March 24, 2016

Ryan, Hot Rod Cameras is the exclusive U.S. dealer of Celere lenses. We’re not aware of any sets available for rental in Los Angeles yet. We’re expecting one set to be available for rental within the next few months.

Derek Brandon Reply
Derek Brandon March 23, 2016


Jono Cowan Reply
Jono Cowan March 24, 2016

Miles Bence

 Robert Jacobs Reply
Robert Jacobs March 24, 2016

Housing looks nice. Isn’t breathing a problem? The demos they show on their site show a LOT of breathing.

Celere Lenses March 24, 2016

Hi Robert,
can you try to be more specific, which lenses on our website showed a lot of breathing and compared to which lenses. I was there when a cinematographer shot the tests, what we saw and captured on video was that the Celere HS lenses were breathing less than the Ultra Primes and slightly more than the Summicron-C’s. Have you ever compared a Cooke S4’s breathing to the Celere’s? Do we need to discuss CP’s breathing in comparison? What we have been saying for months now, is do not listen to what we say, test the lenses for yourself, post the results! This is what some people have been doing over the last months, they have posted some beautiful images shot with our lenses. I was glad to read this post, it only confirms what we have been saying since October last year, best bang for your buck!

 Robert Jacobs Reply
Robert Jacobs March 24, 2016

The 25mm on your site demonstrates significant breathing. The Zeiss Ultra Prime 24mm it’s compared against exhibits relatively little breathing. I know the lower-end CP.2s, CN-Es and Xeens can breath, too. The tests I’ve seen leave the impression that it’s not as much as the 25mm, but since I’m not looking at the same scene with all lenses, perhaps I’m getting a false impression.

Regardless, I think it’s great that you’re giving cinematographers another choice with optics that have some very nice characteristics at a nice price.

Celere Lenses March 24, 2016

Hi Robert,
I looked at the footage online, it is tough to say. I think in the near future we will reshoot the breathing tests, compared to other lenses. There is no breathing test chart for the Celere 25mm, it is not easy to judge. Besides, since these tests were done last fall, we have implemented two major changes to the Celere 25mm. One of the changes have shown an increased sharpness wide open for example. Thanks Robert for your reply, and your critical eye!

Majeed Zaitoun Reply
Majeed Zaitoun March 24, 2016

How much ?

Celere Lenses March 24, 2016

Hi Majeed,
we have the prices listed on our website:

Basically, 3600 Euros/lens or 14,400 Euros for 4 lenses.

Hope this helps!