At Photokina, we stumbled across a very odd-looking lens, a quite unusual macro: the 24mm Relay Lens by Chinese brand Laowa (Venus Optics). These lenses are also known as snorkel lenses due to their unusual shape: a long tube with a tiny opening at the end. Let’s take a closer look. With normal Macro lenses, one sometimes runs into the problem of having camera or lens shadows all over your subject, which is why I usually prefer using a 100mm Macro over a 50mm Macro. The wider the lens, the bigger this problem of course, as a wider field of view means a bigger chance of capturing unwanted shadows. Not only that, but it is also physically often very hard to get close enough to your subject with a normal sized macro lens. The Laowa 24mm Macro Relay Lens / Snorkel Lens In come these snorkel lenses, which are niche lenses with very special purposes. For example, dip it underwater without destroying your camera, or get that otherwise impossible shot inside an anthill or small cave. When checking out the lens at the Laowa booth at Photokina, I tried it out at their setup of small plastic soldiers, and the images you can capture are really quite unique. Imagine this on a stabilized rig, doing fast-paced miniature “action cam” between the figures, and you could really achieve quite a unique-looking video. I tried it and you can see a short shot of me doing that in the video above. At f/16, this is of course nothing that can be used under bad lighting. It’s only logical that it’s slow because of the tiny opening and the long tube. Nevertheless, there’s a very shallow depth of field because of the fact that it’s a macro. The Laowa 24mm Macro Relay lens will be available in early 2017, with pricing yet to be determined. From their past offerings, we can expect the price to be quite competitive. Thanks for Stefan Haselgruber for helping out with filming on this video.Read more
The Xeen cinema lenses released last year constitute the apex of Samyang’s catering towards filmmakers. Now, two new models have joined the Xeen family. A few years ago, Samyang’s affordable and all-manual photo prime lenses, became incredibly popular among budget filmmakers. Shortly after that, the Korean manufacturer built upon this initial success and continued to improve their range by featuring de-clicked aperture rings, focus gears and T-stop scales, and the Cine DS line of primes was born. Fast forward to 2015, when Samyang released their Xeen cinema lenses. Check out Richard’s article, from last August, which reveals why they are such a big deal. With an initial line-up of 24mm, 50mm and 85mm, the Xeen range offered a usable yet somewhat limited variety of focal lengths. However, promotional material on the Samyang page had been hinting at the imminent release of 2 new additions to the Xeen line. Well, they have finally been revealed. So, what new focal lengths can we expect from the new Xeen? Samyang is filling the centre gap with the standard and versatile focal length of 35mm. Landing between the 50mm—useful but potentially a little tight in certain situations—and the 24mm, which leans toward the wide angle side, the 35mm focal length will certainly be a welcome addition to the range. The other newcomer fills the gap at the ultra wide-angle end of the spectrum. With the release of a 14mm focal range rated at T3.1, we can see that Samyang’s Xeen range really reflects their previous Cine DS line rather than introducing completely new concepts, at least in what respects to focal lengths and T-stop rating. But Samyang couldn’t wait to leave us wanting for more. Upon revealing these two new additions, a new mystery lens has been added to their promotional material. Although it has been known for a while that there would be a sixth Xeen lens, initial speculation tended towards telephoto, perhaps a 100mm or 135mm. However, as you can see, we might see something quite different indeed. A strong contender for the new upcoming wide angle Samyang Xeen could be an 18mm, a focal length until now not available anywhere in the Samyang catalogue. There are of course other rectilinear wide-angle cine lenses in Samyang’s VDSLR range that they could draw inspiration from. The are, however, designed for APS-C or Micro Four Thirds sensors. All in all, considering the excellent build and image quality of the first three Xeen cinema lenses, we have nothing but high hopes for the new additions to the family. Be sure to check out Richard’s first impressions review for the low down on Samyang’s Xeen cinema lenses.Read more
Here’s a list of all the co-branded Samyang lenses and how to get the best deals on them. These lenses are a good choice for filmmakers on a budget who are looking to shoot with prime lenses that are somewhat cine-worthy.Read more
It seems this lens was announced towards the end of last year, but hasn’t received much coverage within the film making industry. The Samyang 24mm f/3.5 T-S brings tilt shift capabilities to the budget friendly filmmaker for the first time. It’s actually the second time, if you consider post production a viable option. But anyone who’s used a tilt shift lens will confirm that you can’t get the same effects in post, there’s just nothing like the real thing.Read more
If you’ve been shopping affordable manual prime lenses for your HDSLR then you’ve probably stumbled upon or even own the famous Samyang / Rokinon lenses like the $500 35mm f/1.4 or the $400 14mm ultra-wide. [UPDATE]: cinema5D member Gumzster informed me that the 8mm fisheye already exists as a cine version. [UPDATE 2]: The Samyang 35mm T1.5 Cine lenses is now available for pre-order $549: “Rokinon 35mm T1.5 cine lens will be available in U.S in few weeks and Rokinon 24mm T1.5 & 14mm T3.1 cine lens will be available in U.S in September.”Read more
Hardware Image stabilization is undeniably convenient when shooting handheld. Canon’s new EF 24mm f2.8 IS USM and EF 28mm f2.8 IS USM offer that convenience in two full frame, wide angle prime lenses. The lenses are available for pre-order and B&H expects them at June 17th.Read more
We only send updates about our most relevant articles. No spam, guaranteed! And if you don't like our newsletter, you can unsubscribe with a single click. Read our full opt-out policy here.