Rokinon Xeen 14mm T3.1, 35mm T1.5 & 85mm T1.5 Review

In our search for affordable cine lens options to equip the new Sony FS7 II, we got our hands on a set of cine primes from Xeen by Rokinon. The Xeen cine primes come in a wide array of focal lengths, with a maximum aperture range from T1.5 up to T3.1. The three lenses we tested are the 14mm T3.1, 35mm T1.5 and 85mm T1.5.

These lenses aren’t new to the market, but they hold a valuable place in the marketplace. At just $2,500 dollars, they have all the high-end features with a low price tag. With the new Zeiss CP.3s costing from $4,400 dollars up to $6,100 dollars, the Xeens cost almost three times less. 

Rokinon Xeen 14mm T3.1, 35mm T1.5 & 85mm T1.5 Review
Rokinon Xeen 14mm T3.1, 35mm T1.5 & 85mm T1.5 Review

Never heard of Xeen? Maybe you have heard of Rokinon — yeah, we thought so. But just in case, maybe you have heard of Samyang? Yup, they are all part of the same company. Just like car manufactures, Samyang offers a different brand depending on what kind of budget you’re working with. The most affordable is Samyang, then slightly up from there is Rokinon, with Xeen at the top of the line.

While Xeen is related to both Rokinon and Samyang, let’s not get these lenses confused. Xeen is heads and shoulders above the other brands. Choose from eight different focal lengths, from 14mm up to 135mm. They all cost the same, regardless of focal length. They are offered in five different camera mounts. You can choose from PL, Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony E or Micro Four Thirds.

Specs

Xeen lenses share most specs across the line. They differ in focal length, actual length, and weight. They are assembled in Korea and cover full-frame sensors. They have an internal focus design with multi-coating for color consistency. They offer dual-side focus and 200 degrees of focus rotation, as well as T-stop ratings. The 14mm has a nine-bladed iris, while the 35mm and 85mm have eleven. They also have cinema gearing for focus and iris rings. Lastly, they all have a 114mm front diameter.

The one spec we would have liked to see shared is their overall length. This would allow you to swap out each lens without having to change the positioning of your matte box.  The 14mm is the shortest, out of the set we reviewed, at 4.5 inches. The 35mm and 85mm do share the same length at 5.8 inches. Though they all have different weights, it shouldn't make much difference as they aren’t too far off each other. The 14mm weighs 41.4 ounces, the 35mm comes in at 48.7 ounces, and the 85mm is 44.1 ounces.

Their Feel

These lenses are robust. They are built with aluminum alloy housings, so they aren’t as heavy as they look. The units we reviewed are E-mount, and like other E-Mount Cine lenses we have reviewed, they offer a long barrel before the mount. The barrel places the lens at the correct distance relative to the sensor location. In the case of E-mount, it’s further away.

Out and About

The key to success with primes is choosing the right focal length for the shot. It was nice having a wide, normal and telephoto lens to choose from. It’s too bad that only some of the lenses match in length. However, at the price point, it’s a small price to pay.

We started out shooting the 14mm with a Sony FS7 II in a redwood grove. At first, we were concerned about whether the T3.1 aperture would let in enough light. Because of its wide field of view, unless you were doing a closeup of something, having any shallower depth of field wouldn’t be useful. This explains its smaller aperture opening compared with the other two lenses reviewed here. In the end, light wasn’t an issue and when shooting the trees, the lens offered great detail. The image was sharper than we were expecting from this width of lens.

The lens blur on all three lenses is superb and their bokeh has a nice round shape from the nine-blade iris.

We then moved on to shooting the 35mm and 85mm. We shot a few different scenes, including a brightly colored wall mural from a few different angles going back and forth from 35mm to 85mm. The lens blur on all three lenses is superb and their bokeh has a nice round shape from the nine-blade iris.

In the Studio Testing Stuff

We took the lenses into our studio to do a couple of controlled tests. We tested how well the lenses match each other when it comes to color and how sharp each lens is. Let's start off with their color. The goal with cine lenses is to be able to change the focal length without affecting the picture. When comparing the three lenses to each other, they line up perfectly.

We then moved on to testing their sharpness. The lenses performed the way we expected them to, with the 85mm being sharpest and the 14mm being the least. The 35mm and 85mm didn’t show much difference in sharpness, but the 14mm was significantly less sharp. That’s not to say it’s not sharp, but it was much less so when compared to the other two lenses.

Marketplace

There is a load of competition in the cine lens marketplace. We wanted to show the most affordable options when looking at lenses comparable to these lenses from Xeen. Let’s take a look at the FF High-Speed Primes from Sigma, the Compact Prime CP.2 from Zeiss and Xenon FF from Schneider.

The Sigma FF High-Speed Primes cost $3,500 dollars each. They also cover a full-frame sensor and offer a Sony E-Mount option as well. They have an aperture range of T1.5 to T16. As expected, they have cine geared focus and iris control rings. The iris is made from nine-blades and offers clickless control. Lastly, these Sigma lenses have a 95mm front diameter. The 14mm is a bit faster than that of the Xeen at T2.9, but the 35mm and 85mm are the same as Xeen at T1.5.

These next lenses are well known; the Zeiss Compact Prime CP.2’s are everywhere. In fact, Zeiss touts that they have sold over 30,000 of them. They have a price range of $4,000 dollars to $5,700 dollars. They cover a full frame sensor and offer a 14-bladed iris. Plus, they have 300 degrees of focus rotation. While Zeiss does offer a 35mm and 85mm CP.2, they don’t offer 14mm. Instead, they have a 15mm at T2.9.

Lastly, take a look at the Schneider Xenon FF. With a price range of $3,400 dollars to $6,300 dollars. They also cover a full-frame sensor and have a 14-blade iris. Like the Zeiss, they have 300 degrees of focus rotation. They also do not offer a 14mm or 85mm. Instead, you will need to settle for their closest offerings of 18mm and 75mm.

Final Thoughts and Recommendations

These lenses are great for the money. They look great, feel great and are tough but not heavy. We would have liked to see their lengths be the same across the line. Then, you wouldn’t need to adjust your matte box when switching between lenses. These lenses were a pleasure to use and we’d recommend them.

Xeen by Rokinon
www.XeenUSA.com

PRICE: $2,500 each

STRENGTHS:

  • Affordable

WEAKNESSES:

  • Different physical lengths

SUMMARY:

Xeen has made super affordable and great looking cine lenses. Though we wish they all had the same length for ease of use with a matte box, their price of $2,500 dollars makes it a small price to pay for such value.

RECOMMENDED USERS:

  • Enthusiast, Indie and Corporate filmmakers
  • Documentarians
  • Commercial producers

TECH SPECS:

Xeen 14mm T3.1
Lens Mount:
Sony E, Interchangeable
Format: Full Frame
Maximum T-Stop: T3.1
Diagonal Angle of View

  • Super35/APS-C: 98.2°
  • Full Frame: 115.7°

Minimum Focus Distance from Image Plane: 11.0" / 27.9 cm

Iris Blades: 9
Focus Rotation: 200°
Iris Rotation: 300°
Length: 4.5" / 113.7 mm
Weight: 41.4 oz / 1.18 kg

Warranty: 3 Years

Xeen 35mm T1.5
Lens Mount: Sony E, Interchangeable
Format: Full Frame
Maximum T-Stop: T1.5
Diagonal Angle of View

  • Super35/APS-C: 46.9°
  • Full Frame: 63.1°

Minimum Focus Distance from Image Plane: 13.0" / 33.0 cm
Iris Blades: 11
Focus Rotation: 200°
Iris Rotation: 300°
Length: 5.8" / 147.7 mm
Weight: 48.7 oz / 1.38 kg

Warranty: 3 Years

Xeen 85mm T1.5
Lens Mount: Sony E, Interchangeable
Format: Full Frame
Maximum T-Stop: T1.5
Diagonal Angle of View

  • Super35/APS-C: 19°
  • Full Frame: 28.4°

Minimum Focus Distance from Image Plane: 3.6' / 1.1 m

Iris Blades: 11
Focus Rotation: 200°
Iris Rotation: 300°
Length: 5.8" / 147.7 mm
Weight: 44.1 oz / 1.25 kg

Warranty: 3 Years

Chris Monlux loves Dr.Pepper. He is also Videomaker’s Multimedia Editor.

Rokinon Xeen 14mm T3.1, 35mm T1.5 & 85mm T1.5 Review[/caption]

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