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Comparison Between Two Affordable Cinema Lenses: Rokinon and Rokinon Xeen

March 19,2017 03:31

Not all cinema lenses are made the same, not even those in the affordable price range or that come from the same manufacturer. In this article, you will see the structural and optical differences between Rokinon and Rokinon Xeen cinema lenses and what ...and more »



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Not all cinema lenses are made the same, not even those in the affordable price range or that come from the same manufacturer. In this article, you will see the structural and optical differences between Rokinon and Rokinon Xeen cinema lenses and what to purchase if you're looking for video glass on budget.
Tom Antos is a filmmaker who frequently releases videos that show the technical aspect of filmmaking. In this video, he compares mostly the structural differences between Rokinon and Rokinon Xeen (called Xeen henceforth in this article). They are both coming from the same manufacturer. If you are familiar with the Samyang lenses, Rokinon cine glass and Xeen are the video versions of them.
In a previous article, I showed the differences between lenses for photography and for video. Here, we are focusing on the differences between cinema lenses only. These two lens models have full manual control for aperture and focus. They have focus rings that are different than still lenses. Being in the affordable, sub-$5,000 range ,they still vary in price. A Rokinon set is about three times less than one Xeen lens. Why that different?

The first obvious difference is their size. The Rokinon set varies in size, while the Xeen lenses have all the same outer shape and length. This makes the Xeens much quicker to work with on a busy production when you don't have to re-align your follow focus, aperture controls, and matte box positions. You don't have to rebalance your stabilization rigs either. The build quality is also different. The Rokinons are made out of plastic, while Xeens are made of more durable materials and are heavier. The rings on the Xeens are larger and allow for more marks on them and more precise aperture and focus control.
While Tom Antos claims the lenses are virtually the same optical quality, I found a side-by-side comparison that shows a slight difference. Armando Ferreira compares the video footage between a 24mm T1.5 Rokinon and a 24mm T1.5 Xeen lens.

As you can see, the differences are not dramatic, but the Xeen requires less color correction in post than the Rokinon, and if you need quality on a pixel level, the Xeen performs better.

If you have worked with chroma keying (a.k.a. green screen), you know that pixel perfection is what you aim for together with low video compression. So, if you do lots of green screen production work, the Xeen may be your lens of choice. Other than that, the Rokinon will perform great, will be better than your still lenses, and you will have the structural perks of cinema glass.
Posted In: GearOpinionVideo

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