Digital magazine of the broadcast and audiovisual market
XEEN 35 mm T 1.5
We review the XEEN 35 mm T 1.5 lens, which, put simply, is the democratised true “cinema style”
Text: Álvaro Bernal
Whether we like it or not, since the appearance of the DSLR, which recorded video 10 years ago, the profession has changed. There will always be audio-visual products that, for their projected income generation life, will aim to have maximum quality, but the fact is more and more productions accept that costs determine the technical bill. They are very worthy products, and the spectator has also learnt how to be less critical in this respect. We see drones where we used to see helicopters; we see gimbals where we used to see steadycams, and so on. But what currently seems to be an airtight field is lenses, either we chose cinema optics or we must settle for photography lenses. The lens we are presenting today forms part of a kit (14 – 85), which already covers the standard cinema focal lengths but with a price we could say is among the high-quality photographic optics range. Our intention is not to conduct a technical analysis, but only give you our impression, and as we know that many of you work with video and photo lenses, we would like to speak about some things that come hand-in-hand with cinema optics.
Without wanting to go too deep, cinema optics compared to photograph optics are more robust, and they must be capable of working in adverse weather conditions, which is why you won’t see any plastic, spare spaces. This alone entails a higher cost. You will also see that the lens is nearly always part of a set of filter holders, bars, focus controls, etc. and it becomes frustrating, and above all, slow, very slow, to have to change these elements every time we change a lens. While it is true that, in cinema, they use zoom lenses, fixed focuses are used more often. The perfect lens kit should be formed by lenses that have the same physical dimensions and no external movements when handling them, as this would entail changing the focus control, filter holder…. It would also require the focus and aperture rings being very wide and jagged to be as precise as possible in use, and obviously, with standardised letters to avoid doubts when in use, so many things… And little by little, we begin to understand this is how things work and that they are dearer than photographic ones. This is why this optic and its price come as a breath of fresh air. It is most likely that acclaimed brands in this product segment will react with cheaper ranges. It is neither better nor worse; it is simply about responding to the market’s demands.