Rokinon announced their XEEN refresh back in September 2019 with only a few focal lengths. As promised, they’ve added two highly anticipated focal lengths to the XEEN CF line – a 16mm T2.6 and a 35mm T1.5
The two new focal lengths are both 35mm Full Frame which means they’ll work on the latest Large Format cinema cameras including the Venice, Alexa LF, Monstro, etc. As with the previous lenses in the line, the CF stands for Carbon Fiber which can be seen as a sleeve between the focus and iris rings. In their latest press release, Rokinon claims that the CF has a dual meaning and can also mean “Compact and Flexible”. Clever… But don’t confuse “CF” for “close focus”. The lenses do have a perfectly acceptable close focus, but it’s not a stand-out feature.
Where the XEEN CF really shine is their price to performance ratio. At about $2,500 per lens, they’re among the most affordable PL mount cinema lenses you can find. That budget-friendly price tag doesn’t reflect their performance which is, again, surprisingly good. Don’t expect miracles, but in blind, side-by-side tests, we found that most people couldn’t pick the XEEN from lenses price 2-3 times as much.
Again, similar to the rest of the XEEN CF line, the new 16mm T2.6 and 35mm T1.5 have a few features that you would expect on a lens with a much higher price tag such as dual sided focus scale for “smart” and “dumb” side operation, luminous focus marks, circular 11-bladed iris for smooth, pleasing bokeh, common 95mm front diameter, and a respectable 200 degree focus rotation. The entire CF line including the two newest models are available in Arri PL, Canon EF, and Sony E mount. The biggest difference in the two now lenses, the 16mm is a bit slower than the rest at T2.6 and it’s also a little smaller. The 24mm while still T1.5, is a bit longer than the other high-speed primes in the XEEN CF set.
In summary, the XEEN CF line is growing nicely and is an excellent choice for anyone that’s transitioning into cinema or just looking for a solid set of primes and doesn’t care about brand perception. If you’re interested in giving the Rokinon XEEN CF primes a try, check them out at Duclos Lenses.