Looking Ahead at XEEN Meister Primes

These lenses have been a long time coming. It’s hard to argue the popularity of Rokinon’s product lines – be it the regular photo lenses, the cine lenses, Cine DS, the XEEN or the XEEN CF… They’ve all been based on the same base optics for over a decade now. That’s right! Rokinon’s high speed primes lenses have been around since about 2010/2011 and they’re still going strong. So what does Rokinon have to show for all this success besides some fantastic worldwide sales numbers? Let’s find out.

Taking the same basic formula as the current line of Rokinon XEEN primes and dialing each setting up, we get the new XEEN Mesiter Primes. Sure, it sounds just like “Master Prime” when you say it out loud, but let’s take a look at what makes the new Meister Primes different from the regular XEEN Primes. The Meister Primes consist of only three focal lengths; a 35mm T1.3, 50mm T1.3, and an 85mm T1.3. It’s safe to assume that these lenses inherit their optics from the Rokinon SP line of lenses which include a 35mm f/1.2, 50mm f/1.2, and an 85mm f/1.2, as well as a 10mm and 14mm which are not mirrored in the Meister line. I’ve had the SP line of primes in my kit for a few years now and I have to admit that they punch WAY above their weight in terms of image quality. So I expect the IQ from the Meister Primes to be similarly good.

XEEN claims that these are “8K” lenses which is a useless claim without qualification such as resolution at a given sensor size or pixel pitch. The lens on the back-up camera of my car resolves 8K if the pixels are the size of a penny… Regardless of that marketing hype, I fully expect these lenses to resolve plenty for any modern digital cinema camera, including 8K Helium which is currently one of the most demanding resolutions. They’ll cover large format digital cinema sensors including Arri Alexa LF Open Gate and even that of less standardized formats from the likes of RED (the 35mm may struggle a bit, despite the specs listed below). That’s about all I can assume about the optics and the image quality so far without bench testing production units. Here’s a quick sample on an image taken with the SP 85mm f/1.2 which is still one of my favorite shots with that lens.

Shot with Rokinon SP 85mm f/1.2 (assumed base optics of the 85mm T1.3 Meister Prime)

There are a few other features specific to the Meister Primes that you wouldn’t find on most other sets of high speed primes such as their 114mm front housing being made of titanium which I’ll be eager to test. It’s become all too common for “titanium” to refer to a finish and not the actual metal alloy which has some pretty significant properties. Obviously, it sounds good and looks cool to say that your lens has titanium, but we’ll wait and see what the actual material is or if The Meister Primes are merely using a titanium finish. Another actual feature of the new primes is their integrated Cooke /i Technology lens data which will be transferred through the PL mount or via an external port. The focus and iris markings will be engraved on the smart and dumb side of the lens and have luminous paint to make them easy to read in low-light and a very generous 300° rotation for the focus. They’ll be available with user-swappable mounts including Arri PL, Canon EF, and Sony E.

In summary, this will be the first major improvement, optically, to the Rokinon or XEEN line in over a decade. The only thing I would have like to see is a smaller housing similar to the current XEEN CF line which sport a much more manageable 95mm front housing. But if the Meister Primes can perform as well as I expect them to, a larger 114mm front is a fair trade-off in my opinion. As always, specs for the lens geeks among us. There’s no firm release date for these primes just yet, but you can bet they’ll be available as early as possible over at www.ducloslenses.com.

XEEN Meister 35mm T1.3XEEN Meister 50mm T1.3XEEN Meister 85mm T1.3
Maximum T-stopT1.3T1.3T1.3
Image CircleØ 43.2mmØ 43.2mmØ 43.2mm
Angle of View
Full Frame
64.5°46.6°28.5°
Super 3544.4°31.0°19.0°
Focusing Range∞ to 1’ 12” ft∞ to 1’ 48” ft∞ to 2’ 62” ft
Front DiameterØ 114 mmØ 114 mmØ 114 mm
Aperture Blades131313
Focus Rotation300°300°300°
Iris Rotation92°92°92°
MountPL, EF, EPL, EF, EPL, EF, E
SizeØ127.0 x 122.0 mmØ127.0 x 130.0 mmØ127.0 x 156.0 mm
Weight 1.9 kg / 4.2 lbs2.0 kg / 4.4 lbs2.2 kg / 4.85 lbs

7 thoughts on “Looking Ahead at XEEN Meister Primes

    1. You’re right. The specs that they listed are VERY conservative. In my tests, they cover just fine. The 35mm may struggle a bit (updated the post) if they change the internal mechanics from the SP at all but the 50mm and 85mm won’t have a problem at all.

  1. Interesting. Can’t say I’ve ever seen a lens with 1′ 12″ or 2′ 62″ minimum focus…

    1. Haha! I pulled that data straight from their press release. I’ll have to point that out to them since it’s obviously wrong. The metric distance appears correct: ∞ to 0.34 m ∞ to 0.45 m ∞ to 0.80 m

Leave a Reply to Derek Cooper Cancel reply