As much as I love Canon EF photo lenses, it bugs me that every time I change to a different lens, the focus throw and feel is different. Some lenses focus very smooth, some too smooth, and some not so smooth. The size of the lens is always different which throws off my Rig configuration if i'm using a Follow Focus, Lens Support, or Mattebox. Focus throw also varies from maybe an inch from Point A to B, to a few inches - depending on the lens. They are Photography lenses after all, not video lenses. Those problems are all solved when you move to a decent set of Cinema Lenses, but for many price has always been a huge deterrent.
Recently Rokinon has introduced a new line of XEEN Cinema Prime Lenses. These aren't just rehoused photo lenses like the line of Rokinon DS. These lenses now feature an 11 blade iris (as opposed to just 8 on Rokinon photo lenses) and with new coatings. The look will be different than from a standard set of Rokinon DS Lenses.
The size of the Rokinon XEEN lenses (length) are consistent with each other, and all sport a 114mm front diameter. You won't have to swap donuts on a mattebox, nor adjust the height of your Mattebox to center the lens. It's going to remain consistent as you swap lenses.
The lens focus gears and iris gears are all equal distance from the lens mount, so anytime you have to switch lenses, every bit of your rig can remain the same. Your follow focus will lock in place perfectly each time you swap lenses. This is especially handy when working with wireless follow focus systems that can be a pain to reconfigure. Focus throw is a nice smooth 200 degrees as opposed to very short and inconsistent focus throws on varying Canon EF photo lenses. With a set of Rokinon XEEN lenses you'll have a very consistent feel and with practice should make you faster to hit your marks.
Prior to the new XEEN Cinema Prime Lenses, your options for somewhat affordable has been Canon's CN-E Lenses, Schneider Xenon, and the Zeiss CP.2. Each of those lenses can easily run about $4,000 US or more. The new Rokinon XEEN Cinema Primes run just under $2500. That's a huge difference, and when you start to add up a simple 3 piece set that's a lot of spare cash.
Even though they may not be up to the standards of higher end Cinema Prime Lenses, the quality, price, and convenience these new XEEN lenses offer is very compelling. I own the Canon 85mm F/1.2L II which can run close to $2,000. The XEEN 85 T1/.5 runs for $2500 (not a huge price difference), and for me personally seems like I could benefit more from the XEEN for video use.
Currently they have a 24mmT1.5, 50mm T1.5, and 85mm T1.5 in the lineup but it's said they will release more. A solid 35mm and 100mm should really make a complete set of Cinema Primes. And because these can cover a full frame camera, if you opt for say a Canon EF Mount, they can easily be adapted to other bodies (MFT, Sony, etc). I'm pretty eager to try these out, and wondering if anyone else out there might be just as excited?