It’s been a busy week for affordable cine primes, with the Samyang XEENs announced Monday and Veydra’s announcement today of E- and C-mount options for the Veydra Mini Primes. Veydra also says the 12mm prime will ship in mid-September, and they’re working on a lens support to stabilize the primes on Micro 4/3’s (MFT’s) notoriously wobbly bayonet mount.
Veydra is developing user-swappable mounts for the Mini primes allowing them to be used on E-mount cameras (think Sony FS7 or A7S) and on C-mount cameras (like the Digital Bolex, or any number of small box cameras sold mostly in industrial and surveillance markets).
The E-mount will be usable on the 25mm, 35mm, 50mm, and the upcoming 85mm T2.2 Mini Primes. Sadly the 12mm and 16mm lenses have smaller image circles (the 16mm covers 26mm while the 25mm and up have 31mm or better coverage) and won’t cover the 27mm-or-thereabouts Super35mm / APS-C sensors in E-Mount cameras.
The C-mount will work across all the Mini Primes (though the 50mm needs its own mount, slightly different from the rest).
Prices and availability haven’t been announced yet.
These new mounts will greatly expand the range of cameras that Veydras can be used on, a boon to shooters who need to work with cameras other than their usual MFT workhorses.
It’s unfortunate that the two wider lenses can’t be used on E-mount super35mm cameras due to their smaller image circles — I confirmed that the 16mm vignettes on an FS7 with a simple lenswhack test— but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a second-generation Veydra wide prime redesigned to accommodate APS-C sensors, albeit with a higher price tag. But affordable, wide, true cine primes (not just stills glass with declicked irises and focus gears bodged on) for E-mount are a bit thin on the ground in any event: the current XEENs go no wider than 24mm, though there’s a hint of a wider one to come (I’d guess it’ll be a XEEN version of the 16mm T2.2 Samyang/Rokinon cine prime, but that’s only a guess).
As to the C-mount, while the Digital Bolex has its own set of elegant optics, being able to mount Veydras natively will be quite handy. While D16 owners have been using PL-mount adapters to fit serious glass onto the camera ever since the camera came out, Veydras are smaller, lighter lenses that better marry the controllability and options of a full range of cine primes with the size and weight of the D16. And while Digital Bolex offers a MFT mount option for the camera, not every D16 user wants to swap body mounts and lose quick access to C-mount glass.
12mm shipping in September
The long-awaited 12mm T2.2 Mini Prime will ship “around the middle of September or as soon as possible.” Delivery had been delayed by the difficulty of mass-producing wide-angle lenses like the 12mm:
Flatness of the focus across the image and accuracy of the focus scale are both big problems for all wide angle lens manufacturers. We are no exception. We have finally resolved the production issues that have caused multiple delays in the shipment of the 12mm.
A new lens support
An enduring problem with MFT mounts is the flexibility of the lens’s attachment to the body (which I discuss and illustrate in my Birdcage review). Pulling focus rapidly can shift the lens in its mount, or flex it up and away from its seated position. Veydra has been thinking about this for some time:
When we originally designed the Veydra Mini Primes, we considered adding a built in lens support but it would have increased the size of the lens and complexity of manufacture so we decided to wait and see if a support would be required. Again, we apologize for the delay in this support as we expected to have it completed by now however it proved to be its own design challenge which we have resolved. We will ship the lens support for interface with 15mm LWS Rod systems in October.
Disclosure: Veydra has previously sent me Mini Primes for review, and I backed the original project on Kickstarter to the extent of getting a five-lens set.