Prime Time

The past year has seen an avalanche of new lenses. Some of this development can be attributed to the exponential growth in the field of digital motion-picture cameras, with new products from RED and ARRI, as well as the explosion of HD DSLRs, which are being used in professional applications, including music videos, television, commercials and even feature productions. This has driven many optics companies to develop products that serve this emerging market, but that are also compatible with traditional film cameras.

In this climate, lens manufacturers must compete on multiple fronts by using new technology to create better optics at lower costs or by adding features that increase the speed and ease of production. In the last issue we surveyed new zooms, and this month HDVideoPro takes a brief look at some of the latest offerings in the field of prime lenses from ARRI, Cooke, Leica, Schneider-Kreuznach and Zeiss.

Schneider-Kreuznach ( offers its new line of Cine-Xenar lenses specifically designed for digital cameras. The Cine-Xenar will be released as a line of five fast lenses in the following focal lengths: 25mm (T2.2), 35mm (T2.1), 50mm (T2.0), 75mm (T2.0) and 95mm (T2.0), with additional focal lengths promised in the future. The lenses are built with uniform dimensions and focus, and iris gears are in the same positions so lens changes can be made quickly without moving lens motors.

The Cine-Xenar lenses come with a standard PL mount for use with most film and digital motion-picture cameras, but Canon EF and Nikon F mounts also are available as an option. The lenses project a 33mm image circle for coverage of 2K/4K Cinema, Canon EOS 7D and Canon EOS-1D Mark IV cameras. The Cine-Xenar are built using a telecentric optical design for better performance with digital cameras and utilize a unique combination of light traps and Schneider-Kreuznach High Performance coating for flare suppression.

The Cine-Xenar line is color-matched and features an 18-blade iris for a pleasing bokeh. But its most impressive feature is its price—estimated retail is $21,000 for the five-lens set.