I have been waiting for someone to announce a complete set of affordable, matched cinema prime lenses for Fujifilm X-Mount Super 35/APS-C hybrid mirrorless cameras for a long time, at least since Fujifilm announced its then coming affordable MK-series of matched parfocal cinema zoom lenses, and finally, here they are, an initial set of six X-mount cinema prime lenses by Hong Kong-based cinema optics specialists SLR Magic ranging from 12mm through to 75mm with a (hopefully) possible 15mm also coming.
I had thought that US company Veydra might be the first one to achieve this breakthrough but when they dropped plans for a very necessary wide-angle lens to complete its offerings, the writing was on the wall.
Now Veydra has been dropped altogether from B&H Photo Video, and the Veydra website appears to be semi-functional at best so it looks like the feisty little US left coast newcomer may be no more.
Before its apparent demise, Veydra had only released, from memory, five focal lengths suitable for adapting to Fujifilm’s APS-C/Super 35 X-mount cameras and that was courtesy of an optional X-Mount Kit for self-installation by purchasers.
The Veydras’ other built-in limitation was their Mini Primes’ adherence to a common 77mm filter diameter on all lenses rather than 82mm, the latter all the better to avoid vignetting in wider focal lengths.
Luckily the new SLR Magic MicroPrimes come with no such limitation, all coming with 82mm filter diameters suitable for use with the company’s own SLR Magic 82mm Self-Locking Variable Neutral Density 0.4 to 1.8 Filter (1.3 to 6 Stops) or other 82mm diameter variable NDs like those made by Aurora-Aperture, Simmod Lens and a host of other filter manufacturers, as well as fixed value neutral density filters by SLR Magic and a great many others.
Not just for video production?
There is no reason why cinema lenses cannot do sterling service for stills photography so long as their gearing does not get in the way.
Several of the SLR Magic Cinema MicroPrimes may well do a great job filling the gaps in Fujifilm’s current Fujinon XF prime lens offerings, and the 18mm MicroPrime may provide a great pro-quality alternative to the quirky Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R lens so long as you use it with an electronic viewfinder given the former’s 82mm filter diameter which would intrude too much into the X-Pro2’s Advanced Hybrid Multi Viewfinder.
- 12mm in APS-C = 18mm in 35mm sensor format
- 18mm in APS-C = 27mm in 35mm sensor format
- 25mm in APS-C = 37.5mm in 35mm sensor format
- 35mm in APS-C = 52.5mm in 35mm sensor format
- 50mm in APS-C = 75mm in 35mm sensor format
- 75mm in APS-C = 112.5mm in 35mm sensor format
Fujifilm does not currently offer a 12mm nor a 75mm prime lens, and I badly feel the lack of a professional quality 18mm when shooting immersive documentary photographs in crowds where there is simply no room to step backwards with less wide lenses and ultra-wide lenses are altogether too wide.
There is another advantage to a manual-focusing 18mm 28mm equivalent lens with a well-marked focusing scale – easily setting hyperfocal distance when shooting so-called “street photography”.
The SLR Magic 12mm may be suitable for architectural and scenic photography, provided its optical qualities test well, and the 75mm is close to my preferred full-face frontal focal length of 105mm in the 35mm sensor format.
It is currently unclear as to whether SLR Magic intends to release a 15mm X-mount MicroPrime, but that focal length would also have its uses for video and stills photography.
- 15mm in APS-C = 22.5mm in 35mm sensor format
One of my favourite focal lengths for truly immersive, highly emotive documentary photography is 21mm in the 35mm sensor format, and the 15mm MicroPrime comes close.
The Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R is one of the far too few Fujifilm lenses that has manual clutch focus and hard stops at both ends of the distance scale, along with the XF 23mm f/1.4 R and XF 16mm f/1.4 R WR prime lenses.
When these manual clutch focusing primes first started appearing, I had hoped it was the start of Fujifilm adding this crucial ability to all future prime and zoom lenses but I was to be very disappointed.
As many cinematographers have variously stated about lenses without manual clutch focus or manual focusing rings, pulling focus on lenses without either sucks.
Especially when using follow-focus devices.
SLR Magic makes fixed and variable NDs as well as IR-cutting enhancer filters
The news of SLR Magic’s announcement of its MicroPrimes is recent and so far I have not come across any pre-release reviews of pre-production versions so have no idea of their optical quality and lack of optical distortion or otherwise.
I remain hopeful, though, and look forward to the full set of X-mount MicroPrimes finding its way to well-qualified professional videographers for assessment.
The Super 35 sensor format is a great one for narrative, commercial and feature-style documentary moviemaking though I also appreciate the grittier Super 16 documentary style afforded by Panasonic’s GH5 and GH5S, as well as the possibilities of the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K especially now that it has received its Blackmagic Raw firmware update.
Meanwhile I am thinking seriously about whether some of SLR Magic’s X-mount MicroPrimes may answer some of my long-standing need for professional-quality manual focus-capable primes for documentary and portrait stills photography in certain undercatered-for focal lengths.
Such lenses would do well on my Fujifilm X-Pro2 and even better on the amazing X-T3 and the even better-gripped X-H1 for stills and video, given the latter two cameras’ superior electronic viewfinders, though I certainly hope that the X-Pro3’s EVF improves radically over its predecessor’s EVF.
Fujifilm’s X-mount MKX 18-55mm and 50-135mm T2.9 parfocal cinema zoom lenses
Where to see, try and buy SLR Magic MicroPrime Cinema X-mount lenses in Sydney?
In the absence of an all-things-to-all-people megastore in Australia, and the difficulty of finding smaller brands like SLR Magic here in Sydney, I went looking for other possibilities and discovered the following:
- Media + Entertainment Tech Expo, Sydney – exhibition 18-20 July 2019, venue location TBA at time of writing but likely to be either Darling Harbour or Moore Park.
- C.R.Kennedy Photo Imaging – importer, distributor and retailer of a wide range of photo and video products including SLR Magic filters, lenses and other optical accessories. Many brands unavailable in retail stores here are imported and retailed by this company, such as G-Technology HDDs and SSDs, in my experience the most reliable mainstream brand of them all and yet oddly enough the hardest to find, even in Apple Stores which used to be the most reliable stockists. C.R.Kennedy most likely will be exhibiting at the above expo in July.
- B&H Explora – Choose from Even More SLR Magic MicroPrime CINE Lenses
- DPReview – SLR Magic announces new MicroPrime CINE lenses for Sony E-Mount
- Duclos Lenses – Veydra Lenses, Inventory Status Update
- Duclos Lenses – Veydra Primes
- Filmaker.cn – SLR Magic发布富士X卡口MicroPrime系列镜头
- News Shooter – SLR Magic announces MicroPrime in X-Mount
- Simmod Lens
- SLR Magic – website looks like it has not been updated since 2014.
Help support ‘Untitled’
- Digital Cinema Lenses, Fujifilm X-Mount – B&H
- Aurora-Aperture 82mm Power XND Mark II Variable ND 0.3 to 2.1 Filter (1 to 7-Stop) – B&H
- Aurora-Aperture 82mm Power XND Mark II Variable ND 1.5 to 3.3 Filter (5 to 11-Stop) – B&H
- Fujifilm XF Lenses – B&H
- FUJIFILM MKX18-55mm T2.9 Lens (Fuji X-Mount) – B&H
- FUJIFILM MKX50-135mm T2.9 Lens (Fuji X-Mount) – B&H
- FUJIFILM X-H1 Mirrorless Digital Camera Body with Battery Grip Kit – B&H
- FUJIFILM X-Pro2 Mirrorless Digital Camera – B&H
- FUJIFILM X-T3 Mirrorless Digital Camera Body with Battery Grip Kit – B&H
- SLR Magic 82mm Image Enhancer Pro Filter – B&H
- SLR Magic 82mm Self-Locking Variable Neutral Density 0.4 to 1.8 Filter (1.3 to 6 Stops) – B&H
- SLR Magic 86mm Solid Neutral Density 1.2 Image Enhancer Filter (4-Stop) – B&H
- SLR Magic MicroPrime Cine 12mm T2.8 Lens (Fuji X Mount) – B&H
- SLR Magic MicroPrime Cine 18mm T2.8 Lens (Fuji X Mount) – B&H
- SLR Magic MicroPrime Cine 25mm T1.5 Lens (Fuji X Mount) – B&H
- SLR Magic MicroPrime Cine 35mm T1.3 Lens (Fuji X Mount) – B&H
- SLR Magic MicroPrime Cine 50mm T1.2 Lens (Fuji X Mount) – B&H
- SLR Magic MicroPrime Cine 75mm T1.5 Lens (Fuji X Mount) – B&H