Veydra LLC, Maker of Affordable Manual Focus Mini Prime Cinema Lenses, Is Dead. What Now for Lenses in Their Class?

Veydra LLC, maker of the Veydra Mini Prime manual-focus cinema lenses for Micro Four Thirds, Sony E-Mount and Fujifilm X-Mount cameras, is no more. 

Veydra’s Ryan Avery recently announced the company’s demise on its Facebook page, bringing to an abrupt end the story of this doughty little lens maker, throwing into confusion affordable native geared cinema prime lens choices for independent moviemakers. 

With its mission statement being “Veydra lenses are designed to be premium quality cinema lenses at the absolute minimum retail price”, Veydra gave thousands the opportunity of using cinema lenses instead of the more common stills-oriented  non-cinema zoom and prime lenses we have come to rely upon despite their shortcomings for video use. 

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Veydra 50mm and 25mm Mini Prime Cinema manual focus lenses with imperial or metric markings, made by Veydra LLC.

Veydra LLC has gone out of business due to the conclusion of ongoing litigation between the founders of the company.

I offer special thanks to everyone involved in the success of Veydra; first and foremost all Veydra Kickstarter backers and customers. Specific thanks to those who made it possible from the start; Phil Holland, Illya Friedman, Matthew Duclos, Joshua Brown, Alex Jacobs, and all the supporters too numerous to mention here.

It’s been a wonderful journey and I thank you all for your support and kindness.

—Ryan Avery
Co-Founder

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Veydra Mini Prime colour-matched, geared manual-focus cinema prime lenses, from left, 12mm T2.2, 16mm T2.2, 19mm T2.2, 25mm T2.2, 35mm T2.2, 50mm T2.2 and 85mm T2.2 for Micro Four Thirds and APS-C sensor cameras.

Social media rumours have it that there was some conflict at Veydra about one partner licensing his lens designs out to another company, Meike, but another factor leading to Veydra’s end may have been the theft of US$200,000 worth of lenses from the company’s warehouse in 2017, after which the company seemed to drop off the radar.

There are cinema prime lens alternatives, however, with SLR Magic releasing an intriguing set of lenses for Super 16 and Super 35  digital cameras in M43, E-Mount and X-Mount.

Another option is Fujifilm’s impressive MKX cinema zoom lenses available in two focal length ranges and now in the same there mounts.

Should Fujifilm continue delivering on its promise to radically improve video functionality on its XF APS-C/Super 35 cameras,  SLR Magic’s seven lens collection appears attractive with the lenses’ 18mm, 22.5mm, 27mm, 37.5mm, 52.5mm and 112.5mm equivalence in the 35mm sensor format.

So far Meike has only released three cinema prime lenses and not in all three mounts, in 12mm, 16mm and 25mm focal lengths, so time will tell whether the company is fully committed to supplying a full set of primes in three mounts.

A prime lens alternative? SLR Magic MicroPrime Cinema Lenses for Micro Four Thirds, Fujifilm X-Mount and Sony E-Mount.

A cinema zoom alternative? Fujifilm Cinema Zoom Lenses for Micro Four Thirds, Fujifilm X-Mount and Sony E-Mount.

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Meyer Optic USA: Bring back the Fabulous Wonder Bokeh Lens: P 58 f1.9 – Updates: Sad news

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/meyeroptik/bring-back-the-fabulous-wonder-bokeh-lens-primopla/posts/2256824

“A few weeks ago, our founder, CEO and main investor Stefan Immes had a serious traffic accident, which he barely survived. Although we have been able to talk to him and although, for a very short time of the day he has become the astute, humorous and positive entrepreneur we know, it is now clear that due to the severity of the injuries he will not be able to continue running the company in the foreseeable future.

For a company of 15 employees only, this entails a large number of changes. Currently, we are in the process of reorganization and are trying to establish a working system as no successor regulation can yet be found for the Net SE Group. For this reason, we are currently undergoing a restructuring process with an as yet unknown outcome for the individual divisions….”

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Meyer Optik Görlitz Primoplan P58 58mm f/1.9 Art prime lens for Canon EF mount, M42 mount, Nikon F mount and Pentax K mount.

Other Meyer Optik Görlitz lenses as of August 2018

Commentary

Sad news indeed about Meyer Optik Görlitz CEO Stefan Immes and I hope that the company can successfully reorganize and get back into full production of its innovative and revived art lenses.

I wish to see more, not fewer, makers of these characterful lens types in the world and would hate to see the end of the Meyer Optik Görlitz initiative especially given their aims as stated in their latest Kickstarter campaign:

We restored the Meyer-Optik brand to build lenses that are distinguished in their uniqueness. Today, our lenses are made for those who want more than standard shots for their everyday photography. These lenses are special hand-made optics designed for the artistic photographer who craves a special unique look.

Although I appreciate the precision of most contemporary lens designs, I have had practical firsthand experience of antique and revived historical lenses aka “fine art” or “art” lenses and know there is a place for them in almost every photographer’s and moviemaker’s gear kit.

I wish the Meyer Optik Görlitz company the very best in their reorganization, and look forward to them reviving and updating many more famous and historical lenses in future.

Meanwhile I am glad to know that other companies such as Lomography are also on the classic lens revival trail and look forward to one day being able to try out a cross section of such lenses.

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Novoflex Nikon F to Fujifilm G lens adapter on Fujifilm GFX 50S camera.

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Kickstarter: Kamlan 28mm F/1.4 Standard Prime Lens for Mirrorless Cameras

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kamlan/kamlan-28mm-f-14-standard-mirrorless-prime-lens?ref=478061&token=28710d49

“Recreate what your eyes see. Kamlan 28mm F/1.4 Prime Lens delivers superior optical quality along with super low chromatic aberration…

… Normal lenses are valued because they provide a natural angle of view that is similar to what the human eye sees. The images they produce are very relatable and engaging because they feel like scenes people have seen. The focal length is extremely versatile for a wide range of applications – from landscapes to portraits to street photography. In recent years, many people have thought of the 50mm focal length (on full frame) as“normal”, but in times past a normal lens was actually closer to 40mm. The Kamlan 28mm f/1.4 offers a great “normal” focal length and a large maximum aperture at a bargain price…. “

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Machang Optics’ KamLan 28mm f/1.4 APS-C Standard Prime lens available in Canon EOS-M mount, Fujifilm X-mount, M43-mount and Sony E-mount.

Commentary

A new Chinese maker of affordable premium-quality manual-focus lenses has entered the scene with Shenzhen-based Machang Optical Co.’s KamLan brand launching a Kickstarter campaign for its Kamlan 28mm F/1.4 Standard Prime for mirrorless cameras in the APS-C and Micro Four Thirds sensor formats in Canon’s EOS-M mount, Fujifilm’s X-mount, M43-mount and Sony’s E-mount.

Until independent makers of affordable optics such as 7 Artisans, Cosina’s Voigtlaender brand, DZ Optics’ Kerlee brand, HandeVision’s Ibelux brand, Irix, Kowa’s Prominar range, LomographyMeyer Optik Görlitz, RokinonSigma, SLR MagicVenus Optics’s Laowa brand, VeydraYongnuo, Zhong Yi Optic’s Mitakon brand and Zonlai started becoming better known outside their home countries, with some releasing dedicated premium APS-C manual-focussing lenses, the APS-C format had received little to no lens maker love compared to the 35mm sensor format aka “full frame” or “full format”.

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The benchmark for perfect normal. Minolta Rokkor-M 40mm f/2.0 M-mount lens for the famous, much-coveted Minolta CLE 35mm analog rangefinder camera, successor to the Leica CL. Image by SuperB Japan Camera.

I am interested in Kamlan’s 28mm f/1.4 APS-C offering due to its equivalence to 40mm in the 35mm sensor format, often described as the “perfect normal” or “perfect standard” focal length.

The desire for non-35mm-sensor-format “perfect normal” lenses has most often been met with slower pancake-style lenses such as Fujifilm’s Fujinon XF 27mm f/2.8 in APS-C and Panasonic’s Lumix G 20mm f/1.7 II Aspheric in M43.

Fujifilm Fujinon XF 27mm f/2.8 and Panasonic Lumix G 20mm f/1.7 II pancake lenses, equivalent to 40mm

Both lenses appear to be intended for compact camera users relying on autofocus as they lack manual focus rings and their size makes them unsuited for attaching the step-up rings and 77mm or 82mm fixed or variable neutral density filters required for professional video production.

Until the KamLan 28mm f/1.4 APS-C Standard prime, small size seems to have been a common theme with 40mm equivalent lenses starting off with the legendary though short-lived Leica Summicron-C 40mm f/2.0 released for the Leica CL compact 35mm analog camera.

Minolta later released its own version, the  Minolta M-Rokkor 40mm f/2.0, to go with the Minolta CLE camera which carried on and evolved well beyond the Leica CL’s achievements.

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Matched sets of manual focus lenses are a boon for documentary photography and video. Illustrated: the first four lenses from the Leica M 0.8 cinema lens set by Leica Camera sister company CW Sonderoptic, in the 21mm, 24mm, 28mm, 35mm and 50mm focal lengths, all with 77mm filter diameters.

Machang Optics’ KamLan APS-C lens range appears to be taking a very different approach, one more suited for precise manual focussing and thus video production, with a range of current and coming wide aperture manual-focus prime lenses including the 15mm f/1.8, 21mm f/1.8, 28mm f/1.4, 32mm f/1.3 and 50mm f/1.1 Mark 2.

If they prove to be well-matched in terms of colour and optical correction the KamLan lenses may well make for a good set of video lenses for Fujifilm camera users.

APS-C new product roadmap 2018 for KamLan brand manual prime lenses.

In their 35mm sensor equivalents, these lenses will be 22.5mm, 31.5mm, 42mm, 48mm and 75mm, a fine set of focal lengths suitable for feature and high-end documentary cinematography.

When Fujifilm made it clear they were about to take video seriously, I wondered if they would be upgrading their current offerings for video capability and adding new focal lengths to fill in the focal length gaps.

If that does not happen, then Machang Optics’ KamLan APS-C lens range may provide a great alternative.

Will the folks at Machang Optical Co. be issuing a boxed set, as it were, of these five lenses in future?

Will Machang Optical Co. be offering a ciné version of all these lenses, with clickless aperture ring, geared for use with follow-focus devices and with 77mm or preferably 82mm step-up rings attached for use with fixed or variable neutral density filters?

Will they come out with a 10.5mm lens so that Micro Four Thirds users can have a six-lens set that includes a 21mm equivalent, an essential super-wide establishing-shot focal length, and so APS-C users can have a 15.75mm equivalent lens?

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The ever-popular Voigtlaender Nokton 40mm f/1.2 Aspherical lens for Sony E-Mount cameras.

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  • Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM LensB&H
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  • Veydra 19mm T2.2 Mini Prime LensB&H – APS-C cinema prime with 38mm equivalence, currently available in feet or meters scales for Sony E-Mount, apparently also produced in Fujifilm X-Mount according to a hint at the Veydra website.
  • Veydra Mini Prime 6 Lens Master Lens Kit with 6 Lens Case (MFT Mount, Feet)B&H – includes 16mm and 32mm focal lengths, either side of the 20mm ideal of 40mm equivalence.
  • Veydra Mini Prime 6 Lens Master Lens Kit with 6 Lens Case (MFT Mount, Meters)B&H – see above.
  • Voigtlander Nokton 40mm f/1.2 Aspherical Lens for Leica M-Mount B&H
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  • Voigtlander Nokton Classic 40mm f/1.4 MC Lens for Leica M-MountB&H
  • Voigtlander Nokton Classic 40mm f/1.4 SC Lens for Leica M-MountB&H
  • Voigtlander Ultron 40mm f/2 SL IIS Aspherical Lens for Nikon F-MountB&H
  • Yongnuo YN 40mm f/2.8N Lens for Nikon FB&H

Breathe Easy in Swing, Shift, Tilt on Fujifilm GFX 50S with Cambo Actus-GFX Mini View Camera

Photography and video hardware manufacturer Cambo has announced the availability of its bellows-based swing, shift and tilt solution for the Fujifilm GFX 50S medium format mirrorless camera system, the Cambo Actus-GFX. The Actus-GFX appears to be a GFX 50S-adapted version of Cambo’s Actus Mini View Camera designed for a range of mirrorless cameras. 

cambo_gfx50s_view_camera_01_1572px

The Cambo Actus-GFX is excellent news for those of us photographing architecture, still-life, food, portraits and other subjects demanding fine control of focus points and perspective via camera movements.

View cameras using 4″x5″ sheet film, Polaroid Type 55 instant positive/negative film and 120 roll film were my preferred camera type for portraiture during the analog era and I miss their ability to swing, shift or tilt front and rear standards to control the plane of focus.

My emotionally intense portraits with just two points in sharp focus such as a reflection in one eye and the tip of a lower lip became popular during my magazine portrait career and they could only be done using view cameras.

I am grateful that Cambo has seen the need for technical view cameras in the digital era and has created the Actus Mini View Camera to take advantage of mirrorless cameras like the Fujifilm GFX 50S as well as other cameras such as Canon’s EOS and M series, Nikon F DSLRs, Leica M rangefinders and Sony E-mount, Pentax K-mount, Fujifilm X-mount and Micro Four Thirds mirrorless cameras.

The Cambo Actus Mini View Camera lens mount range currently includes lens plates for Canon EF, Nikon F, Leica R, Hasselblad, Mamiya RB/RZ, Mamiya 645 Pro TL and Pentax 645 35mm and medium format lenses.

The Cambo website has not yet been updated with further information about the Cambo Actus-GFX Mini View Camera but that should be coming soon. It will be useful to know which lenses work well with the Actus-GFX and Fujifilm GFX 50S camera combination.

I might also point out that view camera systems have their uses in movie production and are a more versatile alternative to the tilt/shift lenses found in DSLR camera systems.

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  • Cambo ACTUS-GFX View Camera Body with Fujifilm GFX Bayonet Mount (Black) – B&H
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Now Surfacing: The Long-Awaited Fujinon MK 18-55mm and 50-135mm T2.9 Cinema Lenses – E-Mount Now, X-Mount Later

Fujifilm has announced the Fujinon MK 18‐55mm T2.9 and Fujinon MK 50-135mm T2.9 cinema lenses, a matched pair of relatively affordable top-quality zooms “specifically designed for consumer and prosumer videographers and emerging cinematographers”. 

The Fujinon MK 18‐55mm T2.9 cinema zoom lens, to be released as an E-Mount lens for Sony cameras with a Fujifilm X-Mount version coming later this year for the X-Pro2, X-T2 and future X-Series cameras.

The MK 18-55mm T2.9 standard zoom lens is scheduled for an early March 2017 release while the Fujinon MK 50-135mm T2.9 is currently under development and is touted for a southern hemisphere winter 2017 release. Both lenses will initially be available in E-Mount for Sony’s popular A7-series cameras and X-Mount versions for Fujifilm’s own X-T2 and X-Pro2  will appear later in 2017.

Standout features of both lenses are that they are lightweight, are made of composite polycarbonate for lightness and strength, have the same external dimensions, are clickless, focus, iris and zoom gearing, are parfocal, have low distortion and high quality edge-to-edge sharpness, have no focus breathing, have matched constant maximum apertures and matching colour rendering and are fully manual.

Not to forget that they will be affordable relative to Fujinon’s other cinema lenses in the HK, ZK and XK series as well as competing brands of cinema zoom lenses.

Sony E-Mount Super 35 camcorders and Super 35/APS-C hybrid cameras are a clear and obvious launch market for Fujifilm’s new Fujinon MK-Series lightweight cinema lenses, with X-Mount versions for Fujifilm’s X Series flagship and related cameras coming later.

Fujifilm’s press release states that:

Cinema lenses are the optimal choice to achieve a shallow depth-of-field and a beautiful bokeh. However, since they are typically large, heavy and expensive, those involved in online and other lower cost movie production often opt for interchangeable lenses for digital cameras, which are more affordable and mobile.

The problem is that interchangeable lenses for digital cameras are designed primarily for shooting still images, and therefore prone to focus shift and optical axis shift while zooming, and so on. In response, Fujifilm has been working on developing new cinema lenses that offer advanced optical performance with compact size and operability to meet the needs of creative emerging cinematographers.

There have been rumours floating around for some time that Fujifilm would be introducing a new line of clickless video lenses suitable for its X-Mount X Series interchangeable lens Super 35/APS-C hybrid stills/video cameras. The first two lenses in Fujifilm’s Fujinon MK Series of ciné zooms are specified beyond expectations and I am looking forward to seeing them in action despite their initial release only in E-Mount for Sony cameras.

As Paul Leeming‘s letter and my own request of Fujifilm attest, Fujifilm’s latest X-Series are very promising Super 35 video production cameras whether currently 1080p in the case of the X-Pro2 or 4K with the X-T2. I hope that the imminent arrival of the MK lenses helps Billy Luong apply more pressure on Fujifilm management to add 4K capability via line-skipping as in the X-T20 to the X-Pro2.

If Fujifilm heeds mine and Mr Leeming’s requests for firmware and hardware improvements, then they will have a very capable Super 35 video camera able to take any of their current and future X-Mount stills lenses as well as the new MK X-Mount zooms.

The sudden tragic demise of Samsung’s promising, much-loved NX1 and its companion the NX500 has left a hole in the affordable 4K Super 35 market that Fujifilm still has a chance of filling, and better yet of exceeding expectations.

Many cinematographers familiar with Fujifilm’s Fujinon stills and cinema lenses have expressed a desire for a fully-featured Fujifilm Super 35 camera able to make the most of them. The ball is in Fujifilm’s court and one hopes they pick it up and run with it.

There is now even more pressure on Fujifilm to up the ante on the video capabilities of their current and future flagship X-Series cameras given the imminent arrival of Panasonic’s groundbreaking Lumix GH5 4K Super 16/Micro Four Thirds camera with its wide range of new and radically improved moviemaking features.

Why would I want a Super 35 4K as well as a Super 16 4K camera? Foremost, choice in sensor size, lens range and image quality. I am more likely to pick up the GH5 – or rather, watch it leap into my hands as the GH4 does currently – for single-operator documentary projects and rely on a revamped X-T2 or its successor for advertising, corporate and feature film projects. Others’ opinions will differ.

On the MK Series’ potential user base, Matthew Duclos of Duclos Lenses says it best:

So who did Fujinon make this lens for? I believe this lens is a great option for documentary style shooters…projects that run on the most skeleton [of] crews that need to be agile with their gear. It’ll be right at home on a music video set or a web series looking for a classic zoom range.

I have just one big question for Fujifilm right now, other than when will they act on the Leeming, Gottschalk and Luong X-Series flagship video features requests, and that is, is a super wide-angle MK-Series X-Mount ciné zoom on the drawing board?

Sony owners more expert than I in lens design have stated that the downside of the narrow E-Mount is that it mitigates against a larger collection of lenses at the wide end, though I note that Sony offers a 10-18mm f/4 OSS super wide-angle zoom lens.

Adding a super wide-angle ciné zoom to the MK series would complete its  classic three-zoom moviemaking set.

FUJIFILMglobal –FUJINON MK Lens Official Introduction movie / FUJIFILM

FUJIFILMglobal – FUJINON MK Lens – Image movie / FUJIFILM

FUJIFILMglobal – FUJINON MK Lens – Image movie making / FUJIFILM

Fujifilm Europe – FUJINON MK18-55mm T2.9 Footage Shot by Philip Bloom

Fujifilm Europe – BTS FUJINON MK18-55mm T2.9 Shot by Philip Bloom

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Header image concept and design by Carmel D. Morris.