Tobias Mennle using a Panasonic VariCam LT camera did some lens testing with the Canon Cine Prime CN-E 50/T1.3, Canon EF 50/1.2L, and Sigma ART 50/1.4 lenses.

Canon Cine Prime CN-E 50/T1.3 vs EF 50/1.2L vs Sigma ART 50/1.4 from Tobias Mennle on Vimeo.

Shot on Varicam LT. During a two day camera test in Berlin I had the chance to play around with a couple of lenses, too. I immediately fell in love with the Canon Cine Prime CN-E 50/T1.3. How does it compare to its EF counterpart, and the Sigma ART 50/1.4 which will soon be available as a cine lens?

Although I graded all shots to taste, I saw that the CN-E, as claimed by Canon, delivers warmer skintones than the EF version. There is a bit more of that magic glow great lenses deliver. And the 11 blade aperture of the cine lens makes for great sunstar effects from light sources – invaluable when shooting in the city at night with car headlights and lanterns in the frame. Both Canon lenses look very sharp from F2, but at the same time are very kind in rendering the model´s face. Bokeh is very good with very even light disks (unlike the Zeiss CP 50/T.1.5, which has pronounced bright rims of light disks). Most fast lenses suffer from spherochromatism (colour fringing in unsharp areas of the image) which disappears when they are stopped down two stops – and these three lenses are no exception. Build quality of the cine lens is impeccable.

The Sigma ART 50/1.4 might be even sharper wide open – then again, the Canons are half a stop faster which is a great challenge for the optical designer. But, the Sigma has a much colder, harsher rendering of her face which I definitely find less pleasing. The proverbial "more clinical" rendering. This bodes not too well for Sigma´s soon to be released cine primes. Also – I own the ART 24/1.4 and played around with three more samples of ART primes – the Sigma ART primes are a nightmare to focus manually. Extremely rough and uneven going focus.

The Canon CN-E 50/1.3, together with the 24/1.5, is definitely very high on my wishlist. Both are evolutions of legendary, classic lens designs, the Canon FDs 50L and 24L. Canon should provide a S-35mm CN-E 18mm/T1.5 to complement the set, just as they did in the 1970s with their K35 primes. Also, a dedicated S-35 65mm/T1.5 with closer focus than the 85/T1.3 would be great. Most importantly, a changeable lens mount comparable to the Zeiss CPs would probably boost sales of the CN-Es.

More impressions shot mainly with CN-E 24 and 85:

Canon CN-E lenses kindly provided by Dirk Fobker/Canon Germany.

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