Well, this is a bit of a surprise. Popular filter maker NiSi is getting into the cinema lens market. Kicking off the launch, they’re introducing five brand new cinema lenses ranging from 25mm to 100mm (with a possible sixth 18mm lens on the way). The lenses will be available in Canon EF, Sony E and PL mounts and offer a nice variety of focal ranges right off the bat.
All of the lenses are fairly close in size and weight. They’re all 95mm front diameter, 117mm length from the front to the PL Mount flange, and weigh around 1.1-1.3kg (2.4-2.9lbs). They all offer a T2.0-22 range, except for the 25mm, which is a hair darker wide open at T2.1.
As one expects from cinema lenses, they feature clickless apertures and built-in geared control rings for both the 12 blade iris aperture and focus. And there is a nice long 270° focus throw on that ring, too. NiSi says that the new lenses are designed for high resolution, with a “retro cinema style” (whatever that means) using Ultra Low Dispersion elements.
Currently, the lenses are available to pre-order now with a $999 deposit per item, with shipping expected in June 2018. You can buy them individually, or as a complete set. Pre-orders before April 30th will save $500, and all pre-orders will also receive a free 4×5.65″ yellow light filter.
- NiSi F3 25mm T2.1 – $2,499 (reg. $2,999)
- NiSi F3 35mm T2.0 – $1,999 (reg. $2,499)
- NiSi F3 50mm T2.0 – $1,999 (reg. $2,499)
- NiSi F3 75mm T2.0 – $1,999 (reg. $2,499)
- NiSi F3 100mm T2.0 – $2,499 (reg. $2,999)
- Entire NiSi F3 five lens set – $11,499 (reg. $11,999)
Oddly, with the current $500 discount, it works out cheaper to buy each lens individually. The total price for each of the five lenses bought separately is $10,995. $500 less than the $11,499 package price. After the pre-order discount goes away, though, the total cost for all five lenses individually is $13,495. So, $11,999 is a substantial saving once they go on general sale.
Right now, though, somebody at NiSi needs a maths lesson if they want to sell the kit as a whole. Find out more on the NiSi website.
It’s interesting to see that this is the second company lately that’s producing both lenses and filters. Irix did it, too, although they went the other route. They released lenses first and then expanded into filters, NiSi is famous for its filters and now it’s expanding into lenses.
It seems to me like a natural progression for any lens or filter manufacturer to dip into the other, but it’s surprising that nobody really seems to have done it until recently (those Nikon UV Haze filters don’t count). It should mean, though, that we don’t have to rely on universal one-size-fits-all filter systems for lenses in the future, especially for unconventional sized lenses. Lenses and filters from the same manufacturers will be purpose-built to work together more seamlessly.