NiSi has teased a new set of Athena full-frame cinema lenses ahead of the upcoming NAB 2023 show in Las Vegas next week. The lineup includes five lenses, with a 14mm T2.4 and 24mm, 35mm, 50mm and 85mm T1.9 lenses. Each of the lenses will be available in three mounts, including the usual PL mount, as well as Sony E and Canon RF mounts.
Each of the lenses (except PL mount) appears to include a rear mounted filter holder. These are to accept the upcoming NiSi Full Spectrum (FS) ND filters designed specifically for the Athena lenses. NiSi says that the filters are designed to be as colour neutral as possible and transmit even amounts of UV, near-infrared as well as visible light.
There isn’t a massive amount of information out there about the lenses yet. Well, there’s not much at all, really, except what we can see in the photos and that they’ll be available in PL, E and RF mount options. While I understand that it’s an obsolete mount these days, it surprises me that there’s no EF mount option that can easily be adapted to other systems such as Nikon Z and Leica L. Of course, there are also adapters available to let you mount PL lenses to both of these systems as well, but it does mean more expense.
As well as the rear filter, the lenses each feature a 77mm filter thread on the front, allowing you t attach a polariser or lightweight matte box. CineD reports that all of the lenses are the exact same size as each other, with matched aperture and focus rings. This allows you to easily swap them out on a camera rig without having to reposition things like matte boxes or rebalance if you’re using a gimbal.
They also say that NiSi promises “almost no focus breathing”, with a design that’s optimised for maximum detail and minimum chromatic aberration. Focus breathing has become a big concern over the last few years as more low-budget cinema lenses have been getting into users’ hands. If you’re not expecting a lens to have a focus breathing problem, it can kind of take you by surprise. Not knowing how bad the focus breathing on a given lens is can stop customers from potentially buying. It’ll be good to see how well the “almost no focus breathing” claim stands up once these start getting into people’s hands, too.
As for the NiSi FS ND filters, they’re coming in eight different strengths ranging from 0.3 to 2.4. This presents a range of 1 to 8 stops of light reduction. Of course, these are regular, static neutral density filters, not variable. So, if you need to change the value, you’re swapping one out for another, not just rotating a ring.
The lenses and filters are expected to be on display at NAB 2023. DIYP will have a team at the show, so we’ll be sure to try and check them out while we’re there to find out more about them.
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