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Veydra MFT Cinema Lens Kit Review & Rokinon Cine Lens Comparison

Ever since Veydra released their lineup of Mini-Prime MFT cinema lenses, I’ve been getting lots of e-mails from readers asking me to do a review on them. So for those of you that have been waiting, this article is for you.

I was able to use these lenses for the first time on a professional shoot several weeks ago, and was very impressed to say the least… So rather than simply reviewing them, I also wanted to compare them to the Rokinon lineup (my budget cinema kit of choice up until now) to see how they would stack up.

If you aren’t familiar with Veydra lenses, they are very high quality cinema lenses that are specifically designed for MFT mount cameras, such as a GH4 or Blackmagic Pocket Camera. While most other cinema lenses can be adapted to MFT mount (including PL and EF lenses), these are amongst the only native MFT cinema lenses out there, which means you get a lot more bang for your buck. Since the lenses are physically smaller than PL or EF lenses (by a long shot) their overall cost is kept to a minimum, while the quality is top notch.

Veydra Mini Prime MFT Review

The Review

Occasionally when reviewing lenses I will simply shoot a bunch of test footage with an entire kit to test sharpness, color accuracy, distortion, and other important factors. Those types of tests are definitely helpful, but they don’t always give an accurate representation of what the lenses are capable of on a real world set. I find that by far the best way to test a lens is by actually putting it through it’s paces on set, and letting the results speak for themselves. That’s what I decided to do with the Veydras.

Thankfully during the time that I had access to these lenses, there was a project I was Directing/DP’ing that I was able to use these lenses for. It was a book trailer for a well known author, and although the edit isn’t yet complete I did take some screen grabs that I will share below.

Before stepping on set to shoot this book trailer I had never used the Veydra lenses myself. I had heard some very good things about them, but didn’t have any hands on experience with them yet, so naturally I didn’t know what to expect. That said, even with no experience using these lenses before, I felt right at home as soon as I started working with them.

The first thing I noticed was that the lenses felt and operated like true cinema lenses. Unlike Rokinon lenses which are housed in plastic, the Veydras are all metal and feel just as well built as cinema lenses many times their price. The iris and focus rings are unbelievably smooth, and the focus throw is a near perfect distance for focusing by hand, or with a follow focus.

I have shot with many of the best cinema lenses out there, and the fact that the Veydra Mini-Primes feel so similar to use and operate is pretty astounding, especially considering the price point.

But at the end of the day, build quality isn’t everything. A lens is only as good as the image it produces, and most of us would choose a sharper and more accurate lens over a softer lens, even if the latter was built much better. Thankfully in the case of the Veydra’s – it’s a best of both worlds situation.

IMG_7361

As soon as I started shooting with the lenses I immediately noticed their sharpness on the onboard monitor of the camera (which was a MFT Blackmagic Cinema Camera by the way). I can usually trust my eye when working with a new lens, and right off the bat I felt that the sharpness and detail was really incredible. This was especially apparent when I shot on the widest lens that I had in the kit (the 16mm). Wide shots will often reveal softness in lenses, but in this case things were looking really good right away.

Throughout the shoot I used every one of the lenses in the kit – 16mm, 25mm, 35mm, 50mm. For MFT cameras, these focal lengths are ideal as once you factor in the 2x (approximate) crop factor, these lenses cover a very wide spectrum of focal lengths. If I were to purchase this kit, I would also invest in their widest lens – the 12mm – as that will give a nice wide 24mm equivalent on most MFT cameras.

IMG_7353

All in all, the shoot went really well and the lenses were an absolute pleasure to work with… But it wasn’t until I got in the editing room and was able to look at some of the shots up close that I could really see what these lenses were made of.

What impressed me most in the edit suite was not only the sharpness/detail (as I was expecting that), but the color and consistency of the lenses. The files above have been color graded slightly, but I practically could have used every shot straight from the camera as is, simply by adding a Blackmagic Film to Rec. 709 LUT on them. Not only because the colors were so accurate and pleasing as is, but also because all of the lenses matched so well. There was no discernible color or contrast shift from lens to lens, making the small amount of color work that I did on the files very simple and quick.

Here are a few uncolored screen grabs from our shoot:

Veydra Mini Prime Footage

Veydra Mini Prime Review

Veydra Mini Prime Quality

Normally the first step that I will take when coloring a project is to match every shot before any creative work is done. That step will be virtually eliminated in my color process this time around as the shots already match perfectly as a result of the consistency of the Veydras.

This is an area where these lenses really seemed to have the Rokinon’s beat. While I am a fan of the Rokinon cinema lenses, they certainly aren’t known for their consistency. Some of their lenses are lower contrast than others, some aren’t quite as sharp, etc. which means more time needs to be spent either on set (lighting) or in post (coloring) to get them to match.

Although I wasn’t able to also shoot with the Rokinon lenses side by side with the Veydras on my shoot, I was able to take some test shots after the fact to compare sharpness and detail.

For my test I used the Veydra 25mm, 35mm, and 50mm and compared them to the Rokinon 24mm, 35mm, and 50mm. Unfortunately I didn’t have the Rokinon 16mm to compare with the Veydra 16mm and I didn’t have an 85mm Veydra to stack up next to my 85mm Rokinon. Regardless, even being able to compare just these three lenses was pretty telling.

Let’s take a look at some of the shots. These were all captured on a Blackmagic Pocket Camera with no lighting at my home:

Veydra 25mm

Veydra 25mm

Rokinon 24mm

Rokinon 24mm

Veydra 25mm Vs. Rokinon 24mm @ 300%

Veydra 25mm vs Rokinon 24mm

Veydra 35mm

Veydra 35mm

Rokinon 35mm

Rokinon 35mm

Veydra 35mm Vs. Rokinon 35mm @ 300%

Veydra 35mm vs Rokinon 35mm

Veydra 50mm

Veydra 50mm

Rokinon 50mm

Rokinon 50mm

Veydra 50mm Vs. Rokinon 50mm @ 300%

Veydra 50mm vs Rokinon 50mm

It’s pretty obvious from these shots that the Veydra’s have a massive advantage over the Rokinon’s in terms of sharpness. The Rokinon’s are much softer – particularly the 24mm, and would definitely need to have some sharpening done to them in post in order to match the Veydra’s more closely. I assumed the Rokinon’s would be softer wide open, but these results were still surprising given that the Rokinon’s were stopped down to T2.2 and therefore would have theoretically been even softer wide open at T1.5.

Veydra Vs. Rokinon: The Verdict

We’ve clearly seen that in most ways the Veydra lenses trump the Rokinon’s. They’re built better, their optics are higher quality, and the image quality they produce is superb. That said, there are other factors that come into play when you are considering investing in a lens kit, and the Rokinon lenses still have a few positives in their corner.

First off, the Rokinon lenses are faster at T1.5 (for these focal length equivalents), while the Veydra’s max out at T2.2. In reality this wouldn’t be a huge factor for me when deciding between these two lens kits, since I normally shoot stopped down a bit on the Rokinon’s anyways to increase sharpness. That said, for those of you that absolutely need the extra light, the Rokinon’s are the faster lenses.

Another consideration of course is the price. The Veydra lenses are very reasonably priced in my opinion (the kit I was using runs about $3700), whereas a comprable Rokinon kit will be just under $2000. That’s a pretty substantial price difference, so if you need to keep your costs to a minimum, then the Rokinon’s offer a great budget-friendly option. That said, you do get what you pay for and the Veydras in my opinion are worth far more than even the $3700 that they are listed at.

The final positive about the Rokinon’s is the fact that they are offered in EF mount and will cover Super 35mm (or in some cases full frame) sensors. For many shooters this may not matter, but for others it’s a worthwhile consideration. Even if you primarily shoot on MFT cameras, there is something to be said about using EF lenses since they can be used more universally on other cameras (if you rent or buy a camera with a different mount in the future), and they can also be used with a speedbooster on your current MFT camera.

Veydra-4-lens

 

Veydra MFT Cinema Lens Kit: 16mm, 25mm, 35mm, 50mm – $3699 at B & H

No matter what, there will always be pros and cons when comparing any two lens kits. Even still, for MFT shooters the Veydra prime lenses offer a tremendous amount of value and image quality that can rival some far more expensive cinema lenses out there, and I highly recommend them.

To learn more about Veydra you can visit them online at http://www.veydra.com

And be sure to follow me on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter for more updates!

About Author

Noam Kroll is an award-winning Los Angeles based filmmaker, and the founder of the boutique production house, Creative Rebellion. His work can be seen at international film festivals, on network television, and in various publications across the globe. Follow Noam on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more content like this!

41 Comments

  • Jonathan
    July 30, 2017 at 2:14 am

    Enjoyed reading your article again, after a few months. Was thinking of selling my Rokinons but I’ve decided to keep them after re-reading your article. Thank you once again!

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      August 2, 2017 at 5:27 am

      Very cool to hear. So glad it was helpful!

      Reply
  • Anders Berggren
    April 14, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    Hi Noam, thanks for a great review! Been thinking of a combo with the GH5 and the Veydras – have you tried that? I’m also thinking of Tokina ATX 11-16 T3.0 as a lens for the wider end, don’t know if you have tried that lens, but would the Tokina blend well with the Veydras do you think?

    Happy Easter from Sweden (a very cold Easter this year : )
    Anders

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      April 16, 2017 at 2:24 am

      Hey Anders! I actually do own the Toking 11-16, and really love that lens. I think it would be a great match for the Veydras, as it feel pretty neutral to me (color-wise) and I’ve generally been able to match it well to most of my other glass. Good luck!

      Reply
      • Anders Berggren
        April 28, 2017 at 10:42 am

        Thank’s Noam for your answer. I got a real god deal on a bundle with the GH5, the Tokina lens and a Vedra 25 mm. Looking forward testing them next week. Cheers / Anders

        Reply
  • […] Noam Kroll – Veydra MFT Cinema Lens Kit Review & Rokinon Cine Lens Comparison […]

    Reply
  • Jon Keao
    March 10, 2017 at 10:29 pm

    Still using the Veydras? Still liking ’em? How would you compare them to the Voigtlander primes or the Pana/Leica primes (if you’ve used them)?

    Great article. Aloha!

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      March 14, 2017 at 5:38 pm

      They are awesome lenses. I’ve never owned them, but would certainly use them in a heartbeat on any project where they were a good fit. Personally, I like them more than the Panasonic prime lenses, as they are true cinema lenses… The same goes for Voigtlander, although if you need ultra fast lenses than the Voiglanders have a bit of an edge!

      Reply
  • Steven Walker
    February 11, 2017 at 10:05 pm

    I bought a Kowa 6mm f1.8 because I love wide angles. (It is C mount on an adaptor.) But I’m afraid they rather show their roots in CCTV security and machine vision. If you are expecting a rectalinear; you’re on the wrong bus! These are lenses intended to be stuck on a pole and left there.

    (Before you tell me wide angles distort; yes I know. But there are lenses with “natural” distortion across the frame and there are lenses with “really weird” distortion. I have been through Sigmas, Tokinas and finally settled with the Canon 10-22 on my DSLRs)

    On the Micro Cinema the 6mm Kowa can be sharp but that is pretty hit and miss due to where in the frame you take your focus. What I really notice is it is difficult to pan around or have people walk across shot. There is a real “suck in / squeeze out” as things move across the frame. I film the insides of machines and, so long as the shot is locked off, it is not too noticable. But as soon as anyone walks into the edge of the shot; it’s time to reach for the sea-sick-bag.

    It is a pity; they are beautifully made, and I do use it, but not on an empty stomach.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      February 23, 2017 at 1:53 am

      Good to know Steven! People often ask me about the Kowa lenses (specifically the 6mm), so I appreciate you sharing this here.

      Reply
  • Dan
    December 14, 2016 at 4:00 am

    Noam,
    Can you compare these to the Kowa lenses? I’d be interested to see the differences. The Kowa 12mm stops down to 1.8 and I was considering buying it instead of the Veydra 16mm.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      January 4, 2017 at 7:26 pm

      I haven’t used the Kowa’s, but will certainly consider this for a future post!

      Reply
  • James
    December 1, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    Noam, first of all I love all your films and I love your blog! So informative and just really great to see some behind the scenes stuff from your film world.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      December 2, 2016 at 10:49 pm

      Thank you so much James! I truly appreciate it.

      Reply
  • Steven
    June 21, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    Hi Noam Kroll

    Good article. But I am keen to know how much they paid for this article? I found in the article, from the beginning to end, you are saying “something special” which is the common behaviour of marketers. Anyway good work, I just wanted to know if I also can write articles like this 😀

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      June 21, 2016 at 6:43 pm

      Haha. Steven, they paid me exactly $0. I really love these lenses and have used them several times since this article and really only have good things to say. I typically only review products I like, and the Veydras happen to be lenses that I really take to. Hope you get a chance to see for yourself some time.

      Reply
  • wesley
    March 29, 2016 at 1:48 am

    Nice review, thank you, is EF mount avialable…

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      March 29, 2016 at 10:35 pm

      I don’t believe so. It looks like it’s just for mirrorless mounts – MFT, E-Mount, etc.

      Reply
  • bek
    September 15, 2015 at 1:51 am

    can i use these lenses on sony E mount. i have Sony FS700 can i use it on this camera?

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      October 2, 2015 at 12:20 am

      I believe Veydra is actually releasing (or has already released) these lenses in Sony E Mount. Be sure to check out their site!

      Reply
  • Fredrik Lyhne
    September 13, 2015 at 2:32 am

    Great review and lovely images!

    How would you compare them to the Panasonic Leica lenses? I have the 15, 25 and 42,5 and I think they are great, especially for stills but these maybe have more/different character?

    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      September 14, 2015 at 5:41 pm

      Thanks! I love the Leica lenses you’re referring to, especially for still photography. The biggest benefit of the Veydra’s is that they perform like true cinema lenses, but quality-wise the Leica’s may perform slightly better… Haven’t tested that myself, but just a hunch.

      Reply
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  • GlueFactoryBJJ
    August 17, 2015 at 1:49 am

    Nice review. Really impressive how sharp those Veydras are! Perhaps it’s just me, but it seemed like the Veydras also had noticeably better contrast than the Rokinons. Is that what you have noticed also?

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      August 24, 2015 at 3:00 pm

      Yes, you’re absolutely right. The Rokinon’s can be fairly low contrast at times (especially certain lenses in the kit) while the Veydra’s felt much more consistent.

      Reply
  • […] for other respected cinematographers for their hands-on view of the Veydras and came across an article by Noam Kroll. Mr Kroll’s test is rather different to the sort that Mr Hurlburt runs, one closer to real life […]

    Reply
  • […] for other respected cinematographers for their hands-on view of the Veydras and came across an article by Noam Kroll. Mr Kroll’s test is rather different to the sort that Mr Hurlburt runs, one closer to real life […]

    Reply
  • Flaaandeeers
    July 27, 2015 at 11:23 pm

    Hi Noam,
    Nice article. Those Veydra look tempting for sure!
    I’ve tried the Rokinon but finally settled with SLR Magic glass. Yes, now I’m stuck in MFT mount.
    But I’m happy with my GH4 for now as I’ve been happy in the past with the GH2 and BMPCC. I think there will always be a suitable MFT option.

    SLR Magic 12, 17, 25 and 35 plus FD 55 1.2 make an awesome matching set for C4K.
    I think it’s time for me to stop watching camera and lenses review and focus on the creative side of things.You have good stuff about that too…

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      July 28, 2015 at 10:17 pm

      Thanks for the comment! Those SLR Magic lenses are amazing and if you are mainly shooting MFT then you are all set. Plus they will hold their value well if you need to re-sell them down the line.
      It’s funny, I just did my first non-gear post in a while and then saw your comment. Hope you enjoy.

      Reply
  • Matthew
    July 12, 2015 at 9:16 pm

    I am confused. DXOMark says the Robinson 35mm can resolve 20 perceptual megapixels (this is on a D810 mind you). So shouldn’t it be able to extract full sharpness from a 4K video camera?

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      July 21, 2015 at 6:37 pm

      Hi Matthew,

      It definitely resolves a lot of detail, and I’ve never had issues with the Rokinon’s being too soft… But they just aren’t as sharp as the Veydra’s. Still totally useable, but not quite as detailed. Hope that clears things up.

      Reply
  • Adam Monroe
    July 10, 2015 at 11:38 pm

    The 3 screen grabs look FANTASTIC Noam! Could you tell us which lenses you used for each, and the aspect ratio?

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      July 21, 2015 at 6:36 pm

      Thanks again Adam! The first image was the 16mm, second was the 50mm, and last was the 35mm. I shot at a standard 16:9 aspect, but framed for 2.39:1 and cropped in post.

      Reply
  • Adam Monroe
    July 10, 2015 at 11:35 pm

    Very relevant and helpful comparison, Noam. I use the EF BMCC with Rokinons. These Veydras look so much better I’m considering trading in for a MFT version!

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      July 21, 2015 at 6:35 pm

      Glad to hear this was helpful Adam!

      Reply
    • mike
      August 16, 2015 at 4:30 pm

      Unfortunately, as boring as they are, modulation transfer charts are the best way to compare sharpness values between lenses. While it is nice to see a screen grab from a “real world” application, there are too many factors that can contribute to a soft image, that are not attributable to the lens’ inherent abilities.

      The Rokinons offer bright minimun t-stops (as indicated). When faced with missing a shot or relighting for a deeper stop, the Rokinons can CYA at T1.5. Something is always better than nothing. Most shoots lack the time, budget or manpower to light to deeper f-stops,making the Rokinons arealistic option.

      Furthermore, when lit to a T2.8 or better, most lenses wil start to look similar, due to the common optical sweet spots. Therefore, Rokinons, at half the cost of Veydras, will make up for themselves in cost savings. A concern most lowbudget filmmakers share. You will always gain value and features the more you spend on gear. The manufacturers know this and have us all on a brand vs budget hamster wheel. If Rokinons are all you can afford, they are certainly better than most zooms or kit lenses out there. Even some manufactrer’sprimes have little advantage over Rokinons. They should not be viewed as a compromise, as they have no competition at their price point.

      Lastly, if you are shooting with a Black Magic Cinema camera that has a built-in EF mount, the MFT Veydras will not work for you. The flange-focal adjustment necessary to use an EF lens on a BMCC has been incorporated into the camera’s mount. Therefore, even if a flange adapter were available (which it is not), the images would be out of focus and vingette.

      Reply
      • Noam Kroll
        August 24, 2015 at 2:58 pm

        Thanks for your insight, Mike. Comparing lenses is always tough and there are certainly some discrepancies between real world tests and actual lab tests. I think both the Veydra’s and Rokinon’s have their place, and both are excellent options depending on what you’re looking for.

        Image quality aside though, I do have to say that the build quality of the Veydra’s is very impressive. My Rokinon’s (which I treat very well) have had some wear and tear issues from time to time, and the solid metal build of the Veydra’s will likely have more longevity when used day in and day out.

        Reply
  • Max
    July 10, 2015 at 9:52 am

    Thanks for the great review, been waiting for more on Veydra. I know this question is always a “depends on…” answer but forgetting the application (it will vary). I have the Pana 12-35mm & Oly 45mm, I’m looking at investing in the Veydra 16mm & 35mm, would you say that’s a good choice of focal lengths when buying the Veydras, given the options and my current setup?

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      July 21, 2015 at 6:35 pm

      Hey Max! If you are looking to use them in place of your current Panny lens, I would say that’s a great option. If you want to use them in addition to it, you might want to consider their longer focal lengths to round out your kit more. That said, if you are going with all primes, the 16mm and 35mm are an excellent choice and would compliment your 45mm nicely.

      Reply
  • Henry Chiquito
    July 10, 2015 at 1:43 am

    Thanks for the great review! I wonder how the Veydra compare to the Voight-Nokton?

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      July 21, 2015 at 6:31 pm

      Thanks and good question! To my eye i would say the Veydra’s are a definitely sharper, although it’s hard to say for sure without testing them.

      Reply
  • Glenn
    July 10, 2015 at 12:36 am

    Nice test, but it’s almost not fair. Other than cost, the Veydras blow the Rokinons away. I would be curious to see how they fair against a more expensive lens.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      July 21, 2015 at 6:30 pm

      Me too, Glenn. Maybe in the future I can compare them to CP2’s.

      Reply

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