Fujinon came out swinging with their MK Cine Zoom Lenses. Designed for E-mount cameras and covering a Super 35 format, the MK’s are perfectly made for the Sony FS7 and FS5. Fujinon announced both lenses in February of 2017. They began to ship the MK18-55mm and MK50-135mm in March and July 2017 respectively.

Over the past couple of years, cine lenses, and specifically cine zooms, have become much more affordable. Plus, there is now a sizable amount of competition in the marketplace. This new era of affordable cinema glass doesn't come without a cost though. Something has to give to be able to lower the cost these items significantly. Maybe it will be accepting more focus breathing than normal. Or, maybe it could be that the lens doesn’t cover all sensor sizes. Lastly, it could just have a less than ideal minimum aperture.

With a cost of 3,800 to 4,000 dollars depending on what focal length you get, and a minimum aperture of T2.9, Fujinon made a wise choice in the construction of these lenses.

In this case, Fujinon was able to get the price down by limiting the sensor sizes the MK line covers. It takes significantly less glass to cover a Super 35 sensor than a Full Frame. With a cost of 3,800 to 4,000 dollars depending on what focal length you get, and a minimum aperture of T2.9, Fujinon made a wise choice in the construction of these lenses.

Details, please.

The first thing we should address is that these lenses are exactly the same, all specs, even down to their weight at 2.16 pounds. Ok, maybe not everything; there are two differences– cost and focal length– that's it. The MK18-55mm is 3,800 dollars and the MK50-135mm is 4,000 dollars. Outside of that, they both are Sony E-mount for a Super 35 sensor. That means you can use them on the Sony a6300 or the a6500, but that would be a strange combo. They have a consistent aperture of T2.9 over the full zoom of the lens. They offer three standard 0.8 MOD gears, a clickless nine-blade iris, and have a 85mm front outside diameter. They are both color matched to the Fujinon HK/ZK/XK series lenses, and they have 200-degrees of focus rotation, as well as a macro mode.

In Use

We had the pleasure of shooting the lenses on the new Sony FS7 II. Because of the new locking system on the camera, taking a lens off and swapping it out is a bit difficult. Out of the seven lenses we used during our evaluation of the camera, the Fujinons were the easiest to manage. Because of their weight and size, they went on the camera with much more ease than the rest.

We first took the lenses out to a national park tree seed farm. I know, it sounds weird, and it looks weird, too — rows and rows of pine trees in the same formation you’d see in an orchard. Because the lenses offer an overlapping focal length range, they are super easy to work with together. The lenses look nice, too. They’re sharp, but not too sharp, and they have a nice texture to their lens blur. A nice option these lenses offer is the ability to shoot macro. With the flip of a switch, you are able to get extra focus out of the lenses.

Tests

After using the lenses in the field, we took them into our studio and ran a slew of tests. We compared their color. We also tested to see if they have any focus breathing and lastly, to see if the focus would hold when zooming.

Starting off with color, we tested each lens against the other, to verify that they match. Testing on our DSC color chart, we set the camera up with a 5600 Kelvin white balance and tested both at T5.6. As Fujinon claims, the lenses are a perfect match.

We then moved on to testing if they had any focus breathing. We thought that we would see some breathing at the telephoto side of the 50-135mm. However, even when zoomed completely in, there is no breathing. We then slid down to 100mm, then to 85mm then to 50mm; the MK50-135mm has no breathing regardless of the focal length. We did the same test to the 18-55mm. Starting at 55mm, then to 35mm, then to 24mm and lastly, at 18mm — there was no breathing.

Next, we verified that these lenses were parfocal. Parfocal is when you can zoom a lens and not lose focus. This is a very valuable lens characteristic and a defining quality of cinema lenses. Zooming all the way in to 135mm, we set the focus on a fine detail on our DSC color chart. Then, zooming all the way out to 50mm, we checked the focus: it was spot on. We did the same test with the other lens and it had the same result. These lenses are in fact true parfocal.  

Marketplace

Not all the lenses we reviewed with the FS7 II are a good comparison for the Fujinons. We wanted to see how directly they compared with other lenses on the market, as well as with the ones we tested. We’re talking about the best apples to apples comparisons out there. We looked to Sigma, Sony and Zeiss for other like lenses.

The first are the Sigma 18-35 T2 & 50-100mm T2 Cine High-Speed Zooms. They cost 5000 dollars each and cover full frame sensors. They come in the lens mount of your choice: E, EF or PL mounts. They have a constant aperture of T2.2 through the full throw of the lens. They have geared focus, iris and zoom control rings. They weigh 3.3 pounds & 4.16 pounds, respectively, and offer a 95mm front diameter and a nine-blade iris. These lenses are more money and have a gap in their focal range.

Next let’s look at the FS7 II’s kit lens, the Sony E PZ 18-110mm f/4 G OSS. At 3,500 dollars, it’s the nicest kit lens out there. It’s a wonderful focal length and covers an APS-C or Super 35 sensor. It is a E-mount lens and has an aperture range of f/4 to f/22. Although they don’t offer a T-stop measurement, they offer other cine lens features, such as no focus shifting or lens breathing. They switch between manual and Servo controlled zoom, and have internal focusing. Also included is optical SteadyShot Image stabilization. This lens is extremely affordable, considering both its focal range and servo controlled zoom.

The last lens on this list shows the value in these lenses. Combined, both of the Fujinon lenses still don’t cost as much as the Zeiss 21-100mm T2.9-3.9 Lightweight Zoom LWZ.3. Hold your breath: it’s a whopping 9,900 dollars and it doesn't even have a constant aperture across the full throw of the lens. Its designed for a Super 35mm sensor and has close to 5x zoom range. It has an impressive 294-degree Focus Rotation and an interchangeable lens mount.

Final Thoughts and Recommendation

These lenses look great. They are light and easy to manage. Their price is good, but it takes two lenses to cover all the focal lengths you might need. They are parfocal, so your focus will hold during a zoom. Overall, they are a good value and we would recommend them.

Fujinon
www.fujifilm.com

MK18-55mm T2.9: $3,800
MK50-135mm T2.9: $4,000

STRENGTHS:

  • Lightweight
  • Overlapping focal lengths
  • Good price

WEAKNESSES:

  • Incompatible with full-frame lenses
  • Only available with E-mount

SUMMARY:

The MK series lenses from Fujinon are the company’s first attempt into the affordable cine lens market. They have a nice bokeh and lens blur. Made for a Super 35 sensor, they are lightweight and easy to manage.

RECOMMENDED USERS:

  • Enthusiasts, Indie and Corporate filmmakers
  • Event Videographers & Documentarians
  • Commercial producers
  • Travel videographers & Journalists

TECH SPECS:

MK50-135mm T2.9
Mount Type:
E-Mount
Image Circle: 28.5 mm diameter (supports 24.84 x 13.97 mm sensors)
Focal Length: 50 – 135mm
Aperture: T2.9 to T22 and closed
Iris Blades: 9
Focus Rotation: 200°
Minimum Focus Distance

  • Standard: 3'11" / 1.2 m
  • Macro: 2'9"' / 0.85 m
  • Angle of View (16:9)
  • 50 mm: 27.9° x 15.9°
  • 135 mm: 17° 20' x 9° 48'

Filter Thread: 82 mm
Length: 8.12" / 20.63 cm
Weight: 2.16 lb / 0.98 kg

MK18-55mm T2.9
Mount Type:
E-Mount
Image Circle: 28.5 mm diameter (supports 24.84 x 13.97 mm sensors)
Focal Length: 18 – 55 mm
Aperture: T2.9 to T22 and closed
Iris Blades: 9
Focus Rotation: 200°
Minimum Focus Distance

  • Standard: 2.8' / 0.85 m
  • Macro: 1.25' / 0.38 m
  • Angle of View (16:9)
  • 18mm: 36.38 x 20.47" / 924.00 x 520.00 mm
  • 55mm: 7.6 x 4.3" (193 x 109 mm)

Filter Thread: 82 mm
Length: 8.12" / 20.63 cm
Weight: 2.16 lb / 0.98 kg

Chris Monlux’s favorite record producer is Rick Rubin. He is also Videomaker’s Multimedia Editor. 

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