Canon introduced the Sumire Prime lenses in April: seven full-frame cinema primes designed to add “a unique artistically pleasing look with gentle and beautiful skin tones and smooth bokeh” to Canon’s lens line.
That is the first time Canon has named a collection of lenses: “Sumire” (“Soo-me-ray”) is a Japanese word for “flower”, “purity”, or pretty”. Sumire Primes are based mostly on Canon’s EF-mount CN-E cine primes, but depart from Canon’s usually crisp, just-the-facts rendering at wider apertures with a smoother, extra “characterful” image. Sumires will begin delivery this summer time.
Canon lent me prototypes of the 24mm T1.5, 50mm T1.3, and 85mm T1.three Sumires for a couple of days. While I wasn’t capable of do a complete assessment, I did explore what the lenses do this makes them totally different from normal CN-Es, and from the classic Canon Okay-35s that the Sumires are often in comparison with.
Sumire Primes appear and feel virtually equivalent to plain CN-E primes, albeit with PL mounts as an alternative of EF mounts. (Technically, the Sumires are also CN-Es — CN-E FP X lenses, to be precise, whereas the standard CN-Es are CN-E L F primes — however I’ll name them “Sumires” and “CN-Es” to differentiate them.)
Both strains have the following lenses in them:
- 14mm T3.1
- 20mm T1.5
- 24mm T1.5
- 35mm T1.5
- 50mm T1.three
- 85mm T1.3
- 135mm T2.2
All use an 11-blade iris, a focus ring with a 300º throw, and an iris ring with a 36º throw. Focus and iris gears are identically placed on both strains of lenses. From 20mm on up all have 105mm filter threads; from 20mm by means of 85mm all have the same size (the 14mm is about 7mm shorter; the 135mm is around 14mm longer). Outdoors diameter is 114mm. The lenses weigh between 1.1 kg and 1.4 kg (2.4 lbs – 3.1 lbs).
Like the CN-Es, the Sumires have white-filled focus and iris scales on the left aspect, and high-visibility yellow-green marking on the suitable aspect.
In contrast to EF-mount CN-Es, Sumires ship with PL mounts. Canon service centers can swap the PL mounts for EF mounts after purchase. Sumires haven’t any digital connections and cannot report their settings to the digital camera no matter mount used.
When focusing the Sumires, the 24mm’s entrance factor moves in and out while the again component does not; the 50mm’s front and back parts both move; the 85mm’s again aspect strikes however the front doesn’t. The CN-Es are precisely the identical.
Construct quality is great. The lenses really feel strong and precise. Focus and iris rings are completely smooth via their complete ranges, and have simply the correct quantity of damping — they’ve the same smooth feel as a great fluid head.
I examined the Sumires on a full-frame Sony A7Riii mirrorless digital camera using an MTF PL-to-E mount adapter. Unfortunately the adaptor is designed for APS-C / S35mm sensors, not full-frame, so the corners of my pictures have extra shading (at bigger apertures) and outright onerous vignetting (at smaller apertures) than they might had the adaptor been more open — literally — to the sunshine from a full-frame lens. Thus I can’t immediately infer anything about full-frame protection or evenness of illumination outdoors the central 67% of my Sumire pictures based mostly on taking a look at them — and neither do you have to!
I shot a couple of stills with normal CN-Es, courtesy of Koerner Digital camera Techniques, my local rental home, and I also put the Sumires on Koerner’s projector. I’ll use that info to fill the gaps in my dialogue.
Coverage and Vignetting
Canon says that the Sumires cowl a full-frame (36mm x 24mm) picture circle, and once I put the three lenses on a projector they did indeed cover full-frame, with solely a slight darkening of the corners on the widest apertures. Normal CN-Es likewise cowl full frame with minor nook darkening extensive open, and I have each expectation that the Sumires perform identical to normal CN-Es on this regard.
Large open, both Sumires and CN-Es present a good falloff in illumination from middle to corners. It’s most noticeable on the 24mm, at perhaps a cease and a half to 2 stops, whereas the 85mm exhibits perhaps half a stop of vignetting, with the 50mm comfortably in between these extremes. Shut down a stop or two, and all of the lenses even up properly in an S35mm crop; by T4 brightness across the complete body is perfectly even on the CN-Es, and I infer is more likely to be the identical on the Sumires.
The A7Riii captures pictures at 7952×4472; an 8K UHD frame is “only” 7680 pixels across (although DCI 8K, if it ever involves move, will probably be 8192 pixels extensive). All three Sumires are 8K-sharp on the middle at all apertures. Corners are only slightly blurry extensive open (“slightly” means at most a blur radius of perhaps 5 8K pixels), and clean up significantly by T4 on the 50mm and by T5.6 on the 24mm and 85mm.
To see these pixel-for-pixel, click or tap them to increase them on your tablet, laptop computer, or desktop monitor — no, you’re not more likely to see the complete detail in your telephone:
Put another means, Sumires clearly resolve 140 lp/mm on the lens projector close to the middle of the picture — by “clearly” I mean clear definitions between the sunshine and dark strains in the 140 lp/mm target grids.
Notice that I stated “sharp”, not “crisp”. For the purposes of this text, I’m using these words in a selected method. “Sharpness” relates to whether or not a high quality detail is resolvable; “crispness” pertains to the distinction of that element. A lot of what makes a Sumire a Sumire is said to fine-detail crispness, a.okay.a. microcontrast, and I’ll have a lot more to say about that later.
[To be perfectly pedantic, I’m using these words in a very narrow sense, and not necessarily in the way they’re used elsewhere. While “sharpness” normally refers to both the limiting resolution of a lens and the contrast transfer function across all spatial frequencies, I’m using it to refer to the limiting resolution only. “Crispness” is a less well-defined term; I’m using it as a shorthand for high contrast at higher spatial frequencies: the other bit of what makes up “sharpness” in the more general sense. This article on “sharpness vs microcontrast” should help clarify my meanings, and it’s a pretty good introduction to microcontrast, too.]
All three Sumires show a slight quantity of barrel distortion, as these pictures show (keep in mind, ignore the dark corners: just take a look at the shapes of the charts):
Sumires breath — change image measurement with modifications in focus — identical to CN-Es do. It’s not excessive; it’s pretty typical of conventionally-designed primes. Still, it’s not the “breathless” performance you’d get with a Tokina Vista, for instance.
The three Sumires all present delicate lateral chromatic aberration (CA), as these 400% extracts of the lower-left nook of the chart present. Word that these are 4x magnified snippets of ~8K footage, full with scaled-up JPEG artifacts:
Apparently, every lens has its own signature look on this regard.
CN-Es look much the same.
Lateral CA is essentially invariant with aperture; you’ll be able to’t eliminate it by stopping down.
Longitudinal CA, a.okay.a. axial CA, is minimal, though out-of-focus details show some green fringing when the main target is closer, and magenta when the main target is farther, as these pix from the 50mm show:
Sumire 50mm @ T1.three, targeted nearSumire 50mm @ T1.three, targeted far
(Yes, the geometry is slightly totally different; these have been shot handheld from not-quite-exactly-the-same place.)
I shot the identical scene utilizing the CN-E 50mm at the similar T1.3 aperture, and received primarily the identical outcome as far as fringing is worried, though the CN-E’s magenta was more reddish.
Now, the Fun Stuff
Up to now, so boring: Sumires look and work like CN-Es, and from T2.eight or T4 on down their picture rendering is pretty much normal CN-E rendering, no less than when it comes to sharpness, geometry, and chromatic aberration.
The enjoyable stuff principally occurs once you open the lenses up.
When Sumires are irised open, wider than T2.eight or so, the traditional Canon crispness vanishes, changed with a creamy, glowing softness.
Wait, what? Creamy, glowing softness? What does that even imply? Have I bought out utterly, and adopted the squishy, hand-waving terminology so beloved of the advertising varieties? No (a minimum of not solely): I’m making an attempt to describe succinctly the image rendering at vast apertures, which Matthew Duclos attributes to decreased microcontrast because of spherical aberration.
Listed here are 1:1 chart samples on each lens, at T2.8, T2, and WFO (extensive freakin’ open, which is T1.5 for the 24mm and 1.three for the others):
See the glow? Here’s another comparability (with a tip o’ the hat to Matt Duclos):
full frame, 50mm at T1.3close-up, 50mm at T1.3close-up, 50mm at T2.0
What’s occurring is, in essence, a slight blurring of the image superimposed over the sharp picture. That slight blur signifies that fantastic particulars — these smaller than the blur radius —lose distinction, because the blooming highlights from vibrant particulars carry the shadows of dark ones. That’s “decreased microcontrast”.
Yes, these particulars are nonetheless there: you possibly can nonetheless see the sharp edges behind the glow. However the localized contrast reduction signifies that superb textures and small particulars are de-emphasized; it’s a softening of the picture, the inverse of making use of a sharpening filter in publish. That is particularly useful when capturing individuals, because the advantageous particulars of pores and skin texture get softened while the core sharpness is retained: it’s an optical version of the “skintone detail” softening perform in broadcast cameras.
Put another method, it’s a lower in MTF at larger spatial frequencies. Apparently, that’s additionally a attribute of photochemical movie rendering, so I can say (in squishy mode, again) that wide-open Sumires give a somewhat extra filmic rendering than normal CN-Es do.
Listed here are more examples, shot with the 85mm at T2.eight, T2, and T1.3. The closeups are extracts from the complete picture:
See how high quality detail, just like the rabbit’s fur and the lens barrel’s texture, gets smoothed or de-emphasized because the aperture is opened?
It’s essential to watch that this smoothing is most pronounced WFO however is nearly completely gone by T2.eight. From T2.eight or T4 onwards there’s little difference between the Sumires and commonplace CN-Es. This is both a boon or a limitation, relying on your frame of reference: it’s a boon in you can dial “character” in or out as you see match with a simple aperture adjustment; it’s a limitation in that you simply only get the “character” extensive open, and also you only get “crispness” from T2.8/T4 onwards.
This two-lenses-in-one modality isn’t unique to Sumires. Classic Zeiss Tremendous Speeds behave a lot the identical method, being creamy-soft large open and crisp when stopped down (certainly, once I put one of the Sumires up on the projector, Koerner lens tech Kari Fouts instantly stated that the Sumire reminded her of a Tremendous Velocity). The Voigtlander Nokton 25mm f/0.95 I exploit on my GH5 is one other instance: large open it’s a creamy mess (especially off-axis, with plenty of astigmatism and coma thrown in for good measure) but by f/four it’s a sober, respectable reporter of actuality.
With all these lenses, the softness is simply out there on the widest apertures, which suggests the shallowest depth of area — your focus puller is probably not comfortable!
I need to point out that the iris ring has a really brief throw of 36º, so even a minor misadjustment can have a big impression on image rendering (as well as publicity). In case you’re making an attempt to fine-tune softness by capturing between vast open and T2 or T2.eight, and hold it constant from shot to shot, you’ll need a precise touch on that ring. Had Canon given iris a wider throw, say, of 90º or more, I’d find the lens easier to make use of and far less finicky for fine-tuning.
Should you’re going for max character, although, you’ll be able to simply whack it open to its limit and never fear.
Bokeh – the looks of out-of-focus areas – is usually good. At extensive apertures particularly, unfocused objects in the direction of the periphery squash into “cat’s-eye” shapes, like the gold spotlight at decrease left in this picture:
That circumferential smearing provides a “swirling” impression to the background:
Canon’s Tim Smith and Stephanie Franz on the PNW Lens Summit, 85mm Sumire Prime @ T1.3
Sumires differ in their rendering of “near bokeh”, the place the out-of-focus object is nearer to the digital camera than the main target level; and “far bokeh”, where the unfocused object is farther away. Far bokeh is usually smooth and tender, but close to bokeh is edgier, with a distinct magenta outline.
close-up, 50mm at T1.threeclose-up, 50mm at T1.3; close-focused, so this is “far bokeh”close-up, 50mm at T1.3; far-focused, so that is “near bokeh”
These are worst-case photographs at T1.three; often the near bokeh isn’t quite so busy. Nevertheless, it typically stands out in a distracting method:
targeted on the chart. See what happened to the eyes?
Sure, I’m choosing nits, but that’s what I get the large, massive cash for [joke, s[joke, sadly]>Again, a busy close to bokeh isn’t distinctive to Sumires; the Nokton performs virtually exactly the identical method. And it’s value mentioning that should you must select between a busy close to bokeh and a busy far bokeh, having the near bokeh busier is the higher selection, as most of the time you’re blurring backgrounds, not foregrounds.
Flares and Sunstars
General, Sumires seem very immune to veiling flare, but the 50mm and 85mm present lovely inter-element reflections and haloes round vibrant sources. The 11-blade iris, closed even slightly, generates beautiful sunstars, too. Both flare hits and sunstars range with aperture. Take pleasure in (notice that for the 24mm T4 and T8 photographs, that’s not flare on the left aspect of the image, but spill from a hallway mild):
I only have one colour comparability of the Sumires and the CN-Es: a shot of Koerner’s Abel Cine resolution chart taken with each lenses, after white-balancing the digital camera on the chart:
Are They Okay-35s?
By sheer luck, Koerner acquired a set of classic Canon Okay-35 primes the day I was there, so I had a chance to make a fast comparison, on the projector and on the digital camera.
Okay-35s on the bench, shot with an 85mm Okay-35 at T1.3
Both Sumires and Okay-35s are sharp super-speed primes, however they have totally different seems. The Okay-35s don’t have almost the same degree of softening broad open; there’s a slight bloom or blur, nevertheless it’s a fraction of that on the Sumires.
The 85mm, no less than, reverses the Sumire’s bokeh: its near bokeh is smooth, while its far bokeh is angrily busy, with a green rim and magenta inside.
Okay-35 85mm at T1.three, targeted shutOkay-35 85mm at T1.three, targeted far
Sharpness general appears comparable between the lenses, as does chromatic aberration generally, though — as with the Sumires — each Okay-35 we put on the projector had its personal signature lateral shade fringing.
Briefly, Sumires and Okay-35s are usually not the identical.
Canon’s new full-frame Sumire primes provide a “characterful” various to plain CN-E primes. At smaller apertures, Sumires perform very similar to commonplace CN-Es, offering crisp, clean photographs. At wider apertures, Sumires soften the image with lowered microcontrast (while retaining core sharpness), so that skintones are smoothed and a more filmic rendering is obtained.
The 11-blade irises in Sumires generate beautiful, 22-point sunstars. The 50mm and 85mm additionally yield engaging inner flares from vibrant point sources, whereas being admirably free of veiling flare.
In addition to added character, the Sumires include PL mounts as an alternative of EF mounts, and haven’t any in-lens electronics for focal size / iris / distance reporting. Canon will be capable of swap the EF mount for a PL mount (and others similar to Duclos will doubtless supply the same service).
Sumires have a strong build with constant dimensions and management placement. Focus and iris rings are buttery-smooth and properly damped. Focus throw is a cushty 300º, though aperture setting are crowded into a slender 36º range, making exact iris adjustment very finicky.
Sumires come at a premium: the standard CN-E 50 T1.3 sells for $3950, while the Sumire 50mm T1.three will value $7410 when it’s launched later this summer time. (The 24mm and 85mm have the same costs; different lenses in the collection will possible differ just as their CN-E counterparts do.)
Are Sumires value that premium? Contemplate that, in essence, you get two lenses for the worth of one: a “characterful” super-speed lens extensive open, and a “clean” lens at T2.8 and under. If that’s the type of versatility that appeals to you, these lenses might very nicely meet your wants.
Nevertheless, “character” is an idiosyncratic thing: the look of the Sumires is totally different from that of Tokina Vista Ones, Sigma cine lenses, previous Zeiss Super Speeds, ARRI Signature Primes, Cookes, Okay-35s, rehoused B&H Baltars, Richard Gale Optics… There have by no means been so many decisions — and at so many various worth factors. I might not presume to inform you what you like; all I can say is that when you’re intrigued by the Sumires, you want to get an eyeful of them your self. They’ll be at Cine Gear Expo in Hollywood in a couple of weeks, and at your favorite cine lens distributors starting this summer time.
- Quick maximum apertures (T1.5 on the 24mm, T1.3 on 50mm and 85mm)
- Full-frame protection
- Clean, actor-friendly rendering at wider apertures
- Crisper rendering at smaller apertures
- Usually pleasing bokeh
- Engaging flare characteristics (IMHO)
- 22-point sunstars!
- 300º focus throw
- Focus / iris scales on each side of the lens
- Constant filter threads, lens gears, and out of doors dimensions
- Strong, trendy Canon development with buttery-smooth operating controls
- “Near bokeh” could be distractingly busy
- Some inexperienced/magenta axial chromatic aberration on focus shifts
- Minor lateral chromatic aberration
- Minor barrel distortion
- Finicky, cramped 36º aperture throw.
- Shipped with PL mount solely, although EF swaps might be out there
- No electronics for focus / iris / focal size reporting
Disclosure: Canon lent me three Sumire lenses on the PNW Lens Summit, and paid for return delivery. Koerner Digital camera Techniques let me are available and play with normal CN-E primes and a lens projector. Except for that, there isn’t a connection between me and Canon, Koerner, Duclos, or anyone else mentioned, and no one paid me or provided other compensation for a positive evaluate or shout-out.
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