Quality Cinema Glass.
Veydra Mini Primes are prime lenses specifically made for today’s smaller cameras with smaller chips, most notably mirrorless cameras. Cameras such as the Panasonic GH4 (a favorite around here) and the BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera are great examples of what a Micro 4/3’s camera is capable of.
Veydra recently launched on the cinema scene with a pretty popular Kickstarter campaign that earned them almost $300,000 in orders. As owners of a Panasonic GH4 we were excited by the potential of these lenses and where it could take our productions.
Sometimes we go on shoots that are run’n’gun style where we need to be mobile and quick on our feet. Using a small camera package allows us to do just that. It gives us the freedom to be agile and get the shots we need without any setup.
Since these are cinema quality lenses, this means that they’ll be of higher quality and produce an image that is still inline with our production goals.
Why Prime Lenses?
Prime lenses are typically “faster” than zoom lenses. This means that they can let more light in through the aperture, which will open wider, allowing the image to develop quicker. This can get confusing so let me explain in more detail.
The “faster” a lens, the wider the aperture will open, which has a lower T. Stop (or F. Stop) attached to it. So, an T2 means that it is more open than an T2.8 or an T4. Most lenses will range from wide open around an T2 and close (or stop) down to a T16 or T22.
Side note: Cinema lenses are read in T Stops (or true stops) whereas still lenses are read in F. Stops. These are largely interchangeable but the difference is that an F. Stop measures the theoretical amount of light allowed through the lens compared to a T Stop which measures the actual or true amount of light coming through the aperture.
The wider the aperture the more room light has to travel through the lens, which means that the image can be imprinted on the film or chip quicker. This is why we refer to lenses as fast or slow.
We now live in a digital world, but the technology works the same.
When lenses are open, the depth of field will be shallower, meaning the background and foreground will be more blurry than then the aperture is more close. You can compare images at T2 and T8 and you’ll see what I mean.
This is usually an aesthetic but also helps keep the focus on your subject when composing a shot or scene.
This also means that prime lenses, although set a certain focal point and cannot zoom, have the ability to shoot with less light, something you always want to consider indoors or at night.
Why was I so excited to try these lenses out on the GH4? They’re not made specifically for this camera, but they are made specifically for this chip size, so a lot of the design & build took into consideration the size of the cameras they’ll go on.
This means no more heavy Canon lenses attached via adaptor to the GH4. One of the great things about the GH4 is that it’s portable and can be taken so many places easily. The best camera is the one you have on you.
These prime lenses are pretty portable, not the smallest lenses on the market but they are certainly smaller than other cinema prime lenses out there.
Strong and sturdy and you get the feeling you’re dealing with high-end cinema glass.
They are built very well. Strong and sturdy and you get the feeling you’re dealing with high-end cinema glass when working with them. I have always felt that this helps with composition on set or on location.
Using high end, quality equipment always makes me think more about composition, the scene at hand and how best to put everything together. It makes me take my time, almost as if they demand more respect from the operator, making you more careful when shooting with them.
They are de-clicked (of course) and work great with a follow focus system. I didn’t get to put a follow focus on during our test but the aperture is smooth and steady, making any 1st AC happy. On most sets the 1st AC is the one responsible for pulling focus.
The glass is quality. To build off what I was saying before, Veydra did a great job designing and building these lenses. They set out to make a set of glass specifically for micro 4/3 cameras.
When I heard this I knew that they were going after the people who shoot quality productions with these new cameras. I knew that they were going to give the attention it deserved, and were not trying to sell the most lenses as cheap as possible.
This was a sigh of relief. There was a hole in the market and now we have a great option for cinema glass.
The significance of this is that you can now take your Micro 4/3 camera further, as an A-camera or B-camera next to a RED Dragon, Alexa or Sony F55 if your production warrents it.
These lenses were custom designed from the ground up. They were not re-housed still lenses modified for cinema. They were designed for cinema productions in mind and I think they definitely succeeded in these goals.
An added bonus of using these lenses with a GH4 is that you can scout locations and create photographic storyboards with the same setup you’ll be using for production. I love that the GH4 is a still and movie camera, and that it excels in both areas.
I highlight that the GH4 works well as both because that’s the way it was designed. Some DSLRs are designed as a still cameras and have a movie recording function added without much thought.
This is also a benefit if you’re casting for your project and want to know how your potential talent looks with your production setup. Obviously these scenes won’t be lit like they would for your shoot, but it’s nice to know about sharpness and contrast with your talent. (Your DP will thank you later, I promise.)
The Best Camera is the One You Have With You
I don’t want to get into the science of how or why these lenses work because I’m not a scientist. I’m a filmmaker, and I care about how they look and how they are to work with.
The image quality is great. The bokah is smooth. They’re easy to work with and change in and out fast. They feel solid in your hands.
They are heavier than other lenses- part of what comes with having a sturdy build, which is something to consider if you’re going to be handheld all day.
I think that these lenses bridge the gap between larger, high end cinema camera setups and smaller, lower budget productions.
Here a couple of time lapses we shot recently with the Veydra Mini Primes.
This is our independent review, we were not compensated in any way for this.
Any questions about the Veydra Mini Primes? Let me know in the comments!