Sirui 135mm T2.9 RF - Now with a 1.8X Squeeze! Full Review (shot on R5C)

Sirui 135mm T2.9 RF - Now with a 1.8X Squeeze! Full Review (shot on R5C)

JuneZZ |

SIRUI

It's finally complete the full anamorphic lens lineup for full-frame sensors by SIRUI. They started out with a 50 and 75 millimeters, then later on they added a 35 and 100 millimeter all with a consistent 1.6 squeeze. But now just to add another special lens to it they came out with a 135 millimeter with a 1.8 squeeze, just to round up the lineup.

And this is what we're going to review today. The RF 135 millimeter anamorphic lens with a 1.8 squeeze factor and a T2.9.

PARAMETER

So let's start with some of the most important facts of this lens. First of all we're using the RF Mount and all of the sample footage you'll see it throughout this review are being shot on the Canon R5C.

The focal length is 135 millimeter with the T2.9, and opposed to all the other lenses in the same lineup now we do have a squeeze factor of 1.8 instead of 1.6.

The lens structure includes 16 elements and 11 groups, and we have 12 aperture blades. The lens is made for full frame sensors, and we had absolutely no problem of covering the entire sensor of our Canon R5C. The minimum Focus distance is around 3 feet or around 0.9 meters, and that is actually pretty close.

The focus angle rotation of the lens is 120 degrees, and a lot of people say that you should have a higher focus angle for being able to pull focus more precisely. Me personally like shooting handheld a lot. So I'm actually rotating the focus ring by hand and that makes it so much easier, if we do have 120.

I'm not going to lie, 135millimeters with a 120 degree Focus rotation is not easy. And it does need a little bit of practice, and experience. But once you master it, I think it's totally enough and you can still make very precise focus movements.

The lens does feature a 82 millimeter filter thread, and that is very common for most of the filters that we have, so that is really appreciated. And when shooting on the R5C, we do need some ND filters or in our case we mostly shoot with ND filters as well as missed filters.

The outer diameter of the lens is 88 millimeters, and that is kind of weird to me. Because most of the clamp on matte boxes that we're using from small or regular filter are actually 95 millimeters. So you can't use those and you need to have a screw-on filter, or you do need to have a Step Up Ring like we used in most of our videos when we were shooting outdoors.

So now let's talk about the weight of the lens. It differs from lens mount to lens mount. Our RF mount has about 1.3 kilograms, where other mount go as low as 1.25 kilograms.

Yes, this is still a very heavy lens. But compared to an anamorphic lens with 135 millimeter I think this is way on the low side. It might actually be the lightest lens in any kind of lineup for these specifications.

With a very strong gimbal, you might even be able to fly it on a gimbal setup. With the RS2, it was just too front heavy and there wasn't enough space. With the RS3, Pro you might actually be able to do it though.

DESIGN

Now that we got the boring aspect, Let's talk a little bit more about the lens itself especially the design as well as the build quality.

First of all, I've been told that the entire lineup is color matched. So you have consistent colors either on the 35, 50, 75, 100 or now the 135 millimeters. And this is something that I really appreciate, especially shooting multi-cam interviews or multicam scenes with different kind of lenses but the same cameras.

It makes it so much easier if you do have consistent colors throughout the entire lineup. This is something I can't personally confirm, because I only have 135 millimeters. But I'm probably getting the full lineup in the future, and then I will do some more comparisons.

Another thing that's apparently also matched are the focus as well as the aperture gear rings, and that is also highly appreciated especially if you're using a follow focus.

Speaking of the gear and aperture rings, those are totally smooth. And they are just the right amount. They're not too loose so that you actually keep changing your focus or even your aperture while shooting. Because they're a little too loose, but they are very smooth and we were using them with a follow focus as well as manually by hand. It was working very smoothly, and we had no problem of either pulling the focus or changing our aperture.

On the bottom of the lens, we do have a lens support holder and for lens with 1.3 kilograms on a lot of setups this is actually recommended. Especially also to not have a mount shift, because there's a lot of weight hanging on your mount. So you might actually get a little bit of focusing issues if you're not using a proper lens support.

For me, when shooting handheld I'm supporting the lens with my hand most of the times. So I didn't use a lens support, but it's really great to have it especially if you do some slider shots, or if you're shooting on a tripod.

Overall the lens feels very high quality. It is very well made, it does have a hefty weight to it, everything is made out of metal. The gears are smooth as well as the filter thread in front is working very well. Because on some lenses, it's really tricky to screw on an additional filter. And here, it's very smooth. Overall I can highly recommend the build quality of this lens.

But now let's get to the most important parts, and that is the image quality.

QUALITY

Now we have a 1.8 squeeze Factor instead of a 1.6. On the rest of the lineup or even a 1.33 on the APSC lineup up, we do get the most anamorphic characteristics. And we do get the most anamorphic bokeh. And those anamorphic characteristics, you can see the most when shooting at night with a lot of street lights in the back and that is what we did. So here you can see that you do have an oval bouquet, and that looks very nice and is also very characteristic for anamorphic lenses.

Furthermore the lens doesn't have any barrel distortion. Some people appreciate that, some people miss the barrel distortion. Me personally, I do like the barrel distortion. When I'm shooting on anamorphic lenses, I want it to look different, I wanted to have character, and barrel distortion is one thing that I do like about shooting with anamorphic lenses.

But typically, on higher focal length like the 135 millimeters you never really see any barrel distortion. And the cereal is no different, you won't see any barrel distortion.

When it comes to the sharpness of the lens, the SIRUI 135 millimeters is no different than all the other SIRUI lenses that I have already used. And it is tech sharp.

For me, it's actually a little bit too sharp, so we did soften it up with a one-quarter mist filter on all of our test shoots.

Because this is more of the characteristic that I'm looking for when shooting with anamorphic lenses. But if you do like sharp, then YES. The lens is for you.

But since we can soften it up, that is actually a good mixture. Because it's always easier to soften up a sharp image than to sharpen a too soft image.

So here we get the best of both roles. And overall when you're looking for sharpness, the 135 millimeter does not disappoint. When I first recorded the review, I totally forgot to talk about focus breathing, so let's add this to this review.

Breathing

Yes, the 135 millimeter does have focus breathing. Which is kind of normal for lenses that are longer, and are anamorphic.

As a matter of fact, a lot of anamorphics have way stronger focus breathing than the 135 millimeter by SIRUI. And I don't mind that at all. I already talked about this, I do like a little bit of character and imperfections on anamorphic lenses. And focus breathing is one of those things, especially when you shoot a short film.

For example, anything narrative and your wreck focus from one person to the other. There is some focus breathing, and I do like to have this. And in my opinion, the focus breathing could be even stronger.

But if you don't like focus breathing, keep that in mind there's a little bit of focus breathing on the 135 millimeters. But it could be a lot stronger.

Unfortunately it's winter here in Europe, and it is pitch dark at 4 pm right now. I literally haven't seen the sun in two weeks, so we couldn't really test the lens with actual lens sprayers coming from the sun.

But we went out at night, and we shot in a very busy urban area here in Vienna with a lot of street lights. There you can see a lot of really nice looking lens players.

Just as all the other SIRUI lenses the 135 millimeters also features blue lens flare streaks. They are not as dominant as on other lenses that I've tested earlier, and that is really appreciated.

Because sometimes the earlier releases of SIRUI lenses, not from this lineup. But from other lineups were a little bit too much on the nose for me.

I do want to see these lens flares, because that is one of the biggest selling points of anamorphic lenses. But if they're too straight up in your face, then I don't like that either.

I think the 135 millimeter produces an amazing lens streak, and it is not too subtle but it's also not too unannounced either.

What is 135mm especially for? So overall I really like the image coming out of the 135 millimeter. It's perfect for portrait shooting, and this is what we used it for the most with my friend Veronica and this is what this lens is made for.

It is a great companion if you want to shoot some portraits of a person, and you really want to separate him or her from the background. The lens produces a great separation from your subject to the background with a really smooth bokeh, and this is something that I really like when shooting portraits.

So now having said all that, what is my overall verdict of the SIRUI 135 millimeter anamorphic lens.

VERDICT

I really do like it, it has an amazing build quality, it has great image quality. I do like the lens players coming. Out of it, the bokeh is nice and smooth, and it's a great portrait lens.

If I had to say something about the lens that I didn't like is, I would like for it to have a little bit more character. I wouldn't mind some barrel distortion. I wouldn't like it to be a little less sharp on the edges, because this is what I'm looking for when shooting anamorphic.

But if you do want to have a clean lineup of anamorphic lenses with great lens players, and a somewhat manageable close focus distance of about three feet. For me personally, this is way enough for a non-macro lens.

Then the 135 millimeters is actually for you, especially now with the 1.8 squeeze factor. We do see a little bit more of that anamorphic feeling and the oval bokeh.

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