Hey guys, Tito Ferradans here today to compare and clarify the differences between Sirui and Vazen anamorphic lenses.
Sirui is younger at making lenses, with their 50mm coming out in December 2019, and releasing another two focal lengths during 2020 - a 35mm and a 50mm. Vazen released their 40mm on mid 2019 and the other two focal lengths, a 28 and a 65mm over a year and a half. They’re both Chinese manufacturers and they have strong communities.
In this video we’ll be looking at differences in size and weight, mounting options, sensor coverage and field of view, minimum focus and focus breathing. Those shots will lead us into bokeh, looking at the effects of the different squeeze factors - 1.33x for Sirui and 1.8x for Vazen - and the quality of bokeh. We’ll look at sharpness and resolution for both lenses at different apertures, and, of course, compare flares. Lastly, we’ll look at the different price points and what are the reasons for that difference.
Let’s get started by checking if the sets are well matched with some real world shots and if we can mix and match lenses from the two makers in the same project.
I shot this footage using both sets and tried to get it well mixed in the edit. So pay close attention to check if anything pops indicating which shots were done with which lens.I found that is was pretty smooth to shoot with any of the six lenses in the field.
The Vazens required a bit more arm strength and called more attention from onlookers than Sirui, and both sets were a much simpler experience than using adapters. Using the GH5 for these tests was key. The 1.33x squeeze from Sirui can be easy to handle without a proper desqueeze - on camera or an external monitor, making it more versatile for users who don’t want to invest on extra gear. Vazen’s 1.8x squeeze factor is more challenging to work with if you don’t have a properly stretched image while shooting.
I didn’t feel like I needed lenses any longer or wider, as each set gave me good variety on their fields of view and allowed me to shoot freely. Matching the colors was not a hard task, as long as you do a proper white balance on set. But that applies to any lenses, not just the ones being compared here.
Size and Weight
By comparing the outside of these lenses first. The Siruis are smaller and lighter and the Vazen 28 is much smaller than its siblings. Vazen offers focus and iris gears built in, while only the Sirui 35 comes with gears as an option. For a video market, the 24 and 50 could benefit from gears too. If size and weight are deal breakers for you, your choice here is clear for Sirui.
Focus and iris are smooth and click less on all the lenses, which is excellent. They’re all pretty fast lenses, between 1.8 and 2.8. Almost all of them have different filter thread sizes, as you can see on the screen, which is less than great for a unified set, but nothing impossible to work with.
Vazen requires custom rings for the 40 and 65mm, while Sirui can benefit from step rings up to 77mm. All six lenses are offered in MFT mount by default, but Sirui also gives different mounting options. These options change for each focal length, so make sure that all three are compatible with your system if you’re going for them.
When we talk about sensor coverage we start to get into the meat and potatoes of this shootout. While Vazen’s are designed for MFT and its 2x crop, Sirui’s can cover APS-C or S35 comfortably and even a little bit more. This is gonna come in handy later when comparing fields of view. I shot these tests with a Z-Cam E2-F6 full frame camera using their MFT mount, so we could get this unified comparison. Both of these sets are anamorphic - that’s the whole point of this video.
Filed and View
They have different squeeze factors. Vazen is 1.8x and Sirui is 1.33x. That plays into the resulting field of view of each focal length. So here I’ll pair them two by two across the set.
On MFT, I’m shooting with the GH5 and using the 4:3 open gate mode. The Sirui 24 matches a 48mm lens on vertical field of view and 36mm horizontally. Its match, the Vazen 28 is a 56mm vertically, so a little tighter, but has 31mm horizontal field of view because of the stronger squeeze. Sirui’s 35mm turns into 70mm vertical and 52mm horizontal. While Vazen’s 40 is 80mm vertical and 44mm horizontal. Lastly, Sirui’s 50mm is equivalent to a 100mm vertically and a 75mm horizontally. And that stacks against Vazen’s 65, which is 130mm vertically and 72mm horizontal.
So on the MFT battleground, all Vazen lenses are wider than Sirui. But if you’re using the Sirui lenses on an APS-C or S35 camera, then the numbers change a bit. The 24 becomes 36 by 27mm. The 35 becomes 52 by 40mm. And the 50 becomes 75 by 56mm. These are a lot wider vertically and just a bit wider horizontally when compared to the Vazens.
Keep in mind their squeeze factors here as the differences between them will be very noticeable in the next round of tests: minimum focus.
This will also give you a chance to look at different renditions for depth of field over multiple focal lengths.
The Sirui’s 35 and 50 have minimum focus at 85cm, or 2ft9, which is okay for the 50mm but feels a bit far for the 35. Notice also how this target doesn’t look like a perfect circle, and also look at the bokeh. On the 24mm, minimum focus is shorter, at 60cm or 2ft.
For Vazen, the 28mm’s minimum focus is 82cm or 2ft8, which is pretty far for such a wide angle lens. The same applies to the 40mm: 82cm, or 2ft8. Notice how the circle target looks even in these tests. Minimum focus gets further again with the 65mm, at 1.1m or 3ft7. Also, bokeh is much more pronounced in these lenses.
I’m not gonna rack focus with all of them because these comparisons are getting out of hand, but I’ll have something about this coming at a later video, so subscribe to the channel.
Squeeze, Breathing and Bokeh
For now let’s look at just the longer lenses, 50mm for Sirui and 65mm for Vazen. Notice how breathing is different between them. That’s because of their different focus methods and that’s the main reason for Vazen’s larger size.
This difference is what ensure the squeeze will remain constant while focusing, while Sirui will change from 1.33x at infinity to 1.25x at close focus. Bokeh is quite different between Siruis and Vazens.
Both sets provide smooth oval shapes through the iris range thanks to plenty of aperture blades, but you can see distortion in play as we move from the center of the frame towards the edges, with cutoff shapes and less perfect ovals.
Continuing on the anamorphic-look traits, the flares on both lenses are somewhat similar, with Sirui’s pending more to teal and Vazen’s to purple.
We can see the root of this difference by looking at the coatings on both sets. All six lenses flare easily and if you’re in it for flares, you’ll be happy with either choice. If sharpness and performance wide-open is the deciding factor for you, Sirui is sharper, especially at close focus, even when at its fastest stop. We can see a little bit of chromatic aberration with purple and green at high contrast edges and how light falloff improves when stopped down, looking at the corners.
We can see the Vazens struggle more wide open, with poor performance for the 40mm, but improve when stopped down. Performance is constant across the frame, and the 65mm is the best performer in the set. Some of this performance difference comes from the stronger squeeze factor and how the optical design is dealing with astigmatism - different focus for the vertical and horizontal fields.
This brings us to the last comparison between them: price.
While Sirui sells for 700 to 900 dollars per lens, each Vazen lens costs 3250 dollars. For some people, that’s the end of the conversation right here. If you’re starting out, or unsure if anamorphic is your thing, it’s hard to justify spending three grand on a single lens. If you watched this whole video, you might be able to tell some of the reasons for this price difference.
I think the biggest one is that Sirui is aimed at a broader market: more mount options, more sensor coverage, a subtler squeeze that doesn’t require additional gear, and a lens that you can use anywhere as an introduction to anamorphic shooting. Vazen on the other hand is trying to walk the tougher path of a cine lens by giving you geared rings, T stops instead of f stops for iris and a stronger anamorphic squeeze factor. The constant squeeze factor is also a big deal, requiring more challenging mechanics and optics, which in turn, increase the price. The Vazen lineup is a much more focused tool set, aimed at MFT shooters with 4:3 sensors - basically GH5’s and Z-Cam’s.
Does that justify that you can buy almost 5 Sirui lenses for the price of a Vazen? It depends on what your priorities are. I believe Sirui is more focused in bringing people to anamorphic shooting - which I love , while Vazen caters to an already established market of professionals.