Every instance of this particular little online fracas I’ve stumbled across has been pretty unpleasant. And my interest in getting in any way involved is very low. But being a lens geek, I’ve followed its development (from afar) with interest. And for the sake of clarity in any further discussion, I’d like to bring others up to speed with the tidbits that I know.
I got to briefly meet Steven just shy of two years ago, when he took the Celere HS lenses on a bit of a world tour, which included a stop all the way down here at the end of the world (Melbourne, Australia). He was very pleasant and engaging, and we had a terrific chat about cinema optics and what Hanse Inno Tech were trying to bring to the table with their Celeres.
Personally I think the lenses have some fantastic, forward-thinking features (front filter threads, rear net holders, and matched weights across the set for ease of lens changes on Steadicams/gimbals). And I think it’s very telling that we’ve seen some of these very same features appear on new lenses from other manufacturers recently. They’re excellent ideas.
There had at that point, been a suggestion online (on Reduser I believe), that the Celeres might be using repurposed glass or iris assemblies from existing lenses. I asked Steven about this, and he told me to my face that it wasn’t true, and that they designed their lenses in-house, and sourced their optical elements and coatings directly from wide range of suppliers. He wanted to address the rumours head on (which I admired) and told me that he had no reason to lie about it, and I saw no reason to doubt him.
There wasn’t much else to say about the matter until the excellent SALT VV Vistavision Lens Shootout was put together by Matt Duclos, Phil Holland, Evan Grant and Matt Hayslett (you can check that out at the following links if you haven’t already):
As you can see from their notes (and as Matt stated earlier in this thread), their conclusion was that the 25mm, 36mm and 50mm Celeres are repurposed Rokinon glass, and the 18.5mm is a repurposed Sigma 20mm f/1.4
Now I only have the test footage itself to go off, so the only comment I can make is that I agree, they do look very similar. But I’ve attached some screengrabs to compare for yourself (personally, I’d recommend watching the test footage itself for a better assessment).
Personally, I have zero issues with rehoused glass. Some of the nicest lenses I’ve ever used have been rehousings, and some of the lenses I lust after most are also rehousings. And frankly, anything that makes good glass more accessible and usable for motion picture applications is a good thing as far as I’m concerned. But I think clarity is important with these things, it informs the decisions we make on set, and if there are potential issues like lenses in the same set that aren’t colour matched because the base optics or coatings are sourced from completely different places - well, that’s an issue for me. Certainly it’s an issue I can deal with, but only if I know what I’m getting into from the outset.