The Fujinon MK50-135mm T2.9 cinema lens is the second in Fujifilm's new line of MK lenses designed for Super 35 and APS-C cameras. MK lenses are designed to appeal to the emerging production market, offering features and quality typically associated with more expensive cinema lenses at a price point that's attractive to budget-conscious cinematographers. The MK lenses are based on Fujifilm's excellent Cabrio line of cinema lenses (which cost $15K and up), and share the same coatings as well as a similar mechanical build, but at a cost just under $4,000 they're more accessible to a lot of users.
I reviewed the first MK lens, the MK18-55mm T2.9, a few months ago and really liked it. Since the two lenses are designed to work as a set, they're basically indistinguishable except for focal length, so if you want to read my detailed thoughts on how the MK lenses perform I recommend reading my earlier review, which for all practical purposes applies to both lenses.
If you're not yet familiar with the MK cine lenses, you may be surprised to learn that they use Sony E-mount. Why? Fujifilm wants to address the growing market of independent filmmakers, small production houses, and other professionals who use the Super 35 and APS-C formats. Sony has a huge presence in this market thanks to cameras like the FS7, FS5, and even a-series mirrorless, and many users of these cameras adapt other lenses, such as Canon EF-mount, to their cameras.
What about Fujifilm's own mirrorless cameras? The company has announced plans to release MK lenses in X-mount later this year so that Fujifilm shooters can take advantage of them as well.
When I tested the MK18-55mm lens earlier this year, I did so with a Sony FS7, a Super 35mm camera mounted on a shoulder rig with rails, a follow focus, and an accessory EVF. However, Fujifilm emphasizes that the MK lenses are also designed for use on similarly sized APS-C sensors, so this time I decided to go that route. Unfortunately, during our short window of time with the lens I didn't have access to a rig for a full setup, so I was limited to basic tripod and handheld use.
When mounted the Sony a6500, it's easy to see how large the MK50-135mm is compared to the diminutive camera. While it's technically possible to shoot this combination handheld, it's not terribly practical thanks to its large size and all mechanical controls.
The great news is that the video I captured looked beautiful, and the lens appears to deliver the same quality that we saw on the MK18-55mm.
I also tried using the MK50-135mm with the full frame Sony a7R II in Super 35mm mode. The size mismatch is a bit less obvious than with the a6500, however it's no more practical for shooting handheld. That's not necessarily a bad thing – chances are good that if you're considering this type of lens, you're planning to rig it in some way.
In fact, this lens works very well with both the a6500 and a7R II (in Super 35 mode), and would be a great lens to pair with either of them. With a basic set of rails and a follow focus, the setup would work just as effectively as with a dedicated video camera.
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