Canon Sumire, what is it?
Canon describes their newest line of Full Frame Cinema lenses, the Sumire’ (Soo-mee-ray) Primes “… like the petals of a flower, our lenses are most beautiful when fully opened.” The Canon Sumire lenses were designed to be used with a wide open aperture to capture a “nuanced look”. These lenses offer the same warm and pleasing skin tones that Canon Cinema lenses are known, but with the added benefit of a more subtle and soft focus roll off that renders their characteristic look with pleasing bokeh. The modern coatings and optical design of these lenses will capture sharp rich images even in high resolution 4k capture.
The Canon Sumire lenses really shine in low light scenes, and controlled lighting environments. The lenses, with a wide open aperture, have a look reminiscent of a low contrast filter, but as you stop down past T2-2.9, that very soft look gets lost. If you want to maintain the very soft look you will want to use these lenses at or around T1.5. This makes sense for lenses designed to be used wide open, but makes finding exposure a bit more challenging. You will need more ND filters for daytime scenes, sometimes more than is practical, just to maintain a proper exposure. They can still be used effectively outdoors, but you have to make a choice: either lose the soft look, or take the time to control the lighting in the scene. This ultimately makes the lenses great for controlled environments such as interviews, commercial work, or anything with a lot of skin tone or highlights on screen, but challenging for fast paced documentary or indie work.
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Canon describes the Sumire lenses, “… with a feeling of floral gentleness and beauty.”. This accurately describes the unique softness that the Canon Sumire provides. The Sumire lenses take the top slot of Canon’s cinema lens line with such a gentle and refined character. The more refined, and characteristic look elevates them above Canon’s other lens offerings. So whether you have shot on Canon glass for years, or just looking for a new, less “digital” or sharp look, take the Sumire primes for a spin on your next production!
Check out our other cinema lens comparisons here!
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