SIRUI Nightwalker Review – Good, Fast Cine Lenses at an Unbeatable Price

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A set of the new SIRUI Nightwalker Cine lenses landed on my desk and I was very eager to put them through their paces. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but never before have I seen T1.2 S35 cine lenses starting at $349. ($309 for the crowdfunding campaign runtime). So does the saying, “you get what you pay for” apply here £too? Let’s check it out!

SIRUI just officially announced a new crowdfunding campaign for their new Nightwalker lenses, and in a nutshell, what do we have here and why am I so excited?:

SIRUI Nightwalker Cine Lenses: Image: CineD
SIRUI Nightwalker Cine Lenses. Credit: CineD
  • These S35 lenses come in three focal lengths: 24, 35, and 55mm, and they are all T1.2, which means ideal for low-light filming.

Let me put it differently – a faster lens and lower ISO tuning in-camera equal less potential noise in your video. Needless to say, how easy is it to control depth of field when you have this kind of fast lens?

  • Each lens weighs about 500 grams, which makes them ideal for use in a variety of productions.
  • The lenses will be sold in two different color choices – black and metallic grey.
  • As for the mounts, there will be four of them: FUJIFILM X, Sony E, Panasonic Micro Four Thirds, and Canon RF.
  • The focus ring rotation is 270 degrees making it easy to operate, even without a follow focus.

I’ll touch on other points, but first I want to concentrate on one of the most astonishing things about these lenses, and that’s their price tag.

SIRUI Nightwalker 24mm on a FUJIFILM X-S20 : Image: CineD
SIRUI Nightwalker Cine Lens on a FUJIFILM X-S20 camera. Credit: CineD

During the crowdfunding campaign, the black-coated lens will be priced at $309, and afterward, it will be available for $349. The metallic grey will be priced during the campaign at $349 and afterward for $399, which is still a steal. 

By the way, I checked with SIRUI regarding the reason for the price difference and the simple answer was: it costs more to coat the lens in a metallic grey color. 

In all honesty, I don’t have a clue how SIRUI can sell these kinds of lenses at this price. Where did they compromise you might ask? Well, I tried to answer this question myself by simply working with them in the field, and also comparing them with relevant charts and data. I am also assuming that the company won’t make a lot of profit, if any, on these lenses, and their goal is simply to become accessible and well-known to as many people as possible.

FUJIFILM X-S20 and SIRUI Nightwalker 24mm: Image: CineD
SIRUI Nightwalker 24mm T1.2 Cine Lens on a FUJIFILM X-S20 camera. Credit: CineD

Before talking about these new lenses, I would like to mention the new FUJIFILM X-S20. This little-in-size but big-in-performance camera is becoming my “go-to” equipment for running & gunning. Its small size along with some useful features like 6K 3:2 open gate and 10-Bit 4:2:2 internal recording makes it a very capable camera at a competitive price. (X-S20 review here).

X-S20 Quick Tip when working with fixed focal length lenses

Currently, cine lenses with fixed focal lengths are not stabilized. So, if you are like me and do a lot of handheld filming, you might want to take advantage of the X-S20 IBIS (In-Body Image Stabilisation) by making sure it is “tuned correctly” in order to reduce unwanted camera shake.

FUJIFILM X-S20 image stabilizer configuration
FUJIFILM X-S20 menu for adjusting lens focal length. Credit: CineD
FUJIFILM X-S20 image stabilizer configuration
FUJIFILM X-S20 adjusted to work with the SIRUI Nightwalker 24mm lens. Credit: CineD

The obvious solution would be to switch the IS/ MODE to: “IBIS/OIS” and IS MODE BOOST to “ON” when capturing “tripod style shots”. But in addition, on top, go to: I.Q. / MOUNT ADAPTOR SETTING /, and then make sure to dial in your cine lens focal length. This should help a lot in achieving nice, stabilized shots.

SIRUI Nightwalker – against the chart

Now, back to the SIRUI Nightwalker lenses and my impression after working with them. Obviously, the T1.2 fast aperture is one of the biggest selling points, and as you could see in my footage, it was again great fun “abusing” depth-of-field. Maybe it is me dreaming, but what really caught my attention was the “anamorphic-like” bokeh. But of course, nothing in life is perfect, especially when the price is so competitive, so with these lenses don’t expect a perfectly edge-to-edge sharp picture when the lens is wide open.

SIRUI Nightwalker 24mm at T1.2
SIRUI Nightwalker 24mm at T1.2 Credit: CineD
SIRUI Nightwalker 35mm at T1.2
SIRUI Nightwalker 35mm at T1.2 Credit: CineD
SIRUI Nightwalker 55mm at T1.2
SIRUI Nightwalker 55mm at T1.2 Credit: CineD

In fact, according to our tests, the sharper lens between the three is the 24mm. The same goes for chromatic aberration. It is relatively strong when the lenses are wide open, which is not surprising at all for fast lenses in this price range, but again, it can be an artistic choice, and if you need better performance, you can always stop down the lens to gain more sharpness.

SIRUI Nightwalker 24mm at T2.8
SIRUI Nightwalker 24mm at T2.8 Credit: CineD
SIRUI Nightwalker 24mm at T4.0
SIRUI Nightwalker 24mm at T4.0 Credit: CineD

In the field

What I truly like about these lenses is their uniform size and gear position next to similar color tones. Despite being a bit soft, especially at T1.2, I love the ability to work with such fast
lenses. Being so compact, it means they can still be taken anywhere when traveling where weight is a concern.

The minimum focus is OK and varies between 30 to 60 centimeters, depending on which lens you use. Lens breathing is well-controlled, and above all, there is the price. It almost feels unbeatable for what you get.

The aperture ring has good resistance, while the focus ring is a bit too loose for my taste. Speaking of which, the current batch of lenses is “metric only”. We have no word from SIRUI on whether they plan to make an “imperial version” anytime soon.

35mm T1.2 focus breathing animation from close to far focus
SIRUI Nightwalker 35mm T1.2 focus breathing. Credit: CineD

In the search for where there might be some compromise in the lenses, something I was not able to check is the longer-term build quality. Unfortunately, it is beyond our capabilities to do so for now. If any of you guys are purchasing these lenses, please let us know if they perform well and hold up when consistently working with them in the field.

You know what? Let me complain about the 67mm lens cap. It’s not so easy to fit this thing onto the front of the lens, and, more importantly, because of its design, the lens doesn’t remain stable on a flat surface.

Last but not least, personally, the 24mm is not wide enough for my style of working, and I can only hope that SIRUI will consider going even wider with future lens releases from that series.

Working with the FUJIFILM X-S20 and SIRUI Night walker 24mm
“On the go” with FUJIFILM X-S20 and SIRUI 24mm. Credit: CineD

Now, if SIRUI will consider bringing us the same set of Cine Lenses with Autofocus capabilities, I’ll be even happier… This will allow working with cameras equipped with “not so great” EVF, making tasks such as easy gimbal work much more manageable, for example.

That’s it guys; there you have it. A range of fast cine lenses at a very good price. I’ll patiently wait for some of you to play with them, as I’m truly curious to hear your feedback. In such a competitive market, will it affect other manufacturers? Only time will tell.


This review contains affiliate product links for SIRUI’s Nightwalker Cine Lenses campaign. Like with any other crowdfunding campaign, we advise you to carefully read the platform T&C as it is not a shop! SIRUI, on the other hand, had several very successful campaigns in the past, so obviously they can deliver.

What do you think about Cine lenses at such a competitive price? Will you give them a chance and check their optical and mechanical quality? Please share your comments with us in the section below.


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