NiSi ATHENA 18mm T2.2, 40mm T1.9, and 135mm T2.2 Prime Lenses Released

NiSi ATHENA 18mm T2.2, 40mm T1.9, and 135mm T2.2 Prime Lenses Released

NiSi’s ATHENA line was announced a year ago at NAB 2023 and now has three new lenses. The ATHENA 18mm T2.2, 40mm T1.9, and 135mm T2.2 join the line, filling some gaps and extending the tele-reach while maintaining similar optical and physical characteristics. The NiSi ATHENA 135 T2.2 is quite a bit longer than the others, but the aperture and focus ring placement are similar. Both the 135mm and 18mm will feature a T2.2 aperture while the 40mm aligns with the rest of the line at T1.9.

About a year ago, NiSi launched their ATHENA prime line, joining the relatively affordable cine prime fray. While cine prime lines tend to be on the more expensive side, NiSi and other (mainly Chinese) manufacturers managed to lower prices to an unheard-of price range of around $1,000 per lens. In many cases, those affordable lenses manage to come fairly close in terms of image quality to the more expensive offerings, while providing great user experience. Aligned focus and aperture rings, similar size and weight across the line, and similar optical characteristics are now within reach of a much wider creative crowd.

NiSi ATHENA lenses, 18mm T2.2, 40mm T1.9, and 135mm T2.2. Image credit: NiSi

NiSi ATHENA prime line

With their ATHENA line, NiSi opted for relatively compact yet quite fast T1.9 lenses. Aperture speed slows down in the wide and tele fringe to T2.2 for the 18mm and 135mm, and T2.4 for the 14mm, which is still quite fast. The ATHENA lenses (except the 135mm) weigh around 800g/1.75lb with the PL mount and are around 90g/20lb heavier with a mirrorless mount. Focus and aperture rings are geared and markers are printed using luminous color.

While several manufacturers went for a more “vintage” look, NiSi optically tuned the ATHENA series for better sharpness and a cleaner look. In case you missed it, you can read/watch our full review here. We’ll take a closer look at the new 18, 40, and 135 trio before we make any statement, but you should expect a more “clinical” rendering in line with the others.

New lenses added

NiSi ATHENA line gets three new lenses with very popular focal lengths. The 18mm T2.2 will cater to those who like wide angles, but not as wide as the extreme 14mm. The ATHENA 18mm is also slightly faster at T2.2 and has a 77mm front filter thread. This filter diameter is consistent across the ATHENA line, except for the 14mm T2.4.

NiSi ATHENA lenses, 18mm T2.2, 40mm T1.9, and 135mm T2.2. Image credit: NiSi

On the other end, we have the ATHENA 135mm T2.2. Combining a fast aperture with a longer focal length, this one had to break the mold in terms of length and weight but managed to maintain the same rings scheme as well as front filter diameter. It’s still light enough to be used on a gimbal or hand-held.

NiSi ATHENA 135mm T2.2 on a gimbal. Image credit: NiSi

The ATHENA 40mm T1.9 slates itself between two classics – the 35mm and 50mm. This middle ground is the most perfect focal length regarding full frame or Vista Vision sensors, and while not as popular as either 35mm or 50mm, the 40mm provides a certain look appreciated by many.

NiSi ATHENA 40mm T1.9 Image credit: NiSi

Mounting options

The NiSi ATHENA lenses come in various mounting options. The basic form is the classic PL mount. This is the most adaptable configuration, as any NiSi or third-party adapter can fit it to virtually any mount. Bear in mind the lenses use protruding elements, so adapters, including internal optics or filters may not suit every (or any) lens.

NiSi ATHENA 135mm T2.2 on Sony BURANO. Image credit: NiSi

Should you opt for a mirrorless mount you may lose some flexibility, but gain the optional drop-in filter functionality. NiSi ATHENA lenses come in a variety of mounts: Sony E-mount, L-mount, and Canon RF mount. These three mounts have two models – with or without a drop-in filter slot. NiSi’s drop-in filters come in a variety of ND, mist, etc. You can also opt for the more rugged, weather-sealed, filterless option for the mirrorless mounts.

A FUJIFILM GFX mount version is also available but only in the filterless version, and while the 46mm coverage diameter can’t completely cover the 44×33 sensor, it does come pretty close, especially with video crops.

Who are they for

The NiSi ATHENA lenses are perfect for independent creators who want the cine lens experience without breaking the bank. The new 18mm T2.2, 40mm T1.9, and 135mm T2.2 expands the range of the line, letting every aspiring DOP create their own collection, fine-tuned to their creative vision.

NiSi ATHENA lenses, 18mm T2.2, 40mm T1.9, and 135mm T2.2. Image credit: NiSi

Being fairly compact and maintaining similar physical features, the ATHENA lenses are an excellent choice for gimbal work and will also fit various field excursions.

Price and availability

All three new NiSi ATHENA lenses, the 18mm T2.2, 40mm T1.9, and 135mm T2.2 share a similar price at $1,286 each. If you already own the rest of the system, you can get the new trio along with a rugged 9-lens hard case for $3,499, and if you’re new here and want the entire 8-lens set, then $8,999 will do that for you, including the 9-lens hard case. Lenses are available for preorder; availability is yet to be determined.

For more information please visit NiSi’s website.

Do you find these focal lengths useful? Will you consider adding them to your existing NiSi ATHENA set? Would you consider getting into the set now? Let us know in the comments.

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