The Rise of Chinese AF Lenses

2023 has seen the rise of Chinese AF lenses for mirrorless cameras and the list is impressive, but I wonder if manufacturers will oversaturate the market with options, how many 50mm AF lens options do we need?

-Mingjiang AF56mm F1.8 APS–C, equipped with E/X/Z mount, the first X mount, and priced at only 859.

Sirui Optics AF23/33/56mm F1.2 APSC, equipped with E/X/Z, the first unit is only priced at 1999, and wide-angle and telephoto focal lengths will be launched in 2024.

-Xingyao AF50mm F1.4 APS-C, equipped with E/X/Z mount, the first E mount, priced at only 1399.

Viltrox AF27mm F1.2 Pro APS-C, equipped with X/E/Z mount, initially priced at only 3369.

-Viltrox AF56mm F1.7 APS-C, equipped with X/E/Z mount, is expected to be released in January 2024, and is expected to sell for only about 899.

-Meike AF50mm F1.8 full frame, equipped with Z/E/R mount, the first Z mount, priced at only 899.

-Meike AF55mm F1.4 APS-C, equipped with E/X/Z/R mount, the first X and Z mount, priced at only 1199.

-Yongnuo YN11mm F1.8S DA DSM WL APS-C, equipped with E/X/Z mount, the first E-mount, only priced at 1788.

-Laowa AF10mm F2.8 full frame, equipped with E/Z mount, the 10th anniversary limited edition is only priced at 5498, and the regular version will be released in January 2024 for only 4999.

There are many reasons for the increase in Chinese optics, but 2024 will probably be an even bigger year because from what I have been hearing from my Chinese contacts the government is taking optics very seriously so manufacturers are getting a lot of support to catch up with other countries. Some have speculated that the government is funding RND for optics technology to be used on spy satellites, which shouldn’t be surprising with the trade barriers the West built.

To be clear I know that spy satellites have very different requirements than camera optics, but a lot of the lens polishing techniques, motor miniturization, etc… carry over to camera lenses, glasses, and more. I can speculate a lot further, but my understanding is that most optics companies in China are getting “hand me down” technology from other industries attached to government, which has lead to an explosion of quality Chinese optics. It also explains in part why so many companies are releasing the same lenses packaged slightly differently.

via weibo

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