Reviews |Sirui Sniper 23mm review

Sirui Sniper 23mm review

Sirui Sniper 23mm: Blending Creativity with Technical Excellence

Sirui Sniper 23mm

Price when reviewed



Our Verdict

Designed for APS-C format cameras, the Sirui Sniper 23mm lens is a standout with its compact size, echoing the portability promise of mirrorless cameras. Its unique ceramic-like finish, seen in our white edition for the Nikon Z mount, offers a distinct tactile and visual experience that’s quickly endearing.

In terms of performance, the autofocus is competent with the Nikon Z30 and improves with models like the Z6 and Z7. The lens’s true highlight is its f/1.2 maximum aperture, providing excellent low-light capabilities and depth of field control. While there’s some autofocus slowness and the edge-to-edge sharpness is satisfactory, the overall quality at this price point makes it a noteworthy option for photographers seeking a versatile, high-aperture lens.


  • Compact Build Quality
  • Large Aperture Versatility
  • Smooth Focus Handling


  • Limited Landscape Suitability

What is the Sirui 23mm Sniper lens?

The Sirui Sniper 23mm lens offers premium capabilities at an accessible price. It’s part of a set of three lenses designed for APS-C format camera users serious about photography or filmmaking. The 23mm lens, when used on cameras with a 1.5x crop factor like Nikon and Sony, effectively becomes a 34.5mm lens, providing a versatile wide-angle view ideal for various creative pursuits.

Priced at around $299 individually or $699 for the trio, these autofocus lenses offer remarkable value, especially considering their f/1.2 maximum aperture. Their uniform filter diameter and size also make them a great choice for filmmakers seeking consistency across different focal lengths. This 23mm lens, along with its 33mm and 56mm counterparts, forms an ideal starter kit for any aspiring photographer or videographer.


  • Focal Length: 23mm
  • Lens Format Coverage: APS-C
  • Aperture: F1.2-F16
  • Lens Structure: 12 Elements in 11 Groups
  • Aperture Blade: 11
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 0.3m
  • Filter Thread: M58*0.75
  • Rotation Angle of the Focus Ring: 360°
  • Lens Mount: E/X/Z
  • Length: E Mount 92.5 mm, X Mount: 92.2 mm, Z Mount: 94.2 mm
  • Weight: E Mount: 381 g, X Mount: 380 g, Z Mount: 386 g

Build and Handling

The Sirui Sniper 23mm lens, part of a versatile range, is available in multiple mountings and colours. It mirrors cine lenses in having consistent dimensions and filter diameters across the range, simplifying the switch between lenses without the need to adjust rigs and matte boxes.

Designed for APS-C cameras, it matches the quality of pricier cine lenses. Its solid build quality further highlights this, noticeable in the Ceramic White finish for Nikon Z systems, which also comes in Carbon Fiber (Black) and Aluminum Alloy (Silver).

The lens is straightforward in design, featuring a large, knurled focus ring for smooth operation and a 58mm filter thread for ease of use with standard filters. The 23mm lens comes with a petal-design lens hood, which attaches easily and enhances its usability.

Overall, the lens’s design is sleek and user-friendly, focusing on essential features like the smooth focus ring without the complexity of on-lens switches, aligning well with the needs of both videographers and photographers. The 11-blade aperture ensures a smooth bokeh, adding to its appeal for creative shooting.

Supplied with each lens is a lens hood; the 23mm and 33mm feature a petal design, while the 56mm has a standard round hood. These attach and click onto the lens in the usual manner.

Overall, the design of the lenses is extremely neat, with no on-lens AF/MF switch or aperture control ring, just the focus ring, keeping the design clean and simple.

I’ve included information about the lens structure and aperture blades in the specifications. Still, it’s worth noting that the 11 blades create a pleasingly smooth bokeh when the aperture is fully open.


The Sirui 23mm F1.2 lens, designed for APS-C cameras, is compatible with Nikon Z, Fuji X, and Sony E mounts, catering to a broad range of enthusiast users. Its f/1.2 maximum aperture, a standout feature, greatly enhances both stills and video by enabling blurred backgrounds and Bokeh effects, along with faster shutter speeds in lower-light conditions.
This autofocus lens marks a significant shift from Sirui’s traditional focus on manual cine lenses. It’s especially appealing for hybrid shooters, bridging the gap between cinema and still photography.

Consistency in size across the lens range, with a 58mm diameter filter thread and identical focus ring placement, simplifies use with various rigs, ensuring uniform weight distribution and focus motor positioning.

Aesthetically, the lens comes in three finishes: Ceramic White, Carbon Fiber, and Aluminum Alloy, with no technical or optical differences between them.


The Sirui Sniper 23mm lens, part of a unique set, combines distinctive features while maintaining simplicity in design. Its effective focal length on a Nikon APS-C sensor is 34.5mm due to the 1.5x crop factor, offering a versatile wide-angle perspective.

The lens eschews complexity with no MF/AF switch or aperture ring; these are controlled via the camera’s interface. A prominent feature is its large, textured focus ring, enhancing usability. Additionally, its consistent diameter with other lenses in the range allows for seamless integration with matte boxes and rigs, a great feature for videographers. This uniformity, including the filter thread size, is advantageous for all types of photography, ensuring versatility and ease of use.

At 23mm (34.5mm equivalent), the standard build and handling of the lens match that of the other two in the series. Control from manual to autofocus is handled through the camera, in this case, the compact and excellent Nikon Z30.

The ceramic-style finish gives the lens an unexpectedly high-quality feel, and the smooth focus ring enhances both the tactile experience and functionality.

Checking the filter thread, its quality is evident, with B+W filters screwing in smoothly, avoiding the grinding issues sometimes found in lower-quality lenses. In use, the lens’s AF speed matches that of the camera; the Nikon Z30’s performance in low light affects the lens’s speed and accuracy to some extent. However, as contrast levels increase with better lighting, the lens’s speed improves. Switching to the Nikon Z7, despite it being full-frame, enhances low-light performance.

In normal light conditions, the single-shot AF performs well, allowing the camera to work effectively with the lens’s AF system. The overall AF performance for both cameras is good, with the Z30 showing improved AF speed with the latest 1.10 firmware.

Reviewing the images, the results are impressive, especially considering the cost of other f/1.2 lenses. Optically, the lens performs best at f/5.6 and f/8, offering excellent sharpness and a good balance throughout the image. Chromatic aberration is minimal, and detail handling is excellent.
At f/16, the image remains good, though there is some softening of tone and detail. The optimal balance between image detail and depth of field is at f/11.

The primary appeal of this lens is its ultra-shallow depth of field at f/1.2. At this aperture, distant details are limited, and image quality appears poor, but adjusting to f/5.6 – f/8 results in sharp images. Close up, the centre of the frame is sharp at f/1.2, but sharpness drops off quickly with depth, as expected.

In normal lighting, the lens is enjoyable to use, creating beautifully smooth backgrounds. The creative effects from f/1.2 to f/5.6 are superb, though careful focus is essential with the Z30 to avoid errors.

Switching to video, the lens provides smooth focus transitions and silent continuous AF motion, thanks to the STM motors. At f/1.2, the video captures incredibly shallow focus, but precise focusing is crucial. The video quality is excellent.

For both stills and video, the lens impresses with its large aperture, enabling soft backgrounds and smooth tones. The highlight is the large, round Bokeh, reminiscent of much more expensive lenses.

Sirui 23mm Sniper sample images


Checking out the Sirui Sniper 23mm lens has been enlightening, especially as it offers a departure from conventional lens design focused on edge-to-edge sharpness. As part of Sirui’s first foray into affordable f/1.2 lenses for APS-C cameras, it stands out for its impressive build quality. Despite initial reservations, the ceramic white finish has been well-received, adding to its appeal.

In practical use, the lens proves to be a creative tool, ideal for photographers and videographers who prioritize subject clarity against softly blurred backgrounds. While it excels in portraiture, the lens is less suited for landscape photography, with optimal performance at apertures between f/5.6 and f/11, peaking at f/8.

The 23mm lens impresses with its build quality, large aperture, and stunning Bokeh, particularly in video applications where its autofocus system performs effectively. This lens is a commendable entry into autofocus technology by Sirui, designed for creative rather than general-purpose photography.