Arri’s New Signature Prime Series “Large Format”

Today, Arri officially announced their new, keeping up with the Jones’s, Alexa LF (Large Format). More importantly, the announcement wasn’t just a new camera, but a new system. This means new camera, new mount, and new LENSES! I suppose the new camera is large format compared to other cameras, but what about the new lenses? How do they fare in comparison, on paper at least, to other cinema lenses currently on the market? Let’s take a look at the new Signature Primes from Arri.

Straight to the details… The Signature Primes include sixteen focal lengths ranging from 12mm all the way to 280mm, most of which are a constant T1.8 until you get to the extreme telephoto primes. That’s a helluva aperture for a lens with an image circle that size. Speaking of image circle, let’s clear up some misconception. Image circle is very important and Arri is calling these “Large Format”. Here’s a quick lesson in formats and coverage:

As you’ll see above, the Arri LF is indeed large, but not any larger than several other current digital cinema cameras. In the few hours that this information has been public, I’ve seen several people in a panic to research lenses that will cover the new sensor. I saw the same thing when RED released their 8K VV sensor. Calm down people… There are plenty of lenses out there that will cover this format. In fact, there are millions. Seriously…

ducloslenses.jpg

Back to Arri’s Signature Primes. They’ll all feature Arri’s new LDS2 system which features higher data rates and absolute encoders across the line. They’ll also be among the first cinema lenses to use a magnesium alloy body design which will keep them much lighter than they appear – approximately 30% lighter than a similarly designed aluminum lens. 

The Signature Primes will be available in Arri’s new LPL Mount which is very similar to PL mount, but larger. Not quite the same as the old Maxi PL and not quite the same as the current XPL found on the Alexa 65. The LPL camera-side mount will be available on other Arri bodies but the Signature Primes will ONLY be available in LPL mount which means these lenses will only work on the Alexa LF (or other Alexa bodies with the LPL mount adapter).

The new mount is part of the secret sauce that allows the new Signature Primes to have such a large image circle while maintaining a fast T1.8 aperture. By keeping the lens as close to the sensor plane as possible, minimal light is lost. However, in order to keep the angle of incidence relatively low, a wider lens mount allows for larger, more telecentric optical design.

So what about those focal lengths? Arri plans to offer a 12mm T1.8 sometime in 2019. This lens, along with the other wide angle lenses, will be a true test of Arri’s abilities. 12mm with a 45mm image circle at T1.8 is going to be rather bonkers. I’ve not seen a lens that wide, that fast, with that size image circle. The rest of the focal lengths are “normal” and it’s quite nice that they’ll have about ten focal lengths at launch.

I don’t have any firm information on the origins of this glass, but it’s not too difficult to deduce a few clues… I’ll be sure to put the new Signature Primes through their paces on my test equipment once they begin shipping, and possibly more importantly, how they perform on a camera. The question for me is; will these be taking the Panavision Artiste, Arri Prime DNA approach and favor “character” over raw quality, or will these be in line with the rest of Arri’s ever improving armada of optics? Either way, I’m a bit bummed that these new primes won’t be usable on anything other than the Arri systems. …or will they? 😉

 

Spec sheet below. For more info on the Alexa LF (which seems pretty damn cool) and the official Arri pages, click here.

Focal Length 12/T1.8 15/T1.8 18/T1.8 21/T1.8
Max Aperture T1.8 T1.8 T1.8 T1.8
Release 2019 2019 2018 2018
Lens Mount LPL LPL LPL LPL
MOD 0.35 m / 14“ 0.35 m / 14“ 0.35 m / 14″ 0.35 m / 14″
Length tbd tbd 178 mm / 7.01“ 178 mm / 7.01“
Magnification (MOD) tbd tbd 1:9.2 1:8.2
Entrance Pupil tbd tbd 189.9 mm / 7.48“ 183.4 mm / 7.22“
AoV
H/V/D (LF OG)
113.6° / 93.6° / 123.5° 101.5° / 80.8° / 112.3° 91.4° / 71.0° / 102.6° 82.8° / 63.0° / 94.0°
Front Dia tbd tbd 114 mm / 4.49“ 114 mm / 4.49“
Max Dia tbd tbd 115 mm / 4.53″ 115 mm / 4.53″
Weight tbd tbd 2.0 kg / 4.4lb 2.1 kg / 4.6lb

Focal Length 25/T1.8 29/T1.8 35/T1.8 40/T1.8
Max Aperture T1.8 T1.8 T1.8 T1.8
Release 2018 2018 2018 2018
Lens Mount LPL LPL LPL LPL
MOD 0.35 m / 14″ 0.35 m / 14″ 0.35 m / 14″ 0.35 m / 14″
Length 178 mm / 7.01“ 178 mm / 7.01“ 178 mm / 7.01“ 178 mm / 7.01“
Magnification (MOD) 1:7.1 1:6.4 1:5.4 1:4.8
Entrance Pupil 178.1 mm / 7.01“ 166.0 mm / 6.54“ 162.5 mm / 6.40“ 159.8 mm / 6.29“
AoV
H/V/D (LF OG)
73.0° / 54.4° / 84.0° 65.2° / 47.8° / 75.8° 55.4° /40.2° / 65.2°
49.2° / 35.4° / 58.2°
Front Dia 114 mm / 4.49“ 114 mm / 4.49“ 114 mm / 4.49“ 114 mm / 4.49“
Max Dia 115 mm / 4.53″ 115 mm / 4.53″ 115 mm / 4.53″ 115 mm / 4.53″
Weight 1.9 kg / 4.2lb 1.8 kg / 4.0lb 1.7 kg / 3.7lb 1.9 kg / 4.2lb

Focal Length 47/T1.8 58/T1.8 75/T1.8 95/T1.8
Max Aperture T1.8 T1.8 T1.8 T1.8
Release 2018 2018 2018 2018
Lens Mount LPL LPL LPL LPL
MOD 0.45 m / 18“ 0.45 m / 18“ 0.65 m / 26“ 0.85 m / 3‘ 1“
Length 178 mm / 7.01“ 178 mm / 7.01“ 178 mm / 7.01“ 178 mm / 7.01“
Magnification (MOD) 1:6.3 1:5.3 1:7.2 1:7.9
Entrance Pupil 156.1 mm / 6.15“ 145.4 mm / 5.72“ 118.6 mm / 4.67“ 86.6 mm / 3.41“
AoV
H/V/D (LF OG)
42.6° / 30.4° / 50.8° 34.8° / 24.8° / 41.8° 27.6° /19.4° / 33.2°
21.8° / 15.2° / 26.4°
Front Dia 114 mm / 4.49“ 114 mm / 4.49“ 114 mm / 4.49“ 114 mm / 4.49“
Max Dia 115 mm / 4.53″ 115 mm / 4.53″ 115 mm / 4.53″ 115 mm / 4.53″
Weight 1.8 kg / 4.0lb 2.1 kg / 4.6lb 1.9 kg / 4.2lb 2.4 kg/5.3lb

Focal Length 125/T1.8 150/T2.5 200/T2.5 280/T2.8
Max Aperture T1.8 T2.5 T2.5 T2.8
Release 2018 2018 2018 2019
Lens Mount LPL LPL LPL LPL
MOD 1 m / 3‘ 4“ 1.5 m / 5‘ 1.8 m / 6‘ 2.5 m / 8‘ 2“
Length 178 mm / 7.01“ 208 mm / 8.19“ 218 mm / 8.58“ tbd
Magnification (MOD) 1:7.0 1:9.0 1:8.3 tbd
Entrance Pupil 66.3 mm / 2.61“ 145.4 mm / 5.72“ 48.0 mm / 1.89“ tbd
AoV
H/V/D (LF OG)
16.6° / 11.6° / 20.2° 13.8° / 9.8° / 16.8° 10.4° / 7.2° / 12.6° 7.5° / 5.2° / 9.1°
Front Dia 114 mm / 4.49“ 114 mm / 4.49“ 114 mm / 4.49“ 134 mm / 5.28“
Max Dia 115 mm / 4.53″ 135 mm / 5.31“ 135 mm / 5.31“ tbd
Weight 2.3 kg / 5.1lb 3.5 kg/7.7lb 3.6 kg/7.9lb 5.5 kg/12.1lb

Published by

Matthew Duclos

A connoisseur of fine motion picture lenses, Matthew has spent over half his life servicing, refining, selling, manufacturing, and collecting cinema lenses from around the world. Chief Operating Officer of Duclos Lenses and Founder of TheCineLens.com, Matthew has been contributing to the motion picture industry for over 15 years, and to this site for over 5 years.

One thought on “Arri’s New Signature Prime Series “Large Format””

  1. The ARRI technical documentation does indeed sketch out a 12mm T1.8 lens. However, the numbering on the lens aperture ring reads 2.5 (angled away from 2.8). I strongly suspect it will end up being a T2.5, not a T1.8 lens.

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