DZOFilm is finally, formally announcing their Pavo Primes – 2x anamorphic cinema lenses that aim to further democratize the world of anamorphic filmmaking. While these lenses don’t introduce any groundbreaking features per se, they bring a sense of reliability and consistency that’s precious in a professional production environment. The set will consist of a 28mm, 32mm, 40mm, 55mm, and 75mm at launch and a 100mm to come later this year. The 28mm through 75mm will all be T2.1 while the 100mm will be a respectable T2.4. Let’s take a look at more details.
Accessibility Meets Reliability
The Pavo Primes don’t rely on flashy, unique features to make their mark. Instead, they fit nicely into a growing market segment by making anamorphic filmmaking more accessible to a broader user base. These lenses offer a consistent, reliable opto-mechanical package that filmmakers can comfortably rely on during the hustle and bustle of a motion picture production. In a world where every second counts, having dependable tools can be a game-changer. One of the minor unique features that give the Pavo primes an advantage is an integrated back-focus adjustment which will make fine tuning for accurate infinity focus a quick, easy task. Keep in mind that any adjustment that makes back-focus easy to correct will also make it easy to screw up. It’s best to leave this to someone who has experience adjusting lens back-focus.
Build Quality and Longevity
Skepticism often surrounds the durability of the latest wave of new lenses from Southeast Asia. However, if DZO’s track record with products like the Vespid Primes, Pictor Zooms, and Catta Zooms is any indication, the Pavo Primes are likely to be well-built and capable of handling the rigors of production. While it’s true that time will be the ultimate judge, it’s worth noting that these lenses will definitely surpass any of the DIY anamorphic solutions that have gained popularity. DIY setups may be creative and inspiring, but they might not always meet the physical demands of a fast-paced production environment.
In the realm of anamorphic lenses, character reigns supreme. Gone are the days when anamorphic lenses were primarily used to squeeze a wider image onto a smaller frame. With an array of filmmaking choices at our disposal, including massive capture formats and ultra-wide angle lenses, the Pavo Primes’ 2x anamorphic squeeze delivers a classic, character-rich image that many cinematographers will find visually pleasing. It’s not about clinical accuracy; it’s about storytelling aesthetics and that’s where the Pavo primes will shine. Furthermore, the Pavo lenses will be available in two flavors of coating – a neutral coating and a blue coating. These options will determine the primary color of your anamorphic flares. For example, if you’re looking for the typical J.J. Abrams sci-fi blue flare, you’ll want the blue coating version. If you want something a bit more flexible where the flares take on a color similar to their specular highlight source, then you’ll want the neutral version. I haven’t shared any sample frame grabs here since the only content I have was from pre-production prototypes that may not be indicative of their current production quality, but here’s DZO’s promotional video.
The Pavo are designed specifically for Super 35 format cameras such as the Arri Alexa 35. Every lens will ship in Arri PL mount with an included Canon EF mount kit. The option to swap between Arri PL and Canon EF mounts is undoubtedly convenient. However, it does come with potential risks, especially regarding flange depth misalignment. It’s essential to exercise caution and establish a good relationship with your local lens technician, such as Duclos Lenses, to ensure proper tuning when switching mounts. Convenience should not come at the cost of precision. With the integrated back-focus adjustment I mentioned earlier, maintenance should be quick and easy! Another interesting feature of the Pavo primes is that they’re specifically designed to accept the DZO Marlin 1.6x Expander which will allow these lenses to cover a 35mm Full Frame format at the expense of some light. All six focal lengths have a standard 95mm front diameter for pairing with a wide range of clamp-on accessories.
Who Are PAVO For?
The Pavo Primes are going to appeal to a rather broad user base. Certainly to those who are interested in anamorphic filmmaking but haven’t been able to afford the likes of Cooke, Hawk, Panavision, or even Atlas. While they will be limited in their direct competition due to their 2x squeeze and Super 35 format coverage, as far as specs go, they’ll be in good company with Atlas Orion, Xelmus Apollo, and Laowa Proteus. So if you’re looking for a 2x, S35 anamorphic lens, the Pavo are most likely going to be the most affordable option. It’s VERY important to remember that in the world of lenses for cinematography, nearly every aspect is subjective. I’ve said it many, many times and now is a perfect time to remind all my readers:
There’s no such thing as the best lens. Just different lenses for different scenes.-Matthew Duclos
Evolving Image Quality
Having tested early prototypes of the Pavo Primes, I must acknowledge that final image quality remains a bit unknown. However, the fact that DZO made design changes based on early feedback suggests that improvements are likely. What can be reasonably assumed, based on my experience, is the presence of an acceptable amount of geometric distortion—a characteristic often welcomed in an anamorphic lens. Moreover, the lenses exhibit relatively good aberration control from center through the field, which is an impressive feat for a set of primes boasting a T2.1 aperture. Close focus is also a challenging spec for anamorphic lenses and the Pavo primes are on par or better than similar lenses (specs below). The Pavo are a mid-anamorphic design which will disappoint some people for not being a front design. However, it’s crucial to remember that this is generally the safest design choice for a blend of size, weight, and image quality.
Pricing and Availability
Here comes the unique feature of the Pavo Primes – their price. The individual lenses will be priced at $5,499. You’ll also have the option of a 3-lens bundle at $15,999 or the complete 6-lens bundle at $30,999. The individual lenses will ship in dedicated hard cases with tailored foam as will the 3-lens bundle. The 6-lens bundle will ship in two separate tailored hard cases. Every lens and bundle will include accessories and the interchangeable mount kit. The 28mm, 32mm, 40mm, 55mm, and 75mm will begin shipping this October. The 6-lens bundle can be ordered and the first five lenses will ship immediately with the 100mm to follow later. The 100mm can be pre-ordered and will begin shipping December, 2023. Browse the full line of DZOFilm PAVO 2x Anamorphic Primes from Duclos Lenses here.
In conclusion, the DZOFilm Pavo Primes may not reinvent the wheel in the world of anamorphic cinema lenses, but they bring forth accessibility, reliability, and a classic cinematic character that many filmmakers will appreciate. As they find their place in the hands of professionals, time will reveal whether they truly live up to the expectations of skeptics like myself. Until then, we eagerly await the final verdict on these intriguing lenses. As always, here’s the tech specs for these lenses.
|Close Focus||1ft 4in||1ft 4in||1ft 6in||2ft||2ft 8in||3ft 1in|