Yep. We did it again. Last year the folks at ShareGrid, Old Fast Glass, a brilliant, talented crew, and myself came together to test a wide variety of vintage lenses to give the cinematography world a sort of sampling, flight, if you will, of the various vintage lenses and what sort of characteristics you can expect with when using them. It’s been shared thousands of times and utilized in who knows how many pre-production meetings to determine the visual aesthetics as it pertains to lenses for a specific project.
So what’s next… ANAMORPHIC! The subject that baffles so many with a shroud of mystery. Optics designed to provide a wider field of view when bound by a specific format, fashioned by unsung geniuses from around the world – some a shining beacon of optical engineering superiority, and others a trophy of intentional flaw for the sake of introducing artifacts and characteristics that, to the average viewer, carries a subconscious nostalgia, lending honesty and legitimacy. But most importantly… They’re beautiful! Continue reading The Ultimate Anamorphic Lens Test
Ahead of NAB 2017, Angenieux has announced another addition to the Optimo Style line of zooms – a 48-130mm T3. The 48-130mm features a 2.7x zoom range along with the other lightweight Optimo Style zooms, the 16-40mm and 30-76mm. It weighs 4.3 lbs and Angenieux states it is idea for hand held, steadicam and drones productions. Continue reading Angenieux Adds 48-130mm to Optimo Style Line
A popular topic of discussion these days is whether or not certain lenses are worth their huge price tags. Moreover is there a justified correlation between a lens’ price and how “good” it is. It’s an apt time to continue this conversation since there are more lenses to choose from than ever. Also, there are some seriously high-performing cine lenses at price points that are within reach of so many filmmakers. The number of “affordable,” full frame, super speed, cinema lenses alone is incredible (Canon CN-E, Sigma Cine, Tokina Vista, Zeiss CP.2, Rokinon XEEN). It’s an exciting time to be a DP. It can also be an overwhelming time to be a DP especially if you are an aspiring cinematographer who is just scratching the surface of all the lens options out there. Continue reading How do we decide the value of a lens?
And here we are – our last day on the NAB 2016 show floor. We scoped out all the major lens manufacturers’ new gear, go out hands on some brand new tech and soon-to-be-released models. We spoke with some of our favorite lens makers to see what’s coming down the pipe. Overall, we’re less than enthused… Here’s our closing thoughts on the state of the motion picture lens industry as of NAB 2016. Continue reading NAB 2016 Recap, Final
NAB has officially begun. It looks like just about every lens manufacturer couldn’t keep it in their pants and dropped their news ahead of the actual show, with a few exceptions. This post is a general roundup up the news announced as of Sunday night before the show. We’ll be posting a daily wrap-up with a ton of photos and additional news from the show floor so be sure to subscribe and check back soon. If there’s anything we missed that you found interesting, send a tweet to @MQDuclos and we’ll make him run across the expo to check it out ;-). Let’s get to it! We’ve broken the product announcements up by manufacturer in alphabetical order. Continue reading NAB 2016 Preview
If you haven’t already, you should grab a copy of P3 Update. After you do that, check out a neat article by James Thompson, that explores what choosing a lens means these days and why shooters make the decisions they do. With feedback from industry professionals such as Richard Crudo, ASC, Steven Poster, ASC, and Jon Nelson, it’s a nice article that I feel taps into the direction that the motion picture lens industry is going in that you need to find what works best for you and the only way to do that is experience.
Take anyone of these lenses from any manufacturer, off any shelf in any rental house in the world, and I guarantee it will deliver an amazing image,” says Cinematographer Richard Crudo, ASC (“Justified”). “But, what does that tell us? Is it the right feel? Is it the right texture? Is it the right thing for what you are trying to do? And, that you only know when you have a script in hand and a director to talk about it with.” That chat with a director will also cover the subject of resolution. “We’re already at 4K resolution, which is more than the human eye can handle,” explains Crudo. “The only thing that really changes is apparent contrast at that point. [Manufacturers] should be worrying more and putting all their R&D into bit depth and color space [and] black level. That is where we really need to work, capturing highlights [and] the high-end of the spectrum.
Fujinon started a trend when they took their professional mid-range cinema zooms and slapped on a servo unit borrowed from their Broadcast Division. The result was the very successful 19-90mm Cabrio zoom, followed shortly by the 85-300mm Cabrio and just recently the 14-35mm Cabrio. During NAB 2014, or as I call it, Spring Christmas, Angenieux, Canon, and Zeiss all announced lenses with servo units in various practical applications. Credit where credit is due, Fujinon started it… Continue reading 2014, Year of the Servo Lenses
Not to be outdone by other recent announcements from Canon and Fujinon, Angenieux announced today a new line of Optimo Style lenses that will be added to their extensive, respectable line of professional zoom lenses. The press release details the new lenses as a 16-40mm and a 30-76mm. The two new lenses with be offered with or without their new Angenieux Servo Unit (ASU). No word on the speed of the lenses just yet but it’ll likely be between T2.6 and T2.8. If you’re familiar with Angenieux’s current line of Optimo (15-40mm and 28-76mm) and Optimo DP (16-42mm and 30-80mm) lenses, it may sound like the new Optimo Style line is simply another variation on their existing lenses. The Optimo DP 16-42mm and 30-80mm will be discontinued as individual lenses and available in pairs tuned from the factory as a 3D package. The new Optimo Style lenses will also feature interchangeable mounts in Arri PL, Canon EF, and Panavision flavors. Both new Optimo Style lenses will weigh in at a very nice 4.2 lbs. – almost half the weight of other “lightweight” zooms available. Angenieux goes into more detail noting that these lenses are tailored for high standards of UHD 4K production and will be available Summer 2014.
Other bits included in the press release simply cover existing lenses, shipping soon the new 25-250mm Optimo and their now shipping 56-120mm S2 Anamorphic Zoom. One other detail new to the press release is the Angenieux Servo Unit (ASU) which Angenieux had mentioned about a year ago but has just now officially announced it. the ASU will work with all of the lightweight Optimo lenses. This now makes three manufacturers who have jumped aboard the CinENG train. (I just made that up: Cine + ENG = CinENG get it?) The (ASU) provides control of zoom, focus and iris and is compatible with broadcast remote handles, cinema remote controls and wireless remotes. It generates lens metadata based on the Cooke/i technology protocol. The ASU and lenses are matched and calibrated at the factory.
Read the full press release below and check back often for live updates from NAB where we’ll find out what the real details are behind the new Optimo Style line of lenses. New optics? Rebranding? Either way, Angenieux has a reputation all over the world for making top-notch cinema zooms.
Press Release from Angenieux
Thales Angénieux Debuts New Optimo Style Lens Series at NAB
Charting New Course for 4K and Beyond Live TV and Mid-Budget Cinema Productions
Las Vegas, NV (April 4, 2014) – Inspired by the escalating demands for cinematic quality content to meet the rise of multimedia viewing and the trend of Ultra definition television, Thales Angénieux is introducing their new Optimo Style Series of zoom lenses. The family features three zooms – two hand-held and one full size — and provides focal length from 16mm-250mm with ability to lengthen the range with a 2x extender. The two lightweight zooms are also available with the optional Angénieux lens servo motorization system.
“A wider spectrum of production content is migrating to a cinematic look with 4K quality and that trend requires equipment which is adaptable to a large variety of cameras, configurations and budgets,” said Pierre Andurand, President and CEO, Thales Angénieux. “The all-new Optimo Style Series addresses those needs and provides a benchmark for quality and price/performance. It takes into consideration the industry’s most stringent requirements for ergonomics and versatility for live TV recording. Angénieux is going to exceptional lengths to ensure the first deliveries of this new lens line will be made in Summer 2014.”
The 16-40mm and 30-76mm zoom lenses are extremely light weight at only 4.2 pounds each, allowing perfect camera balance for on the shoulder or hand- held configurations. The 25-250mm lens, weighing 16 pounds, is an all-purpose zoom featuring the
desirable 25mm wide angle position and a 10x zoom range to meet a variety of production needs. This lens was previously introduced at IBC 2013 branded Optimo DP.
The Optimo Style series is fully compatible with the latest generation of digital cameras and provides the unique cinematic look of the Optimo line at an affordable price. The lenses additionally feature an easily interchangeable mount (PL, Canon EF, Panavision) for full compatibility with a wide variety of cameras.
The Angénieux Servo Unit (ASU) provides control of zoom, focus and iris and is compatible with broadcast remote handles, cinema remote controls and wireless remotes such as Preston or others upon request. It generates lens metadata based on the Cooke/i technology protocol. To help ensure flawless performance, the ASU and lenses are matched and calibrated at the factory. The ASU will additionally be available as an option for all the Optimo Lightweight Cine Zooms including the Optimo Style 16- 40 and 30-76 and the Optimo 15-40, 28-76mm and 45-120mm lenses.
Duclos Lenses recently announced a now program that offers customers the ability to bring their equipment in anytime for what is essentially routine check-up and maintenance. Any lens purchased from Duclos Lenses is eligible for two years from the date of purchase at no additional cost to the customer. This is great for users who shoot in harsh climates or rough conditions since they can simply bring their lens in to Duclos Lenses after a shoot and have it cleaned up, back-focus checked and calibrate, and evaluated for any potential damage done during the shoot. It’s like having your own personal lens tech to inspect your gear before and/or after every shoot. Considering Duclos Lenses has been servicing lenses for over a decade and has over 100 years of combined motion picture lens service experience, this is just another reason why Duclos Lenses is the premiere destination for professional motion picture optics. Continue reading Proper Maintenance Is Critical For New Lenses
It’s always nice to see two well established companies collaborating. Just ahead of NAB 2013, seeing Angenieux and Cooke work together is a perfect example. Cooke has a long history of making some amazing prime lenses. Angenieux sets the standard for motion picture zooms. Imagine the things they can do, combined. Just this morning, an announcement of just that, a collaboration, was released and the results are nothing short of excellent. Cooke will be offering a completely new line of anamorphic primes that will be about the same size and shape of their S4/i line of lenses, color matched with 5/i primes. Not to be outdone, Angenieux is releasing a professional anamorphic zooms lens to complete the Cooke prime line-up. Now you can have a complete set of primes and zooms, all anamorphic, all matched, all professional grade. Continue reading Angenieux and Cooke Join Anamorphic Forces
Yes! I have some material in the pipe on just this subject but I wanted to give a quick example. While taking some beauty shots of recent Cine-Mod performed to a Samyang 24mm f/1.4, I was pleased by the results of my initial photos. A bit of info: I had been using my camera for some casual street photography with a very nice, recently overhauled Angenieux 3 inch, f/2.5 lens attached to my Olympus OM-D. The lens remained on my camera over the weekend. When it came time to take some product photos back at the Lens Lab, I grabbed my camera with the Angenieux still attached and I figured I would just leave it there to see how it fared for product photos. The results were interesting to say the least. Not exactly product photo worthy so I decided to swap back to my go-to product photo lens which is currently an Olympus 45mm f/1.8. Continue reading Does a Lens Really Provide a Look?
As many of you know, Duclos Lenses has spent the past two months moving the Lens Lab from a small dumpy building in the middle of Canoga Park to our bigger, better facility in Chatsworth. It took a lot longer than we expected and it wasn’t easy. But we did it. I have to thank all of the customers who tolerated our longer than usual turn around time. We’re about 98% done setting up everything the way we want it. We just have to hang a few more pictures and paint a few more walls and we’re done.
On a similar note we decided to update our website while we were at it. The old site was nice and all, but every day I had at least a few emails from people asking how they can purchase items through our website. Unfortunately our old website publishing and hosting did not provide the services necessary for e-commerce. With the new DuclosLenses.com you can browse and purchase our entire catalog (almost) all from the comfort of your computer desk and enjoy our products faster and easier than ever. We’re really happy with the new site and we hope you like it as well. We’re still working the kinks out so if you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to inform me or any Duclos Lenses rep.
Thanks again to our loyal customers. We look forward to serving you for years to come.
Given my profession of servicing lenses and the nature of such a precise vocation, I’ve become somewhat compulsive over the past decade. Some might even argue that I’m just downright anal about details. I wouldn’t disagree with that at all. I can’t stand imperfections or flaws. I feel compelled to perfect every minor detail that is within my capacity and even sometimes beyond my capacity, either succeeding or failing, but always learning. This became something of a curse when I started collecting cameras and lenses a while back. I would buy cheap “junk” off of eBay that looked pretty good in the auction photos, but upon arrival, the items were almost always worse than they appeared in the photos, which I came to expect. I couldn’t spend a ton of money on mint condition collectors items as my fiancé would be rather upset if $1000 was used to purchase a 25 year old film camera or lens. So I did my best to find good deals and restore them. It has become quite a painstaking hobby. I consider these dirty, beat-up old cameras and lenses a challenge. I wish I had taken more photos of the equipment I’ve restored prior to their make-over but I really didn’t think much of it at the time. I just wanted my collection to be clean and tidy. The tools and techniques I use on a daily basis have proven to be most valuable to such restorations, allowing me to cleanse, machine, anodize, and essentially re-engineer parts that were otherwise ugly and useless. Continue reading Vintage Lens Restoration
A quick snap-shot while bench testing a 17-80mm for periodic maintenance. The modern breed of exotic zooms are both work-horses and delicate instruments of perfection at the same time. They require the highest level of calibration to perform at their maximum potential. The 17-80mm was the second lens to join Angenieux’s Optimo team back in the mid 2000’s and is still one of the best 35mm zoom lenses on the market. After regular use on a television series, this particular Optimo only needed minor back-focus calibration and exterior cleaning. It’s no wonder Angenieux is having trouble keeping up with demand for their zooms.