ENG-style for cinema lenses

ENG-style for cinema lenses
March 17th 2015 at 4:05PM

The advent of larger sensor cameras, particularly 4K, has brought a flurry of new lenses, many of which are aimed more at broadcast than digital cinema use

Fujinon’s Cabrio lenses started the trend for adding detachable ENG-style servo drive units (for zoom, focus and iris) to cinema-style 4K-capable lenses, to make them suitable for handheld broadcast use, particularly for sports, wildlife and news. They have now been joined by Angénieux, Canon and Zeiss.

The latest PL-mount Cabrio lens is Fujinon’s ZK12x25, covering the most frequently used 25mm wide angle to 300mm on the telephoto end. It uses high-precision large-diameter aspheric elements, with a three moving-zoom group system that minimises aberration fluctuation during zooming, controls image distortion across the zoom range, and delivers edge-to-edge sharpness. Its Macro function lets users approach objects as close as 59cm.

Thales Angénieux has two new hand-held zooms that can use its new servo system. The 16-40mm and 30-76mm T2.8 zoom lenses each weigh less than 2kg, making them particularly suitable for hand-held cameras, and have 2x extenders.

The lenses have an easily interchangeable mount (PL, Canon EF, Panavision) for use with a wide variety of cameras, while the Angénieux Servo Unit (ASU) is compatible with broadcast remote handles, cinema remote controls and wireless remotes such as Preston, and generates lens metadata based on the Cooke /i Technology protocol.

The ASU is also an option for any Optimo Lightweight Cine Zoom, including the Optimo 15-40, 28-76mm and 45-120mm lenses.

Canon also has two new 4K lenses with removable servo drives, including what is claimed to be the longest telephoto cinema lens yet made. The 6.6kg CN20x50 (T5.0-8.9) has a native 50-1000mm focal range that expands to 75-1500mm using the built-in 1.5x extender, making it particularly useful for wildlife or sports. The focus ring rotation is 180?, to balance the accuracy required for 4K with the speed needed for broadcast use.

The 2.9kg CN7x17 KA S has a focal length of 17-120mm with an aperture of T2.95 (17 to 91mm) to T3.9 (at 120mm). Virtual studio use is supported via 16-bit encoder output.

The EF-mount versions of both use Canon’s own lens data system, while the PL-mount models support Cooke’s /i Technology. Both use a 12-pin serial connection for integration with broadcast equipment.

The new Zeiss Servo Unit for its Compact Zoom CZ.2 cine lenses will be on show at NAB, costing between €5,000 and €6,000, and will extend the capabilities of the CZ.2 15-30, CZ.2 28-80 and CZ.2 70-200 T2.9 lenses. The full-frame cine zooms (36x24mm) are suitable for a wide range of cameras, thanks to their exchangeable mount (IMS).

The servo can be controlled directly on the handgrip, through broadcast demands, or via wireless lens control systems, and can be fitted without any tools. The optional focus unit can easily be mounted on the main unit and adjusts quickly to the individual lens during lens changes. It can be powered via a PL-mount with contacts, through the camera interface cable, or externally. Existing CZ.2 lenses require a mount modification.Full-frame lenses

The increasing number of full-frame (24x36mm) DSLR-based cameras, particularly Sony’s compact Alpha 7s low-light 4K model, is attracting a lot of interest, and new lenses. 

Zeiss has its first new F2 lenses for the Alpha 7, 7s and 7r models that offer manual focusing, manual aperture and “maximal image quality”. The €966 nine-element Loxia 2/35 has a minimum object distance of 30cm, while the €713 six-element Loxia 2/50 can focus as close as 37cm. The filter diameter will be a consistent M52 across the entire lens family, and they have a large focus rotation angle of 180? for fine focusing. An electronic interface transmits lens data (EXIF), recognises focus movements and can activate the camera’s magnifier function.

For video work, users can mechanically deactivate the aperture click stops to allow both progressive and noiseless aperture settings. Not being autofocus lenses makes them more compact, lightweight and quieter.

Sony itself has introduced the first 35mm full-frame lens with a power zoom. The FE PZ 28-135mm F4 G OSS is compatible with all Sony E-mount cameras and its focal length extends to 42-202.5mm (35mm equivalent) when used with APS-C/Super35 sensors, as on the PXW-FS7.

The 1125g lens has a constant F4 maximum aperture, and is designed to minimise breathing, focus shifts during zoom and movement of the optical axis during zoom, while aspherical lens elements suppress unwanted aberration and advanced multi-coating technology boosts contrast and cuts glare.

Three separate rings offer independent control over focus, zoom and iris, and zoom is claimed to be “exceptionally smooth and silent”.

Sony’s latest full-frame Zeiss wide-angle (16-35mm, F4) full-frame zoom joins its E-mount lens range, alongside the existing 24-70mm and 70-200mm models. It offers a minimum focus distance of 28cm, has a filter diameter of 72mm, and weighs 518g.

IB/E Optics has new 65mm prime and zoom lenses for the Alexa 65. The 50-110mm Zoom 65 and the eight Prime 65 lenses, ranging from 24mm to 300mm, use optics from Hasselblad, housed in robust, uniform lens barrels co-developed with IB/E. It also has two new optical extenders for 35mm PL-mount cameras (the PLx1.4 and PLx2).

Going wide

Cooke is widening its Anamorphic/i lens range. Its new 25mm and 135mm Anamorphic/i lenses are being followed by 80mm and 300mm models, to take its Anamorphic/i range to nine (including 32mm, 40mm, 50mm, 75mm, 100mm: all T2.3). Cooke is also adding a 21mm lens to both the miniS4/i range (which are all T2.8) and the 5/i series (which are T1.4).

It is also adding sensors for the /i Squared Technology metadata system to all new Anamorphic/i, 5/i and S4/i lenses. The inertial system, developed by Cooke with support from The Pixel Farm and Codex, builds on current /i Technology by supplying position and orientation data, in addition to lens data, to aid post production work, particularly visual effects.

Angénieux now has two PL-mount anamorphic zoom lenses, with a third in development. The new Optimo Anamorphic 30-72mm 2S (2x squeeze) joins the compact 56-152mm 2S, with both claimed to exhibit exceptional sharpness and lower distortion compared to typical anamorphic lenses, thanks to a new optical design that combines spherical and cylindrical elements in the same group. Both are T4 with 320° focus rotation with over 50 focus marks and no breathing.

The latest Master Anamorphic MA135/T1.9 lens is the seventh in the Master Anamorphic family jointly developed by Arri and Zeiss, and completes the high-performance range (including 35, 40, 50, 60, 75 and 100mm). They are designed to be particularly effective wide open (all are T1.9), and are claimed to solve many problems commonly associated with anamorphic optics. The lenses show hardly any image breathing and exceptionally low distortion. The issue of anamorphic mumps – when faces shot at close range appear wider – is balanced out automatically. This is achieved by positioning the cylindrical lens elements at strategically important points in the lens.

The almost telecentric optical design reduces chromatic aberrations and shading in the corners of the image. They have a new iris diaphragm with 15 aperture blades to create a perfectly oval and evenly illuminated bokeh.

Fast approaching

With a lens speed of F0.85, the new €1,799 HandeVision Ibelux 40/0.85 is claimed to be the fastest lens for system cameras currently in series production, and ideal for low light. There are versions with Sony E, Fuji X, Canon EOS M and Micro 4/3 mounts.

It has ten diaphragm blades, to give a pleasing bokeh, and uses ten multi-coated lenses in eight groups, for increased contrast and minimised reflections. Its lateral chromatic aberration is smaller than 6µm, which gives a resolution of about 4K. It was developed by German lens manufacturer IB/E Optics and Shanghai Transvision Photographic Equipment (which makes Kipon branded adapters), and is the first of a new range of HandeVision models, which will include: a wide-angle Ibegon lens; a high-speed telephoto APO mirror lens, the Ibecat; a tilt-shift lens; and a compact fixed focal length lens.

Luma Tech has extended its Super35mm Illumina S35 PL-mount lenses at both ends, adding its widest-angle 14mm and its longest 135mm lenses, both T1.8. The Illumina S35 14mm has a close focus of 25cm and weighs 1.6kg, while the 2.3kg 135mm S35 lens has a 150cm minimum object distance. The other five lenses in the range (18, 15, 35, 50 and 85mm) have T1.3 apertures. All the lenses use Lomo optics and are claimed to offer high resolution and contrast, with “a forgiving creaminess”.

The new PrimeCircle XM (manual focus and manual aperture) cinema lenses from LockCircle offer smooth focus action with calibrated (one-to-one) focus scales for precise follow-focus work. The lightweight Italian-made EF-mount and F-mount lenses use Carl Zeiss optics, and are priced from €1,399 to €3,499. They are designed to meet the requirements of 4K cameras, and are available in nine different focal lengths: 15mm/T2.8; 21/2.8; 25/2.0; 28/2.0; 35/1.4; 50/1.4; 85/1.4; 100 Makro/2.0; and 135Apo/2.0. The optics are aesthetically consistent over the different focal lengths, with natural colour balance and skin tones, and are claimed to offer “serious cinematic character” exhibiting a “pastel organic” bokeh.


ENG zooms extended

Fujinon’s A21x7.8 BERM/BERD is “a lightweight 21x lens, but it’s a similar weight to a 18x lens, which is significantly lighter [at 1.6-1.7kg depending on version] than a traditional 22x, so it’s particularly suitable for news and sport,” said Stefan Czich of Fujinon distributor Pyser-SGI, which is showing it at BVE and has had a lot of interest in it from news companies.

It has a focal length of 7.8-164mm, or 15.6-328mm with 2x extender, maximum relative aperture of F1.8 (7.8-109mm) to F2.7 (164mm), and minimum object distance of 85cm.

It joins the 1.97kg HA18x5.5 2/3-inch lens, which covers 5.5mm to 100mm and uses high-precision large-diameter aspheric elements, designed with Fujifilm’s proprietary optical simulation technology, that are claimed to achieve sharpness at the centre as well as all corners for edge-to-edge image quality.

The lens has a minimum focus distance of 40cm, and its built-in 2x extender brings the focal length on the telephoto end to 200mm, allowing it to accommodate a broad range of needs. “With the combination of wide angle performance and telephoto reach, this could be the ultimate news lens,” said Czich.

Canon’s HJ18ex7.6B IRSE/IASE ENG lens for 2/3-inch cameras is its successor to the popular HJ17ex7.6B. “This lens has been comprehensively upgraded in virtually every area, delivering enhanced performance, specifications and usability, with a reduction in weight [of 20 grams to 1.58kg] also ensuring mobility,” said Canon.

The lens is claimed to offer “superior optical performance”, delivering an increase in magnification to 18x and a longer focal length of 7.6-137mm (plus 2x extender) and a maximum aperture of F1.8. Minimum object distance is just 56cm (10mm with Macro). A new fast start-up digital drive unit provides enhanced usability, system support and operability, and also supports multiple types of image compensation – including lens and chromatic aberration. For virtual studio integration, it comes with 16-bit encoder output.

Adapt and overcome

MTF Services has worked with AJA to introduce the first lens adaptors for AJA’s Cion camera (which comes with a PL mount). The adaptors include: a Nikon G adaptor with aperture control for both new and old Nikon lenses; an optical system for B4 lenses compatible with any lens with a 2x extender – allowing total sensor coverage with HD B4 lenses as the multi-layer coated optics extend the image from its original 2/3-inch size to cover the Cion’s Super35 sensor while maintaining the original angle of view of the lens; and three adaptors for Canon lenses: Canon FD-to-Cion adaptor for old FD lenses, plus two options for Canon EF mounts. The first is a standard mechanical adaptor, for EF-mount lenses with an aperture ring; the second, a version of the MTF Effect range of adaptors for electronic lenses. When used with the MTF Effect Control Unit it controls the iris in 1/8th stop increments, and powers lens stabilisation and focus (for lenses with powered focus).

New IMS Lens Mount Adapters for the Arri Amira and Micro-Four Thirds mount cameras have been introduced by P+S Technik. The seven for MFT offer plug & play mounting for: Professional (Nikon) F; Professional (Canon) EF; Canon FD; Leica R; Panavision; BNC-R; and PL mount, costing from €284 (plus VAT) to €609. They are pre-collimated and shims are available for individual adjustment. There are four for the Amira: Canon FD; Leica R; Panavision; and BNC-R, from €471 to €650.

The new Wide Angle Adapter from Schneider Optics for Fujinon’s 19-90mm T2.9 PL-mount Cabrio zoom lens provides a 30 per cent wider angle than the Cabrio’s 19mm limitation, offering users a minimum focal length of 14.5mm. With its 114mm diameter, it will also work with Fujinon’s 14-35mm T2.9 PL-mount Cabrio. The non-zoom through adapter is designed for quick mounting and removal, using a quick-release lever.

A new system for mounting and controlling Canon EF-mount lenses on high-end digital cinema cameras has been introduced by LockCircle. The Prime Circle XE System is claimed to offer the first lens/controller/adapter mount integration between DSLRs and cine/video cameras able to be used in photo mode (full automatic aperture) and cine/video mode (stopped down aperture), where the lens aperture can be controlled wirelessly up to 150m. The XE System intelligent mount adapter can be used with a wide range of cameras.

Lens data

Arri’s new Lens Data Encoder LDE-1, part of its Electronic Control System, uses an encoder that delivers data on the position of the lens ring to which it is attached, and can be used with a manual follow focus unit or third-party wireless lens control system. It allows lens data to be generated when an Alexa is used without an Arri lens motor or an LDS lens. Arri has also updated its Wireless Compact Unit WCU-4 to allow easier lens programming, so that lens tables can be generated for any lens, from vintage to modern in less than a minute.

CineMultiTrack is a new distance measurement system that can measure multiple objects, in association with Transvideo’s existing LensReader. The system can measure simultaneously the position of several tags and provides the data to the focus puller on the scale of the lens reader. The system can also deliver the information to Preston FI+Z lens controls to help focus in difficult conditions.

The latest release of LensReader displays graphic data (focus with depth of field and hyperfocal point, iris, zoom) in real time from intelligent lenses: Arri/Zeiss LDS Master Prime, Ultra Prime and Master Anamorphic, Arri/Fujinon Alura Lightweight zooms, Angenieux /i zooms, Cooke and Fujinon Cabrio lenses.

A new wireless interface that allows users to access and edit live lens data has been introduced by Cmotion: cworld allows Cmotion control units and web-enabled devices to be connected so that multiple users can access lens and distance information, firmware updates, and user guides on a cvolution camin. It means that a director could remotely access the iris data and adjust the iris scale through their smartphone, while other members of the crew view other readouts.

A €350 smart range finder application (cfinder) provides a wireless distance read out when cworld is connected directly to a measurement tool, such as cmotion’s cfinder, Arri’s UDM or Cinetape.