Author Archives: Mark Ritchie

Arri Amira Arriving at HD Optics & Camera


HD Optics & Camera is excited to announce that it will be receiving four new Arri Amiras in the month of August.

The Arri Amira brings with it all the features and functionality you’ve come to expect from the Alexa however many exciting new features have been added making this camera one of the most powerful filming tools to emerge in a decade. Stayed tuned for our Amira workshops coming this summer.

The all new Arri Amira now available at HD Optics & Camera

The all new Arri Amira now available at HD Optics & Camera

Canon announces new CINE-SERVO 17-120mm T2.95 PL Zoom Lens


Riding on the coat tails of Fujinon’s unprecedented success of their 19-90 PL Zoom, Canon has dropped a bombshell and announced their new 17-120 PL Zoom, both wider and longer.

New Canon CINE-SERVO 17-120mm T2.95 PL Zoom Lens

New Canon CINE-SERVO 17-120mm T2.95 PL Zoom Lens

Over the past year, I’ve personally seen a huge spike in the demand for compact zooms for reality TV, documentary work, live concerts and the like. The biggest obstacle has always been the limited range of the lens. Although Canon 17-120 doesn’t solve all the short comings it will, without doubt, become an industry standard in the above genres as the lenses become available.

Before you go out and buy a dozen (at an affordable $33,000), remember, we’ve been here before. The battle between Fujinon & Canon has been played out with the B4 2/3″ lenses for years. Each vendor outdoing the last by redesigning a new lens every year that’s just few millimeters wider and longer.

By Mark Ritchie

More info from Canon

The CINE-SERVO 17-120mm T2.95 lens provides cinematographers and broadcast operations with a compact, lightweight design (only 6.4 lbs.) using Canon optical elements, while offering outstanding performance and reliability in professional shooting environments.The new lens is fully 4K-ready, with a high optical resolution and support for Super35mm large-format cameras. An 11-blade aperture diaphragm helps ensure an artistic and beautiful representation of out-of-focus areas (or “Bokeh”).

The lens also features a high 7x zoom magnification, wide focal length range of 17mm to 120mm, and a 180º smooth rotating focus ring. Acknowledging that broadcasters often need to control zoom, focus and iris/aperture in different ways than filmmakers, Canon has developed this zoom lens with full external servo control for drama, documentary and other broadcast productions.

The servo drive unit is compatible with industry-standard protocols for control from a number of lens controllers including Canon’s standard broadcast lens controllers (ZSD-300D/FPD-400D) and multiple industry standard cinema lens controllers. The drive unit can be easily removed for cinema-style shoots and can be easily re-attached without any manual re-alignment. A 16-bit metadata output enables connection to virtual studio systems.

Also available in EF mount, the lens can be converted at an authorized Canon service facility..

New 9.5-18 mm Ultra Wide Zoom From Arri


I recently had an opportunity to put this wide zoom on our projector and I was amazed by the performance of this lens. We’re eager to get our hands on this lens for further real world evaluation!

Arri Ultrawide

Arri Press Release

The new ARRI Ultra Wide Zoom UWZ 9.5-18/T2.9 is the first super wide-angle zoom lens for the professional cine market. With an unusually accommodating image circle of 33.7 mm, the UWZ has been designed for both existing and future generations of large-sensor digital cameras, incorporating patented, cutting-edge lens technologies that overcome known problems with previous wide-angle zooms. The optical performance of the UWZ is comparable to, or even exceeds, that of high-end wide-angle prime lenses. For maximum flexibility and cost efficiency on set, the UWZ can easily replace a complete range of wide-angle primes.

Optimized for the requirements of VFX applications, the UWZ is ideal for plate shots or any other situation where maximum image quality is vital. Distortion is at a level of less than 1% at 9.5 mm and less than 0.1% at 18 mm, which means that straight lines stay straight, even at close focus. Due to a new multilayer, anti-reflective coating, flare and veiling glare are reduced to an absolute minimum, while exchangeable matte box interfaces ensure adequate sun protection whether filters are in use or not.

The telecentric optical design of the UWZ means that it has a highly uniform field illumination, from the center to the very corners of the image. Built-in ARRI Lens Data System (LDS) functionality provides precise lens metadata for zoom, focus and aperture settings, smoothing postproduction workflows.

IB/E Optics releases new 35mm 2x Extender


IB/E Optics 2x Extender

IB/E Optics 2x Extender

For some time now IB/E and Abel Cine have been working together towards designing a new PL 2x extender and it’s finally arrived.

It’s been designed to be compatible with a wide range of lenses including many lenses that will not worked with either the Angenieux of Century systems.

Abel Cine is continuing testing and will shortly offer a complete compatibility chart.

Although I have not yet had an opportunity to do my own testing, initial feedback indicates excellent performance.

20 Point Lens QC Outline


At HDO, we do a comprehensive inspection of every lens prior to every rental. It is also the responsibility & expectation of every 1st A/C to be able to conduct similar tests and evaluations while prepping a camera package.

Lens QC

Lens QC

I’ve enclosed a 20 point inspection outline of charateristics we look for when testing lenses. Granted you may not have access to all the hi-end test equipment we use, but almost %99 of all tests can be done with a lens, camera & chart.

20 Point Lens QC

(PDF Link) 

LEICA Summilux C Primes


LEICA Summilux C Primes

The buzz behind Leica lenses continues to grow well after their introduction into market.

Hard to find and expensive.. are they really worth it.

(We seem to think so)

Have a look at this independent test published by Alfonso Parra AEC and perhaps it will answer some of the mysteries of the world.

Leica Test

LEICA Summilux C

LEICA Summilux C

Angenieux Unveils Anamorphic Zoom Lens


(Angenieux Press Release)

Las Vegas, NV (April 8, 2013) – Today’s unveiling of the first in its new anamorphic lens series represents an important step in Angénieux’s ongoing industry leadership in designing new optical technologies that enhance technique and creativity for cinemascope production. The new lightweight Optimo Anamorphic 56-152mm 2S (2x squeeze) Zoom Lens lends a film-like, dimensional character to images with lower distortion compared to typical anamorphic lenses.

Award Winning Zoom just got better

“Award Winning Zoom just got better”

“As an industry leader in zoom lens technology for film and digital production, we strive to develop optical innovations that enable cinematographers to bring their vision to the screen,” said Dominique Rouchon, Sales and Marketing Director, Thales Angénieux. “Our new Optimo Anamorphic 56-152mm 2S Zoom Lens invites freedom of movement into the creative process with superior results, whether used in hand-held mode or on a Steadicam.”

With 2x squeeze, a fast aperture of T:4 and no ramping or breathing, the Optimo Anamorphic 56-152mm 2S Zoom Lens delivers exceptional optical performance not previously achieved with an anamorphic lens. Based on the optical design of the world renowned Optimo 28-76mm (SOC award 2012, Academy of Motion Picture award 2009), the new Optimo Anamorphic 56-152mm 2S Zoom Lens features all of the remarkable characteristics shared by the Optimo series, including pristine optics, high precision mechanical zoom system and 320° focus rotation with over 50 focus marks. The unique optical design combines spherical and cylindrical elements in the same group, giving the 56-152mm lens exceptional sharpness and low distortion for an anamorphic zoom. Furthermore, the flexibility of a 2.7x zoom range is perfect for framing without the need to move the camera forward or backwards. The lens is extremely compact, weighing only 4.8lb or 2.2kg. The Optimo Anamorphic 56-152mm 2S is a PL mount lens with a PV mount available on request.

Cooke Optics Announces Anamorphic Primes

The Cooke Look to a New Level!

The Cooke Look to a New Level!

Cooke debuted a prototype Anamorphic prime lens set at NAB this year which seemed to be very well received. With the advent of so many new 4:3 capable cameras in the market today, it was only a matter of time before lens manufacturers followed suite.

Several additional Anamorphic lenses were displayed at NAB including Zeiss, Angenieux, and Scorpiolens, many to start delivering in 2013.