ARRI Rental introduces new large format anamorphic and spherical lenses – YMCinema

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A brand new glass by ARRI Rental has been introduced. These are two series of large format lenses: ALFA Anamorphic and spherical Moviecam. Let’s read the story behind this new piece of glass.

ALFA anamorphic lenses. Photo: ARRI Rental

ARRI Rental has developed two exclusive new series of large format lenses: ALFA and Moviecam. The large format anamorphic ALFA was inspired by the collaboration with Greig Fraser ACS, ASC. Moviecam large format spherical lenses combine vintage glass with new performance housings. All lenses were developed and manufactured by ARRI Rental’s global lens team, which was also responsible for the company’s acclaimed DNA lenses for full-frame and 65mm cinematography. Both series are available worldwide exclusively through ARRI Rental, which means you cannot buy them, only rent them.

The twin ALFA anamorphic lenses on the ALEXA Mini LF.  Photo: ARRI Rental
ALFA anamorphic lenses are paired on the ALEXA Mini LF. Photo: ARRI Rental

The ARRI Rental ALFA lens set includes eight lenses ranging in focal length from 40mm to 190mm. According to ARRI Renal, like DNA lenses, the ALFA was born out of artistic collaborations with filmmakers looking for new ways to tell stories and convey emotions. The ALFA is a fast glass (T2.5) for most focal lengths, solidly constructed, and offers a unique anamorphic look for a large format.

ALFA anamorphic series.  Photo: ARRI Rental
ALFA anamorphic series. Photo: ARRI Rental

The rugged, purpose-built lens housings still contain Master Anamorphic glass, but come with other bespoke optical elements and modifications that combine to create an entirely new look.

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look and feel

Overall, ALFAs have a softer, more textured feel than Master Anamorphics, while still capturing all of the detail inherent in the larger format. Blurred areas are more characteristic and deconstructed, with better edge falloff contributing to stunning bokeh. Point source highlights are more vivid, with a slightly more visible halo. Check out the ALFA London showreel below:

The changes we made to the ALFAs brought out a whole new dimension in Master Anamorphics, with a nice vignette of softness around the edges but a super sharp center that we could degrade if needed.

Director of Photography Greig Fraser ACS, ASC

2x anamorphic compression for large format

ARRI Rental points out that the larger digital negative of the large format serves to accentuate the emotional characteristics of the image of 2x anamorphic compression. In short, the anamorphic look is more pronounced, and with it, the cinematic feel. In this sense, ARRI Rental asserts that anamorphic large format should be seen as a new format – one that can make a bold and exciting contribution to visual storytelling.

The ALFA anamorphic look.  Photo: ARRI Rental
The ALFA anamorphic look. Photo: ARRI Rental

Born of the Anamorphic Master

The brainchild behind ALFA lenses grew out of ARRI Rental’s long-standing relationship with Director of Photography Greig Fraser ACS, ASC, who was also a key contributor to the DNA lens program. In response to Fraser’s request for new large format anamorphic options, ARRI Rental and ARRI worked together to modify sets of Master Anamorphic lenses. In addition to adapting them to cover the larger format, ARRI Rental technicians customized the lenses in-house for specifically requested image attributes. Fraser comments, “The changes we made to the ALFAs brought out a whole new dimension in Master Anamorphics, with a nice vignette of softness around the edges but a super sharp center that we could degrade if needed.” Further prototyping of ALFA lenses took place with input from German cinematographer Nikolaus Summerer. From these collaborations and extensive R&D within ARRI Rental, the specifications for a production series of ALFA lenses were defined. The rugged, purpose-built lens housings still contain Master Anamorphic glass, but come with other bespoke optical elements and modifications that combine to create an entirely new look.

The ALFA anamorphic lens series features rugged housings with LDS-2 lens data chips.  Photo: ARRI Rental
The ALFA anamorphic lens series features rugged housings with LDS-2 lens data chips. Photo: ARRI Rental

ARRI Rental Moviecam lenses combine vintage glass and cinematic backstory with modern, high-performance lens housings. Impressively compact and lightweight given their full frame coverage, they are available in 11 focal lengths from 16mm to 135mm and feature a T2 diaphragm over most of this range.

The Moviecam lens series.  Photo: ARRI Rental
The Moviecam lens series. Photo: ARRI Rental

Following the original Moviecam design, ARRI Rental lens engineers have incorporated the same 1970s optics into new lens housings.

Modernization of the 1980s look

Moviecam lenses were first produced in the 1980s, using very high quality donor glass dating back to the 1970s. In the 1990s, ARRI acquired the Moviecam company and integrated some of its camera technologies into the ARRICAM ST and LT, which were – and remain – the most advanced 35mm motion picture cameras ever produced.

Moviecam 35mm motion picture camera
Moviecam 35mm motion picture camera

While cameras were the focus of ARRI’s takeover of Moviecam in the 1990s, an entirely different advantage was pursued in the 2020s by ARRI Rental: Moviecam lenses. Recognizing the growing appeal to digital filmmakers looking for a vintage look, ARRI Rental has created a large number of consistent Moviecam sets, to be offered across all of its global territories. Following the original Moviecam design, ARRI Rental lens engineers have incorporated the same 1970s optics into new lens housings.

The Moviecam lens.  Photo: ARRI Rental
The Moviecam lens. Photo: ARRI Rental

In terms of looks, Moviecams sit somewhere between the vintage Canon K-35 and DNA LF lens series, expanding the creative options for large format filmmakers.

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The vintage aesthetic

Overall, Moviecams are characterized by their combination of a vintage look with a very practical ease of use. Aside from the 100mm and 135mm at T2.8, all lenses are T2, although the 60mm goes a bit further at T1.5, providing an additional option for low-light situations and photo-enhanced portraits. bokeh. Optical performance is consistent across the range, making it an excellent choice for cinematographers who want a vintage aesthetic but also complete freedom to explore all focal lengths without creating work for themselves in post. .

The Moviecam lens series.  Photo: ARRI Rental
The Moviecam lens series. Photo: ARRI Rental

Look & feel: Combination of Canon K-35 and DNA LF

In terms of looks, Moviecams sit somewhere between the vintage Canon K-35 and DNA LF lens series, expanding the creative options for large format filmmakers. Despite their significant resolving power, Moviecams retain a smooth, natural feel, with an attractive focus drop. Flare handling is interesting and characterful, but not overly snappy or awkward to control. German cinematographer Christian Rein used prototype Moviecam lenses on a series for Netflix and an upcoming film, commenting, “I like the quality of the Vintage Moviecam glass, which looks very organic and soft, but without losing detail or drawing attention to itself. Moviecams are very kind to the skin. The roundness of the lenses is outstanding, the bokeh looks very natural and if they flare out it doesn’t look as technical as with other lenses.

Check out the Mountain Moviecam showreel:

I like the quality of the Vintage Moviecam glass, which looks very organic and soft but without losing detail or drawing attention to itself.

Director of photography Christian Rein

Both the ALFA and Moviecam series are LPL-edited and incorporate LDA chips for efficient lens data workflows, making them suitable even for visual effects-intensive productions. Lens housings are manufactured in-house at ARRI Rental, incorporating all of the lens development team’s experience in creating and customizing various optics for customers.

Working with the same vintage 1970s donor glass as the original Moviecam lenses, ARRI Rental lens engineers have designed and built new modern and reliable lens housings.  Photo: ARRI Rental
Working with the same vintage 1970s donor glass as the original Moviecam lenses, ARRI Rental lens engineers have designed and built new modern and reliable lens housings. Photo: ARRI Rental

ALFA and Moviecam lenses are available exclusively from ARRI rental facilities worldwide. You can contact ARRI Rental for more details.

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