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NAB 2015 Lenses Review

Makers of long zoom-range lenses for 2/3-inch three-sensor cameras spent the past year racing to produce higher quality versions of these lenses with 4K optical performance, as a seller’s market is expected for UHD applications in connection with sports and entertainment production. While the new wave of 4K cameras for which the lenses are designed were only making their own debut at the 2015 NAB Show, side-by-side tests have shown these new lenses do provide better image quality on the HD cameras in use today.

Canon’s Ed Meyers introduces the University of Wisconsin’s Kevin Pontuti to Canon’s new 4K lens.ARRI introduced a zoom lens accompaniment to its line of ARRI/Zeiss Master Anamorphic lenses. The Anamorphic Ultra-Wide Zoom AUWZ 19-36/T4.2 extends the product line to cover extreme wide-angle focal lengths between 19 and 36 mm without sacrificing image quality.

CANON displayed a prototype of a high zoom ratio, long focal length 4K field zoom lens designed for the 2/3-inch tri-sensor B4-mount cameras used in large venue sports and entertainment productions. Also shown was the Cine-Servo 50 to 1000 mm lens, which features a built-in 1.5x extender to boost the focal length range to 75-1500 mm. It’s available for EF or PL lens mounts.

COOKE OPTICS introduced production models of its 25 and 135mm Anamorphic/I lenses. This fleshes out that lens range, which currently includes 32, 40, 50, 75 and 100 mm models. Cooke also presented its 5/I prime lenses, the S4/i series and the miniS4/i group.

FUJIFILM introduced a new 4K Ultra HD Series of lenses, designed to bring full 4K optical performance to 2/3-inch three-sensor cameras. The UA80x9 field and UA22x8 portable zoom lenses were designed with optical performance suitable for use with 4K 2/3-inch broadcast cameras. Both lenses were designed using the latest proprietary optical simulation software to provide the UHD performance.

INDIE CAM demonstrated their indieIFC iris and focus control system designed for the small lenses used on its miniature HD cameras. Components include the motor unit and gear rings, along with bracket and cable interface.

Thales Angenieux’s Eva Paryzka shows off the company’s lenses to iKan’s Aaron Shapiro.LUMATECH introduced a hybrid linear lens collimator, which offers the advantages of analog collimation systems enhanced with embedded sensors and computing that provides precision and speed in lens testing. It provides reliable measurements of back-focus, verification of focus scale marks and comparison of relative lens resolution. The company also showed its Illumina line of high-speed prime lenses.

REDROCK MICRO debuted its Halo focus control system which dynamically maps and tracks subjects in a scene, and provides an easy-to-use interface for manually selecting or automatically tracking subjects to be kept in focus. The company incorporates the same technology into cars for collision detection and avoidance systems.

SERVICE VISION demonstrated their scorpiolens Anamorphic 2X lens family, which was designed to cover the ANSI Super 35 Silent frame. These PL-mount lenses provide the same front diameter throughout the entire line, and the internal focusing keeps the external position of the lens constant.

SYRP showed its variable ND filter kit, which comes with a pair of lens adapter rings. The filter set is designed to cut down the light entering the lens for time exposures and time-lapse photography.

TIFFEN unveiled a trio of Black Diffusion filters that were designed specifically for HD and 4K shooting. (The Black Glimmer-Glass is a more subtle version of Tiffen’s original GlimmerGlass filter.) Their Black Pearlescent filter softens excess sharpness and contrast while adding halos to specular highlights. The Black Soft/FX model incorporates tiny “lenslets” to put such picture elements such as wrinkles and blemishes out of focus.

THALES ANGENIEUX featured a new line of Anamorphic zoom lenses, the Optimo Anamorphic 56 to 152 mm 2S (2x squeeze) and the Optimo 30 to 72 mm 2S, which is designed for cinemascope production. The company also showcased some long focal range zoom lenses: the Optimo 19.5 to 94mm, the 24 to 290 mm and the 28 to 340 mm lenses. In addition, Thales Angenieux also displayed their Optimo 15 to 40mm, 2876 mm and 45 to 120 mm lightweight lenses.

TILTA showed off its TiltaMax wireless follow-focus system, which is available as a three-channel system (zoom, iris and focus) for a single lens, and its six-channel system (zoom, iris and focus for two lenses). The control unit features an LED touchscreen with adjustable brightness and an LED-lit marking disc. The TiltaMax includes default presets for a variety of different lenses, and allows users to add customized settings as well.

VOCAS displayed its matte box products, which include their own “eyebrow system” which acts as built-in “French flags.” The company also showed a variety of limited edition matte boxes with colorful exteriors.