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Anamorphic lenses

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#1 RodCrombie



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Posted 14 May 2009 - 04:36 PM

Hi folks
I may have an upcoming shoot and they are talking anamorphic. Specifically Panavision Primo anamorphic. Should I be afraid? Push for other brands? Any advice?
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#2 Alec Jarnagin SOC

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Posted 15 May 2009 - 03:28 AM


I've never flown the Primo Anamorphics but its been done. I'm a fan of the C-series (also Panavision) for Steadicam (and maybe a few E-series mixed in). They are smaller and lighter and great (albeit older) lenses.
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#3 Mike McGowan SOC

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Posted 16 May 2009 - 01:25 PM

'C' series are nice but Primo's are not the end of the world. They are just a bit bigger and heavier.
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#4 Erwin Landau

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Posted 16 May 2009 - 02:11 PM

'C' series are nice but Primo's are not the end of the world. They are just a bit bigger and heavier.

I just spend researching lenses after a conversation with Howard Preston... ended up with 17 pages of them... anyhow...

There are two versions of the Primo Anamorphic, the Primo Series and the Primo "Close Focus" Series Mark II. The difference is that the Close focus have about a foot to 2 feet closer focus capability. Don't have info on weight of the Mark II but they should be very close to the Mark I which are:

35mm T2 3'6" (2'9") 14.8lbs (6.7kg)
40mm T2 3'6" (2'9") 15lbs (6.8kg)
50mm T2 3'6" (2'9") 16.1lbs (7.3kg)
75mm T2 4'6" (2'6") 11.3lbs (5.15kg)
100mm T2 4'6" (2'6") 12lbs (5.45kg)

As a comparison the C-Series (don't have all the weights, working on it):

20mm T2.8 3'6"
30mm T3.0 4' 7.7lbs (3.5kg)
35mm T2.3 2'9" 5.72 (2.6kg)
40mm T2.8 2'6" 3.5lbs (1.6kg)
50mm T2.3 2'6" 4.4lbs (2.0kg)
60mm T2.8 3'6"
75mm T2.5 4'6" 4.0lbs (1.8kg)
100mm T2.8 4'6" 4.8lbs (2.17kg)
150mm T3.5 5'
180mm T2.8 7'

Hope that helps,

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#5 Orlando Duguay

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 07:01 PM

Have any operators been shooting with Panavision anamorphics recently? Specifically the Anamorphic Primos on the 4:3 Alexa?
I'm doing some research for an upcoming project and the director wants to use Anamorphic lenses and of course he likes the look of the Primos.
I went to Panavision Hollywood yesterday and got a demo of a bunch of different Anamorphic lenses from different series on the Alexa. I didn't hear any mention of the CFP lenses. The only primos I saw had close focus at about 3'6". Does anyone have experience with the Anamorphic CFPs? Updated specs (not listed on Panavision website)?

Also I had some questions about flying anamorphics in general. How do you typically contend with close focus issues, specifically when shooting wider lenses such as the 25mm or 30mm? I feel like using a diopter would severly limit the flexibility of the shots you can achieve. I would love to hear some anecdotes from anyone who has experience tackling these issues.

Lastly regarding the Anamorphic Primos, has anyone flown these on the new Alexa 4:3? The camera+lens+rails+mattebox is quite heavy on its own and is ridiculously long, not to mention if there was a codex attached. See the pic below to get an idea. Any insight would be greatly appreciated!



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#6 Chris Flurry

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 11:24 PM

I’m not really an operator but based on my experience as an assistant. I’ll throw my two cents in here. Anamorphic is a completely different beast than spherical. There is a lot of compromise involved, but what you get in exchange is a thing of beauty. Anamorphic is a difficult format to work in, but if you are using the lenses in a classical style, you should be able to work well with in the close focus limitations of the lens. If you can’t then you probably chose the wrong lens for the shot. Look at some of the great anamorphic epics of the 90's and how they covered scenes. When working in anamorphic 35mm and 40mm lenses are for wide shots. A diopter isn’t really a realistic option for coverage, especially when the camera is moving, diopters are for inserts. Sure it has been done, it doesn’t make it the right way to do things. If you have the time and budget to set up shots and light the set to an appropriate stop for the lenses to perform, then by all means shoot anamorphic. However, realize that you are going to have to make compromises. The primo 35mm and 40mm anamorphic lenses are great lenses, but they are ideal for use on a dolly, not hand-held or steadicam. The “C” series lenses are much lighter, but also much older and they don’t perform optically nearly as well as the primos do. Don’t put on a 35mm and expect the field of focus to be flat and uniform like it would be on a spherical lens. Your going to have to make compromises in either your composition or your shooting stop based on how the lens performs. The "G" series is a perhaps a nice middle ground, but you'll probably have a hard time getting a set, unless you have lots of $$. This is where a really good 1st AC who understands anamorphic and know your lenses and your project is really useful. And lastly Prep, Prep, Prep, no matter what series of lenses (or combination there of) you choose to use, realize that it is going to take time to put a good set together and make sure your producer realizes that this isn't a camera package that can be prepped in a day, let alone three.
Best of luck to you.
As far as flying a 35mm Anamorphic Primo on an Alexa with a codex, I'll let some of the other guys answer that question for you.
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#7 thomas-english


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Posted 16 September 2012 - 10:07 AM

That was the job I did on the primo anamorphics. I am assured those vibrations where put in in post... but that is the fear with them lenses. Especially in Low mode. Every shot was steadicam.

Invest in some carbon fibre 19mm rods from CINEVATE, as their extruded ones are millions stiffer, and a lightweight bridge plate from the Swiss company Action Products. You gotta get that lens Stiff or it will vibrate.

And yes.. be afraid.
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#8 Orlando Duguay

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 02:05 AM

Thanks for the input guys! I'll be heading back to panavision in a couple of weeks and I'll bring in my rig to test out a few different configurations. I'll report back with my findings!
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#9 Stefan Baltz

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 03:27 PM

If your shoot will be delayed until 2013 ;)

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#10 thomas-english


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Posted 17 September 2012 - 04:12 PM

I don't think those Arri lenses will be a replacement for the Primo Anamorphics. They'll give a clean slick modern feel but the primo anamorphics look ... well awesome.
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