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Zeiss
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Focus On Lenses

by David Fox

A complete round up and review of new broadcast camera lenses at IBC 2001

Zeiss Eyes HD Market

German lens maker, Carl Zeiss, is developing a range of prime lenses for HD cameras for release next year, which it is selling in conjunction with US HD specialist, Band Pro Film/Video, which has been working with film-style electronic cinematography for 17 years.

The Zeiss B4-mount DigiPrime range will be a "series of fixed focal length lenses of very high quality for digital cinematography. These are meant to become High Definition's sharpest eyes," says Zeiss marketing manager, Kornelius Fleischer.

Zeiss has been working with Arri for years, perfecting its range of prime film lenses, but as Arri has decided not to make two-third inch CCD video cameras, "we were looking for a new partner familiar with these cameras who could do the world-wide marketing for these primes." At the same time, Band Pro was searching for a supplier of high-quality prime lenses. "We found we are the ideal partners for that business," he says. They announced their joint venture at IBC.

It will show the first working prototypes at NAB 2002, to begin serious deliveries in the late Summer. It will start with a set of six fixed focal length lenses, from 5mm to 14mm, all of which will be T1.5 rated - the maximum speed the splitter block in the camera allows.

"Our lenses are not just designed to deliver performance for a TV screen, but for larger cinema screens. They are also designed for the film way of working," he says.

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Canon Can

Canon's five new prime HD lenses (5mm, 9mm, 14mm, 24mm and 35mm) are available for video or cine style use. It believes that sales in traditionally strong film markets will be better for the cine-style lenses, but elsewhere predicts ENG type lenses will do better. For this market it has three new HD zoom lenses, which it claims exhibit minimal zooming effect during focusing, making them "the ideal drama lens."

CANON HJ11X4.7BIts range includes: the HJ11x4.7B, claimed to have the widest angle yet seen in a portable HDTV lens (also available cine style); the HJ21x7.5B video and cine style; the HJ21x7.8B, a slim-line HD lens to replace the existing HJ18x7.8B; the HJ40x10B and HJ40x14B EFP lenses, which are claimed to be "the first portable HDTV lenses to feature 40X magnification and built-in image stabilisation", and the Digi Super 86 Tele, a telephoto version of the Digi Super 86, "with the longest focal length yet seen", which also includes Canon's image stabiliser launched last year.

The new portable HDTV lenses use Canon's Digital Drive servo system (introduced last year) for faster, repeatable performance. It allows maximum zoom and focus speed and other functions, such as multi-repeatable presets on framing and speed, to be pre-set and instantly recalled, as well as shuttling between any two zoom positions.

OpTex's new Electronic Cinematography lenses are designed for film-like working on HD and SD two-third inch CCD cameras, and are available in 40mm, 50mm, 80mm, and 150mm, as well as a 120mm Macro lens.

It also has new x2 and x1.4 High Definition Range Extenders with Sony B4 mounts, primarily designed for use with HDTV zoom lenses such as the Canon HDTV HJ9x5.5 or similar. They also fit HDTV prime lenses. As with all extenders there is a loss of 2 stops with the x2 extender and one stop with the x1.4.

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Fujinon Higher Resolution

Fujinon has added three new HD Cine Prime lenses (16, 34 and 54mm) to its range, giving it eight primes starting at 5mm. It claims the lenses' high resolving power results in "a resolution on the CCD-surface at least equal to the resolution prime lenses deliver on 35mm film." For maximum depth of field, all the lenses are T1.5, except the 5mm (T2) and 54mm (T1.6).

Fujinon  XA72x9.3BESM-DIt also has a new 72x HD zoom (the XA72x9.3BESM-D), which uses a newly designed multi-group zoom system for better brightness and clarity at the long end of the zoom range. It has full digital controls and includes the OS-TECH optical stabilisation technology that can now be added to all its latest field lenses.

As a standard zoom lens for HD ENG applications, Fujinon has developed the HA17x7.8B, which offers a longer zoom and wider angle of view at a more compact size and the same weight as its previous HA15x8. It can be fitted with a Quickframe function for instant alternation between motorised and manual zooming without operating any switches. It uses a new Inner Focusing system to minimise chromatic aberrations across the zoom range. It also comes with Digi Power Servo control of zoom, focus and iris functions.

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Standard Definition

Fujinon's new Ah50x9.5 Studio lens for B-mount ENG cameras weighs 18.5kg, despite having an integrated large lens adapter. To save money, it is an analogue lens for use with either Fujinon's lower-cost analogue controls or digital controls without the functions available from digital systems. Its longest focal length is 950mm with 2x extender, and maximum aperture is F1.4 up to 253mm.

The new Ah60x9.5 OB lens weighs only 600g more than the Ah55x it replaces and is only 13mm longer. It has a built-in 2x extender but ratio converter and macro facilities are optional. It include the DIGI POWER digital servo control system, offering Quickzoom, F-number limits, and two shot preset for zoom and focus. It can also be used with Fujinon's new OS-TECH optical stabilisation system for steady pictures at maximum telephoto settings.

For professional cameras, Fujinon has launched the new A20x8.6 for two-third inch CCDs and the S20x6.4 for half-inch chip cameras. It claims the 20x lenses offer the highest magnification and the widest field of view for such cameras. Both available with an optional 2x-extender.

The two-third inch model can also have a 16:9/4:3 front mounted ratio converter, which is only slightly larger than a filter. It compensates for any loss in angle of view when used with the widescreen switchable cameras.

The new A13x6.3BRM-SD and A13x6.3BERM-SD (with built-in 2x-extender) for two-third inch cameras, offer increased resolving power over its predecessors, fewer chromatic aberrations and minimised the pumping effect when focusing.

New from Canon are compact, lightweight ENG-style professional lenses, the YJ19x9B (which replaces the 18x9) and the YH19x6.7 for two-third inch and half-inch CCD cameras. These include Shuttle Shot, with a faster zoom speed of 1.7seconds.

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Up Periscope with OpTex

OPTEX PERISCOPEOpTex has launched what it claims is the world's first modular periscope/probe system for HDTV and film. Its Excellence system has taken five years to develop and works with 35mm Silent Aperture, Anamorphic and Super-16 film formats (Vistavision and 65mm modules are in development), as well as HD and SD two-third inch video cameras.

It will be available with four compact dedicated lenses, using Telecentric optics, offering 120, 100, 78 and 60 degree angles of view that remain constant regardless of the format used due to the unique design of the system.

For best possible performance, all the components were designed together from the start, rather than using existing parts, and the system is colour matched, so that whether it is used as a periscope or probe, and whichever lens is used, colour remains consistent. Users can also mix HDTV and Film and retain the same depth-of-field at comparable apertures.

Its performance is "comparable with the world's finest original [prime] lenses," claims OpTex CEO, Ron Collins. It "is simple to use and will provide technical performance superseding any other system on the market today,"

The maximum apertures on the various formats are T2.2 on HDTV, T2.8 on Super 16mm and T5.6 on 35mm. Standard film accessories, such as follow focus and wireless controls can be used. A range of specialised accessories will be available, including matte boxes, a rain deflector and an underwater housing.

JAN 2002

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    David Fox