DEFINITION - April 2020 - Web


aren’t specifically designed to flare. Like anything, though, they will, producing lines and rectangular shapes reminiscent of a subtler, less colourful Panavision while otherwise rendering thoroughly modern pictures. They’re also relatively affordable, given that US$8000 to US$9000 per lens is affordable for good-quality anamorphics. FLARE CONTROL That’s especially so compared to Arri’s Master Anamorphics, each of which can easily cost £30,000 or £40,000. There are nine focal lengths, with flares controllable via a selection of interchangeable front and rear elements. Each lens, with the optional Flare Set accessories, is therefore capable of four different flare characteristics ranging from subtle to pronounced. The flares generally pick up the colour of the light, and in the cleanest set-up the classic horizontal streak seems agreeably subtle. Anamorphic options for the more economically-minded more or less begin and end with SLR Magic, whose range includes lenses with both 1.33:1 and 2:1 compression. The lenses appear to be based around the company’s pre-existing spherical primes, anamorphic adapters and adjustable diopters. While they may be the least expensive anamorphic option, the 1.33x 50mm lens still sells for £5500 or so, plus tax, which is two thirds the price of an Atlas (the 50mm and 70mm options cover full frame). The 1.33:1 compression ratio might be the most useful at this end of the market, since it fits an approximately 2.39:1 image onto a 16:9 sensor. Again, they’re designed very specifically to create flares, with a bold blue

Regular anamorphic 40mm

Anamorphic SF 40mm

coating on at least one surface, to create a pronounced blue horizontal streak with lots of glow. We might be a bit cautious about 1.33:1 lenses simply on the basis that they have the caveats of anamorphics but don’t create such an obvious look, though there’s an elliptical mask that produces a reasonable simulation of 2:1 anamorphic bokeh at wider stops. COOKE If there’s a lens company defined by a flare characteristic – well, it’d be a bit of a simplification to say it’s Cooke, but if the company’s lenses are typified by any single thing it’s that distinctive warmth and those soft glows. These exist with impressive consistency in both the 1.8:1 full-frame and 2:1 super-35mm anamorphics, which do also produce a subtle yet well-defined streak, and also in the more conventional spherical ranges. It’s probably not quite fair to assume the recently re-issued Speed Panchros are specifically enjoyed for their soft flares, although that is probably part of the attraction; every lens on the market

will flare at some point, and every one of them will probably find favour with a cinematographer one day. More pronounced effects require more deliberate measures. The SF suffix on Cooke’s lenses stands for ‘Special Flair’ and indicates a modified design intended to produce more optical fireworks. The idea of altering lenses to provoke more flare is not new: it was used in Saving Private Ryan and is still going strong with Sigma’s Classic range. Sigma primes were already well- liked for their straightforward, effective industrial design, and soon we’ll have the option to sacrifice a little speed for a lot of flare. The Classics produce a veritable

IMAGES Atlas doesn’t publicise its lens flare – but it’s there, and reminiscent of Panavision glass

explosion of rings and spots that might be too much for some productions but, with adequate attention to flagging, are likely to make music video specialists very happy. They’re initially to be available only as a set of ten, at around US$44,000. Similarly, Zeiss now offers the Supreme Primes with modified coatings. Reportedly, the company has spent some time Sigma Primes were already well-liked for their straightforward, effective industrial design

APR I L 2020 | DEF I N I T ION 43

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