Plenty of new optics made appearances at BVE 2017. Matt Higgs nominates a few standouts
From the floor at Broadcast Video Expo 2017
This year’s BVE was all about the glass – affordable zooms and unique primes have made plenty of headlines in the last 12 months. Here are some of our favourites that were on display at the show:
Fujinon MK18-55mm T2.9 and Fujinon MK50-135mm T2.9
Creating one of the biggest buzzes around BVE this year was Fujifilm’s new pair of constant-aperture manual zooms: the Fujinon MK 18-55mm T2.9 and the Fujinon MK50-135mm T2.9. Fujifilm says these two E-mount lenses maintain the same optical quality as their higher-level products, but are better suited for what Fujifilm calls the “emerging production market", thanks to their reduced size, weight and cost. We agree!
Combined, these two lenses cover the 18-135mm range typically used by cinematographers, and provide the ability to produce shallow depths of field at any selected length. Carrying a standardised length of 206.3mm, a weight of 980g and a 0.8m gear pitch for all operating rings (focus, zoom and iris), switching between the two is made extremely easy, even with accessories attached.
Large enough for Super 35mm, these lenses can also be used with Sony’s a7 cameras when these devices are set to their crop-sensor mode. A lens hoods and zoom lever comes in-box with both optics. The pair should prove to be ideal documentary lenses for those shooting with an FS7 or FS5.
Zeiss Lightweight Zoom LWZ.3 21-100mm/T2.9-3.9 T*
Lightweight, compact, affordable and with an interchangeable mount system, Zeiss’s LWZ.3 zoom has an awful lot to like about it. Offering a focal range of 21-100mm with a variable aperture of T2.9-3.9, it’s well suited to documentary work, but could be used successfully in a wide variety of situations.
As it measures 226mm in length and tips the scales at a mere 2kg, carrying the LWZ.3 is an attractive alternative to lugging around the multiple primes that would otherwise be required to cover a similar range. This optic can also be easily switched from a typical cine-style PL mount to Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony E or Micro Four Thirds fits if required. It covers the Super 35mm sensor, and its operation is manual.
Canon CN-E18-80mm T4.4 IS KAS S
Another zoom that’s rightfully been making waves is Canon’s CN-E18-80mm T4.4 IS KAS S for EF mount, a large-format parfocal lens that touts cine-servo features at a competitive price point. With a focal range designed for all day-to-day shooting situations, its constant aperture may not be the fastest, but that won’t stop this optic from surely going on to becoming an extremely popular choice among ENG shooters.
Compatible with broadcast-style servo lens controllers (including Canon's standard broadcast lens controllers), the lens allows for fast, fluid and near-silent zoom and focus control. Designed to meet all 4K shooting requirements, the lens also touts three-stop optical stabilisation and provides support for Dual Pixel CMOS Autofocus. Weighing in at 1.2kg and measuring 182.3mm in length, it’s extremely compact.
Xenon FF-Prime Cine-Tilt Lenses from Schneider-Kreuznach
Available in 25mm, 35mm, 50mm, 75mm and 100mm focal lengths, Schneider-Kreuznach’s latest set of Xenon lenses are the world’s first full-frame primes to offer cine-tilt functionality. Based on the company’s existing Xenon FF-primes, these new optics will perform similarly with their tilt setting locked at 0°. However, they also allow a horizontal tilt of 4° at the sensor plane, a difference that corresponds to an 80° focal plane swing.
This enables unusual perspectives that are impossible to create with a standard lens, and as the tilt-ring that operates the swing uses a common 0.8 gear, it’s compatible with a standard follow-focus.
All five of these lenses have an aperture of T2.1, and are designed for 4K resolution and beyond. Available either as a set or individually, the Xenon FF-Prime Cine-Tilt lenses currently come in a Sony E mount fit.
SLR Magic Cine 35mm f/1.2
Designed for Sony’s popular a7 series of cameras and providing full-frame coverage, SLR Magic’s Cine 35mm f/1.2 lens is a super-fast prime that manages to remain impressively compact. Measuring just 77.4mm in length and weighing just 535g, its construction of nine elements in eight groups produces great sharpness and bokeh.
Thanks to a 52mm front filter thread, the lens can be paired nicely with the brand’s range of anamorphic adaptors, while smooth focus and iris control rings with built-in gear rings enable use of follow focus.