Monday, 17 November 2014

Alexa 65 Lenses information

Alexa Open Gate image

ARRI Rental
have exclusively commissioned a brand new range of 65 mm prime and zoom optics, which utilize Hasselblad lens elements from the world-renowned HC series of large-format lenses.

To create a truly class-leading 65 mm cinema lens look and feel, these lens elements have been re-housed in robust and uniform lens barrels, co-developed with IB/E Optics to our own design specifications – including a new iris system for the prime lenses, and a new focus/iris/zoom control mechanism for the zoom lens. These lenses use a new proprietary XPL mount system with LDS functionality. However, the ALEXA 65 XPL lens mount is modular in design and will allow for adaptation to other medium-format lenses in the future.

This new Prime 65 lens series delivers unparalleled MTF, excellent contrast and geometry, and no chromatic aberrations or focus breathing. Usability and environmental ruggedness is comparable to that of the ARRI/Zeiss Master Prime lenses.

Additionally, a Vintage 765 lens range, originally developed to partner the ARRIFLEX 765, has been adapted for use with the ALEXA 65. These lenses provide a classic filmic look with a gradual, soft roll-off across the image – perfect for creating a softer look that is complimentary to the new Prime 65 and Zoom 65 lenses.

The ALEXA 65 is fitted with a brand new proprietary XPL lens mount, supporting the Prime 65 and Zoom 65 lenses, as well as the Vintage 765 range. ARRI Rental is currently looking at other lens and lens mount options and will make further announcements in due course.

At present, there are eight lenses within the Prime 65 range and one Zoom 65. The Prime 65 series offers focal lengths from 24 mm to 300 mm, with apertures from T2.2 to T4.8, while the Vintage 765 lens range offers 11 focal lengths from 30 mm to 350 mm.

Primo 70 lenses - Camerimage 2014

Camerimage 2014 Primo 70 Lenses

BYDGOSZCZ, POLAND (November 13, 2014) – Panavision, the company behind the world’s best cinema lenses for 60 years, is showcasing their new line of Primo 70 lenses optimized to work with today’s larger sensor digital cameras. The lenses are being exhibited here at the 22nd edition of the Camerimage International Film Festival, a premier event for directors of photography.

“Panavision Primo lenses have set the standard for excellence in motion picture production for 25 years,” says Kim Snyder, Panavision’s president and CEO. “Now, filmmakers can combine that essential Primo character with the larger sensors found in the latest digital cameras.”

Panavision Primo 70s are the most advanced cinema lenses ever developed, and specifically designed to work with today’s larger sensors. The result is more consistency from edge to edge and sharper corners. The organic flavor, pleasing bokeh, and gradual focus roll-off that DPs depend on have been carefully maintained in the Primo 70 series.

Large format sensors are the natural next step for filmmakers looking to create powerful, affecting imagery, and Primo 70 lenses maximize their aesthetic potential. Together, large sensors and Primo 70 lenses deliver unprecedented visual impact.

Panavision Primo 70 prime lenses are available in twelve focal lengths: 24mm, 27mm, 35mm, 40mm, 50mm, 65mm, 80mm, 100mm, 125mm, 150mm, 200mm and 250mm. Super 70 zoom lenses are also available in three sizes: 28-80mm, 70-185mm and 200-400mm. The Primo 70 series are equivalent in size and weight to standard Primos, a feature driven by the need for portability and maneuverability on today’s film sets. Primo 70 lenses have already been tested in the field under real-world production scenarios, including two feature films and several commercials.

“The 70mm Primos are beautiful – just amazing,” says Peter Menzies Jr., ACS about his experience using them on a feature film. “I have never seen lenses that hold their sharpness and contrast across the entire frame. … They are also light, fast and the lens sizes in the kit are perfect. The two zooms we used are excellent -- incredibly close to the primes.”

“The Panavision 70mm lenses have a grand look,” notes Greig Fraser, ASC, ACS who relied on the Primo 70s for a commercial shoot. “Their visual language is significantly different than 35mm. The focus falls off quickly and beautifully. As a cinematographer, this allows me to tell a different story. … For decades, Panavision has given filmmakers exciting new tools that can open up our imagination. These lenses promise really outstanding new possibilities.”

Panavision’s Dan Sasaki, VP of Optical Engineering, adds, “The cinematographers who have used these lenses reported that they were very happy that we didn’t create something that is synthetic or too scientifically sharp. Cinematographers tell us that the character of the lens is even more important with digital cinematography. We maintained the artistry, and preserved the dimensionality that was originally designed for the Primos back in the 1990s. The Primo 70 lenses definitely share the Primo family resemblance.”

Panavision Primo 70 lenses are the product of state-of-the-art design and manufacturing techniques and materials, and they incorporate feedback from industry pros. Primo 70 lenses are not compatible with film cameras, as they are specifically designed to work with digital cameras. The internal mechanics retain a familiar Primo feel. Floating internal elements control breathing and allow the lens to maintain extremely high performance from infinity to close focus. Currently, Panavision has made Primo 70 mounts for the Sony F55, RED DRAGON, ARRI Alexa (standard and Open Gate), Phantom Flex4K and Phantom 65, with other cameras being assessed for compatibility.

“Panavision’s unparalleled experience in optical design and lens construction, and our deep and longstanding relationships with filmmakers, have all been brought to bear on these superlative lenses,” adds Snyder. “Filmmakers have expressed a need for lenses that work with larger sensors in an array of cameras. We’re focused on providing the tools cinematographers need to tell their stories and express their creativity.”

The Primo 70 series of lenses are available to rent from Panavision worldwide.

Panavision 70mm Lenses


Introducing the Primo 70 series lenses, the highest performance motion picture lenses ever developed. Primo 70 lenses on digital cameras represent a new creative choice to the cinematographer, building on the Primo heritage and extending it into the future. Intrinsic characteristics of these new lenses include flat field, natural sharpness, minimal chromatic aberration, minimal breathing, excellent field illumination, and close focus performance. Other artistic traits include roundness, dimensionality, pleasing skin tones, personality and good bokeh. Wider formats are currently in development.

Primo 70 lenses are compatible with the following 35 mm digital cameras equipped with new Panavision 70 mount systems:

Arri Alexa

Red Dragon

Sony F55

Phantom 65

Phantom Flex 4k

Arri ALEXA 65 65mm 6.5K Camera : current overview of specs

This camera looks like a bigger version of the Arri Alexa XT, with the digital viewfinder there is no news of the optical version from the XT Studio.

Here are the official specifications :

Overview :
Camera type 65 mm format digital cinema camera
Sensor ARRI A3X CMOS sensor
Image aperture 5-perf 65 mm (54.12 mm x 25.58 mm active image area)
Sensor resolution 6560 x 3102 (Open Gate – maximum recordable)
Dimensions Length: 387.8 mm | 15.3 in
Width: 208.3 mm | 8.2 in
Height: 163 mm | 6.4 in
(body only with XPL mount)
Weight 10.5 kg | 23.2 lb
Lens mount ARRI XPL mount with Lens Data System (LDS) functionality
Shutter Electronic, 5.0º to 358.0º. Adjustable with 1/10º precision.
Frame rates 20 to 27 fps (Open Gate) *
Exposure index EI 200 to EI 3200. Base sensitivity EI 800
Dynamic range >14 stops

Recording system :
Recording file format Uncompressed ARRIRAW
Recorder crop modes 5-perf 65 mm (Open Gate, 1.78 extraction)
8-perf 35 mm (future)
Storage (type) Codex XR Capture Drive *
Storage (capacity) 480 GByte capacity / 850 MByte per second data rate *
Storage (recording time) 11 minutes @ 24 fps

System interfaces :
Viewfinder Electronic color viewfinder ARRI EVF-1
BNC connectors 4 x 3G SDI
- MON (1) OUT: 2 x 3G SDI
- MON (2) OUT: 2 x 3G SDI
SD card For software updates and menu settings etc. as with ALEXA
New high speed operating mode for fast ARRIRAW frame grabs (planned feature)
Miscellanous interfaces Focus / iris / zoom motor control with full wireless lens control support
5 x RS 24 V
1 x 12 V
TC I/O (5-pin Lemo)
1 x LDD
2 x LCS
BAT and ACC connection

Monitoring and playback :
Monitoring 3 independent color outputs, all with optional overlays:
MON OUT assistive displays:
Zoom, overscan, overlay info, frame lines, false color exposure check, peaking focus check
CDL CDL server support is provided as ALEXA XT
In-camera playback Playback via EVF-1, HD-SDI MON OUT including audio

Open Gate means using the full area of the sensor. The sensor allows for the use of the entire area allocated to the actual sensor or a crop inside to measure an exact pixel size.

* Upgrade planned for Q1/2015. For more information on specifications, check out the official page from Arri.

The most important specifications are the sensor size and resolution. Then comes the lens mount and the data rate.

At this time the Alexa 65 is rental-only.

Comparing the sensor of the Arri ALEXA 65 with others

How big is the sensor of the Arri Alexa 65 and how does it compare to its competition.

The Alexa 65 is the widest sensor (there are some medium format digital sensors out there that are wider, but most of them are older models). It is bigger than traditional 65mm film and even the discontinued Phantom 65.

Here’s a comparison of the sensor of the Alexa 65 with its most important peers, as well as the aspect ratio (native):

Format H. Crop Factor Native Aspect Ratio
Super 35mm 1.40 Various
FF 35mm 1.00 1.5
Phantom 65 0.69 1.67
65mm 0.67 2.28
IQ280 0.67 1.33
Arri Alexa 65 0.69 2.11
IMAX 0.51 1.34

For a large sensor the lens image circle is bigger, which means you will need medium format lenses
For larger apertures, the lenses will be even bigger than their 35mm equivalents.
The center and corner performances of the lenses must be precise. Any imperfections will be blown up on 6.5K.

DOF will be shallower, and pulling focus will also need to be accurate.
The sensor will heat up and Arri claims the two fans used in this camera are ‘very quiet’, though we don’t know at this stage wether it is quiet enough for audio recording.

Speaking of lenses, here’s what Arri has in store for the Alexa 65:

These are rebadged (by IB/E Optics) Hasselblad lenses. The new options are eight primes and one zoom (114mm front diameter):
Lenses 35mm Equivalent Stop Equivalent
24mm T4.8 17 3.3
28mm T4 19 2.8
35mm T3.5 24 2.4
50mm T3.5 35 2.4
80mm T2.8 55 1.9
100mm T2 69 1.4
150mm T3.2 104 2.2
300mm T4.5 207 3.1
Zoom 50-110 T3.5 35-76 2.4

Arri also has a range of Vintage 765 lenses available. Hasselblad lenses are already famous for IMAX and other 65mm work, being some of the finest lenses on earth. However, they are not the only lenses available.

The Arri Alexa 65 uses a new mount called the XPL mount  It has a flange focal distance of 60mm. Here’s how the flange focal distance compares to other medium format lenses:

Mount Flange Focal Distance
Arri PL 52
Leica S 53
Panavision PV 57.15
Mamiya 7/7II 60
Arri Alexa 65 60
Mitchell BNCR 61.47
Hasselblad H 61.63
Mamiya 645 63.3
Bronica 645 ETRS 69
Pentax 645 70.87
Rolleiflex SLX 74
Kiev 60 74.1
Hasselblad 500 74.9
Kowa Six/Super 66 79
Hasselblad/Kiev88 82.1
Pentax 6×7 84.95
Zeiss Ikon Panflex 99.35
Bronica S2A 101.7
Mamiya RZ 105
Mamiya RB 112

Codex Data - Workflow

Codex has released the VaultLab65.

The Alexa 65 can record to the following resolutions:

That’s 0.7 TB/s (though in the official specs the data rate is 850 MB/s) If you shoot a 90-minute movie with a shooting ratio of 5:1, you’ll need about 20 TB. A feature or documentary will easily be in the hundreds of terabytes, and most likely in the Petabytes. The camera does not record in Prores. 

Here is the workflow diagram:

The weight of the Alexa 65 is 10.5 kg – which is almost similar to what the Arricam ST weighs with film loaded so the Alexa 65 will not be as heavy as an IMAX system, but will be similar to using a Super35mm film camera with all the reels one has to carry. The advantage of a 11 minutes-at-a-time (like a film magazine) media card makes this camera shoulder-mount friendly as well:

The Alexa 65 has a frame rate range of 20-27 fps but mostly one will shoot 24 fps. More options are possible in future updates. Even if 120p is possible at 6.5K, the data rate will be a around 3.5 TB/s. This is almost in the realm of science fiction.

Arri ALEXA 65 with the 6K Red Epic Dragon and Sony A7s the Sony A7s is the only other large sensor that can shoot 4K. The Red Epic Dragon is the only camera that can shoot 6K, but with a Super35mm-sized sensor which makes the Alexa 65 special and unique.

The Alexa 65 is a medium format 6.5K recording sensor, made for one main purpose only – to deliver the highest image quality possible. If the dynamic range is greater than 14 stops, and the highlight rendering anywhere near the Alexa XT, this camera is the ultimate cinematographer’s dream for the ultimate project.

Arri ALEXA 65 and who it is for is probably large scale big budget movies. Mega documentaries. And small format movies like The Master, where the goal is to get the ‘medium format look’. Though the price for this look is going to be too steep for the average die-hard fan.

What possibly does the future hold from here. Sony will come out with a similar sensor with 8K of pixels and resolution, and maybe Red will either increase the pixel capture size of current sensors it has had manufactured or be in the process of creating larger sensors. Although it appears the Alexa 65 has drawn a line for 2014 and current in the hands technology.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Axiom Beta progress report November 2014

First Image Sensor Module PCB design draft finished

We've just finished the schematic and layout for the AXIOM Beta 4K Super35 (CMV12000) image sensor board. Yay!

The design features a few new ideas we gathered during the crowdfunding campaign from input and feedback to the existing design.

Those are as follows:

The sensor board contains an EEPROM to store sensor model, voltages and unique identifiers.

The sensor board can be rotated by 180 degree and still work with the same interface board (auto discovery to detect orientation).

The sensor board specifies and verifies what sensor voltages are desired and required (up to six voltages can be requested).

There are no parts on the top of the PCB except for the sensor/sensor socket to facilitate any kind of cooling system.

There is a cut-out area in the middle to connect to a heat sink or to measure sensor temperature with a thermopile.

Besides that, the designed interface should be generic enough to accommodate a number of other sensors without any changes to the interface board connections. This is an important step in AXIOM Beta design towards the modularity we are aiming for with the AXIOM Gamma. If you are experienced with schematics and/or board layout, please take the time to review the design and notify us about any issues you find. Note that this is a preliminary design and needs to be verified before we can actually build it.


Layer images:

Eagle files:

Perk Fulfillment Team

Our perk fulfilment team has been extra busy to contact all backers about their preferred button design choice, their t-shirt sizes or to notify backers who did not add the shipping cost to their pledges so far. The buttons are already in production and should arrive in our office soon.

AXIOM Beta Remote Controller Menu Simulator

We started creating an online simulation of the remote controller menu structure so we can evaluate the best way how these devices can be operated intuitively. The simulator is still an early draft but the basic foundation is now done and future extensions can be added easily.

If you want to help us feel free to grab the source code and make changes (send us a pull request when done):

AXIOM Remote Control Device is looking for a name

In 2011 when we first announced the project to build a remote control device for the Elphel camera at that time we called it “Dictator”. We referred to the “benevolent dictator” like Linus Torvalds who is typically the initial leader of an open source community project but we did acknowledge that most people had other interpretations of much less popular persons of interest in history. We are still looking for a name, make suggestions here:

UK Rental House Rogue Element To Rent AXIOM Beta Cameras 

While the concept of “open source” may seem arcane to many, it is in fact a profound intellectual and moral breath of fresh air – and has very specific implications for digital filmmakers. In the world of cinematography and photography, its champions are Magic Lantern (software), Apertus (hardware) and now Rogue Element (commerce), all working together.

Frankly, I’m surprised by my own excitement over a press release, but there you have it: a UK rental house has just announced that it is embracing open source (in addition to its regular business model), and I want them to be successful.

You should, too.

If you’re a regular planet5D reader, you know that – like many of you – we’re big fans of Magic Lantern, the open source hack for Canon DSLRs (and even a mirrorless or two) which unlocks tremendous functionality such as RAW, wide dynamic range and much, much more.

Even Canon uses Magic Lantern.

More recently, you may have read our coverage of the open source AXIOM camera by Apertus and its crowd-funding campaign here, here and here,where we were delighted to learn that Magic Lantern and Apertus were joining forces with the same ethos of transparency, community and competence.

With Rogue Element’s announcement of its support for the AXIOM as well (they will be renting the beta cameras at a price of zero — you read that right), we now have the basis for an open source digital video ecosystem.

Why is this important and why should you care?

If you’ve ever been frustrated by manufacturers who cripple the functionality of their lower priced equipment in order to encourage customers to move to much more expensive gear, open source is perhaps the best antidote: competition based on that same transparency, community and competence — with concomitantly lower price points (although credit where credit is due: Panasonic’s GH4 and the broader mirror-less revolution have shaken up the DSLR giants).

Proprietary guys want to charge a lot of money for their gear? Totally fine, as long as you actually get what you pay for. One need look no further than Apple and Google in the ongoing phone wars to see a wonderful example of how “open” (Android) spurs the best effort from proprietary (Apple). No flame wars, please: both camps have their adherents, and to each his own.

But it’s when proprietary guys charge more by obfuscating what they’re actually doing that most of us get upset. It’s less about capitalism than rigging the game.

I’m not mentioning any names, but you know who they are.

On the other hand, too much innovation is simply exhausting and diverting, and more profits means more jobs for more people (unless it all flows to the top 1%, but that’s beyond the scope of this post). So we’re not against capitalism nor are we against proprietary gear.

But in the same way that journalism – when it functions well – works as the “fourth estate” and is a balance on the three branches of government here in the U.S. and elsewhere, open source can do the same in the world of things. It’s not for everyone, but it plays an invaluable role.

Oligopolies ultimately are most helpful to the oligarchs who run them, and in era of dramatically increasing inequality, gluttony and greed, that’s not OK.

To Apertus, Magic Lantern and now Rogue Element, we say: “good on ya.” We will be following your progress closely.

Rogue Element Embraces an Open Source Philosophy