At Band Pro’s popular annual Expo and lavishly catered party this afternoon, the big surprise was the unveiling of a totally new set of PL mount prime lenses. They are all T1.4, and the big news is how lightweight and small they are: 95mm front diameter, and about 3.8 lbs each. Called the “Mystery” lenses because of lack of corporate provenance emblazoned on the barrels, we were assured all would be revealed in a few months. Meanwhile, we learned that the lenses have been developed by ACM Project Development Company, whose managing director is Dr. Andreas Kaufmann. That’s Dr. Kaufmann above, with a lovely new Leica M9 dangling from his neck. Dr Kaufmann also happens to be majority owner of Leica Camera and member of its board of directors.
The lenses should be ready around Cine Gear time: June 2010, in focal lengths of: 16, 18, 21, 25, 35, 40, 50, 65, 75, and 100 mm . Additional focal lengths will be available later on, making up a total of 15 different focal lengths, ranging from 12mm to 150mm.
In development for three years by an international team of prominent optical and mechanical lens designers (anonymous sources point to alumni of Panavision, Leitz, Leica Canada, as well as involvement by Otto Nemenz and Band Pro), it was one of the industry’s best kept secrets. Even Film and Digital Times was in the dark. Three focal lengths were shown today as working prototypes. Band Pro is the exclusive worldwide distributor. A service facility will be set up in Hollywood.
The small size and light weight were made possible by use of double aspheric elements and titanium mount. The entire set of “Mystery Primes” have focus scales in the same position relative to the front of the camera, common size and location of focus and iris rings, and a 95mm threaded lens front. A threaded ring in the rear of the PL mount permits quick and clean mounting of nets.
The first 25 sets of lenses will be delivered to Otto Nemenz International.