Vantage One T1 Spherical Primes

The Hawk guys are at Camerimage introducing an eye-popping set of new spherical T1 prime lenses called Vantage One. T1!

There are nine Vantage One  lenses in the set: 17.5, 21, 25, 32, 40, 50, 65, 90 and 120 mm, all T1, and all close-focusing.

“It’s the result of our experience over the past 20 years building Hawk anamorphics, and we’ve been learning every day,” Peter Märtin told me. “Now that a lot of other  companies are joining us in their appreciation of the anamorphic format, what do we do? We build a new set of Spherical Prime Lenses.”

Most cinematographers are familiar with the company’s two brands. Vantage is the mother ship, the rental house headquartered in Weiden, Germany—about 90 minutes northeast of Munich—with offices in Paris, Prague and Berlin. Vantage builds Hawk anamorphic lenses. And now, Vantage is building Vantage One T1 spherical lenses. Summary: most Hawks are anamorphic. Vantage lenses are spherical. As the engraving on the back of the lens says, “Vantage One — Made in Germany by the Hawk Guys.”

As Butch Cassidy once asked, “Who are those guys?”

Managing Directors Peter Märtin and Wolfgang Bäumler, optical engineer Anatoly B. Agourok, and the team at Vantage took a fresh look at lens design today. What could they build for the new generation of digital cameras that have higher sensitivity than ever before, and provide cinematographers with a totally different look?

As Alexander Schwarz, Vantage Director of Digital Systems & Key Accounts said, “With Vantage Ones, when you open wide, you open up a whole new world.”

At T stops from T2 to T11, Vantage One lenses provide a look similar to most modern lenses, with total image illumination (no shading or fall-off at the edges.) At T1.4, the look is “more forgiving,” but still extremely good. Wide open, at T1, Vantage One lenses open up a new world of extremely shallow depth of field, with a beautiful, subtle, silky creaminess, great for skin tones. The bokehs have an interesting kind of donut or bubble effect. Maybe a good way to describe the look is to remember the original Leica Noctilux 50 mm T1 still lens circa 1976.

These observations come from looking at, through, and with a prototype during Cinec, with an ironclad promise not to discuss until today.

The Vantage One T1.o lenses are among the smallest cine lenses out there. They are lightweight, close-focusing and have familiar Vantage mechanics, witness marks on the same plane as the scales for parallax-free setting, and durable construction.

The Vantage One lenses are almost telecentric. There’s a long distance from the rear element to the sensor, so light rays are almost parallel. This results in less color fringing and even illumination to the corners of the frame: 100% at T2, and 85% illumination at T1.

Vantage One lenses will come in two versions: with anti-reflective coating, and (marked with a distinctive red ring) with some optical elements uncoated. Uncoated elements produce additional flares and lower contrast.


Leave a Comment

19 Responses:

  1. Ryan O'Hara says:

    Very cool. Sounds niche. With new cameras so sensitive, I feel like night interiors using these lenses are going to have nd1.2’s in the mb!

  2. Jon Fauer says:

    Or NDs behind the lens–see Clairmont Alexa behind lens ND, Sony F5, 55 and F65 behind lens NDs, etc. However: dim NY restaurant, night interior: measuring 3200 ISO, 24 fps (1/48 sec), T1.0. Actually, these Vantage One lenses are also about the wonders of super-shallow depth of field — not just being Nighthawks.

    • walpax says:

      Ok I know I’m off topic here, but why it’s seen as an advantage not having to do lighting? Not doing lighting is a missed opportunity to create your own style. I warned you I was off topic…If you explain to a producer that doing your own lighting instead of shooting available, it’s convenient for him, he will understand and will be grateful to you at the end of the day.

    • Jon Fauer says:

      Jon Fauer: 11/25/12
      Walter–Not off topic at all–very important. Available light: just because the light is “available” does’t mean it’s artistic. Even INTERIOR–DIM NY RESTAURANT–NIGHT at 3200 ISO needs proper lighting. And here’s an opportunity for a whole new generation of Low Light Lights.

  3. Michael Lindsay says:

    Love the boldness of this announcement…

    People have speculated about the lack of need for fast lenses since the late 80s… Since then Cooke, Zeiss, Leica and now vantage have brought out super fast primes.

    There will always be both technical and creative reasons for fast apertures.. Show me the camera lens combo that will allow me to shoot 100fps under nothing but moonlight..;-)

    Love to know approx pricing..

    Michael L

  4. ryanpatrickohara says:

    I enjoy the vicious combination of a lens advertised to have close focus abilities and a T/1 maximum aperture. How useful is CF wide open? Useful when closed down but kicking a dead horse when wide open, if you ask me. As a friend pointed out to me earlier, at a certain distance, T1 really has ‘nothing in focus’, regarding usefulness. When you get to fractions of an inch, things get hairy real quick. I made this post much shorter than I originally had it, but think of it this way… the 120mm lens (at T1 on S35mm 16:9 extract) does not have DoF over an inch until you are 9′ feet+ away. At 4′ feet from subject, the lens has less than 1/5th of an inch of DoF. My calculator (Panavision) won’t even allow me to plug in the CF value of 2.5′ feet.

    Close focus and a wide maximum aperture are wonderful things on their own, but seldom useful together. It’s a fast ticket to sliver-ville.

  5. Pingback: David Williams » Blog Archive » Hawk Vantage One

  6. Hey Jon,
    Price as a set or individually please. Also, any still shots through the lens?

  7. Reuben Steinberg says:

    Any Idea on when these lenses will be avail and how much?

  8. Joel Rene Cano says:

    What kind of mount options with these beauties possess?

  9. Doug says:

    Hi Jon- any idea how to reserve a set??

  10. Dominic says:

    Are these going to be rental only lenses?

  11. Pingback: DSLR News Shooter | Vantage Spherical Cine primes – a range of super fast T1 lenses from 17.5mm to 120mm

  12. Pingback: Halfsilk | Gear for Filmmakers » Vantage One T1 Spherical Primes

  13. Jozo Zovko says:

    Just a question.
    Which modern digital cameras have sensors that actually gain 1 full stop of light at each wider setting past 2.8? Or what is the light intake falloff on modern (non film) cine cameras? Someone with solid testing equipment should make a chart with this info.

    (I only ask this question since in the past I’ve witnessed a varying light falloff on past cameras due to the limitations set by their microlens arrays, but haven’t had a chance to look at the newer cameras effects on this issue)

    And this question is only about the taking in of light and not about the look of shallow depth of field.

  14. nathi says:

    Can this lenses be used with a 35mm doubler

  15. makofoto says:

    A friend recently AC’ed a commercial shot with these lense … all wide open on a Movi. Exceedingly challenging to say the least! Still trying to get a link to the finished product.

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