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.


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