Angenieux 44-440 Anamorphic Zoom Update


This is an update and preview of the new Angénieux 44-440 Anamorphic Zoom to be introduced at NAB. This article will appear in the FDTimes April NAB Edition, to be distributed on April 15.

At NAB 2016, Angénieux introduces their third anamorphic zoom lens, the Optimo 44-440 A2S long range anamorphic T4.5.

Three years earlier, at NAB 2013, Angénieux unveiled their first anamorphic zoom: the Optimo 56-152 A2S T4. Their second anamorphic was announced at IBC 2014: the Optimo 30-72 A2S  T4.

At the launch in 2013, Pierre Andurand, CEO and President of Thales Angénieux, said, “We see Scope widescreen as an important format for the future. Angénieux has always been determined  to find the best way to help cinematographers and users. The basis for this product, and this is something that does not exist today, is a line of compact anamorphic zooms. We will develop a full range. We are starting with the 56-152 mm anamorphic zoom.”

I asked what other focal lengths would be offered. Pierre said, “It’s easy to guess. Today we have a complete line of spherical Optimo zooms: 15-40, 28-76 and 45-120 mm. We intend to have a complete line of compact anamorphic zooms as well. Each one will be an entirely new lens, not just an existing lens with an adapter. We may do a long range anamorphic zoom. This will be a completely new design. It will not be a compact zoom, but rather a studio zoom. In reality, many Scope movies have used Angénieux long range 25-250 or 24-290 zooms with a third-party rear anamorphic adapter—but this will incorporate new optical designs.

“Our new family of Optimo Anamorphics zooms will really help to democratize Scope, which I consider to be, from all points of view, the quintessence of cinema.”

The new Angénieux 44-440 can be called the renaissance of the long anamorphic zoom. The timing is auspicious. Almost half of all successful films released in the US last year were anamorphic.

The Optimo 44-440 A2S zoom lens has a dedicated rear group with cylinders and spherical elements that provide a traditional 2x horizontal squeeze with superb optical performance, minimal distortion and negligible breathing. The aperture is T4.5 across the entire zoom range. It can be used wide open without concern about loss of quality, which is unusual for such a long range lens. Close focus is 4’ 1” (1.24m), and it is relatively lightweight at 16.6 lb (7.55 kg).

The 44-440 provides silky, smooth skin tones and aesthetically pleasing bokehs, with a classic anamorphic shallow depth of field that elegantly separates the actors from the backgrounds. VFX supervisors will rejoice: there’s almost no geometric distortion or chromatic aberration.

This is a completely new lens with a new optical design. The body looks like the spherical Angénieux Optimo Style 25-250 T3.5. This was no accident. When Bruno Coumert, Head of the Optical Design Department and Christophe Reboulet, Head of the Mechanical Design Department, (both recipients of the Sci-Tech award for the Optimo 15-40 and 28-76) and the team designed the spherical 25-250, they anticipated an anamorphic lens as well. Most mechanical parts are common and some optical elements are shared.

Clever math went into the calculation of the new Anamorphic 44-440. By using a dedicated optical design, the 2x squeeze is achieved, but light loss is only ⅔ stop instead of the usual 1 stop. Rather than being doubled, the focal length increases by a factor of 1.75. This is especially helpful on the wide end: 44 instead of the typical 50 mm. Traditional third party rear adapters in the past doubled the focal length, lost a full stop of light, and weren’t matched to the optical design.

Dominique Rouchon, Angénieux Deputy VP of Marketing, Sales and Communication, explained, “For the long range anamorphic zoom, if we had based our design on the 24-290, it would have been much larger, heavier and very expensive. Being able to anticipate and make a common mechanical design with the 25-250  not only helped keep size, weight and cost down but above all shortened time to market and expedited the manufacturing process. The lens will be available pretty soon.

“Furthermore, the 44-440 will match not only the complete range of Angénieux lenses, but also will match most spherical and anamorphic prime lenses, including ARRI/ZEISS, Cooke, Panavision, Hawk and Scorpio. Our philosophy was to build an optically superb lens, with low distortion and a uniform image quality, to make it universal. This choice was deliberate. It is easy to add effects in camera or in post, but rather difficult to remove aberrations after the fact. We would rather provide an optically superb lens to which you can, for example, add a diffusion filter, a blue line flare or the glow of a light. Or you might add effects in post. But what can you do when the director is in the DI suite and absolutely hates the annoying flare that just happens to totally obscure the climactic close-up scene of your star actor? Therefore, we took the high road.”

Jean-Marc Bouchut, Technical Support Director of Angénieux US division said, “Angénieux designed the new 44-440 Optimo A2S with a rear group of cylindrical and spherical elements to provide excellent optical performance. It’s a vast improvement over  previous generations of long range zooms with rear adapters. Because of their optical imperfections, these lenses usually had to be closed down at least one stop to T5.6 or more in order to achieve a decent sharpness of the image field.

“The 44-440 provides a beautiful image wide-open at T4.5 through its entire zoom range, with a depth of field identical to a T3.2 spherical zoom at equivalent field of view. The cylindrical and spherical elements in the rear group not only control aberration but also change the way the image is created compared to a spherical lens. The image has  lower contrast in the out of focus areas, providing a unique aesthetic to the foreground and background. The image looks more silky smooth than with a spherical lens and the faces of actors have a pleasing texture.

“Angénieux made a decisive choice, while developing the Optimo A2S series, to use anamorphic cylinders in the rear part of the lens in order to make these zooms more compact, with a very usable zoom range close to what people currently use in the spherical world, but with a unique anamorphic aesthetic.  The 44-440 lens nicely complements the Optimo short anamorphic zooms which share a compact form factor with light weight.  They are ideal for shooting handheld or on Steadicam, avoiding a swap of lens every time the framing changes.  They also provide a very close focus of around 2ft 2in (0.65m), allowing the camera to get very close to the subject.”


Left to right: Xavier Rejeaunier, Optical Designer; Emmanuel Buhon, Mechanical Designer; Emmanuel Faure, Project Manager; Christophe Remontet, Head of Zoom and Imaging Solution; Bernadette Jourjon, Quality Project Manager; François Leprêtre, Production and Process Technical Manager.

The Optimo 44-440 A2S will be available as a dedicated anamorphic lens but will also be offered as a package system for customers such as rental houses, who can purchase an extra rear spherical optical group and complete set of focus, iris and zoom rings. The lens can then be converted back and forth between anamorphic and spherical.

There are built-in encoders for focus, iris and zoom metadata via industry-standard /i technology protocol developed by Cooke. The lens mount can be quickly swapped between PL and Panavision mounts and the focus scale is easily interchangeable from feet to meters. The new Optimo 44-440 A2S completes the set of Angénieux anamorphic zooms, extending the range from 30 to 440 mm with 3 lenses.

In summary, Pierre Andurand said, “We are delighted to introduce this third member of our anamorphic lens family to cinematographers worldwide. The long range zoom has always been an essential part of every anamorphic production, often as the centerpiece. Our new 44-440 should help increase the popularity and the embrace of this artistic format even further. We are very happy to welcome the third brother to our anamorphic family.”

Angénieux 44-440  A2S Summary

  • 2:1 horizontal squeeze with multiple elements behind lens iris
  • Color, contrast, resolution match rest of Optimo series
  • Very low geometric distortion at all focal lengths and focus distances
  • Constant T4.5 across zoom range, no ramping
  • Minimal focus breathing, minimal flare and ghosting
  • Close Focus of 4’1” (1.24 m)
  • Compatible with Optimo 1.4x and 2x extenders
  • Focus ring rotation of 320 degrees
  • Internal focus and more than 40 focus marks
  • Interchangeable focus scale from feet to meters
  • Passive  athermalization from  -20° to +45°C (-4 to +113 F)
  • Can be converted to a 25-250 mm T3.5 spherical lens by exchanging  the rear optical group and the focus, iris, zoom scales (package system only)
  • Metadata: Built-in lens encoder for focus, iris, zoom data via industry standard Cooke /i protocol in both spherical and anamorphic configurations
  • Focus and zoom groups are guided by an internal mechanical rod system that helps withstand rough handling and transport

Angénieux Anamorphic Family

The new 44-440 is the third member of the Angenieux Optimo Anamorphic Zoom Lens Series. Meet the family:


Framegrab of one of the first images taken with 44-440 at 44 mm on a RED Epic in 4K at the Pierre Angénieux Studio – by Jean-Yves le Poulain. Front row, L-R: Paulette Dumerc, Pierre Andurand, Dominique Rouchon




Angénieux Optimo 44-440 Anamorphic Zoom

  • Angénieux Optimo Anamorphic 44-440 mm T4.5 A2S Zoom
  • Zoom Ratio: 10x
  • Anamorphic Squeeze 2x
  • Horizontal Focal Length: 44 – 440 mm
  • Aperture: T4.5 (f/4)
  • MOD: 4’ 1” / 1.24 m
  • Image Coverage: 28.8 mm diagonal (18.6 x 22 mm)
  • Weight (approx.): 16.6 lb / 7.55 kg
  • Length: 414 mm  / 16. 3”
  • Front Diameter: 136 mm
  • Mounts: PL, PV mount available on request
  • Metadata:  /i Technologyin both spherical and anamorphic configurations



Angénieux Optimo 30-72 Anamorphic Zoom

  • Angénieux Optimo Anamorphic 30-72 mm T4 A2S Zoom
  • Zoom Ratio: 2.4x
  • Anamorphic Squeeze: 2x
  • Horizontal Focal Length: 30 – 72 mm
  • Aperture: T4 (f/3.6)
  • MOD (Close Focus): 2 ft 2 in / 0.65 m
  • Image Coverage: 28.8 mm diagonal  (18.6 x 22 mm)
  • Weight (approx): 5.3 lbs / 2.4 kg
  • Length (PL mount to front of lens): 8.9” / 227 mm
  • Front Diameter: 114 mm
  • Mounts: PL mount, PV mount available on request




Angénieux Optimo 56-152 Anamorphic Zoom

  • Angénieux Optimo Anamorphic 56-152 mm T4 A2S Zoom
  • Zoom ratio: 2.7x
  • Anamorphic Squeeze: 2x
  • Horizontal Focal Length: 56-152 mm
  • Aperture: T4 (f/3.6)
  • MOD: 2’ 1” / 0.63 m
  • Image coverage: 28.8 mm diagonal (18.6 x 22 mm)
  • Weight (approx): 4.8 lb / 2. 2 kg
  • Length: 8.3″ / 210 mm
  • Front diameter: 114 mm
  • Mounts: PL mount, PV mount available on request

Angénieux Anamorphic Credits


More than 300 Angénieux Optimo Anamorphic A2S zooms (30-72 and  56-152) are already in use on feature, TV, and commercial productions worldwide. Here’s a partial list of credits.


  • The Equalizer Antoine Fuqua Mauro Fiore   ASC
  • The Monkey King   Pou-Soi Cheang  Man Po Cheung /Tao Yang


  • Child 44 Daniel Espinosa Oliver Wood
  • Le Ciel du CentaureHugo SantiagoGustavo Biazzi  ***
  • I Saw the Light Marc Abraham Dante Spinotti AIC ASC
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 Dave Green Lula Carvalho
  • Breaking Through John Swetnam Jonathan Hall
  • Ricki and the Flash Jonathan Demme Declan Quinn
  • Staten Island Summer Rhys Thomas Anthony Wolberg
  • Straight Outta Compton F. Gary Gray Matthew Libatique ASC
  • The Magicians Mike Cahill Vanja Cernjul CCS ASC
  • Mirziya Rakeysh Omprakash Pawel Dyllus PSC
  • The Very Private Life of Mr Sim Michel Leclerc G. Deffontaines AFC
  • Trois Souvenirs de ma Jeunesse Arnaud Desplechin   Irina Lubtchansky


  • The Great Wall Yimou Zhang Stuart Dryburgh ASC
  • The Nice Guys Shane Black Philippe Rousselot AFC ASC
  • Imperium Daniel Ragussis Bobby Bukowski
  • True Crimes Alexandros Avranas Michal Englert
  • Shepherds and Butchers Olivier Schmitz Leah Stryker
  • Amis Publics Edouard Pluvieux Guillaume Schiffman AFC
  • Five Igor Gotsman Julien Roux
  • Radin! Fred Cavayé Laurent Dailland AFC
  • Ikari Sang-il Lee Norimichi Kasamatsu JSC
  • Ma Loute Bruno Dumont Guillaume Desffontaines AFC
  • Le Scribe Thomas Kruithof Alex Lamarque AFC
  • BokuImo Takahiro MIKI Kosuke Yamada
  • Hee Kaori Momoi Gints Berzins  LGC ***
  • Magic Kimono Maris Martinsons Gints Berzins  LGC ***
  • Star Trek Beyond Justin Lin Stephen F. Windon ACS ASC

*** shot entirely with 56-152 A2S



“Mirziya” (May 2016) Cinestaan Film Company, R. O. Mehra Pictures Director: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra DP: Pawel Dyllus. Shot with 56-152 A2S


“Paradise 89” (2018) Tasse Film (Latvia) Writer-Director: Madara Dišlere DP: Gints Bērziņš, LGC. Shot with 56-152 A2S


“Ikari” (“Anger”) (2016) Toho Pictures Director: Lee Sang-il DP: Norimichi Kasamatsu, JSC. Shot with 30-72 and 56-152 A2S Photo: Yasuhiko Mikami


“El Cielo del Centauro” (“Le Ciel du Centaure”) (2016) Tu Vas Voir (France), La Unión de los Ríos (Argentina) Director: Hugo Santiago DP: Gustavo Biazzi. Shot entirely with 56-152 A2S











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