by Adam Wilt
Koerner Camera Systems in Portland, Oregon hosted the 2nd annual Pacific Northwest Lens Summit on the first Saturday in May. About 250 people came to see lenses, filters, FIZ controllers and focusing aids, anamorphics and adapters, gimbals, cameras, and camera robots presented by thirty different exhibitors.
Attendance might have been even higher had Portland not suffered from a warm and sunny day (rain-sodden Portlanders will cheerfully cancel their own weddings for a chance to frolic in the sun). Those who resisted the call of the wild were rewarded with a taco truck, local wine and beer, and — because it’s Portland — exotic donuts. Also — because it’s Portland — the Unipiper: a unicycling, bagpipe-playing, flame-throwing, kilt-wearing Darth Vader. “This machine keeps Portland weird!” is emblazoned on his bagpipes, and no one could possibly disagree.
Attendees enjoyed a wide range of technological treats, including:
Atlas Orion anamorphic primes, crisp and clean and (reasonably) affordable.
Whitepoint Optics cine primes. Finnish lenses re-built from Hasselblad elements, and capable of covering an 82mm image circle.
ARRI Signature Prime large-format lenses, and an Alexa LF to put them on.
Schneider filters including the Rainbow Streak, a sort of technicolor-anamorphic-flare inducer.
Lindsey Optics filters and macro lenses. Lindsey’s Brilliant Macro lenses let you get absurdly close to tiny things yet show no noticeable image defects.
GECKO-CAM GENESIS G35 cine lenses. German-built with circular irises and your choice of coated or uncoated front elements for a “classic modern vintage look.” 43.6mm image circle; PL, LPL, EF, E, F, and MFT mounts.
Hot Rod Cameras reworked an Angenieux DP-series zoom: front element stripped of antireflection edge paint and coatings, then recoated with an “inefficient” multicoating designed to cause colored flare. Angenieux has a similar version, only without the recoating: plenty of flare, no added color.
Tokina Vista large-format lenses: T1.5, sharp, no noticeable chromatic aberration, and uncannily minimal breathing. PL, EF, E, and MFT mounts. These aren’t rehoused stills lenses, they’re all-new, affordable, purpose-built cine lenses.
HandeVision IBERIT and IBELUX lenses from China’s Kipon. The IBERITs are f/2.4, the IBELUX 40mm is f/0.85, and all are available in pink (or silver or black). Leica M and L, Sony E, and Fujifilm X mounts.
A Fujinon 75-400mm cine zoom with a behind-the-lens filter holder, and a set of diffusion and streak filters ready to install.
Leica M0.8 cine lenses: classic M-mount lenses with focus and iris gears. Positive-locking M-mount fronts for Sony VENICE, ARRI Alexa Mini and RED DSMC cameras (the latter two with custom OLPF frame cut away for the lens’s rear element) let large cameras use these compact lenses.
Rehoused classic B&L Baltars and Nikon stills lenses from ZERØ OPTIC, along with a 35mm pinhole lens.
Letus Helix Pro, a 3-axis gimbal for 9 kg / 20-pound cameras. The Helix Pro can be hand-flown with an EXO17 support vest or hard-mounted on a wire rope isolator base. Letus also showed off their 1.33x anamorphic adapter.
Motorized Precision’s MIA camera robot. MIA can fly a 10 kg / 22-pound camera around the room at up the three meters per second, with full FIZ (focus/iris/zoom) control and precise repeatability, all while running off single-phase wall power.
Preston’s Light Ranger 2 focus assist system, a 1st AC’s best friend. Light Ranger 2 graphically illustrates focus distances and depth of field onscreen, vastly reducing a focus-puller’s uncertainty. It can even be used for no-excuses autofocus.
More tools too numerous to describe in detail: FIZ hand units and lens motors from ARRI, Preston, and cmotion. Lenses and adapters from Zeiss, Cooke, Canon, Leica, LOMO, Duclos, Fujinon, Angenieux, P+S Technik, NiSi, Sigma, and Schneider. Sony VENICE cameras, RED MONSTROs, Panasonic VariCams, and Canon C700 FFs. I’m sure I’ve missed some things, at that.
If I had to pick themes or trends for the Lens Summit, I’d pick these: the move to large formats, the ongoing interest in anamorphics, and the desire for “character.” “Character” might explain the number of new lenses available with uncoated front elements, the quest for the roundest iris and the best bokeh, and the number of rehoused vintage lenses and new designs using classic formulas.
Koerner also staged a day-long training session with Duclos and Fujinon on the Friday before the Summit. The invitation-only training drew lens techs from rental houses across the country to witness the complete teardown and re-assembly of a ZEISS Super Speed in the morning and a Fujinon Cabrio in the afternoon.
Lens Summit organizer Michael Koerner said, “Most people said they got more info out of this show than NAB, guests as well as exhibitors.” He added that the lens techs want more training sessions next year, “which is something we’ll have to expand on. I am thinking two days of classes, two classes each day.”
Keep an eye on www.lenssummit.com to find out when next year’s event will take place.
In addition to the exhibitors there were representatives from Chater, Videofax, Dynamic Camera, Cinevisuals, Becine, Keslow, 20/20 Camera, PC&E, Cinemashot, Sim.
Notable DPs included Bobby Bukowski, Eric Edwards, and Tim Orr among others.
Who was in on the lens training on Friday:
- Marc Dobecki-Commander Camera-Atlanta
- Grant Gleason-Chater Camera-San Francisco
- Anton Lovett-VideoFax- San Francisco
- Billy Tuttle-PC&E- Atlanta
- Tony Nguyen- Sim-Atlanta
- Alex Theodore-Sim-Toronto
- Alex Solanot-Keslow-Los Angeles
- Gus Baumgart-Cinemashot-Denver
- Bianca Halpern-Becine-Los Angeles
- Jack Allred-CameraJack-Salt Lake City
The morning Zeiss Super Speed session was taught by Paul Duclos and assisted by Matthew and Michele Duclos. The afternoon Fujinon Cabrio session was taught by Joe Nieman and Manny Zamora.
Click on any image to begin slideshow: