by Adam Wilt
Koerner Camera Systems hosted the third annual Pacific Northwest Lens Summit on a sunny Saturday, May 4th, in their spacious Portland, Oregon facility. The Lens Summit is a single-day event focused (yes :) on cine optics. You can meet two dozen lens, optical and accessory vendors and ogle their products with few distractions — other than the perennial Portland favorites of tacos, donuts, microbrews and Unipiper (Portland’s own kilt-wearing, bagpipe-playing, flame-throwing unicycler).
Perhaps 500 people attended, twice as many as last year. “At least that’s our best estimate,” said Michael Koerner. “The taco truck served 350 people in three and a half hours before they ran out.” An hour later, the crowds in the prep bays were even larger: it was a chance to see and compare lenses, to catch up with old friends and to make new ones.
The beauty of the Lens Summit is that it’s small enough, focused enough, and casual enough for attendees and vendors to have a real opportunity for one-to-one interaction. Conversations are had, connections made, and things are learned that might be lost in the rush and clamor of a vast trade show like Cine Gear Expo, NAB or IBC.
As for lenses, there was something for everyone. If you like new primes, there were Canon Sumires, ZEISS Supremes, FUJINON Premistas, ARRI Signature Primes—all large-format lenses. The Caldwell Chameleon 1.79x anamorphics are primes with modern mechanics and a classic look for both S35 and FF. Tokina’s Full Frame Vista One series differs from the existing Vistas by adding flare, but not simply by removing coatings. Tokina’s Ryan Avery said that he went through seventeen different formulations before arriving at a coating that gave him the subtle flare characteristics he was looking for.
As for vintage glass, if the profusion of rehoused Baltars wasn’t enough, Tim Arasheban of TM Camera Solutions displayed a “Legacy of Lenses:” six historical lenses used on productions from “Ben-Hur” and “2001: A Space Odyssey” to “Touch of Evil” and “The Shining.”
Filters and split diopters? Lindsey Optics and Tiffen had them. Focus? The Preston Light Ranger 2 and the new Cinetape 2 system were both available for hands-on exploration. Lens testing? Chrosziel’s Harm Abrahams brought their latest lens projector from Germany and CinemaTechnic showed a compact desktop collimator. Something to carry it all home in? InnerSpace Cases offered custom-made shipping containers.
There were three different Director/DP Finders, all based on mobile devices with systems to capture a Super35 or FF image onto a smartphone’s sensor: Chemical Wedding’s Artemis Prime, based around an iPad; an iPhone-based finder in development from IB/E Optics; and a prototype designed for Padcaster by Jorge Díaz-Amador notable for being separable into two parts so that it’ll pack flat(ter) for transportation.
Lest your eyes glaze over from too much glass, two camera-support systems offered relief.brought a truck-mounted remote head with a wheels-based controller. Seattle-based drove down with their Pacific Northwest Arm Car, a matte-wrapped Porsche SUV with a twelve-foot arm notable for its aerodynamically-stabilizing fin and a choice of three different gimbals.
Michael Koerner said, “I hope to squeeze in a few more exhibitors next year and also expect to have manufacturers debut their latest lens offerings at the 2020 event. This is the perfect venue to debut high end cinema optics; after I started this event, people started telling me that this is the only cine lens trade show in the world.”
still shows information about this year’s summit; bookmark it so you’ll know where to look for information on next year’s event. It gets better every year.
BTS at PNW photos by Adam Wilt
c by Adam Wilt, taken with actual lenses displayed at the show, on a Sony a7R III camera with PL to E-mount adapter.
Behind the Scenes at Pacific Northwest Lens Summit
Actual Lenses on a Sony a7R III w/ PL Mount