ARRI premiered a new Zeiss Master Anamorphic lens at last month’s IBC in Amsterdam and announced shipping dates for all seven focal lengths in the lens series. The MA35, 50 and 75 were released in August, with the MA100 (pictured) available this month. The MA40 and 60 will be available in February 2014, and the MA135 in April.
The lenses were designed and built by long-time ARRI collaborator Carl Zeiss to meet ARRI’s specifications. The low-distortion lenses have a fast T-stop of T1.9, for shallow depth-of-field work, which, according to Stephan Shenk, Arri’s general manager, camera division, can be used “with any focal length, at any distance, without sacrificing image quality. Gone are the days when anamorphic lenses had to be stopped down to T4 to get an acceptable result”.
Prototypes of the lenses have been distributed to international cinematographers. Show reels have been shot with the MA’s, by Karl Walter Lindenlaub ASC, BVK, in Los Angeles, by Olly Wiggins in London, and by Sheng Lu in China.
Skin tone rendition is promised to be “pleasing and film-like, while colours are crisp and natural.” Image quality should be consistently high throughout the frame, with no drop-off towards the corners. The large image field provides greater freedom, with the full 2.39:1 format being viewable for composition. The lenses also have 15 iris blades, designed to give a pleasing look to out-of-focus highlights.