Vantage Introduces MiniHawk Anamorphic Lenses That are Small & Fast at T1.5
Lens-maker Vantage, who has produced some incredible anamorphic lenses used on all sorts of major shows, is coming out with a brand new set called MiniHawks.
Vantage has found a different way to make anamorphics, and they've been able to produce very small and light lenses (around 6 inches and 4 pounds or less), with fast apertures (T1.5), and close focus of around 1' for most of the range, which extends from 35mm to 180mm. They've also got a 160mm-360mm T4 zoom, which naturally is bigger, heavy, and can't focus as closely, but should nonetheless fill out a good portion of the lens set. The speed of these lenses and the close focus mean they can be used in all sorts of difficult lighting conditions, and diopters aren't really necessary, making shooting easier and lighter for handheld, and reducing what you need to put in front of the lens:
Due to their unique construction, the MiniHawks solve problems associated with anamorphic lenses while preserving classic anamorphic characteristics; therefore, they will have a special place in the HAWK lens portfolio.
They produced a little short to show off these lenses, and also wrote a BTS post. Here are some words from the director Peter Märtin about the lenses from that post (followed by the video):
The MiniHawks focus almost to the front element. We did not need any diopters and could pull focus from extremely close to infinity. You will notice that the lenses have zero breathing. Geometric distortion is well corrected, and even the wide-angle lenses are good for architectural shots. However, our HAWK engineers ensured actors heads always stay round and never become oval (cone head effect) as can be seen on nearly every other geometrically corrected wide lens.
It will be interesting to see these compared to some other options out there, especially lenses that are nearly optically perfect like the ARRI/Zeiss Master Anamorphics. One thing I did notice in the video is that there is some chromatic aberration in certain places when they were shooting wide open. This just might be an inevitable consequence of making such fast lenses and shooting open, and hopefully stopping down a little will get rid of most of it (then again, maybe what I'm seeing isn't quite CA, but at least that's what it looks like). They also don't seem to flare all that much, so it will depend on how much you like that effect, as there are others with crazy flares.
And where they are in terms of release:
The MiniHawk range has eight primes and one zoom lens. Most lenses are finished and already in the cases, but Vantage has chosen not to release an incomplete series of lenses to highlight their commitment to the cinematographer. Vantage wants to ensure that the complete, fully usable lens system is ready immediately upon release.
It's unclear right now if they will have both 1.33x and 2x versions of these, but for right now you can check out the specs they have so far:
Price is certainly going to be high, but these have pretty much only been rentals for the vast majority of folks. The speed and size is incredible for anamorphic lenses, so hopefully they are within range of the competitors in terms of rentals. No release date has been given, but since most of them are finished, I imagine it won't be that long before they are on sale.