Angenieux, long the leader of the top end of cinema zoom lenses, offers two lenses in the new "type EZ" line that hope to appeal to a broader section of the market, especially owner/operators.
Angeniuex is in many ways the premiere name in cinema zoom outside the closed system of Panavision, and even Panavision has "panavized" Angenieux lenses on occasion. However, they've longed remained a rental only option for most of us considering the price range; the Angeniuex Optimo range runs around $50K lens, and even the more accessible Optimo Style range starts at $17K, leaving users with smaller budgets who would still prefer to own looking elsewhere for quality variable focal length glass. Angeniuex sets out to remedy that hole in the line with the new Type EZ, which should come in at a price point that will make it a compelling lens to consider for the owner/operator who wants great imagery and a lens with some future in it.
The most notable feature of these lenses is the interchangeable rear elements. This goes beyond a mere lens mount swap (though that is doable, between PL, EF and E mount), but actually changes out the rear element of the lens to switch between Super 35mm (RED One, Alexa, Ursa) and Full Frame/Vistavision (RED Helium Vista Vision, Alexa Open Gate, Canon 5D, Sony A7S II). This is kind of genius, in it's way, since it allows the lens design to be specifically tailored for each capture format and take full advantage of each imager size.
For instance, the EZ-1 is 30-90mm F1.9 / T2 when set up for Super 35, but when switched to FF is 45-135mm F2.8 / T3, covering an image circle of 46mm diagonal. This means that the EZ-1 has roughly the same field of view for either format: it's a 3x midrange zoom. It's a little bit longer when set for FF, but since the FF sensor gives you a wider field of view, the field of view matches for each. Of course, you loose a bit of light when switching to full frame, but I think it's better to think about it as gaining a stop of light when going to Super 35, since the smaller image circle requires a smaller coverage area, increasing light intensity. The same applies to the EZ-2, changing from 15-40mm F1.9 / T2 in Super 35 to 22-60mm F2.8 / T3 in FF.
If I were an owner-operator, this would be a big plus, since it ensures that you get the best possible performance for both of the currently popular formats. Let's say you have a Super 35 camera now, you can get an EZ-1, and know that it'll give you great images if you transition to a full frame camera later. Yes, you'll lose a stop of light in the process, but since full frame sensors are larger, they are also somewhat more sensitive (not always, but sometimes), so that might balance out a bit. This swap isn't necessarily something you would want to do in the field (as you could see in the video), and is ideally done by a qualified lens technician, but the fact that it can be done is a great added feature.
The lenses have been engineered to maintain a consistent physical length throughout the zoom and focus range, which helps prevent interference with filters and matte boxes, and is nice when rigging the camera since balance won't change significantly as the image changes. In addition, there is internal thermal drift compensation, ensuring that the external lens markings remain accurate despite changes in the outside temperature.
Pricing hasn't been announced, but expect them to be significantly cheaper than the Optimo Style line. In a dream world, they'll be cheap enough to compete with the new Sigma cine lenses also released at IBC, but honestly Angeniuex has decades of history and reputation that have earned them a market position where they can, and likely will, charge more. Manufacturing will be in Japan.
- PL, EF and E mount
- Super 35 or FF/VV coverage (up to 46mm diagonal) with conversion
- T2 for Super 35, T3 for FF/VV maximum aperture
- EZ-1 3x zoom ratio, 2 ft close focus
- EZ-2 2.7x zoom ratio, 2 ft close focus
- 4.7lb weight (EZ-1), 4.5lbs weight (EZ-2)
- 114mm front diameter
- ENG grip from Movcam
- Colorimetry to match Optimo and Optimo Style