January 29, 2020

New ALPA SWITAR Cine Primes Have Large Format Covered

ALPA
Another cine lens option for filmmakers touts large image circle. 

For the lens enthusiast who knows everything, here’s something potential new: the ALPA SWITAR Cine Primes from the Swiss-based company ALPA for large format cameras. 

Key Features

  • 6 Focal Lengths, 2 in Development
  • 70mm Image Circle
  • 15 Blade Iris
  • T2.0 & Higher
    ALPA SWITAR Cine Primes

The lenses are currently only available as a set of six with two more in development:

  • 35mm T3.5
  • 45mm T2.8
  • 55mm T3.5
  • 80mm T2.0
  • 140mm T2.8
  • 210mm T4.0
  • 24mm T3.5 (in development)
  • 120mm T4.0 macro (in development)

All focal lengths cover 70mm image circles which is comfortable enough for sensors on the RED DSMC2 line including the Monstro 8K VV, ARRI ALEXA LF/Mini LF, Panasonic DXL, Sony VENICE, and Canon Cinema EOS series – basically all of today’s digital large format cameras including ALEXA 65. The large diameter can also cover 5-perf 65mm, and with some modifications, 15-perf 65mm. You might recall both 5-perf 65mm and 15-perf 65mm were used by cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema for Nolan’s Dunkirk.

The compact lenses are said to have a consistent look across the focal lengths. Each has a 95mm front diameter, a 15 blade iris design for a circular aperture and weigh between 2.8 – 4.2lbs (1.3 - 1.85kg). From the footage below, they seem to produce a nice image with a soft even bokeh.

Showreel Watch 

Cinematographer Matteo Attanasio
ALPA SWITAR Cine Primes: 35, 45, 140, 210mm

The lens mount is a standard shimmable PL and each focal length comes with an individually calibrated adapter for the LPL which is shimmable. ALPA is also including an M88 to M95 filter adapter to quickly adapt between filter sizes.

In terms of image circle, the SWITAR Cine Primes are competing with the Leica Thalia, Panavision lenses like the Primo 70 as well as the ARRI Prime DNA for 65mm, Prime 65 S and Vintage 765. It’s uncertain if the SWITARs will include interface metadata for Cooke/i Technology or ARRI LDS-2. 

From personal experience, the Primo 70s and ARRI Prime DNA lenses are a favorite but each tell a different visual story. Hopefully, we can get a hold of the SWITARs and pick apart the image. Until then, if anyone has used them, let us know your thoughts in the comments below.     

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