The power of large format and the importance of lens selection.

As larger and larger sensors become commonplace within high end productions, DOP's will continue to search for those magical lenses that deliver character and subtlety, as well as a signature to differentiate their film from others shot using the same camera.  

Up until now, most high end productions have been confined to s35mm format.  -A format which tends to be no larger than 25mm in sensor width.  Typically this format requires an image circle of around 30mm diameter in order to cover the sensor without hard vignette at the corners of the frame.  5K and 6K modes from the RED Epic (Dragon) are just about catered for with the majority of lenses designed for s35mm format and as such the topic has been less of a concern.  

With the launch of the Sony A7 series, and more importantly the RED Weapon 'Vista Vision' sensor option - with a huge 40mm width, a large proportion of traditional 35mm motion picture lenses will no longer fulfil the need of this new format, and as such selection of lenses designed for 35mm still photography will become more and more important. Thankfully there is a huge selection of glass that will fulfil the duty.  The go-to selection for RED shooters seems to be the Contax/Yashica mount Zeiss lenses, or if budget allows, Leica R lenses. Both of these brands offer affordable standard speed lenses (typically f2 - f2.8 from 24mm up to 135mm) as well as a premium 'super speed' option (typically f1.4-f2 apertures from 24mm-135mm).  Other manufacturers such as Canon, Nikon, Olympus etc have suitable lenses on offer, however in my opinion the popularity of Nikon and Canon autofocus professional still photography lenses has a habit of making a film look as if it has been shot by a still photographer who recently jumped on the videography bandwagon due to dwindling work options as a still photographer.  The fact that just about every professional canon user owns a set of L series primes they have a very distinct look which lacks the quality we typically associate with cinema imagery.  In the same way anamorphic lenses used for still photography make photos appear as if they are frames from a movie,  Canon L series lenses used for motion picture acquisition have a nasty habit of making the film look like a string of stills taken by a typical uninspiring wedding photographer.    

This phenomenon has led to the increasing popularity of lenses including our TRUMP and OPTIKOV series, which are built using salvaged glass from lenses that haven't been used professionally within uninspiring workflows and thus have not been tarnished in the same way as contemporary autofocus lenses from Canon and Nikon.

I believe it is imperative that with the growing popularity of full frame/vistavision - as it starts to become more commonplace within professional environments, dop's be extra mindful when selecting glass to fulfil the needs of the larger format.