ARRI has designed four new Signature Zoom lenses to use with large-format or Super 35 cameras to match the Signature Primes. The four lenses all have the same fast stop of T2.8, a diverse focal length range, precise image consistency, HDR compatibility and 8K resolving power.
Between them, the four zooms cover a focal length range of 16 mm to 510 mm with an extender for the longest one. Their image consistency is owed mainly to setting the stop of T2.8 across all four lenses, as well as stable exposure and quality through all focal lengths and iris settings.
The Signature Zooms balance the requirements of optical performance, a pleasing look and lightweight mechanical design. Like the Signature Primes, they render a warm image with smooth, attractive skin tones, natural colours and elegant out-of-focus highlights. The Signature look is not based on visible aberrations or imperfections, but on producing images that surround the audience and connect them to the story without interference.
Cinematographers and DPs often prefer Prime lenses on set because they can usually use a wider aperture, resulting in a shallower depth of field and better low light performance. But the Signature Zooms make it practical to use zooms more often, saving time and getting the practical benefits of zooms with fewer compromises, thereby expanding the applications of the Signature family. They also have the detachable magnetic rear filter holder of the Signature Primes, used to change and personalise the look of the whole Signature lens system.
Given the faster on-set workflows associated with zoom lenses, specific features of the Signature Zooms speed up processes further. Flares are controlled through special lens coatings, reducing delays, and the lightweight build makes setups physically easier. The built-in ARRI LDS-2 Lens Data System suports complex production tasks, on set and in post. Very low close-focus distances increase shooting options, save time by reducing lens changes and lower costs by allowing crews to carry fewer lenses.
An important factor of the Signature Zoom design is their ability to shoot both in large format – full frame or VistaVision – and in Super 35. The image quality and background separation enhance the three-dimensional feeling of large-format cinematography, and the 8K resolution and bokeh produce clean, immersive images in the smaller Super 35 format. Built with an LPL lens mount in an open, universal standard for cross-format shooting, the Signature Zooms can be used with nearly any large-format or Super 35 camera from any manufacturer.
Because zooms are a significant investment, ARRI has made the lenses compatible with all formats up to full frame, as a way of future-proofing them. Also, the fact that the look is not based on aberrations makes the new HDR and UHD workflows easier – working with those formats tends to exaggerate aberrations that create problems in post. The 8K resolution and deep shadow detail should also lend themselves to future display requirements.
ARRI says the Signature Zooms will be especially useful to productions that want a high-end look but need the versatility and time-efficiency of zooms, such as TV series, commercials, music videos and remote applications. They give feature films a high-quality zoom series to match the Signature Primes, so that productions carrying both can handle nearly any shooting situation.
The 45-135 mm T2.8 and 65-300 mm T2.8 Signature Zooms will be released during early 2021, along with a dedicated 1.7x extender for the 65-300 mm that makes it a 110-510 mm T4.9. The 16-32 mm T2.8 and 24-75 mm T2.8 will be released later in the same year. www.arri.com