With over two decades in business, Vantage has staked its claim as one of Europe's premiere rental houses, as well as makers of its own highly regarded lenses and accessories. Recipients of five Cinec Awards, Vantage lenses have found their way onto the sets for some of Hollywood's biggest names, including Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street) and Steven Spielberg (Bridge of Spies). In other words, when Vantage introduces a new series of lenses, the industry takes notice.
First in 50
While word of new Vantage lenses is noteworthy in itself, the company unveiled its HAWK65 series of 65mm anamorphic lenses in February 2015, marking the first new large format anamorphic lens released in the last 50 years. Here's a breakdown from Vantage's press release for the HAWK65 lenses, which actually split into three distinct sub-series:
- Hawk65 Anamorphic includes prime lenses from 40mm to 280mm and front anamorphic zooms, providing cinematographers with that true 65mm large format Scope look.
- Hawk65 Anamorphic Vintage ’74 is a version of the Hawk65 Anamorphics with lower contrast, flares, and creamy skin tones that create the signature aesthetic of the 1970s for 65mm large format sensors.
- Hawk65 MAX consists of several wide and medium angle lenses and has been developed for giant screen applications.
The company spent the rest of 2015 manufacturing the lenses in preparation of shipment.
Los Angeles and Red Weapon 8K
While in Los Angeles for the 2016 ASC Awards, Cinematographer Markus Förderer (Independence Day: Resurgence and Stonewall) shot tests for the HAWK65 lenses. His camera of choice for this test was the RED Weapon 8K, using the full 40.96mm x 21.60mm sensor.
The company designed a new mount, the XPL52, which allow shooters to use much of Vantage's complete lens line (HAWK65, HAWK 35mm, and VantageOne T1) on a camera without having to change mounts. After installation of the mount on the Weapon 8K, Förderer was off and running.
Förderer praised the lens-camera pairing: "The HAWK65 lenses, paired with the large RED 8K Weapon sensor, create the highest quality images I have seen so far, the perfect blend of natural sharpness and film-like contrast."
At the conclusion of testing, Förderer commented on why these lenses work so well with modern cameras: "The 1.3x anamorphic squeeze elevates large format sensors to their highest level. The new coating technology with its soft natural contrast creates amazing skin tones and makes the Hawk 65 lenses a perfect companion for digital sensors."
In addition to RED Weapon support, HAWK65 lenses are also available with an XPL mount that's compatible with ARRI's Alexa 65 camera.
Before the introduction of these lenses, recent productions that shot large format anamorphic relied primarily on lenses produced decades ago. The HAWK65 Anamorphic series is likely welcome news and an intriguing option for those planning productions with the Weapon 8K or Alexa 65 cameras in the near future.