Angenieux hits the sweet spot with zooms that "fill the gap" between still and higher-end cinema lenses, sporting an intriguing feature: interchangeable rear lens groups, allowing user conversion from full frame to super35 and back again.
One of the more innovative products announced at IBC2016 is the Angenieux type EZ zoom lenses. Available in two focal length ranges, each of these lens has an option of a user interchangeable rear lens group which gives the shooter an option of Super35 or FF/VistaVision coverage.
The EZ-1, in its Super35 configuration, zooms from 30-90mm with a constant T2 aperture. An interchangeable rear lens group is shipped with the lens together with necessary tools and rings to convert it to a 45-135mm T3 FF/VistaVision lens.
The EZ-2, in Super35 configuration, covers 15-40mm with constant aperture of T2 converting to a FF/VistaVision coverage of 22-60mm with constant T3 aperture.
Both lenses are available with interchangeable E, EF or PL mounts. Options include a servo grip from Movcam and no doubt other third party peripherals will become available.
Angenieux designed the lenses to be lightweight (averaging just over 4.5lb/2kg) glass to "fill the gap" between still photography zooms and its Optimo series of motion picture lenses.
The EZ series of lenses represents a collaboration between Angenieu, Band Pro Film and Digital and Jebsen Industrial Technology. To remain consistent with Angenieux product lines, the colorimetry and look match those of the Optimo lines. A major goal of Angenieux is to keep price point as low as possible to attract buyers with run-and-gun applications. This seems consistent with the entire lens market seeking a niche for lenses in between still lenses and higher priced cinema lenses.
BandPro has posted a video tutorial detailing the procedure for changing the rear lens element to achieve sensor size conversion.
At first glance, the conversion process does not seem difficult, but it does incorporate a number of steps, including removal of a number of small screws and several rings in order to remove the existing rear lens group and change to the desired component. I suspect the key here is patience, as well as being careful not to drop any of the screws. It would also most likely not be a task which would be repeated with great regularity.
Angenieux has already shown an interchangeable element lens at NAB 2016 in its 44-450 T4.5 anamorphic zoom which could be converted to a 25-350mm T3.5 spherical zoom. The EZ series is designed to make this feature more accessible to those whose budgets are not in the range of the 44-450mm/25-350mm.
While it is always possible to shoot a FullFrame lens on a Super35 camera or a Super35 lens on a FullFrame in crop-sensor mode, the innovation of the Angenieux products is the ability to shoot with a lens whose sensor coverage matches that of the camera sensor. And no field-of-view factors to calculate.
No pricing has been specified yet, but keep in mind that entry-level Optimo lenses start at around $17,000 US. Shipping dates are expected to be in Q1 2017.