We have finally received our nearly final prototypes of the Kish lenses, and they are beautiful!
When we first started down the path of making our own lenses we knew we needed to offer outstanding value for a reasonable price. Without bending the laws of physics this seemed challenging when it came to lenses. After all, most cinema lenses don't have any electrical engineering, just metal and glass. So we took a look at what made cinema lenses so expensive.
What we found was that designing a basic lens with a really nice image was relatively straight forward, but when the F-stop changes it gets a lot more complicated. Essentially the amount of on-axis and off-axis light changes dramatically between F-stops, which changes just about every aspect of lens performance, from color balance to resolving power. Top quality lens manufacturers spend a lot of time and money trying to get a lens's performance curve to be consistent across a large F-stop range. This causes lenses to be much larger, have more elements, and of course cost much more.
We decided to let the price and the final image be the most important elements of these lenses. This demanded we simplify them in order to create a product that could produce absolutely stunning images, for a price that cannot be approached by other companies. The result is this line of Kish lenses!
We have a 10mm:
And a 38mm:
These lenses all have 180 degree focus rings, with built in follow focus rings! (Currently the ring has what is called Standard Knurl on them, but the final production lenses will have follow focus gearing.)
For the above mentioned reasons these lenses have a fixed aperture of F4. Most affordable lenses don't perform well all the way open, or even stopped down one stop. Most lenses start to perform optimally when stopped down at least 2 stops. So you can think of our F4 lenses as F2 lenses set to their optimum stop. If you do think of them that way, they are pretty fast! And the performance you get from them will show that.
These lenses give you exactly what you want, and none of the stuff you don't. We hear all the time from professional cinematographers and rental houses that modern digital cameras are too harsh. The way the image is captured isn't flattering to the actors / subjects.
Our lenses create beautiful sharp images that are still flattering to the subjects. And the color reproduction is absolutely beautiful.
Here is a little demo video:
You may know that we here at Digital Bolex think that color is one of the most important parts of image making. In fact we think it's so important that we based our sensor choice for our camera on the quality of the CFA (Color Filter Array). So naturally we wanted to make sure our lenses would compliment the great CFA and the great color the D16 can produce.
This meant instead of building lenses with many thin elements, we designed lenses with fewer thicker elements. This is cheaper and easier to design, but much more difficult to manufacture. It took a long time, but we are now very happy with the lenses we have.
The 18mm and the 38mm cover MFT completely too! The 10mm has a slight vignette due to the new housing. It is very slight though.
If you are at NAB and want to check them out, come find us! We are walking the floor with them. When we get back from NAB we will be doing comparison tests with many different kinds of lenses, and will of course share with you what we find.
These lenses will be ready for pre-sale very soon!
We are very proud of these and think they are an amazing value for the price and trade offs. What do you think?
Thanks, Elle, Joe, and the Digital Bolex team.