Panavision : Specialty Camera and Lenses

Published on in Equipment / Tech Reviews

Panavision helps your creative dreams become reality 

Between the vast range of sensor sizes currently available and the continued use of 35mm, 65mm and 16mm film, filmmakers today have more choice than ever when it comes to finding the right tools to bring their creative intent to life on screen. With a rental inventory that includes nearly 30 proprietary lens series evenly divided between anamorphic and spherical, a wide variety of third-party optics, and a vast offering of proprietary and third-party cameras and accessories, Panavision can help filmmakers tailor their equipment package to the specific needs of any story, whatever the scale. 

“We have a great choice of legacy and contemporary lenses that run the gamut from soft to sharp, with varying contrast levels and a range of desirable optical attributes,” says Kevin Greene, Panavision’s Technical Director for EMEA. Terra Bliss, Panavision’s Managing Director for UK and Ireland, adds, “There’s a high demand for large format, but there’s also renewed interest in 35-format optics. Whichever route a cinematographer wants to go, we can help them find the lenses to match their vision.”

Equipment for every project

Since the company introduced its first lenses for motion-picture production in the mid-1950s, Panavision has become synonymous with anamorphic cinematography. Today, Panavision’s anamorphic lenses cover multiple squeeze ratios, including the standard 2x, 1.65x and 1.3x. Because of the variety of sensor shapes, particularly with large-format sensors, having different anamorphic squeeze ratios to choose from is an important aspect that ensures cinematographers can capture the maximum number of pixels while still yielding the anamorphic feel. 

To capture an anamorphic look while framing the vast African landscape that serves as the backdrop for The Woman King, Polly Morgan, ASC, BSC turned to Panavision and its global team of experts. “I worked with Panavision offices around the world, with support from Woodland Hills, London and South Africa,” says Morgan, who opted to shoot with modern T Series anamorphics. “The T Series are fast and perform well when shot wide open. The close focus was also a consideration as it allowed us to move from a medium shot into a close-up without having to rely on longer lenses or diopters.”  

For filmmakers who prefer a spherical look, Panavision’s Primo optics remain a popular choice for 35mm-format capture, and large-format Panaspeeds offer a similar aesthetic in a compact, lightweight form factor with a super-fast T1.4 aperture while delivering full-frame coverage on Alexa LF and Venice camera sensors. Mauro Fiore, ASC paired Panaspeeds with Alexa LF cameras on Spider-Man: No Way Home and A Good Person; he notes, “Those lenses offer such great contrast and sharpness to work with on a digital format. Also, the falloff is beautiful.”

Panavision’s unparalleled lens inventory ensures that cinematographers will find optics to match their creative vision in whatever format — or formats — they’ll be capturing. For the feature A Man Called Otto, Matthias Königswieser, AAC mixed film and digital acquisition, turning to vintage 35mm-format Super Speed and Ultra Speed primes to pair with both the Panaflex Millennium XL film camera and the digital Alexa Mini. As Königswieser explains, “The ability to craft a unique look for each film is what keeps bringing me back to Panavision.”  

Inventory backed by service and support

Panavision’s expert service team ensures all equipment is properly maintained and ready for whatever production needs it next. “We focus heavily on resourcing all our offices with the tools and knowledge to be able to support our inventory and create a global standard for prep, service and repair,” says Greene. 

Whatever a project calls for, filmmakers can find specialized, best-in-class solutions from Panavision. Explore more of Panavision’s optics and camera inventory at www.panavision.com.

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