Recently leading industry sales and rental house Lemac put on a unique event entitled, “A Lens for Every Story” where cinematographers, DoPs, camera operators and the industry at large were invited to explore an extensive collection of rare and exotic lenses at AFTRS in Sydney.
Lemac national rentals manager Tim Jordin explained, “With the technological advances of camera technology, directors and cinematographers are heavily relying on lens choice to help imprint a look onto each of their projects. The ability to convey a feeling and generate an emotional response from viewers can be greatly influenced by format and lens selection.” The name “A Lens for Every Story” was fitting for the recent lens showcase, as it has also become the new mantra for Lemac’s rentals department.
Jordin continued, “With this event, we really wanted to get the word out to the film community, that Lemac has a lot to offer to them both in terms of access to different types of lenses and the knowledge to back it all up. A lot of people know Lemac and have stories about their time working with Lemac. What some people aren’t aware of is that, in recent times, Lemac have heavily invested in new equipment with a particular focus on lenses.”
With this new “focus” Lemac now find themselves in the unique position to be able to offer a significant amount of rare and exotic glass to the Australian filmmaking community.
Jordin added, “For this event we wanted to provide an experience where you could come and get hands on with all of these lenses. People could ask the questions they wanted to ask, put a lens onto a camera and compare it to the next one. There was also the benefit of having your colleagues with you, evaluating, comparing and learning about something that you may never have had the chance to see before. We had previously run events of this nature in Brisbane and Melbourne, but we stepped it up a notch for our Sydney debut.”
Lemac showcased over 200 different lenses on the night ranging from vintage to modern, clean to character heavy and across Super35, Full Frame as well as 35mm Anamorphic and Full Frame Anamorphic formats.
Some of the lenses on display included rehoused vintage and very rare Minolta Rokkor Full Frame Primes dating back to the 1960’s, rehoused Vintage Zeiss CONTAX Full Frame Primes, rehoused Vintage Leica-R Full Frame Primes, rehoused vintage Canon FD Full Frame Primes, vintage inspired Tribe7 Blackwing7 Full Frame Primes, single coated Tokina Vista ONE Full Frame Primes, the new Full Frame Cooke Panchro Classic’s, Cooke 1.8x Full Frame Anamorphic Primes, P+S Technik Technovision 1.5x Full Frame Anamorphic Primes and Zooms and more.
A special guest also arrived, in the form of the Hawk Vantage One4 Large Format Primes, which had just landed and made their debut at the event. The One4s are an extremely rare set of lenses available only at Lemac. The Vantage One4s contain no floating elements, no aspherics and no expanders, only the best spherical elements.
When asked about the lenses shown Jordin said, “We wanted to clearly convey to the attendees that Lemac has a multitude of lens options at their disposal. Many of the lenses that we carry are exclusive to Lemac. This is something that we are very proud of, as we have spent a lot of time scouring the world for glass which we feel DoPs and directors want to use. Some of these lenses are over 50 years old, some are very limited builds and some are very obscure. All of that makes for a bespoke offering and by extension, a bespoke experience for each of our clients.”
For this event Lemac partnered with and took over the foyer at AFTRS where they had ARRI Alexa Mini LF, ARRI Alexa 35 and Sony Venice 2 cameras facing the sellout crowd, with Lemac staff taking turns to stand-in, model for and demonstrate the different lenses.
Jordin said, “This gave us a great spread of Super35 and Full Frame capable bodies and allowed for the various anamorphic de-squeeze modes needed by some of the lenses as well. It also meant that if you as an attendee were about to embark on a project or were used to one camera in particular, you could use that camera to test the lenses with. We then had all of the lenses spread out around the event split into different sections for Full Frame, Cooke Optics, P+S Technik Anamorphic and Super 35 so that attendees could see the amount of glass we carry for each format.”
Also shown around the event was a reel of projects, listing the directors, DoPs and the lenses that they used, which gave people real world examples of how they could get different looks from each type of lens. Attendees could also access the AFTRS cinema to view the projects on the big screen.
Jordin added, “The event was sold out and there was a great spread of attendees including producers, directors, writers and DoPs from all types of productions including documentaries, commercials, TVCs, drama series and feature films. Several DoPs were there on the night comparing the lenses that they had chosen for upcoming projects and discussing their decisions with their peers and colleagues.”
The event was a great success and as Jordin explained, the feedback has been incredibly positive, “At Lemac we are extremely passionate about what we do and that was something that we received a lot of feedback about. Some attendees didn’t realise just how much glass we have to offer them. It was great to see people engaging with the lenses, truly realising what is available and how it might work for them.”
On the night almost all of the lenses ended up on a camera, with some of the key interest falling around the Lemac exclusive glass. The Minolta Rokkors, Tribe7 Blackwing7’s, P+S Technik Technovision 1.5x Full Frame Anamorphics, Voightlander 36-82mm Zoomar and the Canon K-35 25-120mm Macro Zoom were worthy of note to many visitors.
Tim Jordin concluded, “When going into a project it’s important to understand that every job has its own specific requirements, whether they be logistical or creative in nature. At Lemac we like to discuss these requirements with the director and DoP, so that we can best understand their intentions and then from there we can tailor a package specific to their needs. Our mantra of “A Lens for Every Story” is really one that emphasises our ability to offer a bespoke lens experience for all sizes and types of production and all scales of artistic expression. That ability, coupled with the technical backing that Lemac provides to all of our customers is what sets us apart.”