Best Anamorphic Cine Prime Lenses for the Arri Alexa Mini LF and Alexa LF

Let’s look at the best anamorphic cine prime lenses for the Arri Alexa Mini LF and LF cameras.

First, here are some criteria for the lenses to qualify:

  • True cine lenses, not rehoused still lenses or adapters.
  • Must cover the Arri Alexa LF 6:5 mode is 30.65 x 25.54mm (39.9mm image circle) with a resolution of 3715 x 3096.

The traditional anamorphic size is 21.95 x 18.88mm (28.95mm image circle) and this is what the lenses have to cover at least.

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Here’s a comparison of the best anamorphic cine prime kits available for the Arri Alexa Mini LF and LF:

FeatureCooke Anamorphic/i Full Frame Plus StandardP+S Technik TECHNOVISION ClassicServicevision Scorpiolens ANAMORPHIC**
Squeeze Factor1.8x1.5x2x
Largest FormatOpen Gate UHD Can’t calculate
Max. Resolution4128 x 3096 @4:33456 x 2160 @1.6:1Can’t calculate
Aperture Range^T2.3-T22T2.4-T22T2.2-T22
Front Diameter (mm)11013695
Blades in IrisN/AN/AN/A
Image Circle (mm)43.343.3Covers according to Arri^^
Close Focus (mm)^600N/AN/A
Weight (kg)^42.7N/A
Focal Lengths in KIt32-180mm40-135mm25-150mm
Consistent Length?NoNoN/A
Largest Consistent Aperture*T2.3T2.8T2.2
Focus Rotation (degrees)270250N/A
Price for 50mm^$32,000$22,000 (approx.)N/A
FeaturePanavision Ultra-VistaHawk65 AnamorphicArri Master Anamorphic
Squeeze Factor1.65x1.3x 2x
Largest FormatCan’t calculateUHDOpen Gate (with crop)
Max. ResolutionCan’t calculate3840 x 2076 @1.853424 x 2853 @6:5
Aperture Range^T2.5-T22T2.2-T22T1.9-T22
Front Diameter (mm)114142114
Blades in IrisN/AN/AN/A
Image Circle (mm)Covers according to Arri^^For the Alexa 65About 30mm, does not cover the LF
Close Focus (mm)^N/A800750
Weight (kg)^N/A3.82.6
Focal Lengths in KIt35-150mm40-150mm28-180mm
Consistent Length?N/ANoYes
Largest Consistent Aperture*T2.5N/AT1.9
Focus Rotation (degrees)N/AN/AN/A
Price for 50mm^Rental OnlyN/A$49,655

*For about three lenses in the kit, typically 35/40 to 75mm. If two of the lenses are T1.5 but the third T2.1, then the largest consistent aperture is T2.1.

^For the 50mm lens in the lineup.

**Servicevision have also introduced the ScorpioUltra 70 T1.4 anamorphics but no details yet.

^^Read Arri’s official white paper on shooting anamorphic here or here (scroll down to the Downloads section).

My favorite?

I’ve shot recently with the Arri Master Anamorphics and the Red Monstro. You can watch more about it in my Monstro review. I actually used the higher focal lengths to get by 7K 6:5. When I went 50mm or lower, there was vignetting. However, I was also shooting 5K here, so I could crop for a 4K DCI 2.39:1 finish. The point is, the Master Anamorphics are limited when it comes to resolution, but it’s still a great choice on the LF and Mini LF if you’re okay with the crop. On the other hand, Master Anamorphics are fine for the LF and Mini LF as far as Netflix is concerned:

When shooting with 35 format 2x anamorphic lenses for a 2.39:1 aspect ratio result, Netflix accepts the use of a
3148 x 2636 area on the ALEXA LF and ALEXA Mini LF sensor.

Netflix Camera Guide

However, it’s hard to recommend them for all kinds of work. Recently I had a chance to play with the Cooke anamorphics and the P+S Technik anamorphics, and I must say I’m most impressed by the Cooke Anamorphic/i Full Frame Plus Standard, for these reasons:

  1. They give me an actual 4K resolution and I can still shoot open gate.
  2. The Cooke look.
  3. Better front focus than the others on this list.

What do you think?

Further reading:

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