So you bought a high-end cine zoom that worked great on every Super 35 format camera ever made. It worked great on your Red Epic 5K. But then Red started making sensors that didn't conform to any industry standards. The Dragon 6K came out and all the sudden your beautiful zoom lens wasn't able to cover the entire sensor which was just slightly larger than Super 35 format. The best solution was to use a tele-extender which would increase your focal length by 1.4x or 2x and you would lose at least 1.5 stops of light. It solved the coverage issue, but had some pretty serious drawbacks. But, what if there was a tool that didn't increase the focal length by much and only lost a little bit of transmitted light?
Let's look back a few years at a little start-up company called Veydra. You may remember their wildly successful Kickstarter Campaign for the Veydra Mini Primes
- a set of proper cinema prime lenses designed specifically for the Micro 4/3 format and cameras. Despite being a Kickstarter, they delivered everything they promised, and more! But that's not what we're looking at today... After their success with the Mini Primes, there were a few other projects on the books. One of which was an extender that would effectively increase the image circle of a compatible lens while retaining a majority of the light and only increasing the focal length by 1.2x. Step forward to today and this product is now a reality.
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Red Dragon 6K w/ Veydra Expander and Optimo 24-290mm.[/caption]
The Veydra 1.2x Expander. I'm not certain if they officially call it an Expander, but that's what I'm calling it because extending your focal length by 1.2x is pretty pointless. The expanded image circle is far more impressive and important than the minor focal length increase. Let's go over some quick basics: An extender multiplies the focal length according to it's design. Let's use a 24mm lens for example. With a 2x extender, a 24mm lens will achieve a 48mm focal length. With a 1.4x extender, it will achieve a 34mm focal length. With the new Veydra 1.2x, that same 24mm lens will only jump to 29mm. This is a major benefit if you're not looking to dramatically increase your focal length just to increase your image circle. Here are some test results from the Duclos ICE Box.
The two images below show exactly how much the Veydra 1.2x Expander benefit a lens such as the 24-290mm Optimo. The 24-290mm was only designed to cover proper Super 35 format which means that at the wide end of the zoom (24mm) you only have about 28mm of coverage to work with (see diagonal scale). That's plenty of image circle to cover 4-Perf Super 35 - but clips into Mysterium-X 5K, and doesn't come anywhere near covering the 6K frame of the Red Dragon.
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Without Veydra Expander - Click to enlarge[/caption]
Now let's add the Veydra Expander into the mix and you see the difference immediately. The 24-290mm now covers well beyond the Dragon 6K frame. Even at the wide end of the zoom we are achieving a image circle of approximately 38mm. The change in the focal length (and more importantly - the field of view) is dramatically more favorable than a 1.4x or 2x extender. The result is simply a larger image circle that covers a larger format with minimal light loss and minor increase to FoV.
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With Veydra Expander - Click to enlarge[/caption]
Now how about the image quality? Does that suffer during the "stretch". Not really. The resolution remains high. The only drawback I noticed was a slight drop in overall contrast - nothing that can't be easily adjusted in post. See results shot at telephoto below.
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left: without expander | right: with expander[/caption]
The first lens I reached for during my tests was the Angenieux 24-290mm Optimo since it's a staple of the film industry. The dang thing is over a decade old and they're still one of the most desirable zoom lenses around. But what about other lenses? As with all rear-mounted adapters/modifiers, there are limitations. Most often a result of physical interference wherein the PL mount of the lens hits the inside of the modifier, or the glass/housing hits the inside of the modifier. In the case of the Veydra 1.2x Expander, it has similar limitations to other products on the market. During my research, I found that it works well with the following:
- Angenieux 24-290mm Optimo
- Angenieux 17-102mm
- Angenieux 25-250mm HR/HP
- Cooke 18-100mm
- Cooke 20-100mm
- Cooke 25-250mm MkII/MkIII
- Cooke 20-60mm
I'm sure there are plenty of other zooms out there that it'll work with, I simply didn't have the time or resources to put up every lens and check for clearance. I'll be sure to continue adding lenses to my list as I see them come through the shop. Feel free to drop an email to a Duclos Lenses tech anytime to inquire regarding fitting and coverage.
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The Veydra 1.2x mounted to an Angenieux Optimo zoom on the test projector during bench test.[/caption]
Now on to some numbers. The Veydra 1.2x Expander just began shipping with a promotional introductory price of $2,150 through August. Normal list price after that is $3,295. You can purchase at the promotional price directly from Duclos Lenses here >
If you're interested in testing out the Veydra Expander, you can always contact Duclos Lenses
and bring your setup in for a demo.