Learn About the Compromises ARRI Makes to Manufacture One of the Best Cinema Lenses

You read that right: ARRI makes compromises in order to make good lenses. The logic behind those decisions is similar to the one behind making digital camera sensors carry more information in the green channel than the other two. It's about image perception, not about mathematical perfection.

This is an exceptional video by Potato Jet, because it features an ARRI representative, Art Adams, who takes us behind the scenes of how their Signature Prime lenses are manufactured in order to eliminate the imperfections we are aware of from cheaper or stills lenses. But how does that tie in with the compromises you came here for? From this video, we understand that it's easy to make a sharp lens, but you can't make it perfect in all other areas, such as distortion, chromatic aberration, vignetting, focus breathing, etc. All these are inside every lens, but it's the manufacturer who has to decide how to balance them out in order to make the "perfect" glass.

When I watched the beginning of the video, I thought they were going to make a comparison between lenses of different worlds, which we already know has an obvious outcome. I was pleasantly surprised when the talk went into the direction of explaining why lens optical defects occur and how ARRI engineers manage to fix them. At the end of the video, you will probably say to yourself that $25,000 for such a lens is actually a fair price. The bad side of the video is that you're going to see more imperfections in your stills lenses or your cheaper cinema ones. Let us know how you feel about it in the comments below.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

Tihomir Lazarov is a commercial portrait photographer and filmmaker based in Sofia, Bulgaria. He is the best photographer and filmmaker in his house, and thinks the best tool of a visual artist is not in their gear bag but between their ears.

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Fascinating !

Great interview, however at the end of the day we shouldn't forget it's all about the story, so great if you can spend that on lenses or rent those beautiful primes, however that should never prevent you from storytelling with what you have. Great education on lenses though. Thanks