Source: No Film School
Written by: Daron James
The Panavision Millennium DXL 8K cinema camera receives an upgrade along with a new line of high-end tech to play with.
It’s been a year since Panavision unveiled its 8K large format cinema camera to the high-end market. The collaborative effort, headed by Panavision and Light Iron SVP of Innovation Michael Cioni, paired RED sensory technology and Panavision optics with Light Iron color to offer one of the most complete end-to-end camera systems on the market.
In a preview last night, Panavision highlighted what’s next for the rental-only system with Panavision CEO Kim Snyder saying, “It seems like just yesterday we were here introducing the DXL camera. We’ve learned a lot this past year and the camera has evolved based on feedback from filmmakers. Our objective is for this to be the filmmaker’s camera.”
“Our objective is for this to be the filmmaker’s camera.” -Panavision CEO Kim Snyder
During the presentation, Cioni discussed a new line of large format lenses called Primo Artiste, a HDR viewfinder and separate HDR viewing system, a kickass color separation filter dubbed PX-Pro, a controllable app, and updated firmware for the DXL, all of which will be on display at the Cine Gear Expo this week.
The line of Prime lenses (available by the end of 2017) are built to cover the full 8K HDR image of the large format camera. The lenses are T/1.8, making them very fast while still including a fully internalized motor complete with metadata compatibility. Primo Artiste will come in 9 T/1.8 focal lengths: 27mm, 35mm, 40mm, 50mm, 65mm, 80mm, 100mm, 125mm, 150mm and a 200mm and 250mm at T/2.8. A 14mm T/3.1 is expected to come in 2018. Bear in mind, the 14mm and 27mm won’t be motorized as there isn’t enough room to include the mechanics.
What’s interesting about the lenses is that the glass is inspired by customers rather than engineers, meaning that they’re built for artistic perfection not optical perfection. Now, don’t think the glass isn’t fully optimized for precision, range and speed, but the optical components attribute a look to softness, smoothing and texture—qualities reminiscent of vintage optics.
While the series features focus breathing control, even field illumination, and stellar close focus performance, according to Panavision, “the Primo Artiste is a true anamorphic glass attachment that retains the spherical nature of the base lens yet induces many of the artifacts associated with anamorphic photography, such as directional flares and distorted bokeh.”
The Primo Viewfinder is the industry’s first HDR OLED viewfinder. The viewfinder was designed to be future-proof for HDR and offers 600-nit brightness, image smoothing, a 2-pin LEMO heater, a fully rotating eye cup and a computer system separate from the camera. It carries a theoretical contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1 with 0% blacks. Located on the side are three glove and “band-aid” friendly knobs controlling menu, brightness and contrast. There’s also options for HDR On/Off toggle, user-controlled peaking, waveform overlay and a customizable magnifier. Panavision also outfitted the camera with a HDSDI input, both HDSDI and HDMI loop-thoughs and a 2-pin LEMO power input.
Also discussed was a HDR Video Village Cart that has the ability to showcase both 8K HDR DXL footage and standard dynamic range simultaneously on four split 24″ screens, making it easier for cinematographers to evaluate images they’re lighting.
This absorptive color filter is probably J.J. Abrams’ wet dream.
PX-Pro Color Spectrum Filter
This absorptive color filter is probably J.J. Abrams’ wet dream, as it produces some of the smoothest flares we’ve ever seen. Even cinematographer Phil Holland was taken aback while watching presentation footage, noting “there’s very low magenta color in the look.” The filter provides an infrared (IR) and ultraviolet (UV) cut which dramatically increases the color separation and clarity while improving low light situations by reducing noise and IR contamination which can corrupt or distort digitally captured images. While the PX-Pro is custom made for the DXL, it designed to support all color palettes and flare characterizations of lenses new and old.
Cioni mentioned the importance of “freeness” for customers, and the new DXL Control is just that—free software that gives users wireless camera control. Available only for Apple devices, the software mirrors the camera menu system onto your device so changing options is quick and simple. After a scan of the network, you’re connected to a list of available DXL cameras for real-time feedback. The network can be password protected or open. The free download will be available on the iTunes store starting June 2.
DXL Firmware Update
For those rental houses carrying the DXL camera, software version 0.5.35 will be available for download. It boasts improved color science and a slew of other updates.
The Millennium DXL is changing the way we look at camera systems by creating a complete ecosystem with improved color and accessibility or as Cioni puts it, “we’re trying to make work flow.”
DXL Tech Specs:
- 16-bit, 35.5 Megapixel CMOS
- 8192 x 4320 Resolution
- Large Format Sensor: 40.96mm x 21.60mm (Diagonal: 46.31mm)
- 15 stops Dynamic Range
- Max Frame Rate: 60 fps at 8K Full Frame (8192 x 4320), 75 fps at 8K 2.4:1 (8192 x 3456)
- 8K RAW with simultaneous 4K proxy (ProRes or DNx)
- SSD Recording
- .r3d (supported in RED SDK)