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PANAVISION UNVEILS NEW PRIMO V LENSES OPTIMIZED FOR DIGITAL CAMERAS

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ABOUT PANAVISION

Panavision was founded in 1954 by Robert Gottschalk and partners. The first product was the Super Panatar anamorphic projection attachment for theaters in need of lenses to exhibit 20th Century Fox's new Cinemascope movies. The lens featured an adjustable prism to allow projection of several widescreen formats. The combination of low price and astute marketing enabled Panavision to dominate the market for anamorphic projection attachments.
 
Shortly thereafter Panavision concentrated its efforts on producing the Micro Panatar printer lens used by laboratories to produce film release prints from the numerous negative formats of the time. Each printer lens was unique and many variations were sold to motion picture laboratories to convert one film format to another.  
 
Next was the development of widescreen 65mm anamorphic APO Panatar taking lenses for MGM used on "Raintree County" and "Ben-Hur". This system was marketed under the name MGM CAMERA 65. The cameras used for these productions were Mitchell 65mm housed in a Panavision blimp. The blimp, designed by Tak Miyagishima, was the first camera product developed by Panavision. The process later became known as ULTRA PANAVISION 70. A total of 10 films employed this process between 1957 and 1966. The Ultra Panavision 70mm projection attachment was sold to larger first run theatres for exhibition of the anamorphic prints.
 
In the early 1960s Panavision developed their own 65mm cameras and lenses which were used on both anamorphic ULTRA PANAVISION 70 and spherical SUPER PANAVISION 70 productions such as "Lawrence of Arabia" and Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey". SUPER PANAVISION 70 was used on 15 feature films between 1959 and 1996. With the manufacture of these new cameras and lenses Panavision changed it’s business model from a sales to a rental company. As a result these cameras and subsequent products have been continuously updated to reflect technological improvements.
 
In 1958 Panavision developed the Auto Panatar 35mm anamorphic taking lenses which because of their optical performance soon became the anamorphic lens of choice. All Panavision anamorphic lenses employ a patented optical system developed by optical engineer and Panavision partner Walter Wallin, which uses counter-rotating cylindrical elements to compensate squeeze ratio with shooting distance. These engineering efforts continued through generations of anamorphic lenses right up to the present day G-series.
 
In the late 1960s Panavision developed spherical 35mm taking lenses to complement the introduction of their first 35mm motion picture camera. The PSR series of cameras were Mitchell NC cameras inside of a Panavision-designed blimp housing.
 
In 1972 Panavision unveiled the revolutionary Panaflex [PANAvision reFLEX] 35mm camera system. This was the first self-blimped hand-holdable 35mm reflex camera, and liberated the filmmaker from the limitations of heavy cameras which were confined to geared heads. The design team was led by Al Mayer Sr. This camera was in direct response to customer feedback, a core philosophy of Panavision's founders. The Panaflex evolved over several generations to include the Panaflex Gold, Panaflex Gold II, Panaflex Platinum  and Millennium. While each model retained the original focal plane shutter and spinning mirror design, advances in electronics and optics allowed for additional features such as improved viewing systems and video assist.
 
Lens development complimented camera design with the introduction of 35mm Super Speed lenses in 1976 followed shortly by a series of Ultra Speed primes. Panavision partnered with Carl Zeiss in Germany in the early 1980’s to produce the Z series primes.
 
In the late 1980’s Panavision introduced a new series of prime lenses designated the Primo series. This first set along with additional primes and zooms set a new standard for lens performance for motion picture cinematographers. The Primo project was initiated by Panavision’s second president Jac Holzman.
   
The requirement for smaller, lighter, hand held studio film cameras led to the Millennium XL and later Millennium XL2 that reduced the camera body size by emplolying two film sprockets instead of the traditional single sprocket design. The XL series also incorporated three motors to allow for additional features such as motorized shutter control.   
 
In the late 1990’s Panavision partnered with Sony to provide the ⅔” three chip 24fps progressive scan HD camera for film and television production. The HD-900F was the first in a series of 24fps HD cameras designed for motion picture style image capture.
 
The next step in HD camera development with Sony was the Genesis camera with a Super 35mm film size single chip sensor. The Genesis camera project was developed by Panavision Advanced Digital Imaging led by John Galt under Panavision’s third president John Farrand.
The camera was combined with the Sony SRW-1 HD tape recorder that emulated the traditonal film magazine. In 2007 Panavision introduced the smaller, lighter, tapeless SSR Solid State Recorder that reduced the total weight of the camera package.
 
Panavision continues with innovative new product design to meet the demands of evolving motion picture production.
 

READ ABOUT PANAVISION HISTORY
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  • 1954

    Introduction of Super Panatar® variable 35mm anamorphic projection lens, a prismatic variable projection attachment, the Super Panatar started selling at $895.00 per pair.

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  • 1954

    Introduction of Micro Panatar®, an optical unit for the conversion of anamorphic negative to conventional prints, or for the conversion of conventional negative to anamorphic prints in the laboratory.

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  • 1955

    Introduction of Ultra Panatar® 35mm projection lens, an anamorphic projection attachment which could be mounted directly on the objective lens.

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  • 1955

    Introduction of MGM Camera 65; the first Film made in MGM Camera 65 was "Raintree County"; then in 1959, the inventors of Camera 65, Robert Gottschalk and John Moore of Panavision and Douglas Shearer of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, received an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science – Sci

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  • 1958

    Introduction of the Auto Panatar® 35mm anamorphic taking lens. Later that year, Panavision received an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science – Scientific or Technical Award (Class II) plaque for the design and development of the Auto Panatar anamorphic photographic lens for 35mm C

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  • 1958

    Super Panavision 70 released (70mm Projection lenses, Sphero Panatar lenses, Silent Camera). The first movie shot in this system was "The Big Fisherman" (released in 1959).

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  • 1958

    Ultra Speed Panatar 35mm taking lenses released.

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  • 1959

    Ultra Panavision 70 released, (65mm Camera Blimp, 1.25x Anamorphic Lenses, 1.25x Projection Attachments).

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