Alex Nelson of Zero Optik seems to always be carrying a rare or newly rebuilt, rehoused, specialty cinema lens cinematographers dream about to lens their next project. NAB 2019 was no exception. This time around Alex was roaming around NAB Central Hall exhibits holding two very interesting pieces of cinematic history. The Angenieux 18.5mm f/2.2 and the crazy rare Angenieux 50mm f/0.95. PVC Nathan Thompson gladly found the time to learn more about these two beautifully rebuilt lenses.
Zero Optik offers rehousing services for a variety of vintage cinema and still-photo optics. Last year at NAB 2018 Alex was showing off a nearly finished vintage Nikon Noct 58mm rehoused from a still-photo lens to a focus-turns-the-right-way cinema lens. It was a very interesting lens delivering unique images.
The Angenieux 18.5mm Type R2, Angenieux’s first 35mm cinema lens, introduced in 1951, and predating Cooke’s 18mm by two years. A wide prime that complements an original Baltar set, it became Orson Welles’ favorite lens and was used, almost exclusively, on “Touch of Evil.” If you are reading this post and you have not watched “Touch of Evil” just stop. Just stop right now and go watch it. Come back when you are done. One of Orson Welles’ most famous films with one of cinema’s most history opening fluid master shots. If you have seen the opening to “Touch of Evil” then you have watched the Angenieux 18.5mm in action.
About Zero Optik
Zero Optik is a Los Angeles-based design and engineering firm that specializes in modifying and customizing lenses for cinematography. Every one of our products is designed, manufactured, and assembled locally, using aerospace-grade materials and processes.
Zero Optik takes enormous pride in their ability to meet clients’ artistic requirements with precise mechanical engineering and deliberate aesthetic choices. Their partners have decades of combined experience working within the camera department on feature films, network television, and national commercial spots, allowing them to tailor lenses to the specific practical needs of camera assistants and cinematographers all over the world. Zero Optik does not simply rehouse lenses; we design tools to allow filmmakers to push the creative boundaries of their craft.