Spirit Lab Optics is a new company with big aspirations to make full-frame high-end optics available to independent producers and cinematographers looking for Master Prime quality for a fraction of the price. This is what founder Ray Chang told me when we spoke at IBC 2018.
Full-Frame cine lenses and especially the Anamorphic variety were everywhere at IBC 2018, and since this year is the “year of the full-frame cine cameras and lenses” it won’t hurt to add another set to the mix. The Spirit Lab Prime-Al are spherical lenses with an optical construction comprised of pristine optical elements sourced from Japan, including several high-quality aspherical elements and a “perfect” bokeh as Ray put it, thanks to the 7-blade iris.
Some of you may have seen some coverage on the Spirit Lab Prime-AL lenses from NAB earlier in the year where were shown as prototypes, and now we get to see them in Europe too. In short, the Spirit Lab Prime-Al lenses are very easily identifiable thanks to their unique purple ring and have been designed to cover full-frame+ (50mm diagonal) sensors and resolve 4K, 6K, 8K resolutions making them perfect for the Sony VENICE or the RED Monstro 8K and the ALEXA LF.
These lenses are very well made – at least the five lenses I briefly inspected seem super solid, well-built but compact – smaller than the Sigma HS Cine Primes, more akin to the CP3s in terms of size (although the Prime-AL are longer).
Focal lengths include 24mm T1.6, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, and 135mm T2.2. Plans have been made for a wider focal length in the near future. At launch the lenses will ship in PL mount, however Spirit Lab will offer a user interchangeable EF and E mount.
The Spirit Lab Prime-Al are priced at €22,500 Euro for a set of five, which puts them above the Sigma cine primes, but below the ARRI Ultra Primes, which is the territory they are aiming to dominate. Ray did say, with full confidence, that his Spirit Lab lenses have been successfully tested against the ARRI Master Primes and that optically they are just as good, which is a bold claim that is going to be put to test once the lenses ship later this month.
At the moment there is no publicly available footage, but as it comes out, I will be sure to update you as well as further developments with these lenses, which surely look very promising.