Renowned camera manufacturer ARRI has just unveiled the latest accessory for their large-format cine camera, namely the ALEXA Mini LF. This new EF mount (LBUS) not only supports large format sensor coverage without vignetting but also adds an LBUS interface.
The new mount fits the ALEXA Mini LF, the original ALEXA Mini and the AMIRA. It won’t fit any other ALEXA model since these do offer a different mechanical and electronical interface between lens mount and camera. Furthermore, LBUS only works on the Mini, not on the AMIRA.
ARRI EF Mount (LBUS)
This new version of ARRIs own EF mount implementation offers a larger baffle so an attached full-frame EF lens won’t suffer from vignetting and it also sports its own LBUS connector. However, the older EF mount will remain available since it still works perfectly fine for Super35 sized sensors, just like the one found on the AMIRA.
You can of course also use the new version on super35 sized sensors but the attached LBUS connector will only work on the ALEXA Mini and Mini LF (read our coverage here).
Swapping lens mounts is pretty straight-forward and can be done without having to send the camera in. Just make sure to work in a clean invoronment and avoid dust entering the camera.
ARRI have hosted an in-depth tech talk video session for the new EF mount (LBUS), which you can watch here (the mount “in action” from 06:18 / detailed view and swapping mounts from 16:00):
Over 140 Million EF Lenses
As of December 2018, Canon alone has shipped over 140 million EF lenses, that’s almost two years ago and Canon is far from being the only vendor of native EF glass. So the possibilities are enormeous there since there is a vast amount of EF glass out there. That’s why ARRI decided to support these versatile lenses. The new EF mount (LBUS) now brings the world of full-frame EF to the popular ALEXA Mini LF.
EF glass can be devided into two main categories: Classic still photography lenses and cine-style lenses. The former don’t offer iris control on the lens itself and no hard stops on the focus ring. These lenses will still work with the new EF mount (LBUS) but naturally you’ll face some difficutlies working with them (but you can control the iris through the camera for example). On the other hand, cine-style EF lenses do offer all the features you’d expect from true cine lenses and you can get them for far less money.
These full-frame lenses can now be used in conjunction with the ALEXA Mini LF for a seamless shooting experience. The LBUS interface offers the ability to control the lens with motors and other accessories. Still, the camera itself controls the mount so you can record lens data along with your footgae for seamless post production. Or you can send out lens data for displaying them on one of the SDI ports of the camera.
Pricing and Availability
The new ARRI EF mount (LBUS) will be available in November this year and it will retail for $1,755.
Although the price tag seems hefty, this little device has the potential of kickstarting your creativity when working with the ALEXA Mini LF cine camera by ARRI. Proper cine glass is heavy, very expensive and it’s very hard to find specialty lenses such as tilt/shift lenses, very long focal lengths, stabilized lenses (for which the LBUS port provides power) and so on. In the EF range of lenses, you’ll find all this and even more.
Pancake lenses, vintage glass which easily adapts to EF, you name it. Of course, not every cine-style EF lens will match the optical performance of high-end cine glass but in the end it’s always the same: Most of the time it’s better to have a (cheaper) set of a few lenses than just one high-end lens.
Link: ARRI website
What do you think? Do you work with ARRI ALEXA Mini LF cameras? Could this new EF mount open up more possibilities to your workflow? Share your thoughts in the comments below!