ARRI Rental Prime DNA and DNA LF lenses offer a unique palette for visually ambitious cinematographers.
Originally developed for the 65 mm format of ARRI Rental’s exclusive ALEXA 65 camera platform, DNA is a game-changing concept in lens creation, celebrating unusual image attributes that arouse an emotional response. In essence, it is technology born of relationships: vintage optics from different historical periods rehoused and customized by ARRI Rental in partnership with filmmakers, to reflect their artistic sensibilities.
Each lens has its own personality, and when tested, learned, and embraced by the cinematographer, allows stories to be told with a new visual boldness. DNA lenses are not typically grouped together into conventional “sets.” Instead, they are mixed and matched based on a cinematographer’s personal requirements. What would traditionally be referred to as “imperfections” in the glass are deliberately incorporated with DNA, and are at the heart of why the DNA family of lenses is unique and only available through ARRI Rental, serviced and supported by trained technicians.
Cinematographers to have embraced the DNA look include Robert Richardson ASC; Bradford Young ASC; Greig Fraser ACS, ASC; Dion Beebe ACS, ASC, Ken Seng; Ben Davis BSC; Florian Ballhaus ASC; and Julian Court BSC, among many others.
Following the success of the Prime DNA series for 65 mm from 2017, a DNA LF series for large-format (full-frame) cameras was introduced at the 2018 Camerimage Festival Of Cinematography in Poland. The extensive detuning and personalization that was pioneered with the first-generation DNAs informed the design of DNA LFs. Internal mechanisms allow each lens to be personalized to a measurable, repeatable extent, and afterwards set back to its base settings. This can be done at any major ARRI Rental facility internationally, because the technical lens team is a global network of shared expertise, systems, and resources. If a DP tunes a set of DNA LFs at ARRI Rental in Budapest, he or she can go to ARRI Rental in New York and tune another set to exactly the same degree.
The DNA look could be described as balanced and characterful, full of life and gentler than many modern lenses. Focus fall-off is natural and pleasing, highlights are rendered in a mellow way, and the flare characteristics offer great scope for creativity, responding organically to direct light sources.
DNA lenses are manufactured in-house at ARRI Rental. They are one of many varied lens options available from the company, with many more exclusive offerings currently in development.