Dulens APO Mini Prime Set (31mm, 43mm, 58mm, 85mm)
The Dulens APO Mini Primes cater to cinematographers pursuing the vintage low contrast aesthetic with pronounced flares, without the chromatic aberrations of uncorrected vintage primes. These mini primes feature a cinema housing — no front extension or rotation — coupled with a smooth, long focus throw that ensures zero backlash, making them suitable for high-end productions. As the smallest large-format cine primes available, they are perfect for lightweight projects involving drones, gimbals, and other applications where compactness is crucial.
These mini primes boast a generous image circle compatible with almost any large-format camera, including the Red Monstro and Arri LF. Notably, the 58mm and 85mm lenses also cover the ARRI Alexa 65.
APO (Apochromatic) Design
‘APO’ signifies an apochromatic lens design, superior in correcting chromatic and spherical aberration compared to the more common achromat lenses. Unlike many modern lenses, the APO standard in Dulens APO Mini Primes is achieved not by using aspherical elements, but through intricate lens design. Aspherical lenses often produce the undesirable ‘onion bokeh’, resulting from CNC molding. In contrast, Dulens offers a pronounced, clean bokeh. Thanks to its high iris blade count, the bokeh remains circular even when stopping down to values such as T5.6 or T8.0. Its non-aspherical design ensures an absence of unwanted bokeh textures, such as onion rings.
The Dulens APO Mini Prime series currently includes 31mm, 43mm, 58mm, and 85mm lenses. A 21mm lens just jointed the lineup, and will hit the market in Q1 2024. Dulens is also exploring wider and much longer focal lengths following the same design philosophy. Every optic within the Dulens APO Mini Primes series is an original design — not merely repurposed vintage optics. They draw inspiration from classic designs, yet are recalculated using modern techniques to reduce chromatic aberrations and achieve high MTF (contrast and resolution). Furthermore, these lenses can be seamlessly intercut, maintaining consistent contrast, color, and flare properties.
- 85mm: 7 elements in 6 groups
- 58mm: 9 elements in 8 groups (double-Gauss)
- 43mm: 10 elements in 8 groups
- 31mm: Advanced retrofocus optical scheme
The Dulens lenses utilize a cutting-edge coating, termed as the “V” or “VL” coating. While many cinematographers prefer uncoated lenses for their unique flare and fog/bloom effects, these can be challenging for lighting, affecting light transmission and color accuracy. The V coating strikes a balance, offering an appealing flare and low contrast without the light transmission drawbacks of white glass or uncoated lenses. Flares from this lens are playful, characterized by ring shapes and rainbow colors, distinguishing them from most modern high transmission coatings.
Interchangeable Lens Mount
At Gafpa, we ensure all lenses are collimated. However, discrepancies might arise from a misaligned camera mount or an OLPF affecting the backfocus of wider lenses. We’ll provide a tutorial for adjustments; all that’s required is a lens spanner. The system, adjustable with a screwdriver, helps set the infinity focus correctly. Lenses come with a PL mount, but user-replaceable EF mounts are also available in our shop, taking less than 2 minutes for the switch.
Lens Markings and Focus Gears
The Dulens APO Mini Prime comes with all-metal 0.8 pitch focus gears for both iris and focus. Despite their compact design, many wonder about the feasibility of motor-driven iris adjustments. Rest assured, in our tests, as long as two rods (one on each side) are used, follow focus motors can drive them efficiently. We’ve also confirmed compatibility with the LPL to PL mounts on the Alexa, ensuring no obstructions from wing nuts.
When purchasing the Dulens APO mini prime, there’s no need to choose between metric and imperial lens markings, as both are already displayed on the lens.