Having two eyes allows us to see in 3D. Depth perception, or the third dimension, is formed when the brain combines the slightly different images seen by each eye into a single image. One of the simplest but most effective demonstrations of stereoscopic imagery is presented by the classic Viewmaster® toy, which has been on the market for many decades.
3D movies have been around longer than the Viewmaster®, but only in recent years has it become relatively easy, though not inexpensive, to create 3D cinematic masterpieces. Thales Angenieux’s Optimo DP zoom lenses are designed for large-format digital cameras and are sold in matched pairs to help capture the best 3D video possible.
Thales Angenieux is a leader in manufacturing zoom lenses for motion-picture production. Its DP Series of lenses include the Optimo DP 16-42mm and the Optimo DP 30-80mm. Due to their extreme precision, the Optimo DP zoom lenses are ideal for stereoscopic, or 3D image capture, especially when you have a matched pair of them.
The best way to capture a stereoscopic image is to film with a pair of cameras held side-by-side in a rig. Various companies make 3D rigs designed for use with specific cameras, with adjustments that let the operator precisely align the cameras to produce images that can be combined to create a jaw-dropping 3D effect. Of course each camera has to have the same lens attached. But believe it or not, as precise as the cameras and the rigs designed to hold them are, minute variations between different examples of the same model lens can be enough to compromise the quality of the final 3D footage. That’s why quality lenses in pairs matched at the factory can make a difference.
The Optimo DP 16-42mm is a wide-angle PL mount zoom lens with a fast aperture of f/2.6, or T2.8. The term T-stop is often used in describing video lenses; the F-stop is the true theoretical aperture of the lens, whereas the T-stop takes all light loss into account, such as that caused by lens coatings. The lens has calibrated focus marks and exhibits no ramping (a darkening of the image as you zoom in) or breathing (a changing of the image size as you adjust the focus). Along with a unique mechanical design, these features allow for precise zoom and focus. The lens is optimized for large-format, single-sensor digital cinema cameras and its 32mm diagonal image area covers the entire active pixel area of an S35/5K sensor.
The Optimo DP 30-80mm lens has a longer telephoto zoom range but with all of the same precision design characteristics as the DP 16-42mm.
The Optimo DP 16-42mm and Optimo DP 30-80mm lenses are available in matched pairs to aid in stereoscopic 3D production. You get two factory-matched lenses from the same production run, with matching focus scales and zoom ranges. They come in a custom Pelican case containing the lenses, shim kits, screwdrivers, lens support brackets and focus sticks.