B&H Photo News Roundup: Week of March 31, 2024

B&H Photo News Roundup: Week of March 31, 2024

We’re a week away from the 2024 NAB Show and lots of exciting new products have already been announced. Lens-crafters NiSi and Atlas Lens Co. unveiled new additions to their signature cinema lineups. Industry-titan Sachtler updated its lauded Ace tripod system. We also got not one but two teasers for upcoming product launches from DJI. 

NiSi ATHENA PRIME series brings on 18mm, 40mm, and 135mm lenses

NiSi is a relative newcomer to the world of cinema lenses, but they’ve made a strong showing so far, offering lenses that strike the right balance between cost and performance. Last year’s ATHENA PRIME series in particular has been well-received and now gains three new focal lengths: 18mm T2.2, 40mm T1.9, and 135mm T2.2.

This brings the series up to a total of eight focal lengths ranging from 14mm to 135mm. NiSi initially launched with a comprehensive lineup that covers most use cases, especially with an ultra-wide starting point of 14mm. These three additions provide a more comprehensive set of options for cinematographers to nail their vision.

The full-frame lens set itself is relatively affordable and fast, with maximum apertures of T1.9 or T2.2, depending on the focal length. These lenses are also feature sharp optics with minimal focus breathing. They are respectable pieces of glass.

NiSi also added extra features to these lenses that aren’t super common for cinema glass. This includes fluorescent focus scales for easier viewing in dim light and drop-in filter slots for the Canon RF and Sony E models, as well as rear screw-in filters for the ARRI PL mount.

It’s a great set if you want something that can give you top quality without breaking the bank.

Atlas pushes ORION series farther and wider with three new lenses

Atlas Lens Co. quickly established itself as one of the premier manufacturers of anamorphic lenses and it has never let up on the gas. Just last year the company announced the original set of eight ORION 2x anamorphic primes for Super 35mm cameras. The original set started at 21mm and stretched out to 100mm. Today, Atlas is releasing even wider and more telephoto options with an 18mm T2, 135mm T2.2, and 200mm T3.2.

Speaking more generally about the ORION line for a minute, we need to call out Atlas’s design choices with its optics. The ORION series takes classic aesthetics, such as flaring and distortion, and adds consistency to the equation. You can get an entire set of lenses with a distinct look that all have a matched aesthetic. This aligns with the needs and desires of modern productions.

Now, we have an additional ultra-wide lens in the mix with this 18mm. Wide-angle anamorphic lenses are not common and the promised quality of this lens makes it an extremely cool new development. On the other side of the focal length spectrum we have a 135mm and 200mm. A 135mm is a personal favorite for portraiture and this is a nice addition in cinema lineups because it brings a bit more of that telephoto look to the scene. And having a 200mm to really extend your reach is a nice option.

These new lenses each have an ARRI PL mount and are compatible with Atlas’s accessories, including its 1.4x Expander for use on a full-frame large-format camera system, and the 1.6x Extender for even more focal length options.

The Atlas Lens Co. booth at NAB will have these lenses available to try out.

Sachtler Ace M and Ace XL Mk II tripod systems get modest upgrades

Though sometimes boring, a quality tripod is absolutely necessary for capturing professional-looking footage, and Sachtler is one of the best names in the support system field. Its entry-level Ace models are extremely popular and fulfill Sachtler’s commitment to quality. Now, you can pick up Mk II versions of the Ace M and Ace XL heads and 75/2 legs and tripod systems.

These Mk II versions have a handful of nice tweaks that should make them a bit more worthwhile for filmmakers looking for a seriously solid system.

  • Nine counterbalance settings

  • Weigh capacities up to 8.8 lb (Ace M Mk II) or 17.6 lb (Ace XL Mk II)

  • The XL model has an illuminated bubble level

Additionally, the updated 75/2 Mk II legs are comptabile with these heads as part of a system. They also come standard with a carrying handle. With entry-level products this good, you can’t go wrong with Sachtler. 

DJI teases two new product launches for next week

Ah, time for DJI to get us excited for what is to come next week. The brand published two separate teasers—one for Tuesday morning and one for Thursday morning—that hint at exciting, new products that’ll be available soon.

Since these products haven't been announced, we don't have much to say yet, but we can discuss the teaser images published by DJI. In Thursday’s Ready to Roll preview, we can clearly make out the propellers and general design of a drone. Meanwhile, in Tuesday’s Focus on the Vision launch, the final item in a series of products bears the distinct Ronin branding. Feel free to speculate (or add your own personal wish list for DJI products) in the Comments!

In other news…

The total solar eclipse is on Monday! Be sure you are ready with glasses, filters, and anything else you might need. The weather in New York City looks promising for getting a glimpse of the partial eclipse (we aren’t in the path of totality, unfortunately). And if you are local, stop by the B&H SuperStore to find any last-minute items.

NAB is less than two weeks away and we will be covering everything up to and through the show. Our video team will also be on location to capture the latest news and share all the details on the new products showcased in Las Vegas.

Lots of news on the way so be sure to check back in next week!