Dulens lenses
Image courtesy: Dulens

Some filmmakers find that modern lenses can give an image that looks too sharp. It’s one of the reasons that pro mist and other diffusion filters have risen in popularity. With its Vintage Series APO Mini prime lens range, Dulens has addressed this issue by recreating the vintage look of older lenses. 

Lenses in the range

Currently, there are four lenses in the APO Mini prime range, and they are compatible with PL or EF mounts. However, the EF mount can be easily adapted to other mounts, such as Sony E-mount or M43. The lenses cover the focal lengths lenses 31 mm, 43 mm, 58 mm and 85 mm. The lenses are fully manual, so both the focus and aperture rings have standard 0.8-pitch gears.

Vintage look

The APO Mini prime lenses use a special coating that smooths out skin tones and adds halation. These optical effects are often seen as the hallmark trait of vintage lenses. When you shoot at maximum aperture, the lenses also create a special rainbow flare. You can minimize this, however, by stopping the lens down. Dulens also says that the focus is sharp but not rigid, and the image is soft and expressive.

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Focus and aperture

The APO Mini prime lenses have an aperture range from T2.4 to T16. They also all have 11-bladed irises, which should give a smooth circular bokeh in out-of-focus areas. Close focus varies from 1’3 for the 31 mm lens and 2’9 for the 85mm lens.

Build

The APO Mini prime lenses are lightweight, weighing around 1.1-1.2 pounds (510-550 g). They are also compact, measuring only 2.65 inches (68 mm) in length. The lenses are designed so that the focus and iris rings are in the same position. This makes it much quicker to swap between lenses when using a follow focus. In addition, APO Mini prime lenses all share the same filter size of 72 mm.

Verdict

The Vintage Series APO Mini prime lenses are a great way to get the vintage look but with the reliability and features of modern lenses. However, they won’t be suitable for all projects. You should therefore consider whether it would be more economical to buy lenses with a regular look and use filters.

Pricing and availability

You can preorder the Dulens Vintage Series APO Mini prime lenses now. The individual lenses are priced at $999. You can also save a little cash by opting for the four-lens set at $3,899. The Dulens EF-Mount Kit for the APO Mini prime is available separately and costs $99.

Pete Tomkies is a freelance cinematographer and camera operator from Manchester, UK. He also produces and directs short films as Duck66 Films. Pete's latest short Once Bitten... won 15 awards and was selected for 105 film festivals around the world.