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Ultra Panavision 70, Early lenses

The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: Tak Miyagishima, Panavision, Hollywood, USA Date: 14.09.2009
Here’s a photo of a 230mm Focal Length lens that was made and used on “Ben Hur”. Image by Tak Miyagishima
I’ve it in the lobby of our engineering department. What makes this lens unique is that the image is stretched vertically 1.25X rather than squeezed but still marked as having an anamorphic power of 1.33X.

These earlier lenses were all engraved as having a power of 1.33X but were never used having that power. We started designing these lenses with the power of 1.33X and had to alter the power but didn’t change the engraving. The reasons for the change to 1.25X rather than keeping it at 1.33X was quite simple. During that time frame Todd-AO had been introduced and was doing a landslide business. MGM wanted their own system so in order to compete with them they approached us to design a new from scratch taking system. Their wish was to make sure that this new format/system was wider than that of Todd-AO. To achieve this goal their answer was a 1.33X system. Consequently in the midst of the design stage they realized that their goal of a 3.00:1 aspect ratio was too wide for the theaters they had in mind to show their productions. So they once again approached us to change the anamorphic power to 1.25X. This still gave them an aspect ratio of 2.75:1 the widest aspect ratio.

I believe this is the first time I’ve explained why 1.25X and not 1.33X. Hopefully you’ll enjoy this and share it with all.
More in 70mm reading:

Motion pictures photographed in MGM Camera 65 / Ultra Panavision 70

The Importance of Panavision
Ultra Panavision 70 - almost like a real story
Ultra Panavision 70 Lens - Adjustment and lens modifications
MGM Camera 65 & Ultra Panavision 70
To Split or not to Split ... That is the Hollywood Question!

Walter Siegmund about Todd-AO

Internet link:



The Mirage Lens - Super Panavision 70

For your interest in case you don’t have a photo of this lens. Image by Tak Miyagishima

This is the lens that was used by Freddie Young to shot the “Mirage Scene” of "Lawrence of Arabia" [In Super Panavision 70, ed]. As Freddie mentioned, this lens introduced “Omar Sarif”.
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Updated 07-01-23