North Pacific Lens Summit 2024

On May 2nd and 3rd, the North Pacific Lens Summit took place in Portland Oregon. Created and organized since 2017 by Michael Koerner and his team at Koerner Camera, held in their rental facility Portland, Oregon. Two days of everything Cine Lenses and much more.  

Manufacturers of Cine Lenses, Rehousing companies, lens designers, lens service technicians and filmmakers from all around the world gather for the event. The Lens Summit isn’t like a big regular trade show, it’s more like a compact social gathering focused on lenses. Almost all the latest lenses and optical attachments were on display, even some new revelations and prototypes.

The people attending the summit ranged from DP’s, aspiring DP’s, rental house owners, film students, directors and of course technicians. All gathered for the lenses, discussing the aesthetics of the image they produce and the tech under the hood. Lenses from big and small manufacturers, from rehousing companies, filters and other optical attachments.

There were also some open seminars; History of anamorphic lenses, Image diffusion, Metadata, Jay Holben (of Cine Lens Manual) and also Lens Tech training by invite.

As a lens technician there was much to explore, maybe too much in just two days. What is the latest news, what considerations were made achieving the “look” of a lens, mechanical design choices made, lens service details like adjustments for example. Tools and grease, meeting the people who designed the products, talking to all the other lens technicians attending and discussing the nitty gritty tricks of the trade. There were hundreds of visitors and hundreds of years of lens experience combined under one roof. It was not always easy to keep up with the discussions as they sometimes went beyond my level of expertise.

There were some lenses that were shown for the very first time. The lenses that gained the most attention was the brand-new Coral Anamorphics from Second Reef; A set of FF coverage 1,5x Anamorphics with a slightly oval iris that gives you the look of a 2x Anamorphic lens.

The look is classic anamorphic, not over corrected, low breathing and constant squeeze over the field. This gives them their own look. Can’t wait to test them more at home. They won this Summits lens award. They are designed ground up by Second Reef and IB/E Optics, who also manufacture the Blackwing7’s.

Second Reef is a company not many know of, they manage the sales of for example IB/E Optics and Blackwing7 lenses and they also collaborate with other companies. They have a lot of knowledge and experience in our industry.

IB/E Optics showed some new Expanders and a new Scope lens which looks similar to the P+S Technik Skaterscope. But this lens can be switched between S35 T4,0 and FF T5,6. Four or five fixed focus lenses are included and a mount for PL lenses. Image rotation is truly centered, and the scope can be angled in any direction, just like the Scaterscope. An optional Probe lens attachment is in the works as well. They had a 3D printed version of the probe for testing that worked really well with the IB/E Scope.

When you think that most vintage lenses have already been rehoused by someone, “new” ones emerge. For example, Fuji EBC Primes from Ancient Optics, built by TLS and Pentax SMC Super Takumar Primes by White Point Optics to name a few. There were also several anamorphic versions of vintage lenses, Ancient Optics Type SK 2x Anamorphic, Lomocron 2x Anamorphic, Legacy Anamorphic etc.

Of course, not to forget the FF “Impossible Zoom” Phenix 28-70mm T2,7. Word is that many tried to rehouse this zoom but without success until now, when engineer Evgeniy Dulin of IronGlass, Ukraine, took on the task and made it parfocal. Five independently moving lens groups inside this small fast vintage zoom. Extremely well done. The list of rehousings could go on. Some unique ones are made in-house at US rental houses.

Old Fast Glass showed their medium format OFG Customs camera, a full-size camera built around a Fujifilm GFX100 II. There were some extra treats as well. The showstopper was undoubtedly Caesar the No Drama Llama. An actual llama along with his keeper showed up on the show floor for hugs and photos on Friday – he is apparently a local celebrity. 

On Saturday May 4th Darth Vader arrived on a unicycle playing a fire-breathing bagpipe. There was a daily lottery with prizes from the exhibitors. A young female intern won a cine zoom lens, she almost fainted. Other prizes were Zeiss binoculars, hoodies, lens service, rental discounts etc. Food trucks were parked outside, and local beer, wine and soda drinks were free of charge,

It was a great privilege to be able to attend this unique event, different to the bigger ones I’ve been to before; more intimate. This made it possible to talk to many with great knowledge in lenses.

All the people I met were really nice, welcoming and generous in sharing their knowledge. As always you only had time to scratch on the surface of everything you wanted to know, but connecting with designers and technicians was invaluable.

A big thank you to Michael Koerner and his crew for bringing all of this together. 

It was great to be able to attend this great event.

Robert Blom