Leitz Announces HUGO Cine Prime FF LensesBy Matthew Fresolone | November 14th, 2022
|Leitz' HUGO Full Frame primes were initially released as a 7-lens package. There is also an 8-lens version with a 50mm T1.0|
THE HUGO FULL FRAME PACKAGE
• 21mm• 24mm • 28mm • 35mm • 50mm • 75mm • 90mm All of these primes have a speed of T1.5, which offer incredible flexibility to filmmakers. Leitz plans to release a 50mm T1.0 lens to the kit in early 2023, which pushes an even faster aperture. There are also plans to extend the focal range of the kit by adding an 18mm and 135mm prime in the future, although no dates have been announced. The most notable quality about the HUGO’s mechanics might be its fast aperture. At T1.5, these lenses can achieve magnificent photography. The close focus on each lens is much closer than the HUGO’s predecessor. For example, the 21mm and 24mm both have a close focus of .3m (1’0”). At the other end of the lineup, the 90mm is capable of achieving focus on objects only .85m (2’10”) away.
PHYSICAL SPECSThe Leitz HUGO lenses are built for consistency. Each lens has a front diameter size of 95mm, allowing easy transfer of filters without the use of a matte box. The lenses have an image circle of 43.3mm, perfect for large format shooting. The full frame capabilities of the HUGO lenses are a tremendous upgrade from vintage lenses. The HUGO is equipped with an 11-bladed iris, producing circular bokeh. The focus scales can be switched from feet to meters by the user. Focal rotation on every HUGO prime is 270°, allowing precise focus pulling. The HUGO lenses are also remarkably lightweight, allowing them to compete in modern day shooting scenarios. In fact, most of the 7-lens set weighs in at under 1kg. This makes the HUGO lenses great candidates for handheld shooting and mobile rigs like Steadicams. The HUGO lenses are all equipped with an LPL mount but can be swapped by the user onto the Leica M or Leica L mounts.
THE HUGO LOOKIt’s worth emphasizing that the HUGO primes are upgraded versions of the Leica M 0.8 lenses. The HUGO lenses have the same optical design, internal glass elements, glass and coatings of the Leica M series. The Managing Director of Ernst Leitz Wetzlar stated: “There were several reasons to introduce Leitz Hugo prime lenses: the beauty of Leica M lens images, the success of our M 0.8 series, and the opportunity to make dedicated cine lenses using beloved M lens elements” Rainer went on to describe image characteristics of the HUGO primes: “Hugo primes are very fast and super sharp in the center. They have a pleasing fall-off toward the edges, with a painterly balance of focus, out-of-focus areas and field curvature. Slight distortion and aberrations are not overtly overly-corrected out. Bokeh may contain rainbow colors. Flares are gorgeous” This description matches the Leitz M 0.8 look, which can be seen in the demo reel below:
THE LEITZ LOOKThis notion of retaining the iconic Leitz visual style and integrating it into newer builds is not new for the manufacturer. In fact, the Leica M 0.8 lenses are modified versions of the Leica Summilux and Noctilux M-mount primes, which date back to the mid-1970s. Leitz’ re-interpolation of vintage characteristics, while adapting to modern optical standards (such as minimizing barrel distortion), is what makes the HUGO primes an exceptional lens for shooters beholden to a naturalistic, vintage look. Hercher elaborated on HUGO’s position within the Leitz legacy: “Hugo is the artist in the Leitz family of Full Frame lenses. Their history is from the 2000s to 2022, with a 90-year heritage, in a modern housing… Many of us grew up with iconic Leica images. You rarely find a DP shooting a movie with just one set of lenses. Now you can shoot with crystal clear Leitz Primes, easy-going Elsie, and now with the special look of Hugo”
THE BOTTOM LINELeitz has released a remarkable upgrade with the HUGO Full Frame prime lenses. The 7-lens HUGO set costs $114,600 retail from B&H Photo. The 8-lens Hugo package, which includes the 50mm T1.0, costs about $132,550. Although individual lenses are harder to find at the moment, they go for about $20,000. Unless you’re a well-equipped production company or a rental space, the cost of the entire HUGO FF package doesn’t justify its use. Therefore, your best bet is probably to lease equipment from a reputable rental house.
Considering renting? Why not check out Bokeh Rentals equipment packages!
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