Customizable lenses for full-frame cameras

Inspired by creative collaborations with top cinematographers, ARRI Rental’s exclusive DNA LF lenses can be tuned to suit individual artistic preferences.

Comprising re-housed vintage optics with a new iris for circular bokeh, DNA LF lenses incorporate coating options and tuneable internal elements. Once the lenses have been customized for an individual cinematographer, their unique settings can be kept on file and reproduced at any major ARRI Rental facility worldwide. Robust housings, uniform lens rings, and full LDS-2 metadata make DNA LF lenses practical, characterful companions for ALEXA LF and Mini LF, as well as other full-frame cameras.


Originally developed for the 65 mm format of ARRI Rental’s exclusive ALEXA 65 camera platform, DNA is a unique concept in lens creation. In essence, it is technology born of relationships: vintage optics rehoused and customized in partnership with filmmakers, to reflect their artistic sensibilities.

Robert Richardson ASC on “Breathe”; Greig Fraser ASC, ACS on “Mary Magdalene”; Bradford Young ASC on “Solo: A Star Wars Story”; Dante Spinotti ASC, AIC on “Ant-Man and the Wasp”; Newton Thomas Sigel ASC on “Bohemian Rhapsody”; James Laxton ASC on “If Beale Street Could Talk”; Ben Davis BSC on “Dumbo”; and Pedro Luque on “The Girl in the Spider’s Web”. All of these cinematographers have played a part in shaping the DNA concept and harnessing its creative possibilities. The DNA in the lenses is theirs.

While Prime DNA lenses for the larger ALEXA 65 format can be used on the ALEXA LF and ALEXA Mini LF, only the central part of the image circle is utilized. This eliminates some of the interesting, imperfect image elements at the edges and corners of the DNA frame, which are so revered by filmmakers. DNA LF lenses are therefore purpose-made for full-frame cameras, with an image circle perfectly matched to the LF sensor.


DNA LF offers a balanced and characterful look, full of life and gentler than many modern lenses. Focus fall-off is natural and pleasing, highlights are rendered in a mellow way, and the flare characteristics offer great scope for creativity, responding organically to direct light sources. New multi-blade irises have been built in to every lens, providing consistent, circular out-of-focus highlights and attractive bokeh.


Building on ARRI Rental’s previous DNA experience, the DNA LF lenses have been designed from the ground up to be customizable in ways that can be accurately recorded. Internal markings and mechanisms allow each lens to be personalized to a measurable, repeatable extent, and afterwards set back to its base settings. Adjustments can be made to focus fall-off, halation, contrast, spherical aberration, and field curvature, to meet the needs of a particular cinematographer or production.


“These new sets of DNA LF lenses keep the full character of the glass, most beautifully in the corners of the frame. I particularly fell in love with the 29 mm, which I used for every wide shot and even for some closer work.”

Ben Kutchins “Lexi”

“I found most of the modern lenses to be lacking character, and many of the older lenses inconsistent and difficult to work with. The DNA LFs manage to balance both.”

John Guleserian “Pickle”

“I like the DNA LFs a great deal. The focus fall-off is pleasing and rounded, and the bokeh is nicely textured, especially at the wider end of the aperture, where some unusual but interesting things can happen.”

PJ Dillon “Altered Carbon”

“The DNA LF/ ALEXA LF combination is just amazing—each lens has its own characteristic and now I can’t imagine how we could have done this with anything else.”

Stuart Howell “Catherine the Great”

“What impressed me is that although each DNA LF is individual, they have common characteristics; I still use them as if they were a normal set of lenses, which they very much are not.”

Sean Bobbitt BSC “Ironbark”


Some productions might not have time to customize DNA LFs, and many will simply like the look of the lenses as they are. For these productions ARRI Rental is developing DNA LF X lenses in three focal lengths, covering wide, medium and long, which complement the main DNA LF set. Uncoated, and tuned to deliver fairly pronounced optical characteristics, they provide an off-the-shelf option to introduce a more extreme, dirtier look for specific situations.


DNA LF lenses are available from ARRI Rental facilities worldwide, starting June 2019.