Pierre Angénieux

Pierre Angénieux (French pronunciation: ​[pjɛːʁ ɑ̃.ʒe.njø]) (14 July 1907 in Saint-Héand – 26 June 1998) was a French engineer and optician, one of the inventors of the modern zoom lenses, and famous for introducing the Angénieux retrofocus.


Angénieux graduated from the École nationale supérieure d'arts et métiers in 1928, and from the École supérieure d'optique the next year. He was a student of Henri Chrétien.

After working for Pathé, Angénieux founded a company specialising in cinema equipment in 1935, les établissements Pierre Angénieux. He started using Geometric optics rather than Physical optics in the design of his lenses, as Carl Zeiss and Ernst Abbe did, and developed computing methods decreasing the time needed to design a lens by an order of magnitude.

In 1950, Angénieux introduced the Angénieux retrofocus, which allowed mounting wide-angle lenses on Single-lens reflex cameras.

In 1953, Angénieux designed the fastest lens of the time, reaching f/0.95. The design was used in the Bell & Howell 70 series cameras for 35 years.–

In 1956, Angénieux designed a constant aperture 17-68mm zoom lens, and a 12-120mm in 1958.[1]

Angénieux' company provided NASA with photographic equipment used in the Ranger program, Project Gemini, Apollo program, Apollo-Soyuz Test Project and the Space Shuttle program. Notably, the first high-resolution photographs of the Moon, by Ranger 7, were made with a 25 mm f/0.95 lens.

In 1964, Angénieux received a Scientific or Technical award "for the development of a ten-to-one Zoom Lens for cinematography."[2][3] He was honoured with the Grand Prix des Ingénieurs Civils in France in 1973, and with the 1989 Gordon E. Sawyer Award.[4] His company also produced lenses for the Kodak Retinette and Pony cameras.[5]

In 1993, Angénieux' eponymous company was acquired by Thales Group and renamed Thales Angénieux. The company still specializes in optical, electro-optical and optical-mechanic products.[6]

Since 2013, Thales Angénieux organizes every year on the occasion of the Cannes Film Festival the Pierre Angénieux Excellens in Cinematography ceremony to pay tribute to a prominent Director of Photography for its career.

Reference and notes

  1. ^ bolexcollector.com
  2. ^ Pierre Angenieux | Gordon E. Sawyer Award | AMPAS Archived June 10, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Awards for 1965 – Oscar
  4. ^ Gordon E.Sawyer Award for Pierre Angenieux.
  5. ^ Classic camera on Angénieux Archived 2015-02-12 at the Wayback Machine. quote: ...following an agreement between the former company and Kodak, Angenieux became sole supplier for a number of years. Angenieux lenses may thus be found fitted to a range of the more popular middle-price Kodak cameras of that period that included the 620 rollfilm models as well as 35’s such as Retinettes and Pony 35’s.
  6. ^ "Forty years ago" (thalesgroup.com)

External links

Angénieux retrofocus

The Angénieux retrofocus photographic lens is a wide-angle lens design that uses an inverted telephoto configuration. The popularity of this lens design made the name retrofocus synonymous with this type of lens. The Angénieux retrofocus for still cameras was introduced in France in 1950 by Pierre Angénieux.

Christopher Doyle

Christopher Doyle, also known as Dù Kěfēng (Mandarin) or Dou Ho-Fung (Cantonese) (traditional Chinese: 杜可風; simplified Chinese: 杜可风) (born 2 May 1952) is an Australian-Hong Kong cinematographer. He has worked on over fifty Chinese-language films, being best known for his collaborations with Wong Kar-Wai in Chungking Express, Happy Together, In the Mood for Love and 2046. Doyle is also known for other films such as Temptress Moon, Hero, Dumplings, and Psycho. He has won awards at the Cannes Film Festival and Venice Film Festival, as well as AFI Award for cinematography, the Golden Horse awards (four times), and Hong Kong Film Award (six times).

Gordon E. Sawyer Award

The Gordon E. Sawyer Award is an Honorary Award given by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to "an individual in the motion picture industry whose technological contributions have brought credit to the industry." The award is named in honour of Gordon E. Sawyer, the former Sound Director at Samuel Goldwyn Studio and three-time Academy Award winner who claimed that a listing of past Academy Awards, arranged both chronologically and by category, represents a history of the development of motion pictures. It was first presented at the 54th Academy Awards, in April 1982. The Gordon E. Sawyer Award is voted upon and given by the Scientific and Technical Awards Committee of the Academy.

History of photographic lens design

The invention of the camera in the early 19th century led to an array of lens designs intended for photography. The problems of photographic lens design, creating a lens for a task that would cover a large, flat image plane, were well known even before the invention of photography due to the development of lenses to work with the focal plane of the camera obscura.

Index of physics articles (P)

The index of physics articles is split into multiple pages due to its size.

To navigate by individual letter use the table of contents below.

List of Arts et Métiers ParisTech alumni

This is a list of notable people affiliated with the Arts et Métiers ParisTech. Alumni of the Arts et Métiers ParisTech are traditionally called Gadzarts.

Pierre Angénieux Excellens in Cinematography

The "Pierre Angénieux ExcelLens in Cinematography" award pays tribute to a prominent international director of photography at the Cannes film festival. The award originated in 2013.

The name comes from Pierre Angénieux, inventor of the retrofocus zoom mechanism and founder of the French manufacturer of high-end zoom lenses. It does not award a film from the Cannes' Official selection but intends to pay tribute to a prominent director of photography whose career is praised by all the industry for his/her aesthetic work.

Zoom lens

A zoom lens is a mechanical assembly of lens elements for which the focal length (and thus angle of view) can be varied, as opposed to a fixed focal length (FFL) lens (see prime lens).

A true zoom lens, also called a parfocal lens, is one that maintains focus when its focal length changes. A lens that loses focus during zooming is more properly called a varifocal lens. Despite being marketed as zoom lenses, virtually all consumer lenses with variable focal lengths use varifocal design.

The convenience of variable focal length comes at the cost of complexity - and some compromises on image quality, weight, dimensions, aperture, autofocus performance, and cost. For example, all zoom lenses suffer from at least slight, if not considerable, loss of image resolution at their maximum aperture, especially at the extremes of their focal length range. This effect is evident in the corners of the image, when displayed in a large format or high resolution. The greater the range of focal length a zoom lens offers, the more exaggerated these compromises must become.

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