Pierre Angénieux (1907-1998) was a French engineer and optician, one of the inventors of modern zoom lenses, and famous for presenting the Angénieux retrofocus.Angénieux graduated from the École Nationale Supérieure d’Arts et Métiers in 1928, and of the École Supérieure d’Optique the following year. He was a student of Henri Chrétien.

After working for Pathé, Angénieux founded a company specialized in film equipment in 1935, Les Etablissements Pierre Angénieux. He began using geometric optics instead of physical optics in the design of his lenses, as did Carl Zeiss and Ernst Abbe, and developed computer methods that reduced the time needed to design a lens in an order of magnitude.

The Angénieux company provided NASA with photographic equipment used in the Ranger program, the Gemini Project, the Apollo program, the Apollo-Soyuz test project and the Space Shuttle program. It should be noted that the first high-resolution photographs of the Moon, taken by Ranger 7, were taken 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.” He was honored with the Grand Prix des Ingénieurs Civils in France in 1973, and with the 1989 Gordon E. Sawyer Prize. His company also produced lenses for Kodak Retinette and Pony cameras.

In 1993, the homonymous Angénieux company was acquired by Thales Group and was renamed Thales Angénieux. The company still specializes in optical, electro-optical and optical-mechanical products.

Since 2013, Thales Angénieux organizes each year on the occasion of the Cannes Film Festival the Pierre Angénieux Excellens at the Photography ceremony to pay tribute to a leading Director of Photography for his career.

After 50 years almost entirely dedicated to the design and production of high-end zoom lenses, Angénieux chooses the Cannes Film Festival to announce a full set of full-frame primitive lenses: the Optimo Prime series, in association with Band Pro Film & Digital . Inc and Jebsen Industrial.

Designed to precisely match the look of the Animoieux Optimo zoom series, both physically and optically; The Optimo Prime full frame series complements the professional cinema lenses currently available.

The productions and the DoP will now have available a full range of cinema optics that adapt in response to the needs or desires of recording, and adapted to the latest generations of camera sensors. The Optimo Prime series will complete the Angenieux FF zoom lens offering, including the Optimo Ultra 12x.

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