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. (Retrofocus lenses had previously been developed for the film industry in 1931 by H. W. Lee of Taylor, Taylor and Hobson: British patent no. 355,452.)
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 10-120mm in 1958.
Angénieux' company provided NASA with photographic equipment used in the Ranger program, Project Gemini, Apollo program, Apollo-Soyuz Test Project and Space Shuttle. 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 an Scientific or Technical award "for the development of a ten-to-one Zoom Lens for cinematography." He was honoured with the Grand Prix des Ingénieurs Civils in France in 1973, and with the 1989 Gordon E. Sawyer Award. His company also produced lenses for the Kodak Retinette and Pony cameras.
Reference and notes
- Pierre Angenieux | Gordon E. Sawyer Award | AMPAS[dead link]
- Awards for 1965 – Oscar
- Gordon E.Sawyer Award for Pierre Angenieux.
- Classic camera on Angénieux 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.
- "Forty years ago" (thalesgroup.com)
- Pierre Angénieux
- (French) Pierre Angénieux on Gadzarts.
- An introduction to Angénieux lenses
- Angenieux website