Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the demand for PL mount lenses, with some hire firms forced to wait up to a year for delivery of the high-end optics.

Industry figures say that orders for lenses from the likes of Angenieux, Arri, Cooke and Zeiss have increased due to the growing popularity of digital 35mm cameras from Red, Sony and Arri.

Procam Television owner John Brennan said lens manufacturers had been caught out by the demand, and warned the supply problems could get worse when Sony’s new F65 begins to ship at the end of the year.

“[Manufacturers] can’t employ someone off the street to build a lens, but there seems to be a delayed reaction to what everyone else in the industry knew,” he said.

Cooke Optics chairman Les Zellan told Broadcast that demand for the company’s lenses had “outpaced even our wildest dreams”.

“We are back-ordered on everything: Panchros, S4s and 5Is,” said Zellan. “It depends on the series of lens, but it takes around six to 12 months to fulfil orders. The market is growing and we have increased production, but at some point demand will plateau.”

Alias Hire managing director Mike Smith said Arri suggested a nine-month lead time for ultra primes, while Zeiss said delivery would take about six months. “I could buy an Arri Alexa and have it delivered in four weeks but there would be no glass to put on it for nine months. There has been a lot of cross-hiring, which I think could result in an increase in the hire rate as demand grows,” Smith said.

Arri business development manager Milan Krslianin said there had also been additional pressure on supply from 3D productions that required paired lenses.