Filmcentre hire Index (frames mode)

Lenses with personality


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2010, I was part cameraman and part exhibit at Vintage Goodwood, filming Molly Parkin's 60's fashion show with the SR2... the event was a mecca for cameramen and cameras of all shapes and sizes.. a DP with a Red camera crew recognised me.. hailed me with .. it's the lens guy... have you anything that flares?! Unfortunately the only flares I had I was wearing... and the only lenses I had brought that would cover the Red sensor were PL mounted Meyer's and Pentacons... just wouldn't flare!
still, recognition of sorts, by ones peers...

It's a shame, a few of my lenses, the ones with personality... don't have the opportunity to be used so much... often because they won't cut with anything else on film or video!..

example photos, on a GH1, click for full res 1920x1080

GH1 with Cooke Speed series II - 75mm f2
  its not about the camera, its about the cameraman.. but sometimes, its about the lens

Kinoptic Tega:

Only covers S16, but a favourite wacky lens. 8 blade aperture.

Tega 5.7mm lens

Fast, f1.2, 16mm lenses on micro 4/3rds...
even a 12mm has shallow depth of field!

Zeiss Mk1 primes, f1.2 on the GH1....

Konica Hexanon 57mm f1.2
Zeiss Tessar 8cm f2.8

really fast full frame lenses... either the Nikkor f1.2 or, I think, the even better Hexanon. fast yet sharp, low contrast, beautiful out of focus bokeh...
Here's a shot that didn't make it into the final video, because it was just too pretty compared to the Nikons on a 7D
(GH1 Hexanon f1.2: link: original test footage, GH1 )


ref: DAWN PENN - "City Life" Official Music Video

GH1-Zeiss-Contax-85mm-f1.4 Picture left, a prototype BNCR to M43 mount for K35s and Zeiss superspeeds, although before I could make use of it, I'd made a more practical one for the NEX.. not an outlandish look from these lenses... but they can flare nicely, full story here.

NEX5n Zeiss Contax B-speeds, BNCR NEX5n Zeiss Contax B-speeds, BNCR
Zeiss Tessar 8cm f2.8 c1937
Zeiss Tessar 8cm f2.8

..with T2 to Nikon or PL adapter. 270deg helicoid !.. soft portrait lens, bokeh not great wide open, but gone by f4. and always soft out of focus. seems to have it's own built in fog filter.. probably oxidation on the front lens (that I'm loath to wipe off)...
more here: pre-war tessar

Zeiss Tessar 12cm f2.7 VI2 c1924
Cinekowa 9mm

close focus abt 4ft, and a mad 630deg helicoid !!.

Out-of-focus areas are very soft, sometimes a light halo and always circular as the aperture is a 16 blade perfect circle at all apertures. Covers full frame without vignetting (originally a medium format lens).
Apart from slight low contrast this takes stills little worse than many lenses 80 yrs it junior..



Zeiss Ikon 2x anamorphic lens

Anamorphot III MC, cinemascope version. length: 170mm. weight: approx. 1.6kg. Test footage opposite taken on 7D and 550D -vignettes under 80mm taking lens.

Zeiss anamorphic 2x Cinemascope

Tracking anamorphic test from 93 Million Miles on Vimeo.

Anamorphic test - short sequence from 93 Million Miles on Vimeo.

Panasonic LA-7200 Anamorphic adapter (see hire pages)
Also flare tests:
LA-7200 Anamorphic adapter


The Hammer Cookes
(OK, they've seen better, Dracula for one.. and the GH1 adapter was slightly misaligned during the (bookcase) experiment.. but watch this space)
The out-of-focus-halo is generally gone when stopping down a stop or so.

Cooke speed Panchro 1" (24mm) f2 (sn 303131)
Cooke speed Panchro 35mm f2 (sn 303336) slightly overexposed..

Cooke speed Panchro 40mm f2 ELC in Mitchell/m43 mount

Cooke speed Panchro Series II 50mm f2 (sn 525681)

50mm out of focus rendition (compare to the Jupiter 8 below?)

Cooke speed Panchro Series II 75mm f2 (sn 564903),
one of the radioactive ones?.. now somewhat orange glass...

Cooke deep field Panchro 100mm f2.5 (sn 302649)

Cooke_speed_Panchro_SeriesII-75mm f2 (uncorrected for glass colour)
Cooke_speed_Panchro_SeriesII-75mm f2

Cooke_speed_Panchro_SeriesII-75mm f2

Jupiter 8 (Biotar copy) 50mm f2

an out of focus Jupiter 8.. ok this was a pretty bad comparison!

GH1-Cooke35mm @ f2 or continuing the dracula theme: GH1-Cooke35mm

GH1-Cooke35mm @ f2

GH1-Cooke35mm @ f2 / #2

GH1-Cooke35mm @ f2
GH1-Cooke35mm @ f2
GH1-Cooke35mm @ f2
GH1-Cooke35mmf2 GH1-Cooke35mmf2
GH1-Cooke35mm @ f2

GH1-Cooke35mm @ f2 / #2

GH1-Cooke35mm @ f2 / #2

GH1-Cooke35mm @ f2 / #2 / #3 / #4

GH1-Cooke35mm @ f2 / #2 / #3 /

GH1-Cooke35mm @ f2 / #2 / #3 /

GH1-Cooke50mm series II @ f3.5 bokeh (focused in front of table)

GH1-Cooke50mm series II @ f3.5 (no hood/plus flare)GH1-Cooke50mmf3
GH1-Cooke Speed Panchro 25mm @ f5.6 / 400asa (10k original)
GH1 Cooke Speed Panchro 25mm -Bray Studios
(10k original)
GH1 Cooke Speed Panchro 25mm -Bray Studios
GH1-Cooke Speed Panchro 25mm @ f5.6 / 400asaGH1 Cooke Speed Panchro 25mm -Bray Studio zombie
(10k original) after 40 years , Hammer's lenses on the ghouls and zombies @ Bray Studios...!
GH1 Cooke Speed Panchro 25mm -Bray Studio ghoul
Pelang 8mm f3.5
Pelang lens on a GH1
Pelang 8mm f3.5 (1920x1080)
Pelang 8mm f3.5 Trafalgar Sq Pelang 8mm f3.5
I think the Pelang works better on M43 than on Full Frame (where it severely vignettes).
Foth Anastigmat 50mm f3.5 c1934 uncoated
Foth (Derby_ 50mm f3.5 lens on a GH1

Lens originally fitted to a 1930s Foth Derby, taking 30mmx40mm neg's on 127 film. Unfortunately, mounted on a full frame SLR the lens fouls the mirror for anything over 3ft.. so here it is on M43 where it's edge of frame distortion is not really apparent. more photos here

50mm f3.5@f3.5 ---------------------------- Foth 50mm @ f9
GH1 Foth 50mm f3.5 @ f9, flowers

By using a lens on a larger format than the designer intended you can sometimes see this swirl effect (usually Petzval or Anastigmat designs. Better corrected lenses will usually just vignette, and incidentally, often not be as sharp in the centre).
This 25mm f1.9 from the 1930's just slightly darkens into the corners and (before photoshop) was very low contrast...
Many pre 1970s 35mm stills lenses have Swirly bokeh too, due to their astigmatism together with a lot of aperture blades they make the out of focus regions appear circular, and then stretched out to "rugby balls". Also a look typical of triotars and biotars (like the Helios 44 & 40, Westagons).. but you need a larger sensor to see it.
CLICK to enlarge photo.

25mm Angstigmat on micro 4/3rds

Some lenses can be quite mesmerising...!

More extreme examples from a 4e/4g 50mm lens for 16mm, but on an APSC/½ frame sensor (NEX5n).
This shows how larger formats need lenses with more corrective elements to produce "normal" images. Again the centre portion of this image, when in focus, is sharper than almost any full frame lens.

Swirly Bokeh
Bausch & Lomb Baltar-25mm-f2.3

Bausch & Lomb Baltar 25mm f2.3, c1951
here, in it's original mount, it covers 35mm Academy, NEX (just!) and m4/3rds.

The Baltar was competition in the 1950s to the Cooke Panchros above -albeit half a stop slower. See cooke/baltar shoot-out page.

The rather pretty mount is believed to be from a Photosonics Acme camera (It is slightly smaller than the Mitchell Pro 16mm). Marked close focus is 1ft, but a further turn of the helicoid brings it to about 6 inches, and another turn, and focus is an inch from the front of the lens housing... why anyone would remount these lenses to inferior modern housings is beyond me!.
Again this is a non invasive adapter, not a conversion to E-mount.

Canon SD (Demi-C) 50mm
Foth (Derby_ 50mm f3.5 lens on a GH1
Canon SD lenses for the Demi-C, (there are only two, 28mm and 50mm/f2.8). Not an easy lens to remount without modifying the lens, and being bit of a collectors item* you wouldn't want to. There is no iris, so it's wide open all the time, but why would you want to stop it down to look like any other lens... The 50mm is certainly in a class of it's own, very, very sharp centre, but loses the plot before the edge of ½ frame or APSC (smearing and OoF chromatic aberration). Either a +5 or a -5 on the personality scale depending on your pov. Unusually, the lens sports one of the largest entry lens v smallest exit pupil on a 50mm f2.8... see examples
With a minimum focus distance of 4ft I was tempted to mount this on a bellows, but it looks at home on the NEX without making a joke of it.
* less than perfect ones change hands for £10-£20 in 2011 (e-bay)
Bell & Howell 2inch f1.4 or f1.2 petzval lens in focus mount for NEX
Bell & Howell 2inch f1.2 petzval lens in focus mount for NEX, in this case
Bell & Howell 2inch f1.2 petzval lens, example picture
can focus from infinity to 25cms from camera flange (14cms from front of lens).
Later versions of this lens are coated and don't flare so much.


Hermagis Cinema Objective 60mm f2.4

Hermagis 60mm f2.4

Another petzval: Hermagis Cinema Objective from 1912. As well as lenses for Pathe, Hermagis made petzval projection lenses, a few of which they adapted with an iris for camera use.
It's low contrast, fairly soft, glowing and seriously out of focus to the edges (APSC, NEX5n).

see also micro 4/3rds/GH1 page &, SR2 Hire
last updated:16 Nov 2014