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Century Optics Wide Angle Lenses for Super 8


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#1 Glenn Brady

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 08:50 AM

I'm renewing my interest in Super 8 filmmaking after an absence of almost thirty years. In reassembling an outfit, I'd like to acquire a lens having a much wider field of view than is possible with the Schneider-Kreuznach 6-66mm f/1.8 Optivaron lens fitted to my Beaulieu 4008 ZM II. I believe the accessory lens offered by Schneider is good for 4mm when attached to this zoom, but I'd like to go wider still.

Has anyone used the 2.5mm f/1.8 Extreme Wide Angle or 3.5mm f/1.8 Super Wide Angle C-mount lenses marketed by Century Precision Cine/Optics in the 1980s for the Super 8 format? Would these be worth the effort and expense of searching out and buying, or are there other lenses currently available having a similar specification? Is a 0.3x or 0.5x conversion lens my only option? If the conversion lens is the only practical option, can anyone recommend a particular manufacturer? Could the Century 1.9mm or 3.5mm lenses made to cover 16mm be collimated for a Beaulieu 4008 ZM II?

Thanks for listening.
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#2 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 10:28 AM

I'm renewing my interest in Super 8 filmmaking after an absence of almost thirty years. In reassembling an outfit, I'd like to acquire a lens having a much wider field of view than is possible with the Schneider-Kreuznach 6-66mm f/1.8 Optivaron lens fitted to my Beaulieu 4008 ZM II. I believe the accessory lens offered by Schneider is good for 4mm when attached to this zoom, but I'd like to go wider still.

Has anyone used the 2.5mm f/1.8 Extreme Wide Angle or 3.5mm f/1.8 Super Wide Angle C-mount lenses marketed by Century Precision Cine/Optics in the 1980s for the Super 8 format? Would these be worth the effort and expense of searching out and buying, or are there other lenses currently available having a similar specification? Is a 0.3x or 0.5x conversion lens my only option? If the conversion lens is the only practical option, can anyone recommend a particular manufacturer? Could the Century 1.9mm or 3.5mm lenses made to cover 16mm be collimated for a Beaulieu 4008 ZM II?

Thanks for listening.



I wasn't aware of the Century Precision lenses marketed in the 80's for super-8, but you did qualify it by saying "C-mount", which severly limits the super-8 cameras it would instantly fit on without additional tinkering.

The 4mm wide angle attachment lens is designed to cover approximately three times the area of standard 7.5mm lens. So if you start with a lens at 6mm, and add a 4mm wide angle attachment, wouldn't that get you pretty wide?

Finally, perhaps emailing or calling Century Precision is a logical option as well to see if they have any new or used inventory of 2.5 or 3.5mm lens you speak of. If you do call, it would also be interesting to know if their 2.5 or 3.5mm lens could be made to fit onto a standard Super-8 camera that offers wide angle macro and if the final wide angle spec changes when the C-mount is converted to some other fitting.
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#3 Glenn Brady

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 11:16 AM

The Century lenses I describe would fit a Beaulieu 4008 ZM II without modification as far as I know. They're C-mount prime lenses, not conversion lenses, and so should fit a C-mount camera. The Schneider conversion lens (sometimes known as the Nizo III ultra wide angle aspheric) produces a field of view equivalent to a 4mm lens when attached to the 6-66mm f/1.8 Optivaron lens (with the lens set at its 6mm focal length).

While I suppose I could contact Century about these lenses, I doubt I could afford to buy them new. The 2.5mm cost $595.00 and the 3.5mm $495.00 twenty-five years ago, so I'm sure they'd cost well over $1.0K now if they were still available. The currently available 1.9mm lens is available from Century/Schneider for $1,995.00 - well beyond my budget. I'm hoping to find the lens I need secondhand at a price I can afford.
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#4 Andrew Means

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 11:59 AM

I definitely am interested in wideangle lenses- if I was going to do it, however, I would have to do a step-down ring from my 67 filter-mount on the end of my Nikon R10 - has anyone done anything like this? What are the pitfalls?
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#5 Glenn Brady

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 12:11 PM

The step-down ring would almost certainly cause vignetting at the widest focal lengths. A better solution might be to use a larger diameter conversion lens. Schneider does offer an Ultra Wide Lens IV that I believe has an M77 attachment thread, but it costs 379.00 Euros at Wittner Kinotechnik. With a step-up ring (that may be supplied), this item would fit your R10, but I don't know if it would be optically compatible.
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#6 Daniel Henriquez Ilic

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 12:40 PM

Hello Glenn,

Thank you for providing all those details. That's very interesting ans allow to learn more about C-Mount wide angle options.

I remember that Pro 8mm was marketing a few years algo a 3mm lens (not a lens, but something like an optical element that you put in front of another specific lens). Ma

Unfortunately their web page doesn't mentions it now :
http://pro8mm.com/Me...ategory_Code=BA

Their phone number is (1) 818-848-5522.

Regards,
Daniel
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#7 Hal Smith

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 01:04 PM

Interesting thread.

Does anyone know of an off-the-shelf wide angle converter for the shorter Nizo Schneider lenses? I've got a 4056 on the way with the standard 7-56mm on it and it would be nice to know of any wide angle converters that will go on that lens without fiddling with adapter rings, etc.
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#8 Glenn Brady

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 01:38 PM

Interesting thread.

Does anyone know of an off-the-shelf wide angle converter for the shorter Nizo Schneider lenses? I've got a 4056 on the way with the standard 7-56mm on it and it would be nice to know of any wide angle converters that will go on that lens without fiddling with adapter rings, etc.


The series of Schneider wide angle conversion lenses includes the Ultra Wide I, which is advertised to be useable on any camera having either a M49 or M52 attachment thread. The 7-56mm lens on your 4056 would have an effective focal length of 4mm at its shortest setting with this accessory lens fitted. The best part is that, this is the least expensive of the series.
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#9 jacob thomas

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Posted 14 September 2006 - 08:55 AM

The series of Schneider wide angle conversion lenses includes the Ultra Wide I, which is advertised to be useable on any camera having either a M49 or M52 attachment thread. The 7-56mm lens on your 4056 would have an effective focal length of 4mm at its shortest setting with this accessory lens fitted. The best part is that, this is the least expensive of the series.


This is my speculation based on the photos of the Century ultra wide angle c mount lenses (on ebay) but it looks like they won't screw in to the beaulieu because they extend beyond the mount back towards the film plane.

But it might be best to call Pro8mm and ask as they probably know.
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#10 Glenn Brady

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Posted 14 September 2006 - 12:09 PM

This is my speculation based on the photos of the Century ultra wide angle c mount lenses (on ebay) but it looks like they won't screw in to the beaulieu because they extend beyond the mount back towards the film plane.

But it might be best to call Pro8mm and ask as they probably know.



I've noticed that Du-All Camera in New York City (www.duallcamera.com) offers a Super 8 rental package that is comprised of, among other things, a Beaulieu 4008 series camera and a Century 1.9mm lens. It appears the lens can be adapted to the Beaulieu if it isn't supplied that way from Century/Schneider. I believe this lens projects an 8mm diameter circular image, so it should cover Super 8 with no vignetting. Since the rental rate appears to be $450.00 daily, I won't be trying it anytime soon.
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#11 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 14 September 2006 - 04:57 PM

I've noticed that Du-All Camera in New York City (www.duallcamera.com) offers a Super 8 rental package that is comprised of, among other things, a Beaulieu 4008 series camera and a Century 1.9mm lens. It appears the lens can be adapted to the Beaulieu if it isn't supplied that way from Century/Schneider. I believe this lens projects an 8mm diameter circular image, so it should cover Super 8 with no vignetting. Since the rental rate appears to be $450.00 daily, I won't be trying it anytime soon.



What's ironic about that rental price is the camera would last longer if it was only mounted with a 1.9 lens. Less torque is applied to where the lens meets the camera body with the wide angle lens so the odds are that if one were waving the camera around all day long during a shoot that the wide angle lens would put less stress on the camera overall than a big ole zoom lens.

They should consider a wide angle only rental option and drop the price to $250.00 a day.
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#12 Glenn Brady

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Posted 16 September 2006 - 08:04 AM

What's ironic about that rental price is the camera would last longer if it was only mounted with a 1.9 lens. Less torque is applied to where the lens meets the camera body with the wide angle lens so the odds are that if one were waving the camera around all day long during a shoot that the wide angle lens would put less stress on the camera overall than a big ole zoom lens.

They should consider a wide angle only rental option and drop the price to $250.00 a day.



I'm not sure if it makes sense to hang a big Angenieux zoom on a Super 8 camera, but Du All has added a rod support system for the lens and so there shouldn't be any extra stress on the C-mount.
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#13 Topher Ryan

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 01:17 AM

Is the light loss when using the Schneider UWL converters of any significance? Would I rate my film any differently as though using a filter?
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