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Classic Anamorphics


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#1 Glen Alexander

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 02:40 PM

Anyone have a good ones with long focal length?
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#2 Max Jacoby

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 03:17 PM

They sucked. Hence why everyone switched to Panavision when they started releasing their own lenses that eliminated anamorphic mumps.
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#3 Glen Alexander

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 03:21 AM

They sucked. Hence why everyone switched to Panavision when they started releasing their own lenses that eliminated anamorphic mumps.


hey max,

was not intending on close ups, but some of the 'old timers' pine away and sleep with these under their pillow and i couldn't figure out why?

were they more prone to flares without modern coatings? more comas?

Edited by Glen Alexander, 15 May 2008 - 03:22 AM.

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#4 Max Jacoby

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 04:51 AM

These lenses first appeared in 1953. On the Robe, the first Cinemascope film, they only had one lens, a 50mm. Dops hated them, because they were not sharp, had barrel distortion, etc... Even on dvd you can see their lack of sharpness. By 1958 no films were shot on them anymore, most people used Panavision and other lenses that were much better. I don't think anyone rents out these early Cinemacope lenses anymore, they are mostly in museums, and I doubt that there are versions with a PL or PV mount that one can use on modern cameras.

David Bordwell as a good article on early Cinemascope lenses in his latest book The Poetics of Cinema
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#5 Mike Williamson

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 05:05 AM

I've heard a rumor that some of stars from that era had it written in their contracts that if the movie was anamorphic, they would use Panavision lenses and not the B&L lenses with the anamorphic mumps (which I think were associated with 20th Century Fox at that point).
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#6 John Holland

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 05:34 AM

Frank Sinatra was one , Fox carried on using CinemaScope lenses until 1966 they then switched to Panavision .
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#7 Glen Alexander

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 12:19 PM

So why hasn't Schneider, ISCO, the people who make the projection lenses, made any lenses for cameras?

If the projection lens is complement of the camera lens, it wouldn't too hard to modify for a camera. Anyone given this a try before?
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#8 John Holland

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 12:43 PM

Panavision started that way with projection lenses the went into camera anamorphics .
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#9 Max Jacoby

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 01:37 PM

Isco designed the Arriscopes. On their website there is a flyer for a new series of anamorphics they wanted to build, but nothing ever came of it.

Shooting lenses are more complex than projection lenses, and making good anamorphics is the hardest thing.
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#10 Glen Alexander

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 01:50 PM

Isco designed the Arriscopes. On their website there is a flyer for a new series of anamorphics they wanted to build, but nothing ever came of it.

Shooting lenses are more complex than projection lenses, and making good anamorphics is the hardest thing.


i would think where parameters are fixed, i.e., a fixed focal length, no focus pulling, tweaking shutter angle, etc, that projection lenses for big cinemas would easily be better overall, they are designed for T1.~ and up. whereas from what i'm reading the shooting lenses are pretty stink wide open and really start to get great images around T4. as you say they are simplier, so the optics should be lot better.
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#11 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 03:40 PM

These lenses first appeared in 1953. On the Robe, the first Cinemascope film, they only had one lens, a 50mm. Dops hated them, because they were not sharp, had barrel distortion, etc... Even on dvd you can see their lack of sharpness. By 1958 no films were shot on them anymore, most people used Panavision and other lenses that were much better. I don't think anyone rents out these early Cinemacope lenses anymore, they are mostly in museums, and I doubt that there are versions with a PL or PV mount that one can use on modern cameras.


'The Robe' used Chretien attachments built in the 30s. They might have originally been built as a part of
tank periscopes rather than as photographic lenses.

later that year Bausch & Lomb brought out modernized attachments & the next year they began bringing out the bloc units.

A lot of the bad mouthing of them was done by Panavision, who possibly over exaggerated the mumps.
& other studios didn't really care to pay Fox for using CinemaScope.

A David Samuelson article in AC from 2003 states:

"Eventually, Panavision won out, and the day came when Fox ordered Panavision anamorphic lenses for a Fox production. It is an interesting fact that very many years later, after Gottschalk had died, one of the senior Bausch & Lomb lens designers came to work at Panavision and was mortified to discover that some of the "superior" Panavision anamorphic lenses that had caused his previous employer so much grief were, in fact, Bausch & Lomb originals that had been remounted, rebarreled and modified with the addition of Gottschalk's secret astigmatic attachment - and no one at Bausch & Lomb knew!"

http://www.theasc.co.../sub/page3.html

ILM and Disney were using B&L CinemaScope lenses for matte photography and other effects work that could use rack over cameras.

So maybe, other than the mumps, the over all picture quality wasn't so bad.

Geo.Stevens bought a Panavision lens to use on 'The Diary of Anne frank', but Fox wouldn't allow him & Cardiff to use it. Such was the antipathy between Fox and Panavision.

But Frank Sinatra gets what he damn well wants.

If you look at the rear ends of these CinemaScope lenses currently on eBay,
Posted Image,

it seems that even with a new mount, they wouldn't clear the mirror housing and viewfinder of newer Arriflex and Moviecams. They were built for rack over cameras. Also the shorter lenses wouldn't clear the mirror itself on the newer Arris or BNCRs.

http://cgi.ebay.com/...Q2em118Q2el1247

Isco made an older series called Iscomorphot, which used auto collimater focusing like LOMO round fronts and Shigas (Technovision, JDC)

I have photos of one from eBay at home.
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#12 Glen Alexander

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 04:13 PM

damn, now i have to google WTF a rack over camera is... ha ha ha :rolleyes:
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#13 Max Jacoby

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 04:16 PM

i would think where parameters are fixed, i.e., a fixed focal length, no focus pulling, tweaking shutter angle, etc, that projection lenses for big cinemas would easily be better overall, they are designed for T1.~ and up.

That's exactly why designing shooting lenses is more complicated: the parametres vary. A shooting lens has to look good at all stops and distances, not just one.
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#14 Glen Alexander

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 04:35 PM

That's exactly why designing shooting lenses is more complicated: the parametres vary. A shooting lens has to look good at all stops and distances, not just one.


yes but isn't most of that wasted? as one poster put it, "the camera ping ponging around the frame.." i'd like to get one of those super wide Schneiders 42mm@T1.7and bolt it up to an old mitchel or arri ii and see what kind of images it gets. for me, give the actor a good space to let them work to tell the story with out zooming, flying, craning, trying to get every impossible shot all the time but i want to see the characters without feeling i'm on a roller coaster and being visually assaulted.
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#15 Max Jacoby

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 02:23 AM

I'm afraid I completely fail to see your logic here. Even if you don't more your camera, you will still need to pull focus, especially at T1.7 where the depth of field is minimal. Also you still need to change stops, depending on the shooting conditions. Imagine you're outside in full sunlight, how many NDs it's going to require to get you down to your T1.7 stop...

The whole point of a shooting lens is that it should look good in almost any situation (including minimum focus to infinity and throughout its stop range). I think you're trying to reinvent the wheel here when there is absolutely no need.
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#16 Glen Alexander

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 03:32 AM

I'm afraid I completely fail to see your logic here. Even if you don't more your camera, you will still need to pull focus, especially at T1.7 where the depth of field is minimal. Also you still need to change stops, depending on the shooting conditions. Imagine you're outside in full sunlight, how many NDs it's going to require to get you down to your T1.7 stop...

The whole point of a shooting lens is that it should look good in almost any situation (including minimum focus to infinity and throughout its stop range). I think you're trying to reinvent the wheel here when there is absolutely no need.


we're not going to shoot in broad daylight, but the just before or after sunrise and sunset conditions where you get lots of shadow.
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#17 Christian Appelt

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Posted 27 May 2008 - 12:18 PM

Bausch & Lomb combined lenses (not the anamorphic adapter lens used for newsreel and low-budget work) were not that bad. If you see early CinemaScope films in vintage contact prints (mostly faded, of course), you will be surprised how good some images do look.

Unfortunately, many films were ruined in rereleases (like LOLA MONTEZ), going through additional dupe stages which kill resolution and add grain. For years I used to think that Fellini's LA DOLCE VITA - shot in 1959 with TotalScope anamorphics, looked diffuse and milky because of the anamorphic lenses low quality. What a surprise when I watched the restored version created by Cinecittá labs in the 1990s: Excellent sharpness and resolution, crispy and contrasty black & white. I had mistaken the inferior dupe printing process for the anamorphic system's weakness. Same with BRIDGE OIN THE RIVER KWAI which ran in terrible grainy and fuzzy rerelease prints with yellowish or orange skin tones for many years. - So I would advise never to judge an anamorphic lens except by original prints.

I believe it was Joe Dunton who mentioned in his Bradford Widescreen Weekend lecture on anamorphic lenses that B & L CinemaScope lenses continued to be used in visual effects/process work even in the 1980s because they were quite sharp (stopped down two or three stops from wide open, I assume).

Marty Hart has a nice overview over the different types of B & L anamorphics here:

AWSM: B&L CinemaScope lenses

Bausch & Lomb claimed that THE ROBE used their lenses, although in fact it was shot with the original Chrétien adapter made in 1927 (visible on page 1) , which may have helped to create the myth of those oh-so-bad Scope lenses:

AWSM - Bausch & Lomb ad

I bought one of the later B & L adapters some time ago and hope to do some test shots with it during the summer. Although I have no Baltar lens as with the original CinemaScope system, a Zeiss Planar 50mm should work fine as a spherical base.
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#18 Max Jacoby

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Posted 27 May 2008 - 01:09 PM

Christian

That's some very interesting info! I saw La Dolce Vita some years ago in an old print and it didn't look good at all. I was under the impression that a lot of it was shot on a zoom lens, which would have explained the low con, soft look.

There is a very interesting article on the restoration of Lola Montez on the website of the AFC

In that article by Samuelson on anamorphic, he mentions some rear-anamorphot prime lenses that the Japanese designed. Have you ever heard of those? Apparently a lot of the Hong Kong films were shot on them. I have seen some of these films and even on dvd some shot stick out as incredibly soft.
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#19 Glen Alexander

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 10:18 AM

I bought one of the later B & L adapters some time ago and hope to do some test shots with it during the summer. Although I have no Baltar lens as with the original CinemaScope system, a Zeiss Planar 50mm should work fine as a spherical base.


Did you get the adapter from Ebay? I'd be interested to see the results. Are these for rent anywhere?
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#20 Glen Alexander

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 10:32 AM

like a 152mm?
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