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vintage daguerreotype style c-mount lens for bolex 16mm film?


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#1 Callum Ross Thomson

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 02:48 AM

Hi guys,

I'm shooting a time-lapse music video in a couple of months on a c-mount bolex camera, and i'm wanting to achieve a look somewhere between a still-life painting and a very old 'early photography' look (ie daguerreotype's and the like). I'm using a bolex 16mm camera (non-reflex) which takes a c-mount lens, and i'm just wondering if anyone can help recommend a certain lens/lenses that might bring an old-style look to the film. The film is a wide shot of a still-life feast on a table so I'd prefer a fairly wide lens. At the moment I have a Switar 10mm 1.6 RX lens, and the bolex stock equivalent lens (which I think is also a 10mm?).

I hope i've provide enough info but if not I can link some visual references if that helps.

Thanks in advance,

Callum
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#2 Simon Wyss

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 11:28 AM

daguerreotype's and the like

Boy, there is nothing like Daguerreotypes. It is a unique photographic process. You juggle with expressions without knowing anything about them.

Let me suggest you simply load that camera and make your experience with what you have. Cine lenses that would fit old photographic techniques do not exist. Motion pictures became possible exactly by a material which superseded plate still photography, prefabricated flexible film. Only the perforation was added shortly before shooting, and not always.

So the simplest lens you can find and screw onto your cam will never lead you into the realm of 19th century photography. You would have to employ a rapid camera that holds a silvered and sensitized brass plate.

What you can imitate or better: revive easily is 1930s or 1940s cinematic styles. No problem, the cameras, the lenses, and matching black-white films are available. It will be a tad trickier to install lights from the time, although not impossible. Not to forget the fact that before 1954 no cinema except the first one in Germany was equipped with Xenon arc lamps. Any historically correct attempt at movies from before mid-fifties demands carbon-arc light in projection.

In spite of all this, it is good you joined the forum. Be welcome
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#3 Simon Wyss

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 12:43 AM

Now I made a mistake myself, it’s copper, not brass.
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#4 Callum Ross Thomson

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 03:05 AM

I do know about daguerreotypes actually, and I understand that I probably can't make an image look identical to a daguerreotype, I just thought that perhaps all the other elements that go into making an image (ie lenses) might contribute to that look, and hence possibly there is a c-mount lens - or a lens that could be attached to a bolex using an adapter mount - that would give more of an 'old photograph' look than the standard bolex lens or the rx.

I know terms 'early photograph look' is kind of vague, maybe I need to ask if anyone knows of a lens that might make a softer image; maybe with a focal vignette; or any other image qualities that would help the image look old.

I want to make an old look as best as I can in camera so that I don't have to manipulate the image much in post, to keep it as organic as I can.

I don't know, maybe I should rub the film stock along some steel wool in a dark room before I expose it!

Cheers
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#5 Callum Ross Thomson

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 03:13 AM

btw Calotypes are fairly similar to Daguerreotypes!
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#6 Simon Wyss

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 03:47 AM

I understand that I probably can't make an image look identical to a daguerreotype

Yes, you can, but that has nothing to do with lenses. Try Gigabitfilm for a smooth, grainless image.

Think about colour rendition when you search an old photographic look. Panchromatism was not available until around 1900.

Calotypes are absolutely not similar to Daguerreotypes. Please read some books or at least two or three articles in the web.

To really imitate 1840 you can put a simple close-up lens on a c-mount tube. A 40 dioptres singlet about an inch away from the film would be a normal. The most primitive (in the proper sense) film is positive print stock such as Orwo PF 2 and Eastman 7302. Start with ISO 10 on your meter.
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#7 Chris Millar

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 06:10 AM

Calotypes are like Daguerreotypes ?


Posted Image


Anyhoo ... A lot of people playing with 'alternative' processes today like to or are forced into using both large format and very low speed emulsions - which equates to both large coverage, fast speed requirements and for many uncoated glass too. Many opt for a larger format film/plate that was originally intended for the lens which leads to the proliferation of vignetted images (both in focus and fall off in intensity) and other effects such as swirly bokeh and what not. This is all seen as being 'vintage', but at the time the thought was that these artifacts were in fact faults to be avoided, so here we have yet another one of these anachronisms like old 18fps footage played back at 24fps so everything is fast, forgetting that back in the day it would have been played back at 18fps and hence be natural.


Posted Image


I know that there are some very small Petzval lenses out there, but not sure if they are 'cine' small, and very rare to see on any market.
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#8 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 11:17 AM

Calotypes are like Daguerreotypes ?


C'mon guys let's not get into another calotype vs daguerreotype debate, we're all so over this issue. It's whatever suits the story, right? :P

Callum - from what you're saying it sounds like you just want a cliche "vintage" look, soft and vignetted. Rather than delve into the world of vintage lenses (which can be surprisingly expensive and not necessarily what you're after), why don't you just use the 10mm RX Switar with some diffusion (like a stocking) and see how it looks? The RX lens on a non-reflex Bolex will give you some edge fall-off to assist with the illusion, particularly wide open, and you could experiment with a cardboard mask taped to the front of the lens to get some vignetting.

Shoot a test! Experiment!
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#9 Chris Millar

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 04:17 PM

Oh gawd yeh i forgot bad forum etiquette around here the old calotype vs. daguerreotype debate has gone through every iteration conceivable (do a search Mulder!).

So yes, painfully aware/I know it's been said before but I still maintain that with enough megapixels a calotype can not only break the sound barrier but also make a mean breakfast piña colada.

Why can't we all just get along?
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#10 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 04:24 PM

Another thing to try for a vintage foggy effect, would be the old petroleum jelly round the edges of the lens; maybe with food coloring in it to give it a tint, though I've never even thought of trying anything like that till this moment (the food coloring thing).
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#11 Callum Ross Thomson

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 07:26 AM

Haha I didn't realise what a can of worms i'd open by bring up calotypes! Thanks for all the great tips guys, I really appreciate it. I'll have a little play and let you know how it goes.

Cheers
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#12 Simon Wyss

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 10:09 AM

Can of worms?

This is the tender loving care of sharks!

Sherman . . .
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