Hey guys. I realize anamorphic Super 8 has been covered multiple times on these boards, but I figured I would post my situation and see what my options are.
I currently have in my possession an [2x] ISCO Cinemascope Ultra Star Plus 21 projection lens. It is quite small and compact, and the lens unscrews into two pieces, separating the anamorphic element from what I can only describe as a magnifying element. I have used the anamorphic element to desqueeze scope films projected through a 4:3 native projector, and the results have been pretty awesome.
I'm in the process of purchasing my first 1014-E, which I believe has a 58mm thread size. I am currently unaware of the thread size of the anamorphic lens, but I have a lens technician friend who is going to measure it for me so I can attempt to locate/purchase the appropriate step up/down ring. I understand that should I decide to mount the lens to the front of the 1014-E zoom lens (a 7-70 macro), that my focal length would probably have to remain pretty consistent.
Anyone have any experience in attaching anamorphic lenses to the front of zoom lenses? Vignetting will most likely occur on the wider end, but once you zoom in to eliminate the vignetting, are you free to play with the remaining focal lengths, or will zooming past the "sweet spot" of the anamorphic element cause distortion?
---> I answered an email Liam sent to me, and here is the bulk of it, which answers some of his questions and should be of use to others persuing anamorphic lens use.
---> The Anamorphic lens you have is too small for the camera you wish to use it on. It would be better suited to a small prime lens camera or small zoom lensed camera. Most Super 8mm cameras have front lens standards that rotate upon focusing. That's one reason I always use a lens support to hold the A-lens in front of the camera lens so that the orientation doesn't change. One setup has a metal block that screws into the tripod socket (some movie light sockets can be used on some cameras from the top), and a two metal rods that intersect and are adjustable (in and out from the camera body and up and down, as well as rotation to set the lens in front of the camera lens etc and secured via allen wrench grubs), and to keep the lens in exact optical alignment on a later setup, I used stepup rings so that the rear of the A-lens sits attached to the main lens.....however.......only slightly screwed in, so that when the camera lens rotates while focusing, it has the slack to do so, without unscrewing itself, nor being too tight. This has worked great for me for years now. A similar unit was made years ago by The WIDESCREEN Centre in England and sold under the name Custome Mount Deluxe (versus the basic Custome Mount which just held the lens in front of the camera lens.....the first one I ever bought...works fine and is quite useful to rig up on projectors).
I've seen filmmakers use "mesmerizers" in front of their lenses before, and this thought always crossed my mind.
Any help appreciated!
---> Oftentimes, those are just anamorphic lenses which are rotated to give that effect.
---> From a technical and optical point of view....the lens you have is a dedicated type that mated to a projection lens. Anyhow, the cameras you mention have large diameter zoom lenses, really, too large for using most 2x Anamorphic lenses. A HUGE ISCO-54 1.5x anamorphic lens was made some year ago, and it will work, and allow full zoom range...but....at a price...the lens is expensive, very large, very heavy. That being said, those that used it were happy with their results. I opted for 2x compression, since it yields full CinemaScope 2.66:1 aspect ratio, there's plenty of lenses, mostly quite affordable. So, that's why my cameras that I use for WIDESCREEN shooting have smaller lenses, generally not more than a 5x or 6x zoom. My SANKYO XL620 has a 5x zoom and 52mm filter threads, allowing a max wide angle of about 15mm (which is really 7.5mm on the horizontal axis since the 2x A-lens gives you double the width on the horizontal, something to factor in of course). I have used my 2x KOWA 16H lens on larger lens cameras: NIZO S-800 and BEAULIEU 4008 with the 6mm-66mm zoom.....and as you have discovered....yes, the widest you can go is about 40mm (20mm actual width focal length when you divide the 40mm by the lens compression factor which is 2x). A crazy workaround is to add another wide angle 0.5x or wider lens to the front of the A-lens...but then you're adding a LOT of glass to film thru. More weight, more abberrations and more flare potential etc etc.
---> So, for Anamorphic Lens filming, or photography, just get a camera that works well, a shorter/smaller zoom type camera, or in the case of a BEAULIEU, which has interchangeable lenses, using a smaller zoom or fixed focal length lens. You don't sacrifice quality this way either, actually you gain. For example, a smaller lensed NIZO S-56/560/561/48/480/481 still have great optics and all the same fancy camera features....just a smaller more compact zoom that works fine with the A-lens. In the CANON range, that would mean using a 514 or similar model. Some less features, but you don't need all the ones on the 1014, or if you do, use a similar featured other brand camera, but with a smaller lens that will work.
---> As long as the lenses are in optial alignment or very close, there won't be any distortion and you can zoom and focus thru the range up to full telephoto.
----> In a perfect world, the alignment marks on some of the A-lenses would be ideal, but they will really just get you in the ballpark, as you will actually need to do a visual check in the viewfinder. Use true verticals and a bubble level on the camera to double check everything....even then...sometimes there is something in the camera viewing/filming system that might be off just that little bit and you may end up adjusting the lens one way or the other away from the marks slightly; just something to keep in mind and not fret over.
---> Some filmers just use smaller A-lenses and step-up/down rings and readjust the lens each time after they focus it. A royal pain....but cheaper to fit it to the camera. A vendor on eBay sells grub screw attachment units to fit several different A-lenses to various cameras, well made and decent prices.
---> Focusing can work fine with the in camera viewfinder split image etc......but you have to get used to the regimine; focus the A-lens first via setting the distance scale to approximate the distance....fine focus the camera lens, and then fine tune the A-lens again if necessary. It sounds iffy, but in practice you get used to it, and it can work fast even for on the fly shooting of kids, sports etc.
---> There are many small lens Super 8mm cameras what you could use that Isco lens on: the small Chinon 132PXL and 133PXL models and similar, the small ELMO 103T, and many others. I wish you the best of luck and success in this exciting venture. The firsrt time I projected test footage, my own widescreen image on the screen just blew me away......and it was shot while holding the lens in front of my movie camera at the time until I cobbled up my own holder system. I've seen rigs to hold A-lenes made from wood, plastic, cardboard, aluminum, and other metals, as well as more commercial rigs which also began life as one-off designs. Lots of fun in using Anamorphic lenses, and due to so many variables involved, a topic that can be deeply discussed. There's pro and con for using them of course, and fans in both camps. I can understand and appreciate both points of view, but as with anything, both sides of using them or not, have both up and down sides. For projection of Super 8mm film (or Regular 8mm etc), having a good projector, bright light source, and good widescreen that reflects plenty of light, there is just nothing like it.
Martin W. Baumgarten