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Lenses for Canon 5DmkIII on Iscorama 1.5x
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:07 am    Post subject: Lenses for Canon 5DmkIII on Iscorama 1.5x Reply with quote

Hi guys - this might turn out to be the forum i've been looking for Smile

As the header says - i'm looking for some good mf lenses to use on my Canon 5D mkIII, both as normal lenses, but also as "taking-lenses" for my Iscorama Anamorphic 1.5x.

For people who don't know the Iscorama, its an anarmorphic adaptor you use to get a cinemascope picture, without having to crop your files. It works by attaching it on front of regular lens (thread on the Iscorama back is 58mm), then you set the focus to infinity on the regular lens, and focus with the anamorph adaptor. Is is a super nice adaptor.

The problem is, that I have no idea what lenses to pick for the adaptor. Since it is for video, old manual lenses would be nicer. First I started out with some FD-lenses. Bought a set of five - but found out before they arrived - that they won't work very good. Adaptors, even high-end, would result in lack of sharpness or trouble with infinity.

I would really love to find some that could be easily adapted, not to expensive, that covers full frame, not totally soft at f/2 - f/2.8 - and even usable in the f/1.2-1.4 to f/1.8 range. And real sharp from around f/5.6 and up.

The lenses will also be used on Canos C300 (EF mount and APS-C sized sensor) and Sonys FS700 (E-mount and also APS-C).

Does anyone have ideas about what brand and mounts to look for?


PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A well known one to work well is the Nikkor 2/50mm as it is not only razor sharp, but also has a recessed front element that allows the ISCORAMA rear lens to sit inside - that will be an issue with all lenses you might want to use.

Guess you haven't tried to searcxh this forum for ISCORAMA, as I have posted images shot with it:

PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Klaus.

I did a search for "iscorama" and your post didn't show up at that time. I did the second time - I propably did something wrong at the first search Smile

I wont have any issues with the Iscorama rear lens. It is on its way for at re-housing at Van Dieme in the UK - so it will look somewhat different when it comes back.

Redstans re-housed iscos

I will take a look at the Nikkor 50mm f/2 - and nice pictures btw.

PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So why ask then, I thought the matching was an issue (?). Is it about the pictorial or whatever qualities that you are looking for? Then Try a Biotar f1.5/75mm for instance (the slim one, not the later fat one) ... I have a spare one here.

The problem I see is that you would need a suitable focus pull mechanism and that will be an issue with older lenses.

PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 2:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ahhh. No I dont think im gonna get many matching issues - unless I go for a lens with a wider filter thread than 58mm, which will be the "rear mount"-size of the iscorama - then I guess I could some vignetting.

Regarding the focus pull - i'm not sure what you talk about. When using the Iscorama - the taking lenses don't need to focus - it just have to be set to infinity, and then all focusing will be done with the Iscorama front. I actually just need the glass to be fast, an aperture ring - and a not all to small rear element - so that it will cover a full frame sensor

The problem with the FDs that I bought is that the apparently have serious infinity issues - and the aperture from f/1.2 to 2 looks way to soft.

I'm looking for at set of primes containing these or close to these ranges: 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, 100, 150 or 200mm - I just don't now which brand/mount to pick. I'm only familar with the FDs - and look how well that went Smile

PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 3:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Focusing with the ISCORAMA alone? Where did you get this fairy tail from? I have made a few, also custom specific anamorphic lens designs for some indy film makers and always both lenses needed to be focused. Hence my comment...

Btw. I bet you get serious vignetting issues with focal lengths shorter than 50mm, if you're lucky 35mm might also work.

PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Isn't that the beauty of the Gottingen Iscoramas? Below is from wikipedia:

"The ISCO anamorphic focusing mechanism was unique in that the taking lens was simply set to infinity and then focus was adjusted using the anamorphic adapter alone. This was a major advance on competing manufacturers' designs, all of which required that focus was calibrated simultaneously on both the taking lens and the adapter."

I know that a lot of others anamorphic adaptors needs to be multifocused - the Sankors and Kowas etc. Which make them quite hard to use for run and gun.

50mm is the widest on a fullframe - but thats okay wide on anamorph.

PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 5:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just talked to a filmemaker who confirmed that both lenses need to be pulled for focus.

He uses a Iscorama btw.

PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not saying he is wrong. I'm pretty new to Iscorama - but if you google Iscorama and Infinity - they all say Single Focus.
To clear things up - i've asked in the EOSHD forum. Which is the best anamorph forum around.

PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 8:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just tested with some of my own lenses. Took of the original nikkor lens. Attached a Canon 50mm f/1.8 EF and afterwards a Canon TS-E 90mm f/2.8. Set both at infinty - and focussed only with the Iscorama front adaptor - and it worked like a charm. So your friend is obviously wrong or has a faulty Iscorama.

PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sure he is, just won a few awards that "clueless guy" Wink

I'm out here now...

PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well no reason to be sarcastic - maybe this wasn't the forum I was looking for. I asked for some help and advice, and practically got called a liar?

Maybe you friend hasn't been fideling much with the ISCOs. Or maybe he thought about another anamorph? I just asked in several other forums, and everyone says that it is indeed a Single Focus.

I even found a video on vimeo which shows it - and where the poster mentions it:

The Iscorama: No need to say much. It is the holy grail of anamorphics! Organic look, ease of use (just focus with the Isco, prime lens set to infinity), possible to rack focus, sharp from wide open, epic orange flares, possible to use on full frame cameras, but needs diopters to focus closer than 2m (7ft). Interestingly, it appears to allow in more light at the same camera and lens settings compared to other lenses.
Back thread is 49mm (but is protruding), works from 35mm on APS-C sensors, or from 50mm on full frame.


You should send it to your friend...

PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


I might be wrong but I don't think there are too many members in this forum who are into movies.

Could it be both methods work or one is better than the other or ... Perhaps you can try it out, both ways, once you have managed to find a lens to use with your Iscorama Anamorphic.