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Hey folks, Tito Ferradans here for another Chop Shop. Playing with the Helios was cool, but as any of you anamorphic users out there know, the true challenge with scopes is getting real wide angle AND close focus at the same time. Working to solve this issue, I got a Pentacon 29mm f/2.8, an inexpensive and fairly common wide angle lens. With the lens in front of me, I cracked it open and inserted an oval aperture in there. This way bokeh turns oval and you get a decent wide angle feeling with anamorphic defocus plus super close focus capabilities (the Pentacon focuses down to 0.25m). Here’s how to do it:
First, get yourself a Pentacon 29mm (auto or electric, it doesn’t matter). They’re particularly cheap in Europe. I haven’t tried the “Made in G.D.R”. version explained in the following link. Even though getting it open is a different process, I believe the aperture should be the same size.
Opening the lens is the hardest part. I followed a guide, but my version was slightly different (PENTACON auto 2.8/29 MULTI COATING), so there was a different way of getting it open. All I needed to do was to remove the label ring, using a lens wrench and then remove the front optical block by simply twisting it out.
That gave me clear access to the aperture, where I dropped one of these aperture disks, especially suited for the Pentacon 29mm’s iris – which is considerably smaller than the Helios 44 version. You can get them cut at any laser cutting shop or order them online at Big Blue Saw – if you go to Big Blue Saw, use this file and it should work seamlessly with their system.
UPDATE – OCTOBER 2016: I’m selling aperture discs for this mod on a small scale on eBay, so if you’re looking to get some for a decent price, check out the listing!
Depending on the material, you’ll probably need to sand the disk down to as close as paper thin as you can. Now, with the front element removed, tape the disk to its back. It’s useful to have markings for its orientation. I also painted my disk black with a sharpie marker. I ended up opening the lens, adjusting and closing it back a number of times!
When you’re through putting the oval aperture, close the lens back up and you’re good to go.
For extreme anamorphic goodness, combine this lens with a 1.33x adapter like the Century Optics or Panasonic LA7200 and you get flares, distortion combined with the fake ovals. Who could tell you’re being cheap, if it all looks amazing?
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