Anamorphic Chop Shop – Assembling the FM Lens

September 18, 2016

A detailed tutorial on how to fit the Kowa B&H – one of the best anamorphics available – inside the FM lens for single focus. All changes are reversible. Not the best solution, but something doable for those who don’t feel like cutting their FM in half!


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Tito Ferradans here for some clarification. On the FM review I said it was tricky to put the Kowa Bell & Howell inside the adapter, but looking back at it, that was an understatement. The Kowa B&H is too wide to fit inside the narrow 71mm of the FM tube, so we need to hack it a little bit. Fortunately all these changes are easily reversible.

First step, get the Kowa B&H and remove these three tiny screws around the front ring. Unscrew the ring off. This unlocks the main exterior piece, the one with the focus engravings and all. Just spin it all the way until it comes off.

Lots of grease now and you don’t wanna let that go to waste. Pull the front element all the way, focusing the anamorphic to infinity. Make a quick trip to the kitchen and grab some plastic wrap. Using painter’s tape, secure the plastic wrap around the greasy helicoid at the same time you lock the anamorphic focused to infinity.

I had this piece of metal tube that came with the FM. It’s pretty close to 71mm. You can get something similar at a hardware store. Since the B&H is so short, I wanted it to be as much to the front as I could, but at the same time secured inside the tube. The solution was making the lens wrapping thicker with many layers of tape. Stuff it in the tube and make sure it’s straight.

The issue now is gonna be that the taking lenses have to go as inside of that tube as possible since the back of the Kowa is all the way in there. Most of the hard work is done by now.

With the lens collar mounted, align the Kowa. Lock it as forward as possible. Time to wrap up this party. Get the FM body and put it around the anamorphic. Tighten the screws around the tube and you’re good to go.

As pointed before, the FM is not a great combination with the B&H since the anamorphic is either too far back from the focusing diopter or too far forward from the taking lens. Or in the middle for both (which I think is a terrible solution).

Ok, that’s it for this week. Subscribe now because I have some cool stuff cooking for next week and head on to the blog for more tutorials, reviews and useful information! Tito Ferradans, out.