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Anamorphic on a Budget

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Rectilux HardcoreDNA Repairs and Upgrades

March 18, 2018

Just because the HCDNA is one of our favorite pieces of gear, it doesn’t mean it’s perfect. Here I’ll cover a few cheap and useful upgrades you can apply to your HCDNA. Massive thanks to Ian Edward Weir for putting such list together.

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All the RED links on this post are part of eBay’s Partner Network, so if you purchase anything through them, you’re helping me to keep this project going.

You can support this project on Patreon. Make your contribution and help the Anamorphic Cookbook!

Tito Ferradans back here to talk about one of our favorite pieces of gear, the Rectilux HCDNA. Created by a present member of the community, the HCDNA is the best single focus solution out there, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. Since its release, a few people have take matter into their hands and came up with multiple small upgrades.

This episode was a lot easier to make thanks to the list put together by Ian Edward Weir, for which you can find the link the description. I’ll also cover the “focus stuck” issue and solution, thanks to a comment made by Chris Stanton on the original HCDNA review. Actually, let’s begin with this fix, and then move to the upgrades.

The reason why focus gets stuck is because of these three tiny screws here on the focus ring. These screws are what connects the markings and movement of the focus ring with the rotation of the focus helicoid The problem is if you keep screwing them, they’ll go past the focus helicoid and bit into gaps of the inner housing of the HCDNA. The consequences of that is you’re gonna get stiff or stuck focus whenever one of these three screws is put in too deep. If all three are in too deep, the focus ring will spin freely and can also come off the HCDNA. They have their little holes in the helicoid, which align with the focus scale on the focus ring. If the holes are not aligned, your focus scale will be off. So, loosen them a bit if you’re getting focus stuck and tighten them a bit if they seem to be popping out.

There you go, now don’t get your focus rings stuck anymore friends!

I already talked about HTN’s lock rings that work flawlessly with the HCDNA, so I’m not gonna talk about it again, you can just watch that episode after this one! The links for all the little things I mention next are in the description. If you buy through them, you’re helping the channel because I get a little bit of commission.

The HCDNA comes with six tiny M4 6mm screws that bite into the front of your setup, locking it in place. If you’re not a fan of the bite marks you can replace the screws with nylon head screws that have great grip and won’t scratch your lens.

https://goo.gl/mVEK9m

The front of the HCDNA is rather large, at 86mm, so getting dirt and cleaning marks on it is maybe a little too easy. In order to fix that, get yourself an 86mm UV filter. The price and quality go with how tight your budget is! The HCDNA is already a little better and it comes with a lens cap, while the 3FF-W didn’t!

https://goo.gl/acc34W

If you don’t like the original method for clamping the HCDNA to your anamorphic, you can also use it like a filter that attaches to your front clamp. For that you’re gonna need a 67mm Metal Hood, which goes inside the HCDNA and is bitten by the screws, and then you use the hood’s threads to attach it to your anamorphic. Sure, this can make room for a big gap between the front of your anamorphic and the back of the HCDNA, so you might wanna get it machined shorter. And, since now your Rectilux has rear threads, you can get a screw cap to protect the back of it.

https://goo.gl/3hUwMW – 67mm metal hood
https://goo.gl/g5LqLH – screw cap 77

Minimum focus is still far for some users, so get yourself a diopter set. Century has a few achromats – +1.6, +2 and +2.6 – but they go for anything between $100 and $500. You can also get the cheap 86mm Vivitars and get away without no noticeable loss in image quality.

https://goo.gl/G3mwzg century
https://goo.gl/d62JeS vivitar

If you like working with clamp-on matteboxes, the front of the HCDNA isn’t really helpful, since the focus ring hides completely inside the body, so RafCamera started offering this adapter that doesn’t affect your focusing and it doesn’t cause vignetting, which will step the 86mm front threads to 95mm and allow a mattebox to be attached to it.

https://www.rafcamera.com/adapter-d95-to-m86x0-75

Lastly, if you want to take your HCDNA apart completely, there’s a link to a guide in the links below. I had some grease leaks on mine and the only way to clear all of that and replace the original grease is by taking the beast apart. – https://docs.google.com/document/d/1eKrhom1_7rwwYHxnvFNILCWg-ZDt9JQAE-MS76HtYc0

Anamorphic

Anamorphic Chop Shop – Anamorfake Mir 20M 20mm f/3.5

March 11, 2018

The Mir 20M is the widest I’ll go with anamorfaking Soviet glass. The effects are quite subtle and you could probably live without it, so this is for the purists. It’s also an easy mod for a super awesome lens.

USEFUL LINKS:

All the RED links on this post are part of eBay’s Partner Network, so if you purchase anything through them, you’re helping me to keep this project going.

You can support this project on Patreon. Make your contribution and help the Anamorphic Cookbook!

Tito Ferradans here for the last time talking about Russian mods. This one is almost as easy as last week’s, but there’s a bit more to it. Today’s pick is the Mir 20M, which is a 20mm, and I only tested it on the first version of the lens. Some folks might argue about the need for an anamorfake 20mm since bokeh is so small and everything is usually in focus, but since I had the lens sitting around – and someone else already has it on eBay, so here’s how you do it on the cheap.

The flare line doesn’t work well with this lens (horrible flares), so I’m not putting it in, just the tinted aperture. You’re gonna need a first generation Mir 20M, a small screwdriver, your trusty lens wrench, an aperture disc, sandpaper, scissors, black and orange sharpies, double sided tape, 3d printed focus gears and a rotating M42 adapter. You can get all of these items from the links below, or from me on eBay – links below too.

Just like last week’s lens, you can focus the lens to infinity for easier access. Using the screwdriver, take out these three screws and the ring they hold. Then remove the first glass element. Welcome to level two of taking out annoying elements. There’s two more to go, same strategy as last week, pluck them with the lens wrench and keep track of which side faces up.

We’re now at the aperture level. The problem is we’re on the wrong side of it. When adjusting the iris you can see there’s a small rotation movement going on here. So we’re gonna have to hack this differently. Also, this hole is tiny!

I’m using the aperture from the Mir 1B once more. It’s easier to deal with. Sand the disc as thin as possible, almost near breaking point. The hack is we’re gonna stick this to the glass instead of overlaying it with the aperture mechanism. Use the scissors to cut it to a size where it’s a perfect fit over the glass. Now paint it and I recommend the same technique as last week, with darker edges and tinted towards the center. Now cover one side with a lot of double-sided tape and stick it to the glass. This hurts, but I’m committing.

Now lets put all these elements back in place with the oval aperture facing down and going tight with the aperture mechanism. The last step is to add the screws back. Careful: if you haven’t sanded your aperture disc super thin the elements might be a little pushed back, so don’t force when the screws offer some resistance.

I like this 20mm by itself and since it’s not a super fast lens, having it a slowed down because of the oval light loss doesn’t hurt it much. I don’t expect the ovals to pop up much, they’re there to give that subconscious feeling that there’s something different going on. And if you do close ups with this lens, then they’ll show up, and I love these warped up shots.

It was quite a journey making all of these tutorials, with more than a year between the first and the last video. Thank you so much for joining me on this process! Have you modded lenses already, or would you feel more comfortable paying for someone to do it? Shoot me questions in the comments below and please hit the like button! It helps the channel growing and allows me to keep doing this! If you like the subject of anamorphic shooting – who doesn’t? – you should subscribe and have a look at past videos. There’s a link to my Patreon page below where you can extend your support and get some cool stuff in advance. I’m Tito Ferradans and I’ll see you next week.

Anamorphic

Anamorphic on a Budget – Revised Ground Rules

March 7, 2018

It’s been way too long since I talked about the guiding rules of all these tests and reviews. It’s good to point out what changed and what remains.

USEFUL LINKS:

All the RED links on this post are part of eBay’s Partner Network, so if you purchase anything through them, you’re helping me to keep this project going.

You can support this project on Patreon. Make your contribution and help the Anamorphic Cookbook!

Tito Ferradans here for a long winded recap. It’s been a while since I posted that – long forgotten – first video explaining my goals with the Anamorphic on a Budget project.

Since then, I’ve moved from the Canon 5D3 to the Sony A7s2 and almost completely replaced the Russian taking lenses with a top-of-the-line set of Contax Zeiss. I reviewed over forty different lenses, made more than thirty tutorials and put a tremendous amount of effort in strengthening our community by providing reliable and consistent information.

Our people were too scattered and information consisted of hearsay and obscure old pages and threads. I’m a little obsessed about organizing things, so I set out to piece all of this information together through a set of rules – the newspaper charts, how wide you can go – hell, I even made a calculator for that -, how flares look, my impression of each adapter and so on. I kept it as objective and transparent as possible. I shared it all for free. My endgame is to create the guide I wanted to find when I started out into anamorphics.

Audience has been growing lately and I wanted to update/revise what I said in the beginning. Here are how the reviews work:

Each video starts out with a world test with the minimum of ten shots, five of them being bright and stopped down (usually between f/5.6 and 8), five of them in the dark (between f/1.4 and 2.8), and various focal lengths. This part is designed to showcase how each lens behaves in the wild, for run and gun situations. From there I’ll cover a little bit of history about the adapter in question, talk about all of its tech specs (size, weight, stretch, threads, mount) and average price range.

The charts aim to compare the performance of each adapter at center and edges when paired with various taking lenses and different f-stops. I use print because there’s fine detail and sharp contrast, which is what you should be looking at to evaluate the resolving power of any piece of glass. Then I have vignetting tests with different focal lengths and a grid for the most common aspect ratios over that footage. This will allow you to figure out if this or that taking lens is enough to cover your final output. A lot of anamorphic shooting has to do with flares, so I have flares tests for all of them.

I wrap the episode with a final overview of what I think are the pros and cons of each lens after all the tests. Since the beginning I get a lot of flak from using full frame, so here’s why I still do it: full frame is the unfriendliest format for anamorphic adapters, or any lenses in general. It’s a size that pushes the optics and shows the nitty gritty they hide around the edges. Any adapter will perform better on smaller sensors, so I’d rather show its worst performance and leave up to you to figure out how it will be improved on your own settings.

I’m drooling over the GH5, yes, but I can’t afford buying one. I can barely afford keeping my A7s2! So, Panasonic, if you’re out there, get in touch! I’d love to use your camera for these videos! *laughs*

It’s very important for this project to keep going and growing that you help me reach other people that would lose their minds over anamorphics, so subscribe and please share the videos with your friends! As I’ve explained before, I sink more money here than I can make, so if you want to financially help me carry out this project you can support me on Patreon and I will be eternally grateful. Feel free to shoot me questions and suggestions in the comments below! What would you like to see here? And if you wanna help out, give me a shout too! One thing is sure, you’ll see me again next week. Tito Ferradans, out.

Anamorphic

Anamorphic Chop Shop – Anamorfake Mir 10A 28mm f/3.5

March 4, 2018

Now we’re moving towards the wider side of the USSR Anamorfake set. The Mir 10A is a competitor for the Pentacon 29mm mod. If you want your set exclusively made of USSR glass, the 10A is the way to go.

USEFUL LINKS:

All the RED links on this post are part of eBay’s Partner Network, so if you purchase anything through them, you’re helping me to keep this project going.

You can support this project on Patreon. Make your contribution and help the Anamorphic Cookbook!

Tito Ferradans here for another quick anamorfake tutorial. It seems I have started with the lenses with the largest amount of steps, and now I’m on the other end of the spectrum. Today we’re gonna expand on the wide-angle side, adding a 28mm to the set (and allowing you to get rid of that Pentacon 29mm which isn’t really Soviet). I’m also going lighter on the mod steps as I learned from trial and error that not all lenses benefit from a lot of internal painting.

For this Mir 10A, I’m only adding a tinted oval aperture and a flare line. In order to do that we’re gonna need these items: Mir 10A, a lens wrench and a small screwdriver, oval aperture disc, sandpaper, scissors, orange sharpie, fishing line, double-sided tape, 3d-printed focus gears and rotating M42 adapter. You can get the files for the focus gear and aperture disc on the description below, or directly from me on eBay.

Start by focusing the lens to infinity in order to push the rear of it as far out of the housing as possible. Now use the lens wrench to remove the inner locking ring. This will give you access to a glass element with a metal frame around it. Welcome to the annoying part of this mod. Using the lens wrench, patiently fish it out of the housing, carefully noting which side faces outwards.

Now we got to ANOTHER of these elements. The key to get them out is to keep both sides even. If they start to angle to each other, the element will get stuck. After that is taken care of, also remember which side faces outwards. I like to keep the outwards-facing side facing up on the table.

We have finally reached the aperture mechanism. I’m being creative here and using the same aperture disc I made for the Mir 1B, since the physical maximum aperture size is about the same. Sand it super thin, as there’s not much space in there, paint as desired – here’s a new trick: instead of painting the whole thing in one color, I’m adding a lot of black around the edges and the orange comes in closer to the oval. This will control highlight blooming. Add the flare line by using double tape. Slot it in the lens and make sure the oval is right in the middle. This will turn the original f/3.5 into f/5.

Carefully drop the lens elements back in, one by one, and lock them in place with the ring. Slide the focus gear on and align the ovals and flares by using the rotating M42 adapter, and you’re done.

One of my favorite aspects of this mod is how the flare line turns out, super balanced with the footage and merging with the Mir 10A’s lovely natural flares. The tint on the aperture gives a glow to strong light sources, which I think is very natural and organic. Whenever I have a strong light source in my footage, I like adding some glow around it, as this is how my eyes see it. The tint does it by default, no need for post. The ovals are very subtle in general, just adding a subtle hint of anamorphic but they really pop when you use the lens for a wide close up.

If you want to grab a Mir 10A right away for modding, there’s a link on the video description, as well as links for everything else I used. Leave a comment below if you have any questions about this process, and please hit the like button so I feel loved and motivated to make more videos. Next week I’ll wrap this project with the Mir 20M, at 20mm, so subscribe to the channel to be notified when the video is up! I’m Tito Ferradans and I’ll see you next week!

Anamorphic

Anamorphic on a Budget – MoondogLabs 1.33x Anamorphic Lens for iPhone

February 25, 2018

How strange do you think it is to shoot anamorphic photos and videos on your iPhone? It turns out to be a lot of fun!

USEFUL LINKS:

All the RED links on this post are part of eBay’s Partner Network, so if you purchase anything through them, you’re helping me to keep this project going.

You can support this project on Patreon. Make your contribution and help the Anamorphic Cookbook!

I’m Tito Ferradans and I’m here to talk about the MoondogLabs anamorphic adapter. Just as the GoPro anamorphic, this is an unusual adapter in the sense that most people taking photography and cinematography seriously these days wouldn’t think of shooting with iPhones, no matter how many articles come out praising their cameras and capabilities. That’s also sort of the way I think – or thought. We’re talking about a phone, not a camera.

This is where things get mixed up a bit: One of my favorite parts of experimenting with MoondogLabs’ lens was the reduced amount of control I had over the resulting image. All I could do, literally, was point the camera towards what I wanted to shoot and press record. From this point on, you start exploring the kind of things you wouldn’t (or couldn’t) do with a regular camera. This lack of control permitted me to focus less (pun intended) on the gear porn part of the tests and more on the shots I was trying to get.

I think one of the biggest selling points of this adapter is the feature “Tangerine”, featured at Sundance Festival in 2015, shot entirely on an iPhone and the MoondogLabs’ adapter. I’m not gonna say the shots are incredible and clean but they have a character that matches the film perfectly. They’re gritty, and noisy, and free moving. There is very little subject separation from the background, lots of wide-angle shots – including close ups – and clever use of lighting. Tangerine is not the usual film as well, telling the stories of two transgender women in a busy Christmas eve, with the type of representation we need to see in film today.

Being less political and back to the gear, the adapter is tiny, weighing 48g. They come in several different versions, one for each new iPhone model, since the iPhone 5. The one I used was for the 5/5s and I’m quite curious to see how MoondogLabs is dealing with iPhone’s new dual-camera. Their first production run was funded on Kickstarter and they seem to be doing fine so far. It’s a two element, fixed focus construction that relies on a small sensor in order to keep things in focus and deliver good image quality.

The adapter has 1.33x stretch and fits perfectly around the corner of the phone and over the rear camera. There’s no way to misalign it. It’s not the type of thing you can leave attached and put the phone in your pocket, as the setup has a weird shape and there is nothing made to protect the front of the lens. This little switch on the back loosens/tightens the adapter around the phone, but even with it engaged, it’s still pretty easy to slide it off.

The lens comes with a neat case, which makes it super easy to just carry it around in your pocket until the moment of photo-taking or video-making arises. When it comes to dealing with the squeezed footage, I read good things about the Desqueeze app, that works directly on your phone and allows you to fix the aspect ratio and many more things related to image sizes. The best part: the app is free.

In terms of buying one of these adapters, you can get yours new at MoondogLabs’ website, and the price is the same, no matter the iPhone generation: $175. You can find them for a little less on eBay every here and then, but it’s not much cheaper. I don’t quite understand how their value doesn’t drop. Still, $175 is a good price for a unique product, if you love you phone’s photo capabilities AND the anamorphic format.

I don’t know how to assess resolution here, but check out some charts! I have them with identical lighting, comparing an image with just the iPhone camera and one with the adapter attached. I don’t see much difference.

Testing for vignetting was also confusing, since this is not the standard lens, so I switched through the various camera modes I could find and got no black edges. The adapter clearly covers the lens, and I guess if you know the widest focal length BEFORE making your lens, you can make it in a way that it works fine all the time – and this is what MoondogLabs did.

When it comes to flares, this 1.33x adapter is incredibly similar to the Anamorph-X I used on the GoPro. It’s also similar (but in a lesser scale) to other 1.33x adapters. The flares are not as long and not as prominent, but they are there. They take the color of the light source, which indicates the coatings on this adapter are fairly simple.

As it was the case with the GoPro Anamorph-X, this lens is an attempt to expand the reach of our beloved format into different devices, and not restrain it to the complex systems we have when using DSLRs, mirrorless cameras or real cine cameras. This type of setup eliminates issues such as double focus, trains of lenses and heavy fronts. True, you have less control and the image quality is capped by not-so-great cameras, but at the same time it all becomes a lot simpler and you just shoot. My only criticism to this adapter is that putting the lens on and off constantly to shoot made me feel uneasy and afraid to drop it.

What do you think of shooting anamorphic on your phone? Do you think it’s a valid option, or would you stick to just using a full camera? Let me know in the comments below. I shouldn’t have to remind you to subscribe, since anamorphic is all I talk about here, and if you have any questions, shoot them below! You can help support my lens research through Patreon, getting awesome rewards and, lastly, I have a new batch of this cool t-shirt I’m wearing. If you want one, you can find the link in the description! See you next week!

Anamorphic

Anamorphic on a Budget – Iscomorphot 8/1.5x

February 18, 2018

This is the baby Iscorama. Tiny lens with a punch of performance!

USEFUL LINKS:

All the RED links on this post are part of eBay’s Partner Network, so if you purchase anything through them, you’re helping me to keep this project going.

You can support this project on Patreon. Make your contribution and help the Anamorphic Cookbook!

I swear, this is probably the last time I’m talking about lenses in the Isco family. The baby Iscorama, or Iscomorphot 8/1.5x is a tiny lens that will give you single focus and work pretty well with smaller sensors. It delivers a dreamy look and I’d say it’s only sharp past f/5.6 on the taking lens.

Remember when I talked about this lens and called it Iscomorphot 8/1.5x? I was wrong. That is the Isco Anamorphot 8/1.5x and THIS ONE is the Iscomorphot 8/1.5x, or Baby Iscorama. This tiny lens weighs 170g, less than half a pound and is one of the most desired baby anamorphics, trailing right after the baby Hypergonar and baby Bolex.

As an official member of the Iscorama family, this adapter has 1.5x stretch and it is single focus, meaning you only set your taking lens to infinity and do the rest of the work on the Iscomorphot’s focus ring. Focus comes down to 0.5m, or 1.7ft, which is much better than all the other Iscoramas, pretty much killing the need for diopters. It also features focus markings in both meters and feet and a focus throw of roughly 180 degrees.

If you still want diopters and other filters, the front threads are 39mm. The rear threads are standard size at 24mm, so you can make a clamp out of step rings. Unlike other Iscoramas, this one doesn’t have an alignment mechanism, just a red dot and the focus marker pointing which direction should be facing up for proper alignment – so I recommend getting a Rapido Clamp for it.

When it comes to availability and prices, this one comes in waves. They’re either abundant on eBay or impossible to find. Prices vary widely between $400-700 with some off-the-curve auctions for a little less or a lot more (as high as $1000).

In terms of resolution and sharpness, this is definitely the weakest member of the family, with super soft and blurry images unless you really stop down the taking lens.

Flares are more neutral than other Iscos, showing up as white or the light-source’s color___, which I think that adds to its dreamy feel.

Vignetting is when this lens takes hard hits. On the A7s2 I had to use the 2.2x crop mode, and then I got vignette clear images from 40mm and up. This matches around 90mm on full frame.

MORE ABOUT SHOOTING WITH THE LENS

If you liked this video, be sure to hit the like button and subscribe to the channel! Shoot any questions you have in the comments below and if you need more of these videos in your life and more information about anamorphic in general, you can help me out on Patreon. Making these videos takes an incredible amount of effort and time and your help is deeply appreciated. Tito Ferradans, out.

Anamorphic

Anamorphic Chop Shop – Anamorfake Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

February 11, 2018

Time to diversify my lens mods to more modern glass and autofocus. My first choice was the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4. Super simple process and impressive results!

USEFUL LINKS:

All the RED links on this post are part of eBay’s Partner Network, so if you purchase anything through them, you’re helping me to keep this project going.

You can support this project on Patreon. Make your contribution and help the Anamorphic Cookbook!

Tito Ferradans here for a super quick anamorfake tutorial. This one doesn’t go into great lengths of modding our base lens, the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4. We’ll just add lovely oval bokeh. I got a few requests for an autofocus mod, so I decided to give a go. I got all the info for this mod from Grant Gilmore, a few months ago and only now I was able to put it to the test! Let’s begin.

First off, you’ll need your Canon EF 50mm f/1.4, a lens wrench, the desired aperture disc, some sandpaper black or color sharpies and electrical tape. The streak flare is optional and I won’t include it in this video.

Go to the rear side of the Canon and, with the pointy end of the lens wrench, twist out the rear element. It comes off easily. The element right below it might try to come off too if you turn the lens upside down, so be warned that the concave side is the one pointing up. Put this loose element back in carefully, if you happen to take it off.

For the aperture disc, I recommend getting an acrylic cut, like the ones I used for the Mir, Helios and Jupiter. Files are available in the description! The biggest oval is f/2, then 2.8, 4 and 5.6 as they shrink. Be sure to sand it very carefully to smooth out the laser-cut edges and paint it black with a sharpie. Since the disc is a tiny bit smaller than the diameter of the rear element, add a small piece of electrical tape on each side and cut the excess. This will make your life easier for spinning the disc into alignment.

Past these steps, all you need to do is slot the aperture disc on the empty side of the element we took off. It fits perfectly in there. Then, put the lens back together.

If you wanna get alignment right in your first try, put some marks on the lens so we know how the element screws back in. In order to do that, I’ll put a bright tape triangle on the 50mm mark which faces up. Now I’ll add another triangle on the rear element, pointing directly to the first triangle. This way I know that the major axis of the top of the oval has to align with this triangle on the rear element.

When I put the lens back together, voilá! It’s perfect! Remember to clean your glass before shooting to wipe out fingerprints and tape residue.

A few notes on this process: unlike the other anamorfake mods, here I’m not putting the oval directly over the aperture mechanism. Not ideal, and if this was a wide angle, it’s very likely the results wouldn’t come without a consequence, as we see here. That being said, this mod works pretty well and takes only a few minutes to execute. The coolest part is that you can use the lens regularly, with the added benefit of anamorphic bokeh!

This episode would not have been possible without Grant’s help! If you have tried something related to the subject and wanna see it featured on the channel, leave a comment or send me a message! What did you think of this mod? Are you gonna try it on a 50/1.4 for some pretty low-light portraits? Let me know what you think in the comments below! Before you go, don’t forget to subscribe and hit the like button, so more people come across this video! See you next week! Ferradans, out.