Anamorphic Chop Shop – El-Nikkor 63mm f/2.8

July 3, 2016

Here’s a quick trick for the widest possible taking lens when using 2x stretch anamorphics. There’s a little bit of hacking and slashing, but not much, I promise.


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Tito Ferradans here to help you achieving wider angles – around 30mm! – with 2x anamorphic adapters! It’s common knowledge that you need a taking lens around 85mm to get full frame coverage on 2x scopes. It’s time to conquer another good 20mm off that mark. These instructions were relayed to me by John Barlow, maker of the Rectilux. According to him, this is the widest you can go with no vignetting while getting full frame coverage. It’s a rather cheap and simple procedure, so I recommend it. For this video we’re gonna be adapting an enlarger lens, the El-Nikkor 63mm f/2.8. There’s a f/3.5 version, get the faster one. It’s a tiny lens, super light. In a certain way this mod reminds me of the original Iscorama lens, a 50mm locked to infinity, that’s about as wide as you can go on the Isco. I guarantee it’s a great match for the Rectilux, and I bet it works just as good for other single focus solutions and 2x scopes.

Here’s what you’re gonna need: A 63mm f/2.8 El-Nikkor enlarging lens, M39 to M42 adapter ring, M42 to EF adapter (this was my choice, you can get your own camera mount), M42 extension tubes, thin copper wire, pliers and gorilla tape! It’s also good to have a 40.5-58mm step up ring for the Nikkor’s front thread and then step to whatever size you want! In my case, for the Rectilux, I used a 58-67mm step ring.

First step when you get the El-Nikkor is to remove the M39 extension tube. This is an enlarger lens, meaning it’s always focused to infinity – which is good – but with a flange distance that’s slightly different from the standard. Screw in the M39 to M42 adapter and then the shortest M42 extension tube. Before it’s all in, add a few loops of copper wire there for spacing.

Add the M42 to EF adapter at its back. Mount this contraption on the camera. Infinity will be falling past the sensor, so start unscrewing the lens from the extension tube until infinity is in focus. Now fill the gap with a few loops of the copper wire and make sure it’s tight. This step might require repeating to ensure it’s all good.

To wrap it up and make it a little nicer to look cover the entire thing with gorilla tape – which has the perfect size! The tape is super strong, so the wire-filled gap won’t move, and your lens will end up looking more reliable. Using an exacto knife I cut off the tape that covered the f-stop markings, screwed in the step-up ring and put lens caps on.

Now just attach the El-Nikkor to any 2x stretch scope and go shoot 3.56:1 compositions with 31mm horizontal field of view with no vignetting! This is pretty much the widest you can get for full frame coverage!

Subscribe if you liked the tutorial, and check the blog for many others involving diopters, the Helios 44 and various anamorphic adapters. See you soon, Ferradans out.