Anamorphic on a Budget – Isco Wide-Screen 2000 MC

February 28, 2016

One of the few adapters left in the Isco anamorphic family, the Isco Wide-Screen 2000 is a very compact, light and reliable lens.


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Well, hello there friends and family, Tito Ferradans tuning in! Anamorphic on a Budget keeps going on 2016, starting off with this Isco Wide-Screen 2000. It’s one of the few members of the Isco anamorphic family not yet reviewed. Following its predecessors’ pattern, the Wide-Screen 2000 doesn’t let down in terms of performance. With a desirable stretch factor of 1.5x and an even more desirable compact, lightweight (225g) and solid build, this is probably the best fixed focus (focus through) anamorphic adapter out there. Focus is fixed from 4m to infinity. Getting close focus shots without diopters is gonna seriously cripple image quality. All focus adjustments are done using the taking lens’ focus ring, exactly like the Century Optics.

I’ve had three copies of this lens. The first one came with its original clamp, the other two didn’t, so you should start looking for clamps. Designed as a projection lens, the Isco Wide-Screen 2000 doesn’t have any filter threads (neither front nor rear). In my case I used the Redstan clamps I had for the Kowa, which are considerably larger than the Isco, but they worked. Alignment is done by loosening the screws and rotating the lens until flares are horizontal.

Since the Isco 2000 doesn’t have any kind of filter threads, here’s a cheap and dirty way of embedding it with 72mm filter threads. Get some electrical tape, a 62-72mm step up ring and get to work. The step ring is almost the perfect size for the front of the lens, so just make it tighter with a couple layers of tape and then use some more tape to secure it in place for good. No clamp will ever be this cheap!

These were quite popular on eBay a while back, but seem to have vanished with the arrival of variable strength diopters, availability is really random for these lenses. Price ranges from $450 to $900 and every once in a while a good deal pops up.

In terms of resolution, this guy kicks the Century’s ass, specially around edges. It’s sharp even at large apertures, but definitely needs diopters to achieve top image quality in a production environment.



Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 CENTER

Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 CORNERS

Helios 44-2 CENTER

Helios 44-2 CORNERS

Jupiter 9 CENTER

Jupiter 9 CORNERS

Tair 11 CENTER



The lens label reads MC (Multi Coated), so don’t expect strong flares out of this one. It’s actually one of the most muted flares I’ve seen so far, even less than the Iscorama 42. If you’re into anamorphics but despise flares, here’s your pick.

Canon EF 40mm f/2.8

On regular shooting conditions, I’d say you’re free from vignetting from 50mm and up, like any other Isco. There is one exception I’m still investigating: Canon’s 40mm f/2.8 pancake lens. It doesn’t vignette at all and it even reinforces the anamorphic distortion across the frame. The reason I say this is an exception is because just 3mm shorter, with the Mir 1B already introduces heavy vignetting. Also, the aspect ratio here is 2.66:1 instead of 2.4:1 Cinemascope.

Contax Zeiss 50mm f/1.4

Canon EF 40mm f/2.8

Mir 1B

The biggest issue with this lens was finding the correct diopter for each shot. As you can see, it wasn’t such a challenge. Allowing for a good variety from wide shots to long telephoto, the Isco Wide-Screen 2000 is a great lens for any kind of anamorphic user. Image quality is above the average for its size and price range and the muted flares could be a down side for J.J. Abrams fans. Image quality around edges is also above average for a focus through adapter and, hell, it’s an Isco lens. Low light wasn’t an issue either, with great out of focus highlights and sharp focus at larger apertures. I think it can be an amazing lens to pair with a single focus solution and forget about diopters altogether. If you wanna see more good looking footage shot with this lens, head on to VintageLensesForVideo and check Alan’s review!

A few notes before I go: if you haven’t yet (seriously?) read my pitch for the Anamorphic Cookbook, click on this link to get a glimpse of what I’m proposing and sign up to help! Also, head on to the blog for much more anamorphic material – including the Anamorphic Calculator! – and don’t forget to subscribe to the channel for the upcoming videos. See you then!