Anamorphic on a Budget – Isco Anamorphot 8/1.5x

June 19, 2016

First baby anamorphic review, the Iscomorphot 8/1.5x is part of the Isco family but shares very little with its bigger brothers and sisters. More suited to smaller sensor cameras, it was a challenge on the A7s II.


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Tito Ferradans here, with a baby on the way! Hell no, guys, it’s just a lens! This is my first review for one of the baby anamorphics, the Iscomorphot 8/1.5x. The awkward part is that this name represents two different lenses, the one I’ll be talking about today is the fixed focus version, which works by focusing with your taking lens. As the name states, this is a 1.5x stretch, trademark of Isco optics, super tiny lens, weighting only 60g! Fortunately it has front threads – tiny 30.5mm threads – and it usually comes with two diopters (which are way too strong at +2 and +4). The rear threads are non-standard, but I already made a video on how to mount these on your taking lenses and align it using Rapido Clamps.

This one was originally meant for Super 8 cameras, so the small lens size wasn’t a problem, but when using it on the A7s2, I had to go with the 2.2x crop mode, meaning this is not a lens for full frame cameras and large sensors in general, being a much more suitable alternative for smaller sensors such as MFT. I reckon it probably does wonders on a BMPCC.

Not very common online, these little things usually go for $500 to $800 bucks. There seem to be a steady supply (even if one at a time) on eBay Germany.

Without diopters, using this adapter is a pain. It’s rather soft until f/5.6 or slower at any focal lengths, so the step up ring for the filter threads was a must so I could use lower powered diopters besides the original +2.5 and +5 that came with it. When that is fixed, the image quality improves considerably. A cheap +0.5 and +1 diopters will do wonders if you’re using this adapter.

Contax Zeiss 35mm f/2.8

Contax Zeiss 50mm f/1.4

Contax Zeiss 85mm f/1.4

Wow, this baby flares. The Iscomorphot has a very pronounced and distinctive orange flare. It’s completely different from what you usually get by using focus through adapters such as the Century Optics. Also, it’s a good change for the Isco lenses because they usually don’t flare!

Contax Zeiss 50mm f/1.4

As a Super 8 adapter, the Iscomorphot doesn’t like big sensors. I shot it on the A7s2 crop mode (2.2x) and it was barely vignette free at 35mm, with glare around the corners when lighting is too strong. 28mm already shows dark edges. That means that if you’re using this lens on full frame, you’re gonna be vignette free from 80mm and up, which is not very friendly. I would stick with a smaller sensor and a wider range of focal lengths.

Contax Zeiss 28mm f/2.8

Contax Zeiss 35mm f/2.8

Focus was hard if not close to infinity, so I used diopters for every single shot. When the taking lenses are stopped down to f/5.6 or slower, focus becomes easier, and the flares are very pleasing. Due to the combination of small rear element and full frame lenses, there were losses in light transmission. These were noticeable especially at night, when it didn’t make a difference if the taking lens was at f/1.4 or f/2. Focus was even harder at faster apertures and bokeh was very subtle. Again, the flares were still awesome. This was the first lens I wished I had a small sensor camera, so I could achieve its full potential. I guess I just can’t handle babies in my life right now!

Baby lens, quick review! I guess we’re done for today. Before you go, don’t forget to subscribe to the channel and then head to the blog where I have plenty of other reviews and cool tutorials about anamorphics. If you’re not too late, you might even be able to get one of these awesome cinemascope t-shirts. See you there!