Anamorphic on a Budget – DSO Ep 01 – FlareFactory58

October 18, 2015

On the tenth episode of the reviews, I’m starting a series of videos about the custom made lenses by DogSchidt Optiks. This one is about the FlareFactory58, a turbo version of the Helios 44, with even more character and a ton of possible modifications.


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Long time no see, my anamorphic friends! Tito Ferradans reporting in for the first of a series of videos about Dog Schidt Optiks. I was one of the first people to order a FlareFactory, once they were announced, in early 2013, and – fortunately for me – my friend and associate Rob Bannister is obsessed with DSO lenses so I could take them for a spin. If you like what you see in these videos and you wanna try it out for yourself, all our gear is for rent at Creative Camera Rentals. We’re located in Vancouver, but also starting to consider shipping out to the States and beyond.

If you liked my last video, about modding the Helios 44, you’ll probably like the FlareFactory58, which is a more extreme version (that’s putting it lightly) of the aperture mod.

Why are these lenses in an anamorphic review, if they’re not anamorphic? Well, they were originally meant to enhance the anamorphic look and add even more character to the footage shot with 1.33x squeeze adapters. The cornerstone for DSO lenses is the Helios 44. Starting with the FlareFactory, Richard and James worked their way into tweaking the original Helios 44 lens, adding a ton of optional custom mods. You can choose how contrasty you want it, choose the color it’ll flare, aperture shape and size, mount (EF, PL or Nikon), artifacts and damage, and the outside finish. All of these have several options underneath – like the tint, you can pick from Red, Green, Blue, Magenta, Cyan, Amber, Bronze, Gold, Purple or not-tinted at all – which amounts to 28350 possibilities of different lenses (yes, I did the math, three mount types, five different apertures, three contrast options, ten tints, seven different artifacts combinations and 9 outside finishes). Picking one from thirty thousand options, I have to say there’s a huge chance that your lens is yours alone and no one in the world has something identical, which leads to unique visuals – and yes, I mean UNIQUE.

They also offer an optimized version to be used with Iscoramas, which has the focus locked on the best position to render the Isco’s images onto the sensor, and a tubing in front that brings the back of the Iscorama as close as possible to the front of the FlareFactory, ensuring no vignetting and no measurable light loss which are usually a consequence of adapters and step rings’ constraints. You can also add focus gears and make it as pretty as this one here! The front filter thread has also been increased, from 49mm to 55mm.

The advantages of using a FlareFactory in combination with an anamorphic or without any anamorphic at all is the look that you get. Using oval apertures (either 1.5x, 2x or 3x!!!) gives you beautiful oval bokeh minus the limitations of close focusing that is usually associated with anamorphics. No need for diopters, triple checking focus or any of the quirks we develop shooting with adapters or projection lenses. Shooting with a FlareFactory is simple, straightforward and the results won’t let you down. If you combine them with a flare filter, you’re golden for an anamorfake look at a fraction of the cost of shooting real anamorphic and even less worrying about the post-processing workflow.

I’ve been trying to figure out any sort of drawbacks and the only one I can think of is when you compare the price of a regular Helios 44 to the FlareFactory – but that totally takes out of the equation all the modding and fine tuning done by the guys at DSO, so it kind of defeats the purpose of the comparison. You can order yours at, for £265 in PL mount or £180 in EF mount. I always imagine them going like “everything everyone loves in the Helios 44 is kind of an artifact, originally undesired. Hmm… what if we get these artifacts and make them stronger, easier to achieve, like really pushing the look? And what if we let people choose how they want their lenses? Jeez, dude, imagine the amount of work that would be…”. I guess it paid off, since they’re sold out of EF mounts while fulfilling back orders.

The one I’m gonna use for these tests is an Amber tinted FlareFactory with a 2x oval aperture and a lower contrast level. I can’t say about the artifacts, Rob’s the one who picked them. While I shot the tests there was this dreamy feel that I couldn’t quite shake off, no matter what I tried. I guess I just missed the simplicity of shooting like this.

Well, this was it for this episode. We’re now diving deeper into faking the anamorphic look, or anamorfake, as I’m starting to call it. Next up is the TRUMP, and then DSO’s Optical Attachments and who knows, maybe some more. If you haven’t subscribed yet, this is the perfect moment for that. You can also check a shitload of extra content at my blog and rent all these amazing lenses at Creative Camera Rentals. Tito Ferradans signing out.

  • TFerradans. · Anamorphic on a Budget – DSO Ep 02 – TRUMP System. October 25, 2015 at 8:31 am

    […] ‹ Anamorphic on a Budget – DSO Ep 01 – FlareFactory58 […]

  • TFerradans. · Anamorphic on a Budget – DSO Ep 03 – Optical Attachments. November 1, 2015 at 8:34 am

    […] it for this week, folks. We’ve reached the end of DSO’s reviews, covering the FlareFactory58, the TRUMP and now the optical attachments. If you like these lenses, you can rent them from us at […]