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Ultrascope Anamorphics

Guest Allyn Laing

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Guest Allyn Laing



I'm Interested in shooting with a set of Zeiss/Ultrascope lenses

and would love to hear if anyone has shot with these, or worked with them.


- experiance

- type of look

- Sharpness/Contrast

- Bokeh etc.

- Problems with focus

- Any information (MTF, DOF charts etc...)

- Films shot with them.


I have read Max Jacoby Post on anamorphics and there are a few lines of helpful information there, and I believe they were around and in use in the late 1950's to 1960's but anymore information would be most helpful


thanks for your time



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Guest Allyn Laing
Out of curiosity, why do you want to shoot on the Ultrascopes in particular?


It's a no budget film, and I wanted to shoot Anamorphic, try something different,

they also have some lomo's but they have this nasty yellow cast, which I cannot understand...

What do you reccomend?

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  • 1 year later...

I have tested a set of Ultrascope anamorphic lenses for an upcoming project, for which we'll use the RED ONE. These lenses are big and heavy (around 3 to 4kg each) and their performance is not up to modern anamorphics. The image is a bit soft, they breathe a lot, have chromatic aberrations and the distortion at the edges is really obvious. The close focus on the individual lenses that I tested (32mm, 40mm, 50mm, 75mm and 100mm) was consistent around one meter. But they are quite flare resistant, which was unexpected. The look this lenses deliver fits what we are after plus they are not expensive, but otherwise it would be better to use other PL anamorphics. The Ultrascopes only begin to perform when stopped down at T/5.6.


What I wonder is how this set compares to other anamorphic systems of the era, such as Totalscope, Dyaliscope, Franscope, Sovscope 35, Bausch & Lomb CinemaScope, early Panavision and Todd-AO anamorphic lenses...

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...wait...it's a NO budget, but you want to shoot anamorphic?


Search CML for copious amounts of reasons that you SHOULD NOT shoot anamorphic without a budget or doing research. (you can certainly shoot anamorphic without money, but why would you want to?)

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But they are quite flare resistant, which was unexpected.


They were designed by Jan Jacobsen who also designed the HammerScope attachment, which was basically a prototype for Ultrascope.


Quite a while back, Visual Products had a couple of Ultrascope attachments on eBay.

They were for an Arri II*, the Arri's turret would be replaced with the Ultrascope unit.


I was watching 'Hell is a City', a contemporary B/W Hammerscope crime movie.

Flares on night street interiors were quite minimal. One had to search for the flares.

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  • Sustaining Member

I don't know what your general production knowledge level is. On the chance that you don't know, anamorphic lenses do increase your production costs compared to spherical lenses. You'll need more light. You'll need more juice. You'll need more wire. You'll need more people. You'll need more food. You'll need more vehicles. Then, you'll need more of all of that to make all of that doable. The ripple effect of some decisions can be pronounced.


Just something to keep in mind.

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  • Sustaining Member
You'll need more light. You'll need more juice. You'll need more wire. You'll need more people.


Maybe he's shooting a Western? Reflectors are cheap!


Concerning the "nasty yellow cast" of those Lomo anamorphics, Bernie over at Super16 Inc gave me a tip on that, though I have not yet tried it myself. He says ultraviolet light will cure it. Put some aluminum foil in place of the front lens cap and face the naked rear end of the lens on a window sill facing the sun. He claims a day or two will eliminate the yellow. I have to try it sometime. Something about the rare earth elements in the glass I think.



Bruce Taylor


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