Adapting a 100-year-old lens to shoot video on a new camera

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The picture quality does have a film-like look to it. It’s kind of a niche application but then again the only people that would be inclined to do this are photographers. Also that lens looks really pretty, really digging the design on the old lens.



Presumably it’s a rapid rectilinear lens, which Kodak used at the time, and would have been a big improvement over the simple meniscus lens. The oldest lenses I have myself are an Ernemann Doppel-Anistigmat, and a Kodak 203mm Ektar (one of the earliest coated lenses), which I use on my Graflex. I haven’t tried mounting them on my digital Nikon, that might be fun.


Love that flat light through the palm fronds. I’d like to view a person in close-up to see if it can capture Hollywood glamour lighting without showing every pore the way we do now.

The filmmaker has the lens. The audience doesn’t have the lens. The filmmaker could have decided to photograph his artifact with a macro lens, and good macrophotographic technique. He could have chosen to linger over the lens for more than a few seconds. But he didn’t. That’s part of what separates a collector from an observer. A collector can choose to be coy, and hide things, and keep the observers in thrall.

We aren’t meant to know the technical details of the lens, because if we were, we could read them.

It’s not a big mystery. Kodak used two different lenses on that model of camera. The one he’s got is likely the later, improved one.

i dunno-- seems like a museum needs labels for the non cognoscenti.
Here’s his photo of the lens,.

87mm lens for 127 format film..

So Kodak Anastigmat, the later improved design.

This ain’t No Big Thang. I’ve hundreds of lenses, many old and simple, to mount on modern film and digital cameras. I use lenses and filters to give effects of shooting in 1880s, 1920s, 1950s, or later. Emulsions and spectral sensitivity evolve. Colors render in many different ways. Films and sensors have their own flavors.

Some days, I haul six 50mm lenses of varied vintages, makes, and apertures, because each feels unique. Damn, I love glass!

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