The B&H is a fantastic lens but requires some gymnastics to really get the most out of it. I'm pretty proud of the mod and I believe it optimizes the B&H to its fullest potential. Tito will be posting a review of it tomorrow. In summary, to duplicate my lens modification, read through this entire thread carefully before starting. You should have the following items:
B&H 16mm 2x Anamorphic Lens
58mm Helicoid. You can use a 52mm but the 58mm diameter allows a closer fit, The downside is you'll need to fabricate a retainer ring for the front glass element.
Telescope Finderscope Clamp
Lens Support Bracket
Tap & Die Kit
Drill or Drill Press, and Table Vice
Materials for making the polyurethane mold
Silicone & Polyurethane Casting Material. I recommend polyurethane Shore D Hardness; 75 (about the same durability as a construction hard hat)
58mm Lens Cap, and cap to fit over the silver Series VII Ring
Matte Black Paint, Brush, and Thinner
Degreaser and Lithium Grease
Sandpaper / Cloth / Finishing Materials
Gorilla Tape. Not necessary but a little added protection around the polyurethane
NAPHTHA and Lens Tissue
Micro Tools / Micro Screwdriver Set
Digital Caliper with 0.01mm tolerance
Expect to replace some parts during fabrication, like iterating the custom mold for the front housing, or breaking a helicoid, or throwing out a lot of failed 3D printing attempts. Here is a breakdown of the labor steps required to produce the finished product:
Disassembling, re-greasing, and reassembling the heiicoid (helicoids bought off eBay come with poor quality, low viscosity grease).
Removing the original front housing and front glass element.
Thinning the matte black paint and painting the edge of the front glass element. If you are lucky, your B&H's front element may already be painted.
Combining the lens support with the telescope bracket. The Cyanoacrylate creates a temporary bond between the bracket & clamp, allowing to you drill & tap the hole for the screw that will hold them together permanently
Making the mold for the front housing. Lots of trial-and-error here, make sure to read a lot about how to make molds. This is where your McGuyver skills and a trip to Home Depot comes in.
Casting the polyurethane for the front housing. Again, some homework is required here, planning, and a tightly sealed mold!
3d Printing an alignment collar for the helicoid to fit on the polyurethane front housing, the retaining ring to hold the glass element in the helicoid, and the follow focus gear.
Assembling and gluing all the fabricated parts. Make sure everything fits properly before applying that epoxy!
Fit & finish (sanding, polishing, cleaning, etc.)
Adjusting the bracket height, the anamorphic alignment and calibrating infinity focus
Reviewing test footage to confirm the lens is ready for shooting
If you’re doing this for the first time, expect to spend at least 1-2 weeks putting this together. Honestly, even with all the information in this thread I think it will take longer than that. If you have a full time job, expect the process to take a few months. This is not a short-term project, it requires immense patience, but the rewards are excellent! When finished, what you achieve — and I’m typing it again, because it bears repeating — are the following features:
Follow focus gear for rack-focusing, with a generous throw that allows for precise focus
Re-greased helicoid for smooth focus action
Minimum focus of just under 1m for the 14mm helicoid version, and just under 30cm for the 30mm helicoid version (that is the closest focus of ANY anamorphic I know of).
Beautiful 2x bokeh
Superb, stable 15mm rail support that locks in alignment and reduces the time between switching taking lenses
Nylon alignment screws that won’t scratch the anamorphic
Compact and lightweight (the modded B&H + custom bracket = 866g. In comparison, a 16H + Rangefinder is 880g without the lens clamp, filter clamp, and rail support)
58mm front thread for diopters or ND filters, and a Series VII rear thread
The side of the front element is painted matte black to reduce internal barrel reflection and preserve the amazing flares
Reversibility: The custom front housing can be removed and replaced with the original housing
An ideal anamorphic for micro four-thirds filmmakers
I encourage any B&H owner to do this mod. The question you must ask yourself is how much time and money you’re willing to spend to get to a final, usable product. If you have a lot of the equipment already (especially the 3D printer, tap & die kit, etc.) or your own workshop, you will save some money.
But for those who don’t have the time or resources, I will be selling my mods for around $1000 (depending on the quality of the original glass, and whether it’s a 14mm or 30mm helicoid). Some of you may think this is expensive, but considering all the work that goes into it, and the value of all the features listed above, I believe this is a fair price.
This is a complete, turnkey anamorphic solution: You put the B&H mod on rails with your camera, and start shooting. No other purchases are necessary. If you are interested please message me, I will be be putting the mods up on eBay once Tito has sold his,
Some of the proceeds will help me recoup the parts & materials I went through during R&D. Some will go to purchasing a lens from Tito (which will help fund his efforts). Some of it will go towards my next project: modifying the Bausch & Lomb Projection lens. I will add the same level of detail and information to that thread as I've done here.
I'm not trying to turn this thread into an advertisement for my mod. I’d love to see other B&H owners continue innovating, modifying, testing, shooting, and posting to this thread to find new ways to get the most out of this great piece of glass! I will continue to answer questions where I can, but I expect my participation on this thread will wane as I turn my eye towards my next projection lens project
Keep on modding!