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PepperJay

Isco Anamorphot 8mm 1.5x

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Hi, folks, this is my first post here, so please forgive my ignorance (but feel free to point it out!). Anyway, so I'm a newbie to the anamorphic DSLR world, but I've been doing my research here and on YouTube, et al., and a recent purchase in particular has left me completely desperate for any helpful advice:

I just bought the Isco mentioned above, but can't seem to draw a focus to save my life. The model in particular looks great cosmetically inside and out, but unlike a few other 8mm anamorphics I have, nothing I attach it to renders a usable image. From what I read, this is a focus through (no, couldn't afford the actual Iscomorphot), but none of my lenses within the 50mm range (Helios 44, Canon/Nikkor/Minolta 50's) have had any luck, no matter how much I stop it down (f8-22), and for any distance between 1m and all the way across the street. Seriously, I'm stumped. I'll attach a few photos of grabs I got during my checking about, but neither of these setups (ballpark from this end) seem to work. If it helps any (description-wise), the farther I hold it from my eye, the clearer the rear image is (albeit reversed)--and while this probably makes me sound like a complete dweeb, as I said, I'm desperate!!!

Right, so I know most of us don't repair lenses for a living, but I guess what I'm hoping for is advice/opinions/directions from anyone with prior experience with these or similar lenses. It doesn't seem like there's any internal focusing issues or element separation, but at this point I wouldn't be surprised if someone put a curse on it (or me).

Thanks in advance for any future help and for all the help you've provided so far by being available for those of us on the outside looking in.

-Jason

Note: the first to pics are the ones I modeled my setups toward, the 3rd is the lens in question, with some focus (at literal arm's length)...

 

isco anamorphot mounting 1 copy.jpg

isco ana setup 1 copy.JPG

 

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

So, I am assuming that you read this post:

You will need to align the anamorphic - the best way to do this is to shine a bright light at it (use your phone's light & don't get too close) & you should see the flares/streaks. These flares need to be horizontal, if they aren't it will be very difficult to get the lens to focus. So you just turn the anamorphic until they are horizontal.

Try to get a clean focus at 5 feet - i.e. without any diopters (measure it with a tape measure to get yourself in the right ball park & set your taking lens to 5feet, then do minor adjustments until the object you are focusing on pops into focus).

Lastly, this is not a focus through - it's fixed focus at 5feet. You use the diopters to be able to focus closer & you just adjust the distance on your taking lens to reach the right focus distance - a lot of trial & error.

Hope this helps.

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Hi, tweak, I thought it might be, but looking at CU's of other examples of this lens, it seems slightly more probable that I'm doing something wrong. In a conversation with a different seller on ebay, they told me that they can indeed see a focused image when held up to the eye (for what it's worth--they're selling the same model). As the pic I included shows, I had to hold it about 2' from mine to register anything more than a gob of David Lynchian imagery, and flipped at that. Sill a possibility, though. Kinda on a deadline, as I just started the process of trying to return it. But thanks for your suggestion.

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Thank you, Bioskop.Inc. My mind is blown by your reply. Some sources I had researched from stated it was "focus through," which left me completely confused as to where the problem might lie. "Fixed focus" at 5ft is a great place to start from.

I'm digging out my primes and diopters right now and will give it another go. Again, many thanks, and more to follow...

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2 hours ago, PepperJay said:

Thank you, Bioskop.Inc. My mind is blown by your reply. Some sources I had researched from stated it was "focus through," which left me completely confused as to where the problem might lie. "Fixed focus" at 5ft is a great place to start from.

I'm digging out my primes and diopters right now and will give it another go. Again, many thanks, and more to follow...

Yeah the focus through thing is one of those myths/lies that circulates - with these 8mm attachments, it's just wishful thinking. The Iscomorphot S8/x2, which is also fixed focus & it doesn't really play well with racking.

But having said that, I've also got the Isco Widescreen 2000 & in order to rack with that you need a diopter +0.5/0.25 (a weak one) and then stop down the taking lens a little - worth a try if you've got the right diopter.

Good luck

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Hey, Bioskop.Inc, so no joy over here. I set up my Helios 44, got nice focus, then mounted the Isco (pic#1). That blob in the 2nd was all I could get with my keychain flashlight at the same focal point, with no flares to work with, but vertial oval (both ways) in the front. The 3rd and 4th show the rig--just trying to get a clean image from 5ft. The last pic had the light off, making no change at all to the Helios from original settings. I've put +.25, +.50, +.75, +1, +2, +4 and +10 close up lenses and diopters in front yet to no avail. The other day, I tried with my 5DMKII, Canon 50mm and my Tamron 28-75mm. Same outcome @ approximately the same distance (the TV).

As in the first post with the pic pointed at my TV, the only way I can get a distinguishable picture is when I hold it 2 feet away from my eye, and only then with a mirrored image. Anything closer or with any lens just causes me to question my manhood. :D  :|

That said, I really appreciate your help thus far. I sent an email to the ebay dealer yesterday requesting a return, but (perhaps not surprisingly) haven't heard back. Not too worried because at this point I think I'd rather face opening a case than dealing with this little beast.

 

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11 hours ago, Bioskop.Inc said:

Yeah the focus through thing is one of those myths/lies that circulates - with these 8mm attachments, it's just wishful thinking. The Iscomorphot S8/x2, which is also fixed focus & it doesn't really play well with racking.

But having said that, I've also got the Isco Widescreen 2000 & in order to rack with that you need a diopter +0.5/0.25 (a weak one) and then stop down the taking lens a little - worth a try if you've got the right diopter.

Good luck

True, none of them are really "focus through", but you should be able to get some half decent focus stopped right down (which he says he can't). This I find strange.

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11 hours ago, PepperJay said:

Hey, Bioskop.Inc, so no joy over here. I set up my Helios 44, got nice focus, then mounted the Isco (pic#1). That blob in the 2nd was all I could get with my keychain flashlight at the same focal point, with no flares to work with, but vertial oval (both ways) in the front. The 3rd and 4th show the rig--just trying to get a clean image from 5ft. The last pic had the light off, making no change at all to the Helios from original settings. I've put +.25, +.50, +.75, +1, +2, +4 and +10 close up lenses and diopters in front yet to no avail. The other day, I tried with my 5DMKII, Canon 50mm and my Tamron 28-75mm. Same outcome @ approximately the same distance (the TV).

As in the first post with the pic pointed at my TV, the only way I can get a distinguishable picture is when I hold it 2 feet away from my eye, and only then with a mirrored image. Anything closer or with any lens just causes me to question my manhood. :D  :|

That said, I really appreciate your help thus far. I sent an email to the ebay dealer yesterday requesting a return, but (perhaps not surprisingly) haven't heard back. Not too worried because at this point I think I'd rather face opening a case than dealing with this little beast.

That is strange. But looking at the second picture, i would say that you are too close to the TV - so perhaps the minimum is 5m not 5 feet. The light source shouldn't be covering the whole frame. The last pic looks like you're aimed at the wall.

The Iscomorphot S8/x2 has a minimum of distance of 4/5m & the Widescreen 2000 is 5m - so it might be worth trying to focus at something further away. 5m is quite a distance & I had real trouble with this distance in my front room, so it took me a while to get things to focus.

On a 5d2, you'll need something over 75mm. On APS-C or below a 50mm should be fine.

If not try to contact QuickHitRecord - he's a really nice guy & might be able to point you in the right direction.

Experiment - remember to adjust the taking lens, as sometimes the distances on these things aren't that accurate.

 

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4 hours ago, tweak said:

I have s82x and it will focus almost any distance if you stop down a bit.

Yes, I agree - the only problem with stopping down is that most things will look in focus, but are they?

You really need to find out what your anamorphic looks like actually in focus at its optimum. This is because when you focus through you are better able to judge how much off the mark it is - you don't want to end up with some footage being really sharp & other bits which aren't.

It's the same with dual focus anamorphics - sometimes, when you're aligning the anamorphic & taking lens, things can appear to be in focus, but when they really are the image pops up nice & sharp.

Also, racking focus focus when you're stopped down can be done, but it's not as noticeable compared to when your lens is open wider (obvious, I know). The best tip for achieving a good rack focus, with these focus through lenses, is to have a taking lens with a long focus throw - it takes longer to rack, but it shows up more.

@PepperJay - how is it going? Any luck yet or is it a turkey?

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40 minutes ago, tweak said:

I think you missed my point... all I'm saying is he should be able to get some kind of image stopped down a bit, obviously I don't use my scope like that :glasses:.

I got your point. Looks like he is struggling & was giving out more info in the process - like a good forum member should (not a 60yr old wannabe relic timewaster!):grin:

I'm sure from his pics it's a distance thing, if not......a metallic thanksgiving meal!?

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On 7/29/2016 at 10:45 AM, Bioskop.Inc said:

Yeah the focus through thing is one of those myths/lies that circulates - with these 8mm attachments, it's just wishful thinking. The Iscomorphot S8/x2, which is also fixed focus & it doesn't really play well with racking.

But having said that, I've also got the Isco Widescreen 2000 & in order to rack with that you need a diopter +0.5/0.25 (a weak one) and then stop down the taking lens a little - worth a try if you've got the right diopter.

Good luck

 

On 7/30/2016 at 2:30 AM, Bioskop.Inc said:

That is strange. But looking at the second picture, i would say that you are too close to the TV - so perhaps the minimum is 5m not 5 feet. The light source shouldn't be covering the whole frame. The last pic looks like you're aimed at the wall.

The Iscomorphot S8/x2 has a minimum of distance of 4/5m & the Widescreen 2000 is 5m - so it might be worth trying to focus at something further away. 5m is quite a distance & I had real trouble with this distance in my front room, so it took me a while to get things to focus.

On a 5d2, you'll need something over 75mm. On APS-C or below a 50mm should be fine.

If not try to contact QuickHitRecord - he's a really nice guy & might be able to point you in the right direction.

Experiment - remember to adjust the taking lens, as sometimes the distances on these things aren't that accurate.

Hey, Bioskop.Inc, yeah, I tried to focus out of my window from here to across the street, but nothing but a glob of murky smear, regardless of iris or focal distance on my prime. And correct on that light source--I'd never seen a penlight take up the entire frame--like it was set for microscopic levels. I finally gave up yesterday and shipped it back to the seller in Prague (before I accidentally scratch it). Sad, as it was the only Isco I had owned, and now the baby Möllers and Hypers are way too expensive for me. But I have more than enough lenses to experiment with for the time being, and I thank you again for your input and encouragement. I feel like a bit of a quitter, but the window for this $400 lens was closing faster than I was making any progress.

 

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All good, tweak--the image actually improved to a less globby mess at f16~22, but still nothing even distinguishable up to at least half a mile away (lots of subjects on bright days out here). My only theory at this point is that there is some misalignment within the lens itself. I didn't mention that in the listing earlier (mainly because I felt it was something I was doing wrong), but the seller rated it as a "C+" condition lens, as they stated that it had marks from possible fungal cleaning. Before I bought it, I asked the seller if he thought the cleaning marks dramatically hampered the image quality, and he said he didn't know, but he would be happy to take it back if I weren't satisfied. Perhaps I should have been wary of the "didn't know" part, as he sells lenses for a living (though perhaps not as many anamorphics.) But given the fact that I could see a pretty clear image of my TV when holding the lens 2 feet away from my eye, I don't think cleaning marks have anything to do with the problem. My thinking (for what it's worth) is that it has to do with the internal alignment/distance within the lens when it was cleaned, as there are definite signs that the rear of the lens was indeed opened prior to my acquisition of said turkey. Granted, we're talking about milimeters of distance between the elements, but perhaps these tiny lenses are even less forgiving. Thanks to all again--as I gain more personal experience, I'll share as you have with me.

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20 hours ago, PepperJay said:

 

Hey, Bioskop.Inc, yeah, I tried to focus out of my window from here to across the street, but nothing but a glob of murky smear, regardless of iris or focal distance on my prime. And correct on that light source--I'd never seen a penlight take up the entire frame--like it was set for microscopic levels. I finally gave up yesterday and shipped it back to the seller in Prague (before I accidentally scratch it). Sad, as it was the only Isco I had owned, and now the baby Möllers and Hypers are way too expensive for me. But I have more than enough lenses to experiment with for the time being, and I thank you again for your input and encouragement. I feel like a bit of a quitter, but the window for this $400 lens was closing faster than I was making any progress.

 

Shame, I can recommend the Isco Widescreen 2000 as one of the best of the Focus Through/Fixed Focus lenses out there - Run'n'Gun or whatever you want:

 

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Yeah, looks like the last one just sold in June; will keep my eyes peeled and look for more stuff to sell by then. Nice cam-work, btw. I used to do live work until I started getting migraines. But some of the music wasn't half bad. :D

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Hey, months ago I get the same lens with the same problem, unfortunately I didn´t accept the deal with the seller, which was that I had to send it back to him and pay the shipping, and I kept the lens hoping I would be abble to service it myself. Nothing "normal" worked. I can´t get a focused image in the gh4  and I did some experiments. This is not that the image is soft, it is not focused. Now the lens is servicing in a lens specialized, but they called me saying they don´t know how to repair it. 

Any advice? I can send it to a trusted servicing that you recomend, I can not sell or use it now so only way is to try to fix it. Thank you very much in advance!

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Crap, I'm feeling for you, Aitor. Hopefully someone here has solved this mystery and can share. I ended up eating the cost of the return shipping (I think about $35), but saved myself even more hours of frustration down the line. And it wasn't until I finally picked up a true Iscorama Iscomorphot 1.5x a few weeks ago that I've been able to let the disappointment with this one go. The one that I have now reeked of cigarette smoke upon unpacking (and could use a little inner cleaning when time permits), but focuses just fine. Anyway, my only theory for the lens you have now is that when it was serviced last (and there were definite signs that it was opened up), it's possible they unknowingly flipped one of the elements upon reassembly. It may not be a great theory, but I can't imagine why the focus would be so off through otherwise clean glass. I would have tried to fix it myself, but didn't want to scratch something and void the return option back then. Also, I probably would have bought another of the same kind (but working, of course) to reference, then sell either one when both were put back together. But that's obviously a bit of a commitment.

One last piece of advice: maybe start a new thread so everyone can see the fresh topic. I think this one only notifies the people who've commented. Best of luck.

 

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