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victorshoots

Kowa Anamorphic-35 1.75x Inflight :)

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Hey everyone,

I've been watching these forums for years and contemplating when to jump on a anamorphic solution. I think my "patience" might have paid off as I just acquired this beauty of a lens that is just a BEAST of glass. From the little I could find about it online it seems to be one of the highest quality optics around made for 35mm film projectors on airlines back in the day. Currently it is still on its way to me so i'm hoping it arrives without any damage. Once it gets here i'm thinking of getting a Core DNA from Rectilux to make it a viable single focus solution. Any core dna useres out there that can vouch for it's quality? Might need to do some machining though to get the Core DNA to fit from what i've been told. 

Anyone on here have one of these bad boys that can shed some light on working with this setup feel free to share would love to know more about this lens! Will post actual pics when it arrives! 

Was able to find one for sale on ebay currently but feel lucky I found another source hah...how rare are these really?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Kowa-Anamorphic-35-1-75x-Lens-/282114577816?hash=item41af56d598:g:y8YAAOSwIgNXmI1D

27193-1.jpg

27193-2.jpg

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hey tweak thanks for your input.  I wasn't really worried about what it does or doesn't cost but rather to gain some more knowledge from others who have worked with it. Can you tell me a little about the history of those optics and how much they originally cost compared to say the Kowa bell howell? During your testing why did you come to the conclusion that they are not worthy of your praise? As I understand these lenses were only made for airlines to use with expensive onboard 35mm projectors. They spent lots of money to make sure their passengers enjoy a "state of the art" flight, in return for a pricey airfare. Back when airlines had decent margins of course. These were apparently also produced in the same factory that Kowa made their cinema glass unlike their other versions of projector lenses. This is the only reason I paid whatever I did for mine because i'm not looking for just an good enough lens. I probably wouldn't pay what that particular buyer is asking due to my own budget restrictions but I didn't seek the lens out for getting a "deal". Depends on what tool you want for what job I think. What I rather be doing is buying a 3 lens Prominar cine set but I don't have a spare $45k for that investment just yet.

The glass element dwarfs anything else i've looked at getting in the projector world. Will try to take some scale pictures with other lenses when I can. Will probably start by sending my copy to Bernie for inspection and any adjustment if needed, hoping he will be able to throw it on the work bench and see what shes resolving at. Interested to pair with a my minty 90's lomo 35/50/75 copies. I'm after more of the "cooke look" rather than maximum sharpness and saturation. Closer to what the Kowa anamorphic cine lenses feel like in terms of the tonality and creaminess while still retaining sharpness. Hopefully I can arrive at a winning combo eventually. Then make it battle ready for the trenches. Baby steps. 

What i'm on this forum for is to see If anyone has any of their personal experience with this particular piece of glass and would like to share their thoughts, observations, suggestions. I understand it is rare so maybe nobody has one on here, which is fine.  

Best,
Vic

 

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I've owned 3 Kowa Inflight PA-35's in the past 5 years...all bought from eBay, make that what you will regarding rarity. The all-black one featured in that Ebay link I've not seen before, looks like the less pretty non-Prominar model. I guess it's high price could be worth the money to someone who appreciates it. As for the quality of the optics, it has documented here before on this forum by me and others...it is pretty much as good as it gets (especially for full frame), regarding Kowa scope projection optics.

If wanting to use it with a variable diopter such as Rangefinder, Core DNA, Rectilux etc...you will need to find a customised solution to cover the large front diameter of the Kowa, and allows the diopter rear to get close enough to the inflight's front optic to get the most coverage from this lens. (All current vari-diopters on the market are not really intended for use on lenses with front diameters this large).

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2 hours ago, victorshoots said:

Thanks for the reply Hans. Do you have a Core DNA yourself? Could you speak of it's optical/mechanical quality at all?

Yes I have one. It's optically great, mechanically poor IMO. But It's probably the best solution out there at the moment for use with the Kowa Inflight 35, You will probably need some modification to make it work at its best. DM me if you need specific pointers (it can be a lengthy process).

Here it is on my Inflight PA-35, with configured rail mount and custom clamps.

image.jpeg

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1 hour ago, Hans Punk said:

Yes I have one. It's optically great, mechanically poor IMO. But It's probably the best solution out there at the moment for use with the Kowa Inflight 35, You will probably need some modification to make it work at its best. DM me if you need specific pointers (it can be a lengthy process).

Here it is on my Inflight PA-35, with configured rail mount and custom clamps.

image.jpeg

Is that a black painted rectilux core dna ?

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3 minutes ago, Hans Punk said:

Yes, reworked internals and more durable matte paint finish on exterior.

I m about to do the same thing , what did you reworked ? there a bit of play on mine , I m getting better screws .

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Teflon replacement collars for the guide screws is a good start. (Replacing the brass collars with Teflon ones will reduce friction noise when focusing) - I also reworked the internal focus mechanism to have a better strength and tolerance - that eliminated wobble. A bit too many other details and tweaks to list here without hijacking the thread topic.

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Thats great info thank you. Would you say now with those mods the unit is production useable? Would you attach a Fiz motor to the dna? How close to the front element do you have the dna? I noticed the rear is 75mm on the dna which is a bit too small to fit the kowa inside unless some machining is done to either lens or the dna? 

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I never said they were not worthy of my praise, I said the price of that ebay listing is bullshit. Read what Hans Punk said, he's pretty spot on (imo). Myself I wouldn't ever pay more than 1000usd for the Prominar version (I've seen quite a few sell for less).

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Kowa 35 is an excellent glass, i don't have inflight (yet), and this one doesn't appear to be the one, at least not the official, maybe pre-production unit,  but I do have 35 1.5x , very unique contrast and very sharp glass, Redstan's opinion on Kowa 35 is that a Hollywood level glass, and I tend to agree, really high quality lens.

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2 hours ago, victorshoots said:

Thats great info thank you. Would you say now with those mods the unit is production useable? Would you attach a Fiz motor to the dna? How close to the front element do you have the dna? I noticed the rear is 75mm on the dna which is a bit too small to fit the kowa inside unless some machining is done to either lens or the dna? 

Depends on the production :)

I've got a high torque stepper focus motor for my moco pan/tilt head - and I'm very cautious about setting the limit points on it, as it would be feasible that if left to overshoot - it would unscrew the DNA, or dislodge it's grip. This is something to get used to and take care with, not a huge deal.

I've rigged the DNA with an empty 72mm uv filter clamped flush to the rear (fits snugly into that 75mm rear opening) - that then effectively gives you a solid 72mm rear thread for quickly screw mounting onto a quality front filter clamp, such as Redstan makes (works great on the smaller Kowa Bell & Howell this way). Soon I will be opening up the diameter with a lathe to allow a 77mm step ring to mount in the same way - giving me a few more millimeters to get the DNA rear closer to the Kowa Inflight front. At the moment I have a custom Rapido front clamp for the inflight that fixes to the front of the lens - after it's retainer ring has been removed (the knurled ring with white writing on) - this allows even closer mounting to the front. The plan is to open up the DNA rear just enough to screw directly onto that rapido clamp (77mm)...at the moment it has a 77-72 step down to join the two.

As it is, it works well - but on full frame the edges suffer from mild blurring, due to the DNA not being close enough to the kowa front optic. This is why opening the rear diameter of the DNA is worth a try. On APSC and smaller, this problem will be less of an issue - but still present.

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10 minutes ago, Hans Punk said:

Depends on the production :)

I've got a high torque stepper focus motor for my moco pan/tilt head - and I'm very cautious about setting the limit points on it, as it would be feasible that if left to overshoot - it would unscrew the DNA, or dislodge it's grip. This is something to get used to and take care with, not a huge deal.

I've rigged the DNA with an empty 72mm uv filter clamped flush to the rear (fits snugly into that 75mm rear opening) - that then effectively gives you a solid 72mm rear thread for quickly screw mounting onto a quality front filter clamp, such as Redstan makes (works great on the smaller Kowa Bell & Howell this way). Soon I will be opening up the diameter with a lathe to allow a 77mm step ring to mount in the same way - giving me a few more millimeters to get the DNA rear closer to the Kowa Inflight front. At the moment I have a custom Rapido front clamp for the inflight that fixes to the front of the lens - after it's retainer ring has been removed (the knurled ring with white writing on) - this allows even closer mounting to the front. The plan is to open up the DNA rear just enough to screw directly onto that rapido clamp (77mm)...at the moment it has a 77-72 step down to join the two.

As it is, it works well - but on full frame the edges suffer from mild blurring, due to the DNA not being close enough to the kowa front optic. This is why opening the rear diameter of the DNA is worth a try. On APSC and smaller, this problem will be less of an issue - but still present.

Fair enough that makes sense to me. No auto calibrate is probably safer bet hah. 

Can the core DNA be taken apart to have the rear mount milled out? I asked rectilux if he could make a custom one but he said he won't unfortunately. Was worth a shot. He doesn't seem the best at communicating which made me a little skeptical but if you say the optics are worth it i'll take your word for it. Pretty close to pulling the trigger on one. Did you mod your own setup or send away?

What is your favourite taking lens with your setup? How close do you align the kowa rear element to the taking lens?

Cheers!

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1 minute ago, victorshoots said:

Fair enough that makes sense to me. No auto calibrate is probably safer bet hah. 

Can the core DNA be taken apart to have the rear mount milled out? I asked rectilux if he could make a custom one but he said he won't unfortunately. Was worth a shot. He doesn't seem the best at communicating which made me a little skeptical but if you say the optics are worth it i'll take your word for it. Pretty close to pulling the trigger on one. Did you mod your own setup or send away?

What is your favourite taking lens with your setup? How close do you align the kowa rear element to the taking lens?

Cheers!

Very easy to dismantle DNA...I modified mine myself. It is only the larger Inflight 1.75x that can be a bit of a pain to get it working with - other lenses (such as Kowa B&H/ 8Z etc) will work fine with the standard 75mm rear opening. Optically, the DNA is probably the best choice for now in my opinion - just don't expect precision engineering out of the box (it wobbles and makes a horrible noise when focusing) but that can be adjusted and the optic quality just about makes the price worth it IMHO. 

I tend to shoot with an old 100mm meyer optik f2.8 zebra - set no wider than f4 on full frame. Gives good all round performance and sharpness at that stop.

All vari-diopters increases the apparent defocus bokeh, so f4 can be plenty shallow enough. DNA/Rectilux/FM module/ SLR Rangefinder are all single element design to their diopters, so fast open apertures are always going to show aberrations/glow/blur of some kind. Achromatic optics (if even they could be made at scale) would be horrendously expensive and noticeably heavy but would solve this issue.

How close do you align the kowa rear element to the taking lens?

I have my setup as rail mounted - so I either attach taking lens via an empty cpl ring (so taking lens can turn into camera mount whilst still attached to everything) or simply by pushing the kowa rear as close as possible to taking lens front, using a rubber collapsible sun hood as a donut. The optic rear of the Kowa is protected by collision by a uv filter and its diameter, relative to the taking lens front. It's a setup that I find can work very well. The other advantage of having the setup rail mounted, is that i can mount a VND to the rear of the kowa and in front of the taking lens...this works very well.

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1 hour ago, SigurdW said:

I am just curiously sneaking in here to learn about these scopes... Google had mixed opinions about this matter, but I was wondering how wide can one go on FF with these?
 

58mm on Full Frame 16x9 with some vignette, when sides of 16x9 de-squeeze is cropped to 2.39:1 vignette is often clear of active area.

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