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Why nobody is talking more about the mesmerizer? :)

Laquaglia Punto Ernesto

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Hi folks, recently I was filming in Italy and we filmed everything with an F55 with CP2 lenses and this godsend anamorphic adapter that really blew me away. The sheer size of it, unbelievable! :) 
I only found a brief mention of it on the forum, but on cinematography.com I was able to retireve a bit more information. Anyway, for this shoot I intended to use my Kowa B&H, as I really pressed to shoot part of the short in anamorphic, but as you can imagine, without machining out a proper adapter for the CP2 lenses this was a no go.

The thing that baffled me the most, is that, I have been interested into filming in anamorphic for quite a while, and believe me, I searched far and wide for lenses like this. 
Also, I found that double focusing with this lens was not really an issue, quite often I could easily focus through with the CP2s and adjust the anamorphic focus later. Rarely we needed to use a tape measurer.
I was never lucky to get my hands on an ISCO 36 or other ISCOs, so I can't really know if they are as good, therefore folks is there anyone here having played around with both?


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E i know! :D I have seen that link myself, but at the moment I lack the financial funds to buy the mesmerizer :D The king of anamorphic adapter in my opinion.


and minimum focus distance is not that bad: 1.7m I found it it's more than enough to get close ups with an 85mm taking lens (That's what we used most of the time 50mm or 85mm plus the mesmerizer

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My experience working with the mesmerizer and the CP2 made double focusing very easy. we shot all the footage between T2.8 and T4.
Every time we moved the camera or we needed to adjust focus I could easily focus the taking lens onto my subject and then refine the focusing with the mesmerizer. 
We didn't need to rack focus for the type of filming we were doing, but I figure that a skilled focus puller could manage to pull focus on both the mesmerizer and the taking lens.

A quirk of this optics is that the focus throw is actually an incredible 390 degree circa. you can focus beyond the closest focus mark set at 6 feet, but then the scale restart from infinity so it could trick you into thinking the adapter is set at infinity - 50 feet while for real it is set at the closest focusing point.

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mesmerizer off the scale good a very large beast.

mr kish who designed it was a very clever optics man i think he realised early on why try to beat an old isco design.

so he built his monster around early isco 54 and the very large isco inflights which would have been had for cheap from the retirement of the inflight film projection systems on  dc9 and boeing 707.

it is a great optic it is really a rehoused isco inflight or isco 54 without the 2 extra focus optics that have been copied so much in the last few years.

work out your focus zone range dial onto mesmirizers scale critical focus on taking lens.


the original design was mainly for tv show dream sequence commercials and many music videos of the 80s and 90s.

sold to many big camera rental houses great for the warped bent anamorph spin effect or you can lock the rotaion down and use as a very fine quality anamorphic optic.


i had a few one was 1.75 the other 2x one more modern coatings the other golden early 70s coatings.

the one i still have looks like it uses the original isco focus helicoid system just put into a nice big metal jacket.

because of the beyond heavy duty  quality of the exterior jacket and the rental house  buyers i would imagine this would of been a 8- 10 thousand dollar optic back in the day

if it had the isco patented 2 extra focus optics making it single focus it would be going out on rental every day for big bucks.


as it is now stiill very usable

slightly radioactive as is a lot of the magic vintage oldtimer  glass





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4 hours ago, tony wilson said:

mesmerizer off the scale good a very large beast.

mr kish who designed it was a very clever optics man....


Nice to see you back here Tony, where've you been? Can never have enough stories about obscure and rare anamorphics :-)

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hey thanks mr. Tony Wilson for your insight. could not agree more (or less? I don't remember what's the correct form) with what you said. :) The Mesmerizer we used we got told it shoot some of the historical Martini ad. don't know how famous those ad are outside of italy, or if you even know what I am talking about. :D 

I have, unfortunately, never been able to shoot with any isco lenses, therefore I won't be able to compare them. But knowing being a rehoused Isco 54 or inflight, now I will look for one of those on ebay :D

Though, for ease of use, I have to say that the mesmerizer it's simply great. I can imagine you could rehouse any anamorphic and adapt the body to mimc the functioning of the mesmerizer, or pair your favorite anamorphic lens with a Rapido clamp technology so to ease the correct alignment, still I don't think they could guarantee the degree of accuracy you get with having the allign sign on the body of the lens itsels. Togheter with a lens support :) 


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mr kish also worked on the famous optex and century  anamorphics.

he worked direct with many of the la newyork rental houses his stuff was always very strong it had to be usuable and take abuse from those hollywood knuckle dragging rough   brutes of the camera dept.


rapido clamp technology that sounds like a revolution that guy deserves an oscar

or maybe a high court writ for ideas theft : )

the original mesmerizer has seriously nice coatings  and is a great balance of technology one foot in the modern the other in vintage.

analogue look distortion well under control.


isco 54 will be similar recipe with added bonus of single focus  ability the coatings are very modern so a little bit more of a sterile look

a good isco 54 will destroy all the new generation anamorphics below 10 thousand dollars it is a bargain.

the inflights from kowa and isco should be very high value as they where the best of the best plenty of rejection the inflight company also kept plenty of back up stock as sometimes they needed to rip out whole projection systems out of the plane quickly and replace in short time span.


clamp based orientation issues have been solved long time ago today it is mainly human error  or cheap poor mounting solutions.







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