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Ric

AGASCOPE - worth buying?

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I came across this lens in a local camera store - AGA 50mm anamorphic, but there's very little available online about them.

The owner didn't have a price, but suspected it was valuable - is anyone familiar with these lenses? What should I offer? Is this going to be similar to the old LOMOs?

 

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Nice finding, the question is : will it cover S35/FF ? If so the price can be high yes ! If it only covers S16 not that many people will be interested. This does looks nice indeed, I curious to know if it is a rehousing a unique optical design. Can you try and take a picture with it ?

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Hi,

It's obviously a cine lens. From the pictures, at first i thought it could be one of those anamorphic add ons you had to put in front of old cine primes in the 50's. You had so synchronize both lens to focus with some long lost mechanical gear. But because the lens seems to have an aperture ring, I guess it's a prime anamorphic lens from the 60's.

Looking at the size of it, it may well be a 35mm film lens. As for the mount, i have absolutely no idea, . Not much info on Agascope on internet. But they're supposed to be good lenses with nice anamorphic characteristics (and blue flares). 

Probably worth a few quids if in good shape and depending on the camera mount.

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The only thing that i could find via google (gotta sometimes look past the first page or two!) was this post from cinematography.com.

It does offer a suggestion to which mount it might be (BNCR-mount or DeBrie - never heard of them).

http://www.cinematography.com/index.php?showtopic=2539

Did find mention of Agascope in another article in Swedish, but once translated it didn't offer any technical details just who used the lenses.

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Sure looks like a pro optic! Try to take some pictures of the mount, as it looks rather small for larger sensor coverage...perhaps someone here can identify it. But then you might get the issue of adapting. It would get even more interesting if the anamorphic block could be separated from the spherical lens.

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It is an AgaScope lens. It was built by a Swedish industrial firm during the widescreen craze of the late 50s/early 60s. It was mainly used in Sweden, although some sets made it to Eastern Europe. The set was fairly sparse and included a 46mm and a 75mm. There weren't any zooms or wide focal lengths available, so the modern day appeal of these lenses is limited. Quality should be on par with other early anamorphic systems of continental Europe like Dyaliscope or Totalvision.

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5 hours ago, BrooklynDan said:

It is an AgaScope lens. It was built by a Swedish industrial firm during the widescreen craze of the late 50s/early 60s. It was mainly used in Sweden, although some sets made it to Eastern Europe. The set was fairly sparse and included a 46mm and a 75mm. There weren't any zooms or wide focal lengths available, so the modern day appeal of these lenses is limited. Quality should be on par with other early anamorphic systems of continental Europe like Dyaliscope or Totalvision.

Great information :) Thank you so much !

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Thanks for all your replies!

I went back to the store and they're quoting $8-9k for the lens... way out of my price range! Shame. Seems to be in very good condition.

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1 hour ago, Ric said:

Thanks for all your replies!

I went back to the store and they're quoting $8-9k for the lens... way out of my price range! Shame. Seems to be in very good condition.

In theory, it is worth that price because it is a professional-grade anamorphic prime lens, and similar lenses from Lomo and others have been going for about $8k. However, I think the value of this lens should take a hit because it is, of course, a one-off. The chances of building a complete Agascope set are slim to none, So that makes this lens a curiosity, rather than a functional cinema lens, and it should be priced as such. I would put it at $4-5k.

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Well without a modern mount on it I would consider it a Paperweight to be honest! LoL. God knows if there is anyone left alive that even knows how to adapt it to a modern mount. Risky buy. Too bad.

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It's a collector's item. I guess it's quoted as such.

I've seen footage shot with some comparable anamorphic lenses from this era - dyaliscope, totalvision, you name it. It's soft, anamorphic mumps all over the place, and the distorsions are out of this world (and i love distorsions). Those lenses were really rough.

I've used one of those on a commercial i shot lately and honestly, it's so soft that i am pretty sure my Kowa 8Z/rectilux combo looks way cleaner...

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Agascope Lenses:

AGA's optics Lidingö developed by engineer Evert Aulin as an anamorphic lens system for both cameras and projectors around 1955. The first film shot with the Agascope lens was a short film from SF (Svensk Filmindustri) Studios, “City on Water”.

(A terrible quality vhs/video copy below, but it’s there for posterity and those interested in the history of such things at least.)

Staden vid vattnen (1955) Directed by Lars Erik Stewart and with Albert Rudling as a photographer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDTSC3mwJv4

 

The first feature film was Gorilla (1956)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0049272/?ref_=nm_flmg_cin_101

http://www.videosondag.se/2016/02/18/gorilla-1956/

A film documentary/drama content recorded in the Belgian Congo, directed by Lars Henric Ottosson and Lorens Malmstedt. The latter was also the film's producer. Sven Nykvist was a photographer and has also credited as technical director. AGA had been the only camera lenses the entire film is shot with. Premiere was August 28, 1956.

 

“The Song of the Blood-Red Flower” was the first feature film in Agascope and in color. Director was Gustaf Molander and Åke Dahlqvist and Lasse Björne as photographers. Premiere December 26, 1956.

Sången om den eldröda blomman (1956)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0049819/combined

 

Arne Sucksdorff saw working copies of any of the above films before he started filming the “Flute and the Arrow” and was so impressed that he decided to record his upcoming film in Agascope and Eastman Color / Technicolor. "The Flute and the Arrow" got rave reviews at its premiere in December 1957.

"Masterpieces" wrote a few critics and Staffan Tjerneld Expressen praised Arne Sucksdorff the exquisite photo in color. Arne Sucksdorff had access to three Agascope lenses with focal lengths of 46, 75 and 105 mm. From 1959 made AGA also a 210 mm focal length. In the period 1956-1965 was 19 Swedish films in Aga-scope.

The Flute and the Arrow (1957)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0050321/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

 

There is a lot of info online, but the link below is where most of above info was found or collected from:

http://www.filmsoundsweden.se/backspegel/cinemascope.html

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I have shoot severeal feature films with the Agascope lenses back in  the eigthies. The most famous one was "Ninja Mission" in 1984. Today a cult movie. I used all four of them with the Debrie mount on Arriflex IIC cameras.

These lenses are NOT old soft lenses. They are supersharp with good contrast. Fantastic lenses!

In the fifties and sixties you could only rent them. AGA never sold any lenses so lenses on the market was probably stolen. I think that the above one is a prototype as I have never seen or heard of a 50mm Agascope. The lens was made in 1959, at the end of the Agascope production era.

They came in 46, 75, 105 and 210mm.

I don´t think there are any problem rehousing these lenses today.

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On 2/16/2020 at 2:13 PM, perarnes said:

I have shoot severeal feature films with the Agascope lenses back in  the eigthies. The most famous one was "Ninja Mission" in 1984. Today a cult movie. I used all four of them with the Debrie mount on Arriflex IIC cameras.

These lenses are NOT old soft lenses. They are supersharp with good contrast. Fantastic lenses!

In the fifties and sixties you could only rent them. AGA never sold any lenses so lenses on the market was probably stolen. I think that the above one is a prototype as I have never seen or heard of a 50mm Agascope. The lens was made in 1959, at the end of the Agascope production era.

They came in 46, 75, 105 and 210mm.

I don´t think there are any problem rehousing these lenses today.

Wonderful information! Do you happen to have any additional pictures of the lenses, or any trade materials? Possibly a good guess as to where the lenses wound up?

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