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Kowa Prominar Inflight Anamorphic-35 1.75X


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Got my grubby mitts on a Kowa 1.75X and have been pretty impressed with the results so far.

Minimum focus seems to be 40 inches without diopter.

 

I am currently re-aligning the optic assembly so that proper sharpness can be obtained, then re-setting the focus ring to engage properly (sounds scary, but it's a lovely and simple design that even I can understand...*smash)

 

- Boring & ugly footage I know, it was intended to test overall sharpness of minimum focus and low light performance F2 - F2.8 without diopter. I could not move the camera very much, as I had to hold the glass together temporarily whilst I carried out the tests for repair.

 

*edit - sorry for the nasty iphone flare, was to check orientation I promise.

 

This video is intended to put some Kowa Inflight 1.75X content out there, as when I searched the web, there was next to no footage to be found...I wonder if this is a bit of a rare beasty?

 

https://vimeo.com/62406792

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nice optic most are trashed they where designed for movie projection on 707 airplanes in the 1970s.

the tavistock institute and the cia also used them for mind control work cinemascopic image projections into each eyeball.

like the parallax corporation the inflight group did a lot of custom optics for the military.

sometimes kowa sometimes isco was used.

 

check and clean the body if blood stains are spotted

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nice optic most are trashed they where designed for movie projection on 707 airplanes in the 1970s.

the tavistock institute and the cia also used them for mind control work cinemascopic image projections into each eyeball.

like the parallax corporation the inflight group did a lot of custom optics for the military.

sometimes kowa sometimes isco was used.

 

check and clean the body if blood stains are spotted

 

Great info, thanks Tony.

 

Fortunately it looks like this one had seen very little active service, as the optics are excellent.

 

But I did wonder why it was delivered with a piece of audiotape marked 'IPCRESS' at the bottom of the box.

The blood and sweat seemed to come off nicely with some Caloclear.

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I love this lens.  a beautiful lump of glass. so heavy and well put together.

 

proper custom optic..

any isco or kowa inflight optic will be better quality and sharper than most depending on past history use abuse.

these would have cost a lot more than regular kowa 8z or bell howell

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proper custom optic..

any isco or kowa inflight optic will be better quality and sharper than most depending on past history use abuse.

these would have cost a lot more than regular kowa 8z or bell howell

 

When Hans showed me this beast a few nights ago I got serious lens envy.  It indeed looks like a lens not possible to have been made in large quantities.  the way the elements look as if they are beautifully ground and glued by hand.  It's the biggest curved rear element I have ever seen.  Can you shed some light on the reason for it being called the '35' version?  would this have been made for 4 perf 35mm?  the 1.75x squeeze rating seems strange.  but the 3:1 ratio is the best IMO.  3.55 is too much.  3:1 is lush

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no t really sure all the inflight models are either 2x or 1.75 like the centavision company sometimes isco and kowa optics where mixed together.i think inflight started in the late 60s i had a rare 1.5x one once very early isco..
they messed about with film formats projecting super 8,16mm and 35mm flat pack pull down complex projections systems costing 10s of thousands even back then so the lens optics would all of been custom order maybe compression matching whatever new system they where using.high end jet set entertainment...some optics are lovely small others as big as a isco 54.
i have seen so many trashed ones as the flight crews worked the projectors,nearly all will have dryed up focus helicoid grease.
lovely clean flares on some better than iscorama
the compression differences probably relates to reduction prints of 35mm hollywood scope movies reduced down to different film formats.
that optic looks like a later generation so would of come off a posher plane offering 35mm projection maybe.
london new york maybe..

cheaper trips from luton airport to benidorm probably projected super 8 using a proskar : )


4 mins in check out the lovely old inflight projector.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnFCpz2pmf0&feature=related
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Fascinating stuff Tony.

 

Those were the days when they were not too concerned about scrimping on component weight vs fuel cost, that projector must have weighed a bloody ton!

 

My Kowa is relatively compact for such a large rear element, not too heavy.

It also has a knurled and chunky retaining ring towards the front to tighten the focus into a set position, I presume to stop drift during bumpy landings?!

 
[sharedmedia=core:attachments:450][attachment=455:2.jpg][attachment=454:1.jpg]
 
*In last two pics some PVC tape is wrapped around focal markings and lens face to create protection when the 'tools are out'

 

What was curious was that the brass guide tabs which orientate the internal assembly were at least 1-2mm off alignment axis, rendering sharp focus at any distance impossible. No sign of tampering or repair on the factory screws holding them in place that I could see...the actual lineup holes for the screws were all over the place!

 

I wonder if the good condition is due to it being a reject and never passing quality control...or being returned from a company after they could not resolve sharp focus?

 

I've fixed the tabs now and have obtained sharps through the range. I also shortened them slightly to obtain closer focus of approx 40 inches from the original 5 feet

 

I'll probably post some more interesting footage when I can, as the quality of this lens is pretty superb.

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well it would be hollywood quality optic look at that projector system 35mm that was for super posh routes.

 

the inflight company would pull the whole projector system out and replace with a serviced one rather than fiddle on the plane mainly for security and safety reasons.

they must have had teams of people working near the airports.

the design of your one as i said looks late generation with the custom stuff a defective lens would not of left the factory kowa where doing projects with isco but also competing with them for contracts japan would be way to proud to be slipping faulty stuff into high profile contracts.

those optics would probably have been made by the same dept that made the kowa movie optics if you look at the optics you can see clearly they look nothing like most kowa.

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@JohnBarlow - The only barrel distortion I have seen so far is when using a 35mm taking lens, even then it is not too much of an issue.I will do some more scientific tests soon...when I can escape the house for an hour or two.

 

In the mean time here is a 'Slightly' more interesting test this time using a furry friend.

 

I'm still curious as to the close focus and wide open performance of this KOWA...as close and sharp seems to always be hard to achieve with anamorphic without strong diopters. This test was using the good old TOKINA +0.4 without any post sharpening to the image. I'm pretty impressed that the results, I look forward to shooting some better example footage soon.


Minimum focus Shot wide open at F2 on Helios 44 taking lens, distance approx 2 feet, focus on eyes.

@ 2mins:22secs, the sharpest pull of the eye highlights can be seen.

 

https://vimeo.com/62690537

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