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Is the Van Diemen (V.1) Mod worth it?


Andrew Clunie
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Hi all. I’m hoping to get an Isco pre-36 soon, and am just wondering if the Van Diemen mod is worth it? I’ve seen it might introduce some vignetting with a 50mm on a full frame.. Is this true? (I.e, Takumar 50 1.4, Nikon pancake 1.8).

 

Because I’m weighing up this option, or the proxiscope and Redstan rear mount.. the price difference between this is only about £400-£500. Benefits of the van Diemen mod to me, is that they rehouse the full lens, which is very nice (as isco 36 bodies tend to be a little damaged or worn..), it looks like a very nice cine lens, and I believe the focus throw is also much manageable

BUT it also makes the lens much larger and heavier..

The proxiscope seems like a nice alternative, and focuses closer than the Van Diemen mod (if the provided specs are to be taken as gospel). It maintains the small form factor too, which is great, and wouldn’t affect the focal view at all (no vignetting)

I’d like other people’s opinions on the matter ?

Many thanks !

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Tbh, Tito’s video more or less answered my questions, even though I have watch it a few times in the past...

I’d be interested if anyone has tried their Van Diemen isco on a Nikon pancake? Or any other 50mm?

I don’t actually mind if there is very slight vignetting.. sometimes it looks nice, and cropping to 2:40:1 is a fine solution.. although the Nikon pancake should be fine and possibly produce very little, if any vignetting. I think I probably will go for the Van Diemen service in the near future..

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Long story short. Stay with the original ISCO if you plan to do a simple V1 modification. 
The close focus distance is the same as if you mod it by yourself.
The additional weight is a problem if you gonna try to screw it in front of a plastic Nikon pancake. You shouldn't trust that tiny lens to hold a heavy lens like the V1 will be.
So you will need a lens support.
The V1 does not vignette more than with the original design within the SAME focus range. The distances are the same. But if the front stays 72mm it will vignette at the new and closer close focus, because of the small front element that comes out further than on the original ISCO.
That's why i asked Christopher at VD to make a 77mm front to get a little less vignetting on the 50 pancake. So, it works.
And sometimes you want to slide the rear element into the front of a taking lens and stay more flexible in the selection of the lenses. That was the V1+ mod (77mm front and no screw-in rear element)

Yes, i did them all and even more. 
DIY mod, VD-V1, V1+, V2, V2+

The V2 is worth it. 77mm non rotating front, 85mm close focus! But at that prize … Sometimes I wish I had stayed with the original ISCO. Screw it on and ready to go.
But for serious tasks (first AC, FF motor, …) you'll need that rehousing. But for that prize you can rent everything without headache … It's like a dog chasing his tail – eternally … ?

 

ISCO_V2.jpg

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Thanks for the reply.. super helpful.

I do kind of want to replace at least some of the body, as the isco I’m buying does look a little worn...and I hear what you’re saying about weight and size..definitely the main thing that’s holding me back. I’d like to keep the setup compact as possible, as I mainly run and gun..

 I think the best option (for me) is just a proxiscope mod, with Redstan mount (Alan said he’s working on a new vari adapter, allowing optic coupling). This i feel provides the best of both worlds, in terms of focus gear, metal housing (albeit only the front half) and small form factor, with close focus. I’d maybe benefit from the maxiscope, but don’t like the rail mount that cannot be detached, and would prefer the option (akin to the v2 Van Diemen).

With this in mind, do you think a Tokina achromat would be worth the purchase? I Would it increase overall image sharpness? 

Jeez, I haven’t even received my pre-36 yet and am already creating a shopping list around it. I’ll experiment with it when it arrives which will give me a much better idea on my needs.. 

Your isco looks quite beautiful btw ?

Again, thanks for the detailed response.

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