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TurboRat

Baby Iscorama - soft?

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Why are the footages I see with the Baby Iscorama gives a soft footage compared to the Iscoramas? Is it because of the taking lens used?(mostly Helios 44). Any thoughts on this? Currently looking for a nice projection lens to pair with Helios44 or Super Takumar 50mm..  

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I’ve had 3 copies of the iscomorphot 8/1.5x over the years, two with optics in fair to heavily used condition that I took apart to re-grease the helicoids...one lens that I owned was totally pristine. All lenses were soft unless taking lens is fairly heavily closed down with better performance on smaller sensors.

I found that the characteristic ‘bloom’ softness that the lens has is a limitation of the front focusing optic. It is of not of a sufficient design that was intended to resolve sharpness at wide apertures on sensors with an equivalent gate size that is larger than for 8mm film, and the relatively thin edged optic can easily create a bloom on highlights that infect the whole image...as well as some CA on high contrast edges.

On used copies of the lens, it is common for the edge blackening of that front optic to loose its black and accumulate micro scratches...resulting in even more contrast drop and apparent softening of the image. Overall, I really don’t think the lens is worthy of the ‘Baby Iscorama’ name...IMHO the smallest lens that exhibits the most comparible optic quality to an Iscorama (pre-36) - is the iscomorphot s8/2x (fixed focus). Same golden coating, zero CA and lovely balance of sharpness and defocus render. The iscomorphot (and it’s bigger non-MC brother 16/2x) are of course 2x, but they have enough of a complimentary look to the Iscorama 36/42/54 family, footage can be easily intercut when mixing lenses. The ‘baby Iscorama’ 8/1.5x however would stick out like a sore thumb in a lot of scenarios if wanting to match the look of the Iscorama clan...the sharpness and edge performance is just is not there, unless using a small aperture on the taking lens.

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19 minutes ago, Hans Punk said:

I’ve had 3 copies of the iscomorphot 8/1.5x over the years, two with optics in fair to heavily used condition that I took apart to re-grease the helicoids...one lens that I owned was totally pristine. All lenses were soft unless taking lens is fairly heavily closed down with better performance on smaller sensors.

I found that the characteristic ‘bloom’ softness that the lens has is a limitation of the front focusing optic. It is of not of a sufficient design that was intended to resolve sharpness at wide apertures on sensors with an equivalent gate size that is larger than for 8mm film, and the relatively thin edged optic can easily create a bloom on highlights that infect the whole image...as well as some CA on high contrast edges.

On used copies of the lens, it is common for the edge blackening of that front optic to loose its black and accumulate micro scratches...resulting in even more contrast drop and apparent softening of the image. Overall, I really don’t think the lens is worthy of the ‘Baby Iscorama’ name...IMHO the smallest lens that exhibits the most comparible optic quality to an Iscorama (pre-36) - is the iscomorphot s8/2x (fixed focus). Same golden coating, zero CA and lovely balance of sharpness and defocus render. The iscomorphot (and it’s bigger non-MC brother 16/2x) are of course 2x, but they have enough of a complimentary look to the Iscorama 36/42/54 family, footage can be easily intercut when mixing lenses. The ‘baby Iscorama’ 8/1.5x however would stick out like a sore thumb in a lot of scenarios if wanting to match the look of the Iscorama clan...the sharpness and edge performance is just is not there, unless using a small aperture on the taking lens.

I guess the baby iscorama has that vintage character that is only useful in certain situations. Thanks for also telling me more about the iscoramas :)

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The  iscomorphot 8/1.5x is a nice lens...did not want to give it too much of a hard time, but it's limitations on wider apertures can be an issue. I seem to recall that I got some good results with taking lenses that maintained a spherical aperture when at f4-5.6.

I made a fixed  f5.6 spherical aperture disk for my taking lens so that I could never go wider than the baby could handle (especially on FF), the spherical disk kept a perfect oval result in the bokeh. 

 

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I had one back in 2016, the single focus version. Glass was pristine but it didn't like certain taking lenses. With an helios it was a bloom fest up to f5.6/f8, with a zuiko 50mm stopped down to f2.8 it was a much better match with less halation and a crisp centre. The edges stayed somewhat soft though. It's a nice lens to play around with and very easy to work with but it isn't a lens for general anamorphic purpose since the look is very strong and the use is fairly limited. The plus side is the minimal focus distance of 0.5m without diopters. Unless you can get one for  really cheap and do passion projects with it I wouldn't recommend this as your main anamorphot.

Some old baby isco footage I shot with the gh4, color grade was shit since I screwed up the WB.
 


 

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