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Van Diemen Iscorama upgrade

Rick Moonbeam Darge

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i have the mod and yes its expensive but im glad i got it. besides the metal housing protecting the lens, it makes it much stronger, so im not so worried about the plastic shrinking, deforming when

You get a more robust lens but you loose a bit of flexibility – because of it`s design (as mentioned before). It becomes a real "fat lady" after the mod. And with the close focus mod done you'll ne

Got mine today. Will be working on a review on the next days. It's pretty impressive! :P



I met Paul Chapman from Van Dieman lenses last month he is very knowledgable and good to work with

ask him direct all your question on this


The Cine-Iscorama Anamorphics can be designed to suit a number of focal length lenses and formats.

General Specification

- The back thread diameter is typically 58mm at a standard pitch of 0.75mm (filter thread)

- Front thread diameter is 72mm

- Front lens cap diameter is 80mm

- Once screwed into position the Anamorphic can be aligned and locked into position

- Close focus is 3' 7"


Bespoke engraving possible at additional cost - Please enquire for details

Conversions are subject to the original optic provided being in good optical/mechanical condition. Optics will be inspected on delivery and if not in suitable condition a full refund will be given. For further information on suitability please contact our Optical Service Centre

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Thinking about doing the upgrade but wanted to field some opinions. How do you guys like it? Any negatives? How does it now affect which taking lenses you can use? I imagine the front element of the taking lens can't sit nowhere near as close as pre modification so I'm curious if that's a big impact on choice.





I have heard some folks complain about the long throw. If this proves troublesome to you I suggest you request the focus thread pitch to be doubled or trebled and a 2 start or 3 start helicoid be cut to suit your preference.

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I was also thinking about this. But will not send it away for half a year and several hundred $$!


Considering weight you are "upgrading" to Iscorama 54...

ISCO built all their lenses and adapters of metal except their Iscorama (Cinegon, 36) for good reason:

It was their approach to design a relatively light and easy to use (without gear) anamorphot.

Van Diemen makes this obsolete.

Tony Wilson mentioned that the interior remains the same in another thread... therefore it is likely

that you don't get the protection you expect (A human being will day in car crash from a particular speed/energy - no matter how thick the armor is. The main arteries will tear apart)

If an Isco will fell down it will be destroyed - with or without "upgrade".

In contrary the Isco 42/54: They are bigger and had to be made of metal.

My 54 for example has tiny dent (filterthread) from falling down (previous owner) but that had no effect on the functionality. I am sure a "Van Diemen-Isco" would still crack inside - but there won't be any scratches outside

and you have a nice engraving  :P


But maybe I am totally wrong...? :unsure:



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After over a year of "maybe" and asking thousands of questions to them, I shipped my lens yesterday. The original housing was VERY damaged, the front filter thread was broken, and held by glue and another UV ring, alignment was trashed (extremely hard past some weird point), and lots of scratches. Oh, and close focus mod too, so some folks had already almost dropped the front element to the ground, since it doesn't stop spinning... etc... (the previous owner was really mean to it)


I really like the lens, and think the mod will be great, even for renting it out (I would never rent it the way it was), and if I eventually decide to sell it, the mod also incresases it's value. :P

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The weight ends up similar to an isco 54 according to Tony, and probably increases the risk of damage from falling due to the extra weight.


I was interested in having it done for protection and easier follow focus, but $1400 USD is pretty steep (not doubting the value of their work, I just mean for me). The other cons for me are sending it half way round the world and the problems with earlier vignette and long throw.


Rich mentioned he was thinking of making a lighter version, that would not have the same problems, and could be shipped out to the user as a kit for self install!


If there were enough of us to make it worth his while, maybe we could twist his arm!   :PI

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ISCO built all their lenses and adapters of metal except their Iscorama (Cinegon, 36)

Rudolf... you are wrong! In the late 60's ISCO built a couple of plastic lenses...


I think the aesthetics are a matter of taste: I am rather conservative and for a collector the mod is

a sacrifice! (I have to think of a guy who "upgraded"/modified a Lamborghini Miura: I am not a fan of ralley stripes and rear- and front spoilers - okay I am mixing apples and oranges :D  ).

If you have something rare and special and old... it is nice to just keep it like it is. 


To improve a bad/nearly unusable shape (like tferradans) is the only good reason for a mod in my eyes.

Otherwise go for the strong, solid ISCO 54! Great lens and cheaper than Isco + mod !!! 


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i have the mod and yes its expensive but im glad i got it.

besides the metal housing protecting the lens, it makes it much stronger, so im not so worried about the plastic shrinking, deforming when focusing. i think it can take much more abuse.

you will need lens support. it does get heavy enough that i think itd rip out a m4/3 mount, and stress out an ef mount.

close focus at 3'7" rocks. you still need a diopter to achieve the nice bokeh i feel, but now ive got so much more flexibility.

i do think the weight and increased throw makes it become less of a one man crew lens when using it. and if youre using a follow focus, you need to use use a thick gear and a speed crank to take care of the long throw. metal focus gear on metal focus gear will make noise. (im looking for a rubber focus gear on my follow focus.) the front element extends long enough you can probably forget using a mattebox. but this is all how i feel about the 54 anyway. both a rehoused 36 and 54 are amazing lenses but in my opinion they still produce different results.

i also agree w tferradans in that i wouldnt have rented out the plastic version just because i dont think its robust enough. (i havent rented mine out yet and dont expect to until i figure out how to protect my investment in case someone says "it's lost").

and yes i think the resale value goes up. unless van diemen can crank out the mod in a week, youre not only reselling the lens, youre reselling the amount of time it took to get the mod in the first place which is a few months and seems like some people need/want the iscorama urgently enough to pay for it.

i say if you seriously get use out of your 36, shoot a lot, and you have friends/crew that can AC for you, then get it. i absolutely love mine, its on my camera 95% of the time.

if youre iscorama is nice and greased up, youre only shooting tests and youre a one man crew and really not using it that much, i dont think think the mod is worth that money.

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I did Rich's close focus mod to my 36 and can focus to about 3.5ft (maybe its 3.7?). I'm guessing it's the same technique as vandiemen, pretty much you remove the stopper so you can spin past the current min focus. It makes the isco into a total beast, with a couple of tokina's it can handle anything.


Mine never comes off my camera, but at the moment the cons outweigh the pros with the van demein mod for me. If

Rich ever makes the more lightweight self installed version without the vignette issues I'd be on it in a heart beat though.



Van Diemen iscorama upgrade: close focus is 3' 7"
This is about 110 cm, am i right?

How does it work? Does he reorder the lens elements?

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what do you mean by "remove the stopper" ... i don´t understand ... ?


If you search google for 'eoshd iscorama close focus mod' you'll find the thread. There are photos and instructions. You have to take the front ring off then undo some screws, then file down the stopper on the front plastic housing. It was pretty easy but is not for everyone.

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Rich has done it to another forum member's isco but reckons it's too stressful. I can tell by feel and visually when mine is getting towards the end of the line, but if you have an AC pulling focus thats probably not gonna cut it :P


Has anyone figured out how to put a hard stop back into the ring after the mod is finished?

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Would anyone send their Iscorama 54 or the similar for conversion? I have an Iscorama 16:9 video attachment 1.42x (one like the 54 version with a different squeezing ratio) that I might send to get a conversion, purely for aesthetics. Christopher at Van Diemen replied me:


Iscorama 54- We would be happy to take this one on but we have not done a design for it yet- Delivery including design time minimum of 120days . The first unit would be expensive and include a design time cost element. If you could find some other users who were interested we could reduce this charge significantly.


If we base the sale price on £900-00 (To be confirmed when we see it) Design part costs based on previuos experience with the 54s £400-00 if you could  get 4 together £100 each.


I am fairly certain the figures are good but we would like to have a lens to measure up before confirming



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I have a mint 54 [single coated] but I couldn't justify the money on what would be largely an aesthetic based re-housing.


I guess if VanD could improve minimum focusing, add gearing & incorporate a support into the housing design people may go for it.

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