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Infinity Focus with Schneider Kreuznach Cinelux 2x Anamorphic projector lens


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Hello everyone,

I want to start off by saying that I am a hobbyist when it comes to anamorphic filmmaking, so please forgive my lack of expertise when it comes to questions.

I have been wanting to get into anamorphic film-making for a while, and I recently purchased a Schneider Kreuznach Cinelux 2x Anamorphic projector lens off of Craigslist.  Research seemed to point to this not being a great lens to adapt due to focusing challenges, but for $150, the price was too good to pass up.  I have successfully adapted the lens to work with my DSLR, see example below:

A couple of things you may notice about the demo clip:

  • I purposely shot at f/2.8 with a ring light to test blooming and flair.  Flair is absent; you will see some organic blooming around the edges.  This blooming disappears at f/5.6.
  • I also shot at f/2.8 to test center sharpness.  Center sharpness at f/2.8 is very good (YouTube compression does not do this justice).  Center sharpness at f/5.6 is incredibly good.  Edge sharpness is not great, but also not too distracting IMHO.

Now on to my difficulty (of which I am really hoping someone here has guidance):

  • I am really struggling with infinity focus.  The lens is tack sharp at 6'-7'.  I have four levels of magnification with diopters, so close focus is also not an issue.  However, when I attempt infinity, the lens refuses to settle on focus.  The lens itself comes with a 'focus' and a 'lock' hex bolt on the front of the lens which I am able to turn.  When I do this, I can feel the element moving inside the lens, but focus is still imperfect.  Please don't criticize me too much for this, but there is a big caveat here- tests for 'infinity' have thusfar been indoors; I have yet to test true infinity focus outdoors with this lens (it's winter here), and I am still planning on running tests in that environment (with updates), but before I do so, does anyone have any practical guidance for me?

Thanks in advance for your guidance.

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I am pretty sure your infinity issues are related to your taking lens rather than your cinelux. Sometimes the infinity mark on the taking lens isn't very precise and you have to fiddle with your focus ring to find the exact spot. From my experience with the cinelux, there is no problem reaching infinity as long as the two lenses are perfectly synced.

As for its sharpness, from my own experience, the cinelux is tack sharp from 1.4 aperture (never tried below) as long as the two lenses are once again perfectly aligned and synced.

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8 hours ago, Julien416 said:

I am pretty sure your infinity issues are related to your taking lens rather than your cinelux. Sometimes the infinity mark on the taking lens isn't very precise and you have to fiddle with your focus ring to find the exact spot. From my experience with the cinelux, there is no problem reaching infinity as long as the two lenses are perfectly synced.

As for its sharpness, from my own experience, the cinelux is tack sharp from 1.4 aperture (never tried below) as long as the two lenses are once again perfectly aligned and synced.

Thanks for your input!  My taking lens is an 85mm Nikkor.  I shoot with a Nikon d750.  Do you have better recommendations?  On my full frame, I am worried about vignetting with anything wider than 85mm....thanks again.

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4 minutes ago, arant.joseph said:

Thanks for your input!  My taking lens is an 85mm Nikkor.  I shoot with a Nikon d750.  Do you have better recommendations?  On my full frame, I am worried about vignetting with anything wider than 85mm....thanks again.

IMO, this lens should work with 100mm to complete avoid vignetting.  And since it is not easy to use as dual focus, focus ring is needed.  FM(Focus Module) was design for it.   

BTW, 16H/8Z/ELMOSCOPE II are perfect for 85mm without vignetting.

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24 minutes ago, ken said:

IMO, this lens should work with 100mm to complete avoid vignetting.  And since it is not easy to use as dual focus, focus ring is needed.  FM(Focus Module) was design for it.   

BTW, 16H/8Z/ELMOSCOPE II are perfect for 85mm without vignetting.

Thanks for the input.  Unfortunately, I do not have a spare $1k to spend on FM's adapter, although it looks like it would be perfect....

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Hold your horses, there is no point in buying a new taking lens if you are not sure which element of the equation is responsible for the abovementioned issue. 

Just like Julien said, set your Cinelux to infinity (I highly recommend doing this outside) or slightly closer and then, slowly, focus your Nikkor. Don't pay attention to focus distance marks, just look for the sharpest image possible. 

But, to be honest, I'm not really sure why are you so keen on achieving the infinity focus if you don't plan on getting a single focus solution soon. Does any of your shots require this? 

 

PS: There are some cheaper solutions, like FVD-16A (550$), which is one of the best on the market, or some Russian focusers going for around 300$.

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1 hour ago, heart0less said:

Hold your horses, there is no point in buying a new taking lens if you are not sure which element of the equation is responsible for the abovementioned issue. 

Just like Julien said, set your Cinelux to infinity (I highly recommend doing this outside) or slightly closer and then, slowly, focus your Nikkor. Don't pay attention to focus distance marks, just look for the sharpest image possible. 

But, to be honest, I'm not really sure why are you so keen on achieving the infinity focus if you don't plan on getting a single focus solution soon. Does any of your shots require this? 

 

PS: There are some cheaper solutions, like FVD-16A (550$), which is one of the best on the market, or some Russian focusers going for around 300$.

Thanks for the kind words, and for the recommendation for the FVD (I'm going to look into that as it's more in my price range).  Any advise on setting the Cinelux to infinity?  I'm assuming I turn the hex screw marked 'focus' on the lens itself?

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4 hours ago, arant.joseph said:

Thanks for the kind words, and for the recommendation for the FVD (I'm going to look into that as it's more in my price range).  Any advise on setting the Cinelux to infinity?  I'm assuming I turn the hex screw marked 'focus' on the lens itself?

You're welcome. 

Yup, exactly - you need to insert an Allen key and then just turn it. 

That's why Cineluxes are pain to double focus, BUT once you get a variable diopter, they quickly become one of the best anamorphic adapters available (well, at leas to my taste).

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