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Does anybody know anything about this rare lens? (Kowa Prominar Anamorphic 35-J)


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This looks to be a *camera* attachment rather than projector, but not sure...

 

It reminds me of the Totalvision/Franscope anamorphics and the early Bausch & Lomb Cinemascope adapters.

Anyway, I just bought it. Eager to check it out when it arrives...it looks to be a VERY early one with serial number 25.

 

Hoping someone can tell me about it.

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EOSHD Pro Color 5 for Sony cameras EOSHD Z LOG for Nikon CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

2X squeeze comes with blue or purple coating. There are at least two housing designs for the 35-J. The front is about 70mm and the rear is about 30mm, a lot bigger than the 16-H. It pops up once in a few years, so you're lucky to find one! Let me know if you want to part it later 😛

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I know that there were different series of the Kowa anamorphics with the designation 35-X. The most common series is the 35BS, but there was also 35B, 35BR, and 35BE. The housing on this lens resembles the early 35B series, so this was probably an additional adapter that was used for B-camera and second unit photography on Japanese films.  It's double focus obviously, and at the time (circa 1964), combined block lenses were almost universal, so this probably wasn't used much.

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53 minutes ago, BrooklynDan said:

I know that there were different series of the Kowa anamorphics with the designation 35-X. The most common series is the 35BS, but there was also 35B, 35BR, and 35BE. The housing on this lens resembles the early 35B series, so this was probably an additional adapter that was used for B-camera and second unit photography on Japanese films.  It's double focus obviously, and at the time (circa 1964), combined block lenses were almost universal, so this probably wasn't used much.

Wow, exactly the kind of interesting info I was hoping someone would have.

 

Fascinating! So it is indeed not an on-camera adapter as I thought...awesome.

I know the totalscope/totalvision/franscope adapter of similar design was often used with the early angenieux zoom, the 35-140mm (i think), using either a solid piece linking between the two focus rings so they focus together, or a "cam" or gear setup that focused both lenses together.

Any idea what the typical setup with this thing would've been in terms of taking lens and focus?

Thanks for your insight!

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This was obviously focused separately from the prime lens. There doesn't seem to be any mechanism for synchronizing focus with a prime lens. Dual focus didn't die out until the late 60s, especially in Japan. I remember seeing an interview with Kurosawa's DP talking about how they had to have two ACs pulling focus on Yojimbo because of the double focus set-up.

This lens was probably used with 50mm lenses and up. Probably 75mm and 100mm too, but not too far beyond that. European attachments like Franscope and Totalscope functioned the same way.

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Okay, @BrooklynDan! I have some further info from the seller that might help figure some of this out.

He said:

"Hi there,
Have shipped your lens this morning well packed for its journey!
The lens came from an Eyemo-71Q Spyder turret 35mm cine camera and the lens fitted (from memory) directly into one of the turret mounts... It was a pretty top end outfit - the other lens fitted was a Nipponscope anamorphic with 50mm & 85mm Canon f1.8 back lenses and 400ft film magazines - it had seen some serious action! I received an email from a combat film camera collector when I was selling the camera and with the serial numbers on the camera he dated the camera around 1942. The Kowa would have been added much later but who knows what sights it has recorded! . The whole kit came from a deceased estate, a camera shop in Hokkaido, Japan and still had a few hundred feet of film in it...
Hope this helps..."

 

Now, his memory that it was mounted directly to an eyemo turret clearly cant be right. So, my next thought was....nipponscope?

He mentioned nipponscope rear-spherical-parts, both 50 and 85.

When looking at some nipponscope rear portions, one finds this little part, which seems to correspond to a part on the Kowa 35-J...sort of. the kowa doesnt seem to have the bayonet-locking portion.

Any thoughts?

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The Nipponscope was a different system. Nipponscope was the other widely used anamorphic system in Japan. Early versions utilized a front anamorphic group that could be attached to a number of different prime lenses (mainly Canon rangefinder glass). The focus ring was on the taking lens and the focus on the anamorphic was effected by lining up the slot and the pin in the mount. Later versions incorporated a variable diopter system so the focus ring was on the anamorphic group. This system was later exported to Europe and became the basis of the Technovision system, as well as (in more refined form) JDC Xtal Express.

The Kowas were evolved from the early NAC prime lenses which used a similar arrangement as the early Nipponscope. Dual synchro focus and interchangeable taking lenses. Later on, when block lenses became standard, the familar Kowa Prominars arrived. Your adapter is probably from this era. It does not seem to have any provision for synchronized focus and the pin is probably to keep the lens probably aligned.

Go to Instagram and search #nipponscope if you want to see a bunch of other examples of funky and weird old 'Scope lenses like your own.

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It stuns me that such things exist with essentially zero information online in this modern day...

You folks with such knowledge really are a treasure/blessing, as is the information you're able to put out there for future filmmakers and lens nerds.

Okay now here's one there's gotta be no way you've ever seen 😁 on its way back to me after some modernizing. Not anamorphic but... 🙂

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