Jump to content

isco ultra star questions


iwander_lust
 Share

Recommended Posts

So im new to anamorphic shooting, and I have a few questions that would be awesome if you guy us can clear up for me!

The isco ultra star is the most affordable option for me right now. However there are a multitude of options on eBay when it comes to cinemascopes..


1) does focal length matter? There are ones that range from 40mm to 80mm and up, what is the difference and does it matter?

2) some ultra star cinemascopes have the blue star logo and others don't. Is there a difference?

3) can someone just quickly search ebay for isco ultra star cinemscopes and give
examples of ones that are viable and ones that aren't ?

Ill be using a 7d with the vid atlantic clamp. I've tried searching the forums but I'm still a bit confused. Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 - you'll only use the anamorphic part. You have it unscrew the back lens and use your own taking lens so it doesn't matter.
2 - not sure
3 - only buy an isco if you can get a cheap one. Like €150/200. They are pretty heavy and cumbersome to use, although they are pretty sharp.

I'd suggest searching for a smaller Kowa. The prices can get pretty high but if you are lucky maybe you can find a good one for about €300.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like the isco, but it is a beast. Most of it is metal (brass I'm assuming), but it does give a tack sharp image. However, it is a newer lens and doesn't flare easily because of the lens coatings. If you're after a lens flare, I'd avoid it. Also, it's color and hugeness really makes it conspicuous if you're stealing shots or doing any guerilla filmmaking.

Kowas are a good alternative, despite the price. Much smaller and easier to run and gun with (as much as you can call double focusing anamorphic run and gun...:)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And oh yeah, if you buy an isco with a lens mounted on it (like a 70mm or something) you have to screw it off. The threads are glued, so it takes a lot of torque to get it off. Recommend gently tapping it to loosen up the glue.

Some of the shorter focal lengths (under 65mm?) have a little set screw you have to unscrew to screw off the last little brass tube so you can get the back anamorphic element up close to your taking lens. DO NOT unscrew the ring of six little screws, these hold the back anamorphic element in place. If your back element gets loose, your whole image will be out of focus and you'll spend hours trying to get it realigned with the front element.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

So im new to anamorphic shooting, and I have a few questions that would be awesome if you guy us can clear up for me!

The isco ultra star is the most affordable option for me right now. However there are a multitude of options on eBay when it comes to cinemascopes..


1) does focal length matter? There are ones that range from 40mm to 80mm and up, what is the difference and does it matter?

2) some ultra star cinemascopes have the blue star logo and others don't. Is there a difference?

3) can someone just quickly search ebay for isco ultra star cinemscopes and give
examples of ones that are viable and ones that aren't ?

Ill be using a 7d with the vid atlantic clamp. I've tried searching the forums but I'm still a bit confused. Thanks!

I have some.  so can tell you what I knew.

1) if same type of lens (such as integrated lens), anamorphic lens part is the same.

2) solid blue star is older,  empty star is newer, from serial number sequence told. but coating has difference.  And red one is the best, higher class, from seller said. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2) solid blue star is older,  empty star is newer, from serial number sequence told. but coating has difference.  And red one is the best, higher class, from seller said. 

 

Red ones are Isco Ultra Star HD Plus lenses, with the best light transmission (all glass in front of camera makes for a little bit of light loss, this one has least light loss) and they are very sharp and high resolving. Colors are neutral. Multicoated, so doesn't flare like single-coated anamorphics, but you can get them to flare with stronger light shining right into lens.

 

The negatives would be that you need dual focus and there is no filter thread in front. When I bought mine used, the previous seller had already attached a UV filter up front with some sticky black glue/tar-like material (don't know what such is called in English). That one is sturdy enough to hold my ND filter holder and ND filters.

 

Good optics, were great for projection. Cumbersome to use like most projection lenses when shooting video. If you find one and a clamp for cheap (80-180 USD or so), they are probably alright as a first start into anamorphics.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

really?

I did a quick test.  Looks the blue star one at the right of red one has the least reflection, should be the best. You can see each lens coating is different.  Not sure which one is better.  Can any one point out?  Thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

really?

I did a quick test.  Looks the blue star one at the right of red one has the least reflection, should be the best. You can see each lens coating is different.  Not sure which one is better.  Can any one point out?  Thanks.

 

When I read up on the Ultra Star HD plus lenses for projection - they had better resolution than the earlier models (probably that is why they are named Ultra Star HD Plus instead of just Ultra Star HD) - they resolve minor details better when projecting test patterns than Schneiders. This should be very useful when using them as anamorphics in front of taking lenses too, not just when projecting. In my own stills and footage they resolve lots of detail, usually more dependent on taking lens.

 

The good light transmission was a generic character for the Isco projection lenses as well. Not sure if/how that varies among the different models.

 

Not sure what you're referring to with "has the least reflection, should be the best", are you referring to the flaring properties? Those will vary depending on the coating, yes. Besides coating, I don't think there's much difference in these lenses apart from the "HD Plus" version having better resolution. The red Ultra HD Plus far surpasses 1080p resolution, maybe even 4k. So, I guess you wouldn't have any issues with the other lenses either if you are filming in 1080p. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can summarize my experience with the Isco Ultra Star:

 

- Very sharp & high resolving, great for stills too. Comparing my Iscorama 36 to the red ultra star hd plus in 36 Mpixel still photos, the red ultra star has a lot more resolution. Both could look lovely in 4k.

- Uneven squeeze. When you have a face in the center stretched to look natural, the faces at the edges of the footage are too wide. If you stretch it less so that faces at the extreme edges look natural, the faces in the center will be too narrow. Which means that a normal rescaling of footage might not be enough to get these distorsions out of the footage. You'll notice these effects too when panning shots.

- More of a hassle to shoot with than a single focus anamorphic.

- For a price around 150 USD or so, it's a nice tool. Just not as easy & natural to handle as a proper anamorphic.

 

 

One more thing.

Andy Lee on this forum used to sell mounts for these kind of projection lenses, like this auction:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Tecnoir-Anamorphic-Cinemascope-lens-holder-for-15mm-rods-for-DSLR-BLACKMAGIC/231184383644?_trksid=p2047675.c100011.m1850&_trkparms=aid%3D222006%26algo%3DSIC.FITP%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20140107083358%26meid%3D5696559539177121615%26pid%3D100011%26prg%3D20140107083358%26rk%3D2%26rkt%3D10%26sd%3D231178870001

 

My own setup with clamps was a lot of hassle and time consuming whenever I wanted to change taking lens. I think you should be able to buy parts on the Internet and assemble a similar rail setup for quite a low price. If I'd still be shooting with my Ultra Star, I would certainly replace the clamp solution for such, since you don't need to hassle with aligning the anamorphic for every taking lens you use. Align the anamorphic once, keep it in the mount and just set different distance depending on taking lens.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One more thing.

Andy Lee on this forum used to sell mounts for these kind of projection lenses, like this auction:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Tecnoir-Anamorphic-Cinemascope-lens-holder-for-15mm-rods-for-DSLR-BLACKMAGIC/231184383644?_trksid=p2047675.c100011.m1850&_trkparms=aid%3D222006%26algo%3DSIC.FITP%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20140107083358%26meid%3D5696559539177121615%26pid%3D100011%26prg%3D20140107083358%26rk%3D2%26rkt%3D10%26sd%3D231178870001

 

My own setup with clamps was a lot of hassle and time consuming whenever I wanted to change taking lens. I think you should be able to buy parts on the Internet and assemble a similar rail setup for quite a low price. If I'd still be shooting with my Ultra Star, I would certainly replace the clamp solution for such, since you don't need to hassle with aligning the anamorphic for every taking lens you use. Align the anamorphic once, keep it in the mount and just set different distance depending on taking lens.

That mounting tool is too expensive to me.  I like my way to mount (lock is gone, I don't need too).  It is looking better and lighter.  The total costs <$10.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here is the clamp i got for my big ass lens bausch and lomb clamp work super awesome ans its only 99 I have dslr cage set up and its not bad at all its a bit heavy compare to smaller lens but my lens is super awesome sharp and i can use 44mm and up taking lens with no vignetting at all

 

http://cgi.ebay.ca/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=221365505252&ssPageName=ADME:X:RTQ:CA:1123

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My ultra star has a 71mm big diameter, just look for some chinese lens collar that fits.

What's your method, ken?

Most ISCO's lens has a standard 55mm thread inside.  But if no thread, that is ok, you can make your clamp by multi step-up/down rings.  Then you need to do some thread tapping (around 3mm). 

Thank Chinese seller on Ebay, we can save a lot.  Some key words: tele metal hood, ??mm to ??mm step up down ring...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...