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Best lens for gh2 + kowa bell and howell (Hellppppp)


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You are going to struggle shooting landscapes (assuming wide) with any anamorphic setup. The B&H/Kowa 8Z/16H are 'just' useable down to 28mm on a Micro Four Thirds sensor, and about 50mm on FF. You'll likely get a bit of vignette, especially on the FF, so expect to crop horizontally a little. The more you stop down, and usually the closer you are focussed to infinity the worse the vignette gets - so you might really struggle, as their perfect conditions for landscape.

I'd really recommend shooting anamorphics with the GH2 as it stands up the best to the softening effect of the anamorphic glass and stretch. Plus it's got the most useful sensor size and flange distance for adapting a plethora of glass. If you're happy with 2.35 anamorphic, then the LA7200 isn't a bad choice, but it gets a bit untidy out at the edge unless you stop down, and then it's still not perfect. I can use my 14-42 (@14) and 14/2.5 without vignette, although I have chopped off the fixed front hood completely.

Shooting landscape with the LA7200 on the GH2 @14mm gives a horizontal 35mm equivalent focal length of about 19mm, which is pretty wide, but not spectacularly wide. The edges look a bit crappy on the 14/25 until about f8, and even then they're not perfect, but well usable. The 14-42 kit lens fairs better at the edges, with f4 being acceptable. One trick I have found, is that I've managed to stick an in-line diopter (Heliopan +0.25) on the setup, which gives both the 14/2.5 and 14-42 kit a slight better performance, especially at the edges.

I'm not a big fan of anamorphic adapters and landscapes, they're probably the least well suited. Wide anamorphics are best used in action scenarios where the edges are rolling/moving. Your mileage may vary though.
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If I remember rightly, the 14-140 won't work on the B&H/Kowa as the optics uses a lot of the front element, so it vignettes throughout the range. The 14-140 is a great lens either way, even if it is a bit slow. The LA7200 works well with the 14-140, but only up to about 100mm and then it starts to get a bit ugly unless well stopped down.
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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 months later...
I just received my Kowa 2x Bell and Howell in the mail today and I'm trying to attach it to my various lenses and then to my GH2.

I'm having a hard time deciphering a few things based off my limited findings on the web.

1) Do I need a special adapter to attach to my lenses or can I simply used regular modern step down and step up rings?

2) Is the rear thread 52mm?

3) Do I need an additional ring in between the step down/up ring and the lens?

Thank you in advance to anybody that takes the time to respond to a slow learner like me.

Can't wait to shoot with this set up!

Trey
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[quote name='QuickHitRecord' timestamp='1351386023' post='20458']
Get a Redstan anamorphic clamp, available here: [url="http://www.redstan.com"]http://www.redstan.com[/url] or on eBay.

I believe that the rear thread of these clamps is 52mm.

They will allow you to mount your anamorphic lens securely onto your taking lens and orient it appropriately.
[/quote]

The more recent versions of the Redstan clamps for the Kowa B&H and Kowa Prominar 16-H (8Z) terminate in 62mm threads and have a separate internal retaining ring

The Kowa Prominar 16H (8Z) clamps are similar but have an inner retaining ring of sightly less internal diameter than the Kowa B&H version. The retaining ring has threads on both sides and is designed to mate with the rear threads of the Kowa and the internal thread of the clamp.

The thumbscrews can be loosened to allow secure rotation when setting the correct orientation of the anamorphic attachment.

The image at the link below better defines the relationship between the lens and the clamp.

[url="http://www.flickr.com/photos/34211301@N00/5243409613/"]http://www.flickr.co...N00/5243409613/[/url]
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[quote name='treyvollmer' timestamp='1351384945' post='20455']
I just received my Kowa 2x Bell and Howell in the mail today and I'm trying to attach it to my various lenses and then to my GH2.

I'm having a hard time deciphering a few things based off my limited findings on the web.

1) Do I need a special adapter to attach to my lenses or can I simply used regular modern step down and step up rings?

[/quote]

Buy a Redstan adaptor, they are rock solid better than those from Vid-Atalantic and other (some french guy also sells adaptors for anamorphics but they also look very thin too me)

Redstan on ebay

http://www.ebay.com/itm/redstan-anamorphic-lens-clamps-simply-superb-quality-kowa-sankor-amd-more-/181007856057?pt=UK_Movie_Cameras&hash=item2a24e8b1b9
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Firstly the Kowa B&H is an excellent anamorphic - the next best thing to an Iscorama (you hear that claim a lot & its true).

Also, it is great for landscape photos (& timelapses) - the 2x stretch gives you great panoramic ability.
The only thing that will let you down with the Kowa (if you have a good one) is the taking lens & the camera.

Use a prime lens, not a zoom with an anamorphic - this is especially true of the Kowa.
There are lots of vintage lenses out there, which are cheap & sharp. M42 mount ones are great, but since you have a M4/3 camera the world is your oyster as far as vintage lenses are concerned.

Don't fall into the trap of thinking that because a lens is new & expensive, that it will be better than an old lens. Save your money & experiment!

There are loads & loads of forums that deal with anamorphics and/or vintage lenses:
For vintage lenses this is the best resource (the reviews are good, but check out the forum sections)
[url="http://www.mflenses.com/"]http://www.mflenses.com/[/url]

For anamorphics check out the forum sections at:
DVXUser
Cinema5D
Anamorphic Vimeo Group

A 35mm lens will serve you well with the GH2 & the Kowa. You could go up the scale to 50mm.
Just remember that an anamorphic will produce wide angle images - so a 35mm FF image will convert to a 17.5mm on the GH2.

Also don't be afraid to move your tripod (or yourself) back a little in order to get a wider angle!

Redstan clamps are the best, you won't regret spending the money. They aren't lens hoods with holes in them, but proper machined clamps - they are light weight & of great build quality.
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  • 3 weeks later...
Thanks, Mobillaire! I have my clamps on the way. I'm not real excited about the fact that I will be needing to focus the Kowa as well as the taking lens though.

On the focusing note, I'm sitting here with the Kowa 2x Bell and Howell in my hand and the focus ring does not move. It is literally locked in place. Can somebody confirm that this is normal? That just doesn't seem right.

Trey
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The focus ring should move, so if it doesn't you are in trouble - sorry.
If you bought it off ebay & they said everything was OK (smooth focus etc...), complain & if they refuse full refund, then take it up with ebay.
On the other hand if it was dirt cheap, then see if you can get it fixed - focus ring might just need re-lubing.
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its not that bad really,... maybe before trying to shoot something, spend time doing stills.... cos you need to practice both focusing and composing for this new/old squeezed format. they come out looking gorgeous as well so its not like you're wasting time.

not sure about the kowa but i guess it'll be similar,... if you use a reasonable aperture,... say f2-2.8 then you dont need to be spot on on the anamorphic focus,... so if your subject is at 10 feet, you can set your anamorphic to around 10 give or take and then focus with your taking till its sharp. if youre at f1.4 all the time like some people are then yeah dual focus is horrible,... it has converted me to the joys of f2-2.8 lenses,.. nice and easy on the wallet :)

have fun :)
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Took my Kowa out for a spin today, first time using this lens. I'm pretty pleased with it. The minimum focus distance is very nice, no need for diopters.

[media]http://vimeo.com/53787515[/media]

Most of it is shot with a Minolta MD 35mm f/2.8. You can see vignetting quite often in the corners, bright spots when the sun is in view. I didn't use a ND filter so I was stopping down a lot, that might make things worse. I also used a Minolta 50mm f/1.7 and a 100mm f/2.5.

[url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2KLxQ_ESWc"]1080p version on YouTube[/url]
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