Dog Schidt Optiks: Modifying Vintage Russian Lenses for Creative Effect
Sick of lens flares yet? Well apparently people are still catching up, and small companies like Dog Schidt Optiks seem to be able to continue to find a market for themselves. If the name doesn't do it for you, maybe the lenses will. Dog Schidt is a small company out of England making niche lenses aimed towards photographers and video shooters who want to add some unique character to their images. Boasting sharpness, interesting lens artifacts, and a working process that promises "no two lenses are the same," jump through for a video and more info:
Dog Schidt makes lenses like the "Flarefactory 58", assembled from parts that are over 40 years old, offered in configurable fashion. It looks like these are being sold through the company's Etsy and Ebay accounts, with an average price tag of $150. I can't speak to the build quality, but it looks like they make the lens available on nearly every camera mount, from EF to Sony E-mount and PL, covering APS-C and Full Frame. They also offer branded / custom bokeh based on your own design.
These lenses have been developed to add extra flare, coloured tints, added raw aesthetic characteristics and even custom shaped bokeh(defocus) to your pictures and movies! Using optical elements from the USSR built 1960's KMZ/Lomo/Zeiss/Biotar, we breath even more exciting life into the classic and much loved 'Helios -44' 58mm f2 prime lens. The Flare Factory 58 is equally as sharp as the classic Helios- 44 and Zeiss Biotar 58mm design.
Here are the options to choose from:
- Option 1 - 58mm Variable Aperture Circular f/2 - f/16
- Option 2 - 58mm Fixed Aperture* Oval Bokeh (1.5x or 2x) f/2.8(f/3.5 @ 2x), f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11 (approx)
- Option 3 - 58mm Fixed Aperture* Triangle Bokeh f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11 (approx)
- Option 4 - 58mm Fixed Aperture Circular f/1.5 (approx) - Extreme Flare, Ultra Low Contrast
Any of the above options are available with any or all of these customizations:
- Tinted Flares (red, green, blue, orange, purple)
- Un-Tinted Flares
- Contrast level (Low, Lower, Stupid) - the lower the contrast, the more prominent the tint
- Glow (high, medium, low) - chromed aperture ring causes additional vibrant coloured artifacts
- Element Cleaning Marks (high, medium, low) - subtle cleaning marks applied to any or all lens elements
- Lens Mount - Canon EF, Sony E-Mount, M4/3, Sony Alpha/Minolta, Arri PL
Why the charming name, you ask?
I suppose our name sums up what a traditional photographer would think about our optics. In the past the marketing teams of the big corporations told us that flare and artifacts were bad. Only recently has the demand for a less than perfect optical look become of such importance to so many creative photographers and artists. In a traditional stuffy sense the characteristics of our lenses are something every photographer should avoid like the plague.
I remember first getting into cinematography, lens flares we attractive to me, but the more I shoot I really just want to maintain the purity and contrast of an image. There might be something fun about designing custom bokeh for niche applications. I guess it's all about application -- what content you're shooting, and what you need certain characteristics out of your lenses to serve that content.
What do you think? Would you shoot with these?