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Dog Schidt Optiks: Modifying Vintage Russian Lenses for Creative Effect

03.20.13 @ 8:03PM Tags : , ,

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?

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COMMENT POLICY

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Description image 19 COMMENTS

  • Thank you so much for this tip. Will definitely order.

  • I was excited for a moment, I thought someone was making high quality manual focus lenses in modern mounts. Well, what I can say after watching the video is that I will just stick with my $20 Helios 44m-6 and $3 m42-EOS adapter.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/captain-zachs-magical-light-writings/8533053044/in/photostream
    Seems to be artistic enough for me as far as flare goes. As an added bonus, it was dropped and now has a flake of metal on inside of the front ellement, giving custom bokeh at a 6th of the price.
    I like the raw metal look for sure though.

  • Robert Hardy on 03.20.13 @ 8:22PM

    I would totally use the triangular bokeh version. There was a similar effect during a few scenes of Beasts of the Southern Wild, and I was absolutely transfixed by it. Of course it’s one of those things that needs to be used sparingly, otherwise it becomes trite, but there could be some killer storytelling and aesthetic possibilities with lenses such as these.

    • You’d probably want to check out some old Zeiss PL glass then. All of the old superspeeds had a semi triangular aperture, which Panavision fixed in their modification of them.

  • i didn’t like the footage much, even though i’m a big fan of flare.
    also the flashing was incredibly irritating.
    if i wanted flare, i would use filters, or old glass. like the fujian 35mm f1.7 which is $30 and gives a beautiful image with lots of flare if there’s backlighting.

    just my 2 cents

  • Russell Boyd on 03.21.13 @ 3:07AM

    If they stamped their logo on them I would buy at least one…

  • Different horses for different courses. It seems a tough sell, though, when good old glass is out there and cheap. At least it’s a visual product, not olfactory.

  • Now I KNOW I’m not hip. Looks like blech to me. Thanks.

  • Pierre Samuel Rioux on 03.21.13 @ 9:58PM

    I guys i like Russian lens and i have start with Russian camera in 1973 a zenith sniper with a tar 300mm.
    I sold it after but i have the elios lens 50mm.
    I also get the movie camera Konvas M2 with lomo set of prime in Oct 19 ( look like bnrc lens mount )

    Now i buy some Pentacon six lens for my Ostcam 35mm movie camera Pentacon Six are les for Medium photo camera some lens are made in Germany other are Russian copy.

    Here a place to look for information on lens go at the end of the page to see the quality of the lens
    The biomethar lens 80mm are interesting but you have a Russian copy 90mm made later starting near 1980
    those lens could do a focus closer. Medium size it’s for 2 1/4 x 2 1/4 film and in this format you using only the center of the lens where you have a better resolution.
    http://www.pentaconsix.com/RussUkrdata.htm

  • A must see must used product.

  • Is nobody else questioning the motive of naming your brand “Dog Shi(d)t Optiks”? I have a hard time taking something seriously when their logo is a shitting dog.

    • I’m with you. I stopped watching the video because I can’t take the company seriously. It’s just stupid, and a terrible image.

    • lol I love it. It certainly preempts any pretentiousness.

  • Just more hype. Seriously? I think we cinematographers have plenty of ways to invest our $$$. I’ll agree that while these lenses provide a look, and can be useful, but no more than any other device or technique that’s been around foreeever. If I were to incorporate the look in the production design, I’d have to consider several focal lengths and I’d want a continuity of the “look” for more than one shot. I think I’ll submit my latest creative optical device… A jar of Vaseline and a UV filter. How much could I sell that for? Wait… I’m going into the shop, cut the bottom off an old soda bottle and hot glue a 77mm filter ring on it… : )

  • Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon everyday. It’s always helpful to read through content from other authors and use something from their sites. |

  • Don’t order these lenses. I ordered one three months ago. They told me it shipped, but I never received it, and now they’re MIA. Looks like I’m out $300.