It goes without saying; Dog Schidt lenses are pretty damn cool. For those of you who missed our post several months ago, Dog Schidt is a company that takes vintage Russian and German lenses and re-houses the original elements with various modifications to create the most unique effects lenses on the market. And they're in high demand these days. In fact, I'm convinced that I may never get off the Dog Schidt waiting list... My complaining aside, Dog Schidt has also been working on a Cine version of their now-famous FF58, called simply TRUMP. Hit the jump to see what makes this one of the coolest cine-style lenses ever made.
Here's the description of the TRUMP, straight from the fine folks at Dog Schidt Optiks:
The first ever cine prime ‘effects lens’ developed specifically for the discerning creative cinematographer. The FF58 TRUMP takes our overhyped, nightmarishly low-contrast original Flare Factory lens to the next level with a complete CNC machined rehousing, integrated focus gearing, integrated flare and contrast regulating hood system, and user interchangable aperture elements. -Allowing stylised, themed or custom branded bokeh effects.
Here's a quick video that shows the CNC machining of the TRUMP lens barrel.
Beyond the fact that Dog Schidt lenses now have all of the usability that we are accustomed to with other cinema-style lenses, there's one feature that makes the TRUMP stand above all other lenses: the one of a kind replaceable aperture elements.
Alongside the vast user-defineable optical characteristic options of the Flare Factory range, TRUMP brings another groundbreaking feature not found in any other professional product. The ability to quickly and easily change aperture elements in less than 1 minute opens up vast creative opportunities to both the cinematographer and still photographer alike.
TRUMP comes shipped with a wide selection of aperture elements. Some are subtle, like the classic mk1 ‘Superspeed’ style triangular aperture elements. Others are wild, like the intricate multi-spiked star and slotted aperture elements. When used tactfully, these non-typical background defocus distortions subtly impact on the overall aesthetic of a shot or scene, subliminally and indirectly fortifying the theme or subject being conveyed.
So now you're likely thinking to yourself, "This lens seems legit, but what kind of images can it produce?" Here's a video from one of the Dog Schidt founders, Richard Gale, that shows what the TRUMP can do with the aforementioned spiked star aperture element. These images are straight from the camera with no post grading or overlays. The warm tone in the video came from bumping up the white balance.
Personally, I'm drooling over this lens. The fact that it combines everything we know and love about the original FF58 with professional cine features and the unique interchangeable aperture system makes the TRUMP the coolest 'cine effects' lens on the market today.
However, one of the biggest drawbacks to this system is the fact that it is a singular 58mm lens, not an entire set of cine lenses. While it might be extremely fun to shoot with the TRUMP, using it in the context of narrative production alongside other lenses might be problematic, considering that matching aesthetics from shot to shot and lens to lens would be nearly impossible. With that said, any time that a different or unique aesthetic is called for, the TRUMP might just become many DP's weapon of choice.
Dog Schidt is no longer taking orders through their Etsy page (probably because we flooded them with orders after the last time we posted about them). You can find out everything that you need to know about ordering a completely customized Dog Schidt lens through this PDF.
What do you guys think? Is the TRUMP lens poised to become the secret sauce for cinematographers looking to create a unique aesthetic? Let us know in the comments!