Using a Vintage Soviet Lens with a Tilt Shift Adapter for Breathtaking Bokeh
In the latest installment of Mathieu Stern's Weird Lens Challenge, he went all in to create some of the dreamiest bokeh you've ever seen.
If you need a refresher on Stern, he's the Paris-based photographer behind the new web series, Weird Lens Challenge, where he tracks down the strangest, most unique lenses that he can find, shows you how he adapts them to a modern mirrorless camera, then shoots some video with them. The first episode featured a 105 year-old lens from a vintage Eastman Kodak folding camera. Needless to say, it was pretty damn cool, but not particularly practical.
Today's episode, however, features a lens that is far more accessible: the hallowed Jupiter-9 85mm f/2, which is widely regarded in the world of vintage lenses as having some of the smoothest bokeh around. When it's paired with an M42 tilt-shift adapter, the bokeh becomes breathtaking. Check it out:
Here's what Stern had to say about how he went about creating this dreamy bokeh:
The Jupiter 9 — famous for being a bokeh monster — has the same swirly effect as the Helios lenses but even stronger, being very close the Petzval lens. The lens was screwed to an M42 to NEX Tilt Shift Adapter ring, then to the Sony A7II. Mixing a tilt ring, which makes weird bokeh on any lens, with a bokeh monster like the Jupiter 9 will get you some amazing results.
The best part of this is that the Jupiter lenses are easy to find through auction sites, and they're generally pretty affordable, ranging anywhere from $75 to $200. Some of the other vintage Soviet lenses, like the lauded Helios 58mm, are even more affordable, and make a great addition to any filmmaker's camera bag thanks to their distinctive look, adaptability, and low price.
If you want to keep up with new episodes of the Weird Lens Challenge, make sure you subscribe to Stern's YouTube channel.