Shooting Dreamy Circular Video with a Rare Vintage 180-Degree Fisheye Lens

Weird Lens Challenge Circular Video
The Weird Lens Challenge has come full circle (pauses for laughs).

The brainchild of Paris-based photographer Mathieu Stern, the Weird Lens Challenge's latest episode has Stern stacking a pair of vintage lenses on top of one another in order to get a dreamy circular fisheye effect. One of those lenses is the popular Canon FD 50mm, and the other is a rare Kenko 180° Fisheye Adapter from the 60s.

Here's what Stern had to say about this combination of lenses.

The lens was first screwed to a 55mm to 52mm filter then to the filter thread of a Canon 50mm 1.4 FD, and then finally to a Nex Adapter to the Sony A7II. The 50mm focal length is perfect for having a full frame fisheye circular image … on APSC it would not be circular.

The Lens is not that sharp, but it’s pretty good coupled with a sharp lens like the Canon FD. It also gives an incredible look to your shots. Of course, the use of circular video is pretty rare for a cinematic project, but for timelapses it gives an impressive effect.

Stern also released a fun little video short today where he shares the best places in Paris to break up with someone. Shot on the Sony A7II with some of the vintage lenses that he loves so much, this video was a way for Stern to channel his inner Wes Anderson and show the beauty and spirit of Paris in the wake of the dark times that it's currently experiencing.

In case you've missed the first three episodes of the series, you can go back and watch as Stern crafts a rig to shoot video with a 105-year-old lens, conjures breathtaking bokeh with a vintage Soviet lens and a tilt-shift adapter, and captures cinematic video with the front of an old plastic toy camera that cost 50 cents.

If you're interested in being the first to see Mathieu's new Weird Lens Challenge videos, be sure to subscribe to his YouTube channel.        

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I love Paris.....going back in early May. I've been using my 40 yr. old 50mm FD on a GH3. Very cinematic.

December 8, 2015 at 3:09AM

Jerry Roe
Indie filmmaker

Regarding the fisheye adaptor; I bought the Spirotone model in the 60's and used it successfully on everything from 16mm movie cameras (Arriflex & Bolex) to Hasselblads. Some of the images are still part of my portfolio. I own some of the Canon lenses in your test series. I have limited experience with third party lenses. But, those I have used, seemed to lose sharpness due to the normal banging around in camera cases. They were "sharp" out of the box.... but not durable.

December 11, 2015 at 4:08AM, Edited December 11, 4:08AM