Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Blast from the Past 8 | a 100 years old eye

This is a circa 1908 Wollensak 35mm F5.0 Cine-Velostigmat hand cranked cinema camera lens. its as cute as a button...literally... 

"I am a DP and photographer, 90% of the time i use my 5D for stills, professional and not. 
I have an upcoming photography project that needs a vintage look. 
Initially i was going to shoot it on 4x5 large format film, but found the equipment and processing cost prohibitive. 
My friend, a Russian lens technician, who loves nothing more than to frankenstein equipment, was assisting me in building the 4x5 camera. 
After we abandoned the 4x5 solution, i put the project on back burner. 
This morning he called me into his store on NYC. He has something for me.... 
He found in a box of random parts, hidden inside anther lens this gem. 
A circa 1908 ( possibly earlier) 35mm lens. 
Still functioning, mostly brass, and not nearly as much dust or fungus as one would think after sitting in a box for over a hundred years. 
This lens is a piece of motion picture history, and at this point rare beyond words. 
So i say to him, 
"Wow... what do you have in mind?" 
he smiles, and says, ( in the thickest russian accent you can imagine) " i can make this fit EF you know...
" my eye twinkled, and then 6 nail biting hours later,he had it finished. 
My Russian Lens technician is a mad scientist and he took what sounded like an angle grinder to the lens to make its clear the flange distance and the mirror.......
This lens' value is unclear. its sort of on loan. It's the only lens of its kind on a 5D... or any digital for that matter.
Its funny while i was shooting these, EVERY photographer i saw stopped and asked me about the lens... it just looks so goofy on there." 
Timur Civan