This is a MV i shot a few years ago on LOMO primes on Pre-MX Red One http://vimeo.com/39091964
We use with RED One MX LOMO lenses - ILLUMINA MK 1 & MK 2. DOP respond about them as about competitors of Cooke S4 and say that they surpass Zeiss CP.
Big fan of Lomos look. Not a fan of the mechanics. As more and more CMOS chips are not looking too different from one another, glass, is becoming the way to get a distinct look. Show I just finished we had a set of a Lomos and although they weren't as technically sharp as our modern lenses, everyone agreed they just looked better. They got the magic.
Starting a feature in May and I'm seriously considering either Lomos or Super Baltars or some kind of vintage glass to get something special. At the end of the day resolution is overrated.
A bit of advice. I've seen more Lomo lenses than I care to admit. I'll use my car analogy again..
It'll get you to and from the office and you'll be that cool hipster that drives a rare old foreign car. But you're gonna have to get out and push every couple blocks. Enjoy!
That said, they do make some interestingly pleasing images.
sometimes I miss my set of Lomo superspeeds but I prefer the reliability if modern glass.
They looked great but, even after Matthew did all he could, they still had their quirks. I still have an 18mm 2.3 ckbk in PL mount if anyone is looking for one.
So I had some Lomos that were optically very nice but mechanically challenged, so I sent them to this guy in LA, Matthew Duclos? And he said they were -hand made (but not it a good way). Meaning, I think, that the central quality control agent was vodka. So he took them in and then he swore a lot and charged a lot and rebuilt them. And then, we never had another problem with the lenses and the footage looks great. So I'm sorry they took ten years off of Matthew's life, but if you are willing to have Duclos shake their magic dust on them, they are pretty good lenses.
So I think the car metaphor should be this:
"It'll get you to and from the office and you'll be that cool hipster that drives a rare old foreign car. But you're gonna have to get out and pay Mattew Duclos to come and push you to work, at least once."
I think that Duclos has decided to not work on Russian glass anymore.
There are all sorts of variables at play for both the manufacturing stage and the maintenance since they were made. Someone may have been using vodka, yet another may have been "on". Some were stored poorly or not properly maintained. If I bought a used Ferrari and, the previous owner had not tuned it up, I'd probably say that Ferrari is crap. Who knows, maybe Duclos got a bad batch and that turned them off or, maybe the hours required to bring them back to life were not as profitable as doing other work. To keep the car analogy going and, applying it to car repair, a lot of body shops focus on insurance repairs on modern cars because those jobs are very profitable. Shops that can restore a 61 Ford Galaxie convertible are rare, the project takes months if not years and, the profit level is low. I know, I have a 61 and a 65, as well as a bunch of Lomos.
You may get lucky and get a good set when buying from Russia/Poland/Ukraine, or not. Still, at the going rate and backlog for high end glass, they are a valid option. Especially for a shoot with a 1st A/C who understands their quirks. Not every film needs (or can afford to rent/buy) Master Primes.
To clear up the Duclos Lenses position on Russian glass... I hope this isn't pushing the REDUser rules too much. After all, I'm essentially saying DON'T send me these lenses. Anyway...
We stopped accepting Russian lenses for service for several reasons. The way our process works is this: When a lens comes in for service, we evaluate and quote the repair to the best of our abilities. This includes the labor (time) we estimate based on experience as well as parts required for any repair. Pretty straight forward with something like a Zeiss Ultra Prime or a Cooke S4, built very well with quality materials and relatively the same from lens to lens. If a Cooke S4 has a broken cam follower, I know that it will take X hours to open the lens and I know exactly what X parts will cost because I can get new parts from Cooke or ZGC or whatever. Like I said, simple. Then you have a lens like a Lomo that an ambitious film maker bought on ebay for $500. The lens arrives and the first thing I notice is most of the time the wreak of cigarettes. Whatever, I can deal with that... Then I attempt to mount the lens on the projector but the hand-made PL mount doesn't fit the mount on my projector. Okay, so I have to shave some material off of my projector to make it fit. Finally, I can mount it and see an image but the focus is jammed. Turns out the lens was lubricated with vodka instead of losoid grease and now the focus is seized up. Now I have to quote the job with an unknown. We're a pretty fair company so we try to quite as fairly as possible and make an educated guess at the cost since we cannot tell what the cause of the focus jam is how much labor will be required. So the customer approves the work to open up the lens and fix the focus and we proceed. Turns out the focus stop pin (usually a screw sticking into the four barrel with the thread tips ground down) broke off and is now jammed in the threads. No biggie, just remove all the parts, clean off all the vodka... I mean grease, lap the threads, re-lubricate, and begin to re-assemble. Now the lens is back together and the focus rotates freely but now it looks like the focus guides are loose and the lens has an unacceptable amount of lost motion in the newly liberated focus. Back into the lens to find the culprit focus guide which also is filed from a small block of brass with just a few threads holding it to the screw the locates it. Unrepairable so I fabricate a new one from aluminum and install that. Now the focus barrel rotates nicely and has no play. Good, now I can finally get it to the test projector and evaluate the image quality. It looks like crap. There's a fleck of paint that chipped off the edge of an element and landed right in the middle of an internal element. Time to open up the optics. ...But wait, the guy that slapped on his hand-made PL mount also glued the front element lock ring in place and now it can't be rotated to remove the glass. Whatevs, we have tricks for that. Just let the glue soak in solvent for a few hours and soften up. Now the lens will need a new paint job as well because the solvent is eating away at the beautiful black painted finish of the lens. Finally the glue loosens up and I can remove the lock ring only to find that it was glued in place because the threads of the lock ring wore out and don't hold the front element in place. So now I need to order a new lock ring. I could glue it back in place like my comrade did, but that's no way to maintain a motion picture lens. So my ex-KGB Lomo parts source says he can get the parts but it will take a week or two (or five). Finally the parts come in and I can finish the lens. It's taken two months and several dozen hours when I originally quoted a customer two weeks and half a dozen hours. Sure I can anticipate these things to a degree, but nobody want's to receive a quote that says "Labor: 4 to 15 hours. Parts: May be required, if available, not sure when"
...Just a brief example. This isn't a specific scenario and there are obvious steps that can be taken to avoid having to re-open a lens several times over. But the point is, the amount of time it generally takes just to get a Lomo lens to (properly) function mechanically is usually more expensive than the lens itself. You'd be hard pressed to find Duclos Lenses customer who was quoted one thing and paid more than their original quote. It happens, but not often and that is why we don't accept Russian lenses for service.
PS. Take this post with a grain of salt. Nothing on REDUser is somber. If a Lomo lens is your goal, make it so.
Matthew: that was hilarious.
As Forrest Gump would say: Lomos are like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are getting until you open one up.
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