You heard correctly, Dog Schidt Optiks is putting new life into older lenses by allowing you to customize things like the lens mount, contrast, and even what color flares you would like it to produce. Currently in there lineup is a converted manual focus Russian lens the Helios 44-2, a 58mm F2 lens with long focus throw and great cinematic qualities. Ive added a link to the custom options and will take you through the options I picked for my 2 lenses.
I have owned a Helios 44M-4 in m42 mount for a while now and being a Nikon user I could never reach infinity. I love the look of this lens already, Ive torn it down, fixed the focus, almost converted it myself but then I found out that the guys at Dog Schidt Optiks will do the Fmount conversion for me and gave up trying to file down my current Helios lens. So I ended up getting 2 very different lenses both in Nikon F mount, Option 1 was my safe bet “Neutral lens” and for my second option I went for the crazy radioactive amber tinted version with ultra low contrast and fixed Quasi F1.5 aperture. Rich at DSO also made sure that these lenses would play nice with my current anamorphic adaptersand tested them on the iscorama making sure that there was no reverse vignetting or anything which is greatly appreciated.
You really have to pay attention when doing video with the Amber tinted lens because the flare can dramatically change the luminance or tone of the video whenever it flares. This is ok if you remember to lock down your settings but if you find yourself using anything like auto white balance or shooting across multiple days you made be in for a headache trying to get them to match.
Below are 2 photos showing sunlight coming through the trees and creating a lot of flare and and the difference without direct light creating a flare. You really dont have to push this lens as much as you think and will mostly likely push it too far if you are really trying.
To order your own Dog Schidt Optiks lens email Richard at firstname.lastname@example.org and let him know what lens mount and options you would like to go with.
I really like these lenses from DSO, especially on anamorphic adapters and dealing with Rich and Hans has been a real pleasure which makes a real difference in any business. I went with a safe bet and a totally off the wall versions because I didnt know what I was getting into. I have to say most times when IM running out the door I always grab the Radioactive Amber crazy version. There is something very special about having a unique lens like this specially built for you. No one else can take the same photo so I suggest going crazy with it, get out of your comfort zone and get one of these special lenses. If you are really daring ask the guys to come up with something for you, Im sure you wont be disappointed. Also if you have the money check out the new offering from DSO the Trump, its next on my ist and I’ll write a review once I get it.
As for the pros and cons, if you know what you are getting into there really isnt anything bad to say about these lenses or the work that DSO has done on them. They came in a nice package and shipping was really fast coming from the UK. I didnt realize they came with no front or back lens caps but it really makes sense. They come in different mounts and the Nikon versions are most likely not as popular as the EF or E mounts. Its just something to be aware of and I was able to go up and grab 2 front and back caps for under $20 at a local camera store.
DSO are working on other lenses to allow you to have complete matching kits. THey currently offer the FF58 and the FF58 Trump lens options but are working on 35mm and 85mm versions as well. I’ll try to get a review together on the Trump lens very soon.