We’ve been building our 11-16mm lenses as quick as we can while still maintaining the highest quality standards we can. We’ve received great feedback from a lot of satisfied customers and look forward to continuing to fill orders. There are quite a few back-orders still but rest assured, we are working diligently to fill orders as quickly as possible. This particular photo is our Nikon-F mount model. We offer the lens in PL, Nikon-F, and Canon-EF. Such a versatile little beauty. 🙂
Lens Guts: RED 18-85mm
Just finishing up an overhaul on a RED 18-85mm RED zoom. The zoom focus and iris all needed some new grease after some heavy shooting. This lens is built quite well using nothing but aluminum alloys and high quality hardware. A cam driven zoom converter and a helix based focus assembly join to make quite a nice optical-mechanical tool.
Vintage Lens Restoration
Given my profession of servicing lenses and the nature of such a precise vocation, I’ve become somewhat compulsive over the past decade. Some might even argue that I’m just downright anal about details. I wouldn’t disagree with that at all. I can’t stand imperfections or flaws. I feel compelled to perfect every minor detail that is within my capacity and even sometimes beyond my capacity, either succeeding or failing, but always learning. This became something of a curse when I started collecting cameras and lenses a while back. I would buy cheap “junk” off of eBay that looked pretty good in the auction photos, but upon arrival, the items were almost always worse than they appeared in the photos, which I came to expect. I couldn’t spend a ton of money on mint condition collectors items as my fiancé would be rather upset if $1000 was used to purchase a 25 year old film camera or lens. So I did my best to find good deals and restore them. It has become quite a painstaking hobby. I consider these dirty, beat-up old cameras and lenses a challenge. I wish I had taken more photos of the equipment I’ve restored prior to their make-over but I really didn’t think much of it at the time. I just wanted my collection to be clean and tidy. The tools and techniques I use on a daily basis have proven to be most valuable to such restorations, allowing me to cleanse, machine, anodize, and essentially re-engineer parts that were otherwise ugly and useless. Continue reading “Vintage Lens Restoration”
Angenieux 17-80mm Optimo
A quick snap-shot while bench testing a 17-80mm for periodic maintenance. The modern breed of exotic zooms are both work-horses and delicate instruments of perfection at the same time. They require the highest level of calibration to perform at their maximum potential. The 17-80mm was the second lens to join Angenieux’s Optimo team back in the mid 2000’s and is still one of the best 35mm zoom lenses on the market. After regular use on a television series, this particular Optimo only needed minor back-focus calibration and exterior cleaning. It’s no wonder Angenieux is having trouble keeping up with demand for their zooms.
A few quick picks from my bench of a Leica 60mm Macro lens being Cine-Modded. I’m sure you’ve all read countless posts about the Duclos Lenses Cine-Mod, but I use find the applications so interesting. People are finding the coolest old glass to use for cinema work and it just intrigues me so much. Have I mentioned that I love my job? – This specific lens received the works: An 80mm front ring, 32-pitch focus gear, damped/de-clicked aperture ring, and a fixed Eos mount. This little beauty will work great on just about an Eos mount camera including a RED Epic. Would love to see those results. Here are a few more pics.
Lens Guts: Zeiss ZF.2 50mm f/2.0 Macro
I usually reserve the lens guts photos for Twitter (@MQDuclos) but as I mentioned, I’m going to be posting more content here on MatthewDuclos.com. It pushed to Twitter anyway so every can enjoy lens guts!
Replacing Glass Elements
Motion picture lenses are fine tuned image making machines. The quality of the images they produce is directly related to the quality of the glass combined to create a lens. Cinema lenses must be maintained to the highest degree to ensure optimal performance. Obviously the most susceptible and delicate parts are the front and rear element of the lens (the exposed glass at the front and back of the lens). When accidents happen, it’s usually fairly simple to replace just the front element of a lens. A lot of folks ask if the glass can just be polished since most accidents are simply micro scratches that don’t go any deeper than the anti-reflective coating. Yes, this is possible, but it’s not usually a great idea. It’s sort of a last resort. Polishing and re-coating a lens element can be risky. If the polishing isn’t done perfectly, the curve of the element can change and alter the light path of the lens. Anti-reflective coatings are applied in a vacuum chamber with very special equipment. Every lens manufacturer has their own process and it can vary quite a bit between companies. So re-coating a lens is never going to yield the same results unless it’s re-coated by the manufacturer which is usually more expensive than buying a new element. Hence, replacing glass to maintain a perfect image is common in the motion picture industry. Think of it like car tires. You could save a few bucks and re-tread your old tires or you can buy new tires when you need them. Which one sounds safer?
Zeiss 85mm Plays Nice With Sony FS100
A perfect example of the versatility of the Zeiss ZF.2 series. This 85mm f1/.4 comes in a Nikon mount from the factory. With a few upgrades and modifications, it’s perfectly suited for motion picture use. I performed the standard three part Cine-Mod which includes an 80mm front ring (77mm filter thread), 32-pich (0.8 module) seamless focus gear, and of course the de-clicked, dampened aperture ring. In addition to the standard Cine-Mod, I also added one of our semi-permanent Canon Eos mounts. This mount conversion physically attaches to the body of the lens and essentially takes the place of the original Nikon mount, effectively making the Zeiss ZF.2 a native Canon Eos mount lens. An excellent mount modification for use on a 5D or 7D. I just happened to have received a Canon Eos mount for my FS100 that I thought I would try out with this lens and it worked great. There is a little bit of play between the mounts, but no more motion than I would expect from a Canon lens attached to a Canon camera. The focus and aperture movement on this lens are like soft butter, creamy smooth. With a Super 35mm sized sensor on the FS100, the bokeh from this f/1.4 85mm is simply dreamy. I love it! I’ll be shooting some test footage in the near future with a few different lens makes and models. I just need to find an interesting topic and create some decent content. I’m tired of test charts… 😉
Yes, Master (Prime).
So I’ve decided to start posting more content here on MatthewDuclos.com that I would normally reserve for the Duclos Lenses Facebook Fan Page or Twitter etc. Most of the posts will be short blips, either photos or quick little videos, just quick, simple content. For starters here is a rather comical, yet surprisingly effective use of a Zeiss/Arri Master Prime on a Sony FS100 with Hot Rod Cameras PL mount. The Sony FS100 costs about $6,000. …Pocket change compared to the $25,000 price tag of the 14mm Master Prime. The lens costs more than four times as much as the camera. But it looks awesome! I didn’t record any footage but I will eventually. I was just trying out the Hot Rod Cameras mount adapter and it worked like a charm. Now… Enjoy the magnificent potential.
Photo Collection of NAB 2011
It’s that time of year once again. Duclos Lenses closes up shop except for those few unlucky employees who stay behind to keep the wheel turning. This year everyone is flying from LA to Vegas… What a waste. I prefer my loyal automobile to get me there in about the same amount of time as those flying fools. I’ll be snapping photos the whole way there and while at the show whenever I find something cool or interesting worth sharing. A virtual photo tour, as it were, for my guests to enjoy. I’ll do my best to utilize my plethora of Apple and Nikon/Canon toys to show as much as I can, as quick as I can. Please feel free to ask questions or request specific photos and I’ll do my best to accommodate. Now onto the photos!
UPDATE: Between WordPress’ irritating interface and the Hilton’s sluggish (at best) wifi, I’ve decided just to upload all to Flickr via my 3G iPad connection. Click the link below for the gallery. Enjoy!
click here: NAB 2011 GALLERY
Sometimes I Make Myself Laugh… Out Loud.
My first full day back in the office after the PhotoCine Expo (success) and I spent my lunch break messing around making silly signs to hang up around the office. This one goes right next to my “50 is a 50 is a 50” poster that some people stole and made their own. 😉 I suggest you print this and stick it in your camera truck or link to it for all you lens junkies. I know.. I’m a nerd.
(click to download PDF)
Cine Desktop Background
I was recently prepping for an upcoming trade show where Duclos Lenses will be exhibiting. We thought it would be nice to have some cool signage like Zacuto’s giant ball or some insane signage that Fujinon or Sony use. But then I remembered we don’t have much of a budget. So I had a nice simple vinyl banner made up. It consisted of our Logo and a few photos. I took the photos specifically for this sign since I wanted the resolution to be nice. Cool, new we have an awesome banner and I’m left with a few photos that I’ll never use again. I kinda liked the photos so I made one of them my desktop which made me think, why not just let others steal my high res “Desktop Photos” 😉 Maybe I’m the only person who is geeky enough to use a photo of a lens as a desktop background. But just in case there are more of you out there… Continue reading “Cine Desktop Background”