Repository for the projects of Michael McVey, filmmaker.

The Complete STANLEY KUBRICK Exhibit at LACMA – » Cameras and Lenses of Stanley Kubrick: The “Candlelight Lens”

At left, the Zeiss Mutar 0.5x

This wide angle attachment for the “candlelight lens” Zeiss Planer 50mm f0.7 reduced the focal length to 25mm. Due to the extreme distortion, Kubrick eventually decided to work with a different attachment that produced a less pronounced wide angle effect of about 36mm. It is on display mounted on Kubrick’s Mitchell BNC camera in the “Barry Lyndon” section.

At center, the “candlelight lens” from “Barry Lyndon” Zeiss Planar 50mm f0.7 by Carl Zeiss

This extreme high speed lens was made for NASA to be used for space photography with Hasselblad 6×6 medium format cameras. Kubrick had the lens rebuilt by Cinema Products Inc. for use on his Mitchell BNC 35mm camera. First the iris shutter was removed, then the lens was put in a new focusing gear to allow precise change of focus. Since the original lens was available in 50mm only, a wide angle adapter by Kollmorgen Optical Company was added to allow wide angle shots at a focal length of 36mm.

And at right, the Prime lens set for Mitchell BFC 65mm camera

After “2001: A Space Odyssey,” Kubrick intended to use the front projection technique for future film projects. He purchased a Mitchell BFC camera to shoot 65/70mm wide film (Todd AO format) that gave superior image quality. This set contains high quality medium format lenses from various manufacturers (Schneider Kreuznach, Rank Taylor Hobson, Nikon/Nippon Kōgaku) converted to Mitchell lens mounts.

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