PetaPixel

Zeiss f/0.7: You Can Now Rent Two of the Largest Aperture Lenses Ever Made

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Want to capture images of a scene that’s lit purely with candlelight? You can now rent a pair of Zeiss f/0.7 lenses — two of the largest aperture lenses ever seen in the history of photography.

In the 1960s, NASA commissioned Carl Zeiss to develop a set of extremely large aperture lenses to capture images of the dark side of the moon in its Apollo missions. The company ended up creating 10 Carl Zeiss f/0.7 lenses. Six were sold to NASA, one was kept by Carl Zeiss, and three of them were sold to filmmaker Stanley Kubrick.

Kubrick had two of these lenses modified to mount onto his Mitchell BNC camera, and famously used them to film scenes in the 1975 movie Barry Lyndon using only the dim light of candles:

A still frame from the film Barry Lyndon

A still frame from the film Barry Lyndon showing a scene captured by candlelight using one of the Zeiss f/0.7 lenses

Here’s a short 6-minute-long documentary discussing Kubrick’s use of these lenses:

If you’ve spent years drooling over the idea of shooting with f/0.7 glass like Kubrick did, today’s your lucky day. Munich, Germany-based equipment company P+S Technik has announced that they have successfully modified a PS-Cam X35 HD camera to have a BNC-R lens mount that can handle Kubrick’s f/0.7 lenses.

The company is now making the camera available for rental, along with the two modified Zeiss lenses: a Zeiss 50mm f/0.7 and a Zeiss 35mm f/0.7.

modified

lenses

Sample footage and photographs showing what these lenses can do have been published over at the official website for the “Kubrick Collection” (as this set is being called):

example1

example2

example3

This one-of-a-kind kit can now be rented by contacting a short list of partner rental houses in Germany, the UK, and the US. No word on pricing, but as commenter Andrew Cato says in the comments of the YouTube video above, you probably need to be “prepared to sell all non-vital organs, as well as your first six children, to be able to afford it.”

The Kubrick Collection (via Studio Daily via The Phoblographer)


Image credits: Photographs by P+S Technik


 
 
  • will hall

    quick question: why do you need a super fast lens to capture the ‘dark’ side of the moon when its in direct sunlight 50% of the time

  • lololalallll

    Can I mount this to my iPhone? I need a new gizmo to 1up the instagram scene.

  • Brunno Regis

    the moon doesn’t spin the same way earth does

  • Marcelo Metayer

    Smart question, indeed.

  • will hall

    well it’s tidally locked to the earth which means it’s always got the same portion facing us, but that means it rotates about its own axis once per ~28days. Any time a portion of the moon appears in dark to us, it’s because the other side is being illuminated by the sun. At a new moon the far side of the moon is completely lit. There is no dark side of the moon, everywhere receives equal amounts of light (apart from small portions in the shadows of craters near the poles)

  • Matthew Rogan

    Imagine these on a C300, low light monster!

  • http://grimard.daportfolio.com/ Julien

    Its takes about 27 days for the moon to make a full rotation around Earth, so what they mean by the dark side of the moon is the side that’s dark during the mission, since the mission only lasts a few days.

  • will hall

    if you knew you wanted to photograph the far side of the moon you’d surely time your mission for it to be in sunlight, which also keeps your solar cells illuminated!

  • will hall

    on doing a little extra research, it seems they were used in the apollo missions, so perhaps they wanted the landings on the near side to be illuminated, and captruing the far side was a secondary objective

  • l0k

    No, about 1:45 into that animation you see why the dark side is sometimes lit by the sun. The dark side of the moon isn’t the side that isn’t illuminated, it’s the side that is never seen from earth, i.e. the non-red part in that video. As you can see, when the moon is closest to the sun, that side is illuminated.

  • l0k

    From your linked article:
    “While many misconstrue this to think that the “dark side” receives little to no sunlight, in reality, both the near and far sides receive (on average) almost equal amounts of light from the Sun”
    Please explain your reasoning

  • aaronpriestphoto

    I think they were used on the command module, not the lunar lander, which orbited the moon and shot photos of the dark side while the other two men were on the moon. One man stayed behind in the command module.

  • aaronpriestphoto

    I should have rephrased, I meant during the Apollo mission specifically, not through an entire month or orbit of the moon.

  • l0k

    oh right, fair enough, sorry

  • l0k

    ooohh that would explain it. I was wondering.

  • http://blog.mikeswanson.com/ Mike Swanson

    My mistake. I misconstrued the original question to mean “visible” which makes my quoted response even more inane. :-) Thanks for the correction.

  • aaronpriestphoto

    No apology necessary, the clarification is welcome! I wrote it poorly. LOL

  • Jodathekind

    Who are you people? Arguing like normal people and even applogozing to each other and behaving in a general civil manner. I want my old internet back:)

  • aaronpriestphoto

    Hahahahaha!

  • Guest

    I hardly find the use for f2.0…

  • Seb

    Only if you convert the C300 to BNCR mount, though…

  • Brent Nora

    I don’t believe a lot of the comments here, try shooting the nocturnal activity of earth during the day and see how long your documentary will be, get my drift?
    If explorers want to shoot the dark side of the moon, by Jesus, let scientists make equipment for them to do so.

    As a photographer, you know the perfect shot is all about location, location, location, so just work on having the best equipment and being on location at the right time.

  • Fabio Mont Alegre

    They were actually sold to Warner and then shipped to Kubrick upon request.

  • tomdavidsonjr

    There is no dark side of the moon, really. Matter of fact, it’s all dark.
    Sorry. Couldn’t resist.

  • http://www.swift2.blogspot.com Swift2

    No depth of field, but show things clearly in low light. It’s a look.

  • benjamincburns

    In all fairness, he was correct. Half of the moon is in fact always dark. It’s not always the same half, but then the Apollo astronauts weren’t going to wait around for half a lunar cycle. They wanted to photograph the entire moon, including the 50% that was dark.

  • Andrew

    Why were no more of these lenses made if it’s something that’s so many filmmakers are drooling over? They can’t be that cost prohibitive, right?

  • Seb

    Due to their construction they are not really compatible to Film Cameras. This is the reason they made such a big deal of it.

  • T-Dawg

    Confusion is calling the dark side of the moon when we should be calling it the far side of the moon.

  • freerange

    It wasn’t just these lenses that allowed for the amazing low light footage in Barry Lyndon. He also used revolutionary new high speed film introduced by Kodak at the time.

  • Jonathan Maniago

    That f/0.7 aperture is going to come in handy. After renting one of these, your budget would only allow candlelight for your lighting.

  • aaronpriestphoto

    Hahahaha! True that!

  • flyingburgers

    World’s fastest _camera_ lens, you can get NA 0.9 (f/0.24) microscope objectives quite easily.

  • http://www.ameridane.org/ thingwarbler

    Can someone please explain why these lenses would still be so attractive 50 years later? If I understand correctly, f0.7 would be two stops below f1.4, so four times as much light as a 50mm f1.4. In 1960 that would’ve been the only way to suck in more light, since the fastest film available was somewhere around ISO 3200. Today, pro grade DSLRs can operate at ISO 200000, which is 6 full stops faster than 3200. At ISO 12500, two stops above 3200, an f1.4 lens on a decent body with a good sensor can deliver decent quality — with noise reduction in post-production, the images can be excellent. How, then, would the same image w/ a f0.7 lens at 3200 ISO differ?

  • http://world.jimmerish.com James P

    People don’t want “decent quality — with noise reduction in post-production”. They want the best quality. The lower the ISO you can shoot at, the better quality the image. More light from a faster lens is always the best way to achieve that if you can work with the shallow depth of field.

  • Jacqui Dee

    1) Depth of field.
    2) Less noise.
    3) Contrast lowers as ISO increases, lower aperture/ISO means more contrast.
    4) The opportunity to shoot on one of the rarest and most famous lenses in the world.

  • ILL TROOPER

    Because the results look great. And it’s fun to be able to use them.

  • Dillon

    “Sample footage and photographs showing what these lenses can do have been published over at the official website for the “Kubrick Collection” (as this set is being called)” The Kubrick Collection eh?….errrr not for long I’d hazard a guess!

  • Michelangelo

    Sorry guys, about the endless “dark side of the moon” discussion.. Nasa intended to photographs the other face of the moon, while the Apollo module was orbiting around it. Not taking pictures of the dark side visible from earth :)

  • Dillon

    There wasn’t any 3200 ISO film stock in the1960′s or even close to it.
    Barry Lyndon was shot on 100 ISO and pushed a stop – hence the desire to shoot with fast lenses, not only for effect, but by necessity. Huge quantities of lights on film sets was normally the only way to shoot within acceptable limits with these ‘slow’ films when compared to DSLRs.

  • http://www.ameridane.org/ thingwarbler

    Wow, down votes for asking a legitimate question?!? Way to keep the community spirit going. James, Jacqui, I appreciate what you’re saying, I was just wondering about a quality comparison between what we can accomplish with fast sensors today vs. more light w/ the amazing old glass.

  • Scott

    Go shoot in a dark bar with a busy distracting background and get back to me. I shoot f1.4 all the damn time LOL

  • David Safier

    people can get a 35mm and 50mm f.95 around 1000$

  • Claudio Vittorio Carta

    Fail

  • Enrique

    Its just creepy that Kubrik and NASA have these lenses with all those conspiracy theorys about he was the one that recorded the man in the moon.

  • ExEffectsGuy

    I was shooting a commercial once with Buzz Aldren and in the course of him answering questions, I somehow, stupidly, referred to the rotation of the moon on it’s axis. He made it VERY clear I was an idiot and boy I sure couldn’t argue with him. If you’re going to make a mistake like that, Buzz is hardly the person you want to make it to!

  • http://grimard.daportfolio.com/ Julien

    Ahahahah!! This is awesome!! Thanks for sharing that funny moment!

  • Cynical Bloke

    There is always a dark side of the moon. Just like there is a dark side of the earth. It’s just not always dark.