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:
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.
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):
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.”
Image credits: Photographs by P+S Technik