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.

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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

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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


 
  • Pink Floyd

    “There is no dark side in the moon, really. As a matter of fact it’s all dark”

  • Dave Weinstein

    I don’t understand why they don’t update the lens and put it into production.

    Surely NASA isn’t claiming any sort of copyright over the design, and it seems that there is a huge demand for super bright lenses.

  • lvs

    It’s ASA, not ISO. :-) Barry Lyndon was shot on film. And actually it was a tungsten balanced film stock so it was designed for low light situations.

  • Dillon

    Barry Lyndon was made in 1974/75 and ASA and DIN film speed standards were combined into ISO standards the same year (;-)) anyway the ASA of the film stock used was only100 and it was pushed a stop to 200 ASA, so was NEITHER “designed for low light situations” OR “revolutionary new high speed film introduced by Kodak at the time” sorry guys, but you’re both wrong here. (Still not quite sure why this reply was sent to me a year later??)

  • lvs

    I was talking about tungsten balanced (EXR 100T) stocks :) and yes, I know it was pushed one stop to 200 ASA which is not really a big deal either. What I meant is tungsten balanced stocks are designed to be used in available (or low) light or you have to use an 85A filter to use it in daylight.

  • Reio Kimura

    Is it a video lens?