LOMO Anamorphic Round Front PrimesBy Bokeh Rentals | March 16th, 2022
As much as filmmakers love experimenting with the anamorphic format—there’s nothing more fun than experimenting with lenses—especially vintage lenses. With strong ties to the history of Soviet cinema, the LOMO anamorphics take the cake as the most sought-after of European, vintage anamorphic primes.
These Russian lenses date back to the ‘70s and are highly coveted for their imperfect optical effects, melding anamorphic’s dynamic quality with the pleasant, tactile feel of vintage glass.
Check out the footage below, in which LOMO anamorphics turn a sunny exterior into a lush daydream.
LOMO (Leningrad Optical Mechanical Association) is an optical manufacturer based in St. Petersburg, Russia. LOMO opened its first factory in 1914 and started mass producing cameras in 1930 with the Fotokor N1.
The company’s history is hard to track, since its existence during the Soviet era had its operations focusing on military and industrial production. In fact, the name “LOMO” was only introduced in 1962 to officially separate its optical manufacturing from other operations.
LOMO still manufactures some equipment today, but most of its popularity revolves around vintage pieces from the company’s heyday; its anamorphic primes were built from the 1970s to the 1990s.
Whether it’s these ‘80s LOMOs or these ‘60s Kowa Prominars—vintage anamorphics are always in high demand, as they stand apart from most modern-day optical gear. See, while the technical capabilities of current equipment are astounding, its ultra-clean, digital-feeling quality can start feeling stale. Thankfully, vintage lenses like these can stand apart for their expressive features, such as these primes’ pleasing falloff—while their anamorphic format gives it dynamic qualities that feel contemporary, such as its extraordinary handling of flares and shallower depth of field.
Because the vintage LOMO sets drifting on the market aren’t straight from the manufacturer, there can be asymmetry in their individual characteristics, such as camera mount, iris blades, or mechanical components. Insert image from our Instagram post
This particular set of LOMO anamorphics from Bokeh Rentals consists of a 40mm, 50mm, 75mm, and 100mm prime. They have similar close focuses, of 1m, .92m, .96m, and 1m, respectively.
Their aperture range is representative of its ~1980s build, as the maximum apertures are T2.8, T2.4, T2.4, and T3.2 (in order of ascending focal length.) Although casual consumers can’t help but compare numbers and the nitty gritty of tech specs, camera renters typically keep in mind that what’s important about these lenses is its unique image and original, vintage qualities.
These lenses also have 16 iris blades (10 on the 40mm), which create marvelous oval bokeh. This bokeh, especially in conjunction with the spectacular lens flare, truly makes scouting out these lenses worth the effort. As evident in the demo footage above, these primes’ out-of-focus areas exhibit the tiniest subtle stretch, giving backgrounds a dreamy, abstract quality—while the areas in focus are kept sharp and discernable. Lastly, the mechanical components of these LOMO anamorphics produce a slight focus falloff at the edges that subconsciously contribute to the dreamy quality of these lenses.
These lenses are built with a 330° focus rotation across all four focal lengths to ensure consistent and accurate focus. Also consistent is the front diameter size of 114mm, which makes simple trading filter between lenses.
What’s interesting about this particular set of LOMO anamorphic primes is its round front, especially with consideration to the 40mm prime. The round front LOMO lenses were constructed to improve upon the design of its predecessors, which have a square front. Within its limited market of resellers, LOMOs with round fronts are more valuable than the less-refined square front models.
MUSICBED CHALLENGE from TERRITORY 6 on Vimeo.
These rehoused anamorphic lenses are built on a PL mount, the open standard for cinema lenses, with image circles that shoot Super35 format. The rehousing itself leaves these four lenses with a remarkably cool black exterior containing red and yellow text, and even has the original “LOMO” typography. The ‘L’ in ‘LOMO’ is replaced by ‘Л’, a character in the Cyrillic alphabet, which is used in Russia (technically, at the time of these lenses’ construction, the Soviet Union).
Clearly, these lenses bask in their historical quality—and rightfully so, since its vintage status brings a lot of charm to the image.
The anamorphic primes from LOMO are a rare find and make a great component of any music video, commercial project, and even feature film production.
Most LOMOs on the market are rehoused, so anyone considering renting should be aware that the various repairs or rehousings result in models with different specifications. For this reason, it’s suggested to read the fine print when renting out vintage sets of any brand online. Also, be sure to watch demo footage, because after all, it’s the end product that audiences are seeing.
This article was based on Bokeh Rentals’ new, four-lens LOMO anamorphic prime package.
Rent the LOMO Anamorphic Round Front Prime Lenses
Rent the LOMO Anamorphic Round Front Prime Lenses from Bokeh Rentals
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