Photographer and YouTuber Mathieu Stern is no stranger to finding and adapting unusual lenses, but his latest find might just be the best projector lens he’s ever come across.
The Isco MC 65mm F2 lens, which can be found for around $100 on eBay, is an old projector lens that was used for 35m cinema projectors. As with most previous projector lenses Stern has adapted, there was no official way to adapt it to a modern lens mount. So, Stern got creative and used a little bit of rubber from a bike inner tube along with the barrel of an Helios 44 lens to create a worthwhile body for the adapted lens. From there, Stern used a proper adapter to give the lens infinity focus and it was ready to roll.
Surprisingly, the lens produces impressive results in both photos and video, despite its limitation of being permanently stuck at F2 due to the lack of an aperture diaphragm. In the center, it appears to be sharp, but it does get soft quickly towards the edges. Colors render beautifully and the bokeh looks both distinct and pleasing.
Sure, it might not have the best resolution, but it certainly has a distinct look and considering it only costs $100, a few spare parts and a little elbow grease, it’s relatively cheap.