Stanley Kubrick’s uncommon Zeiss Planar 50mm F0.7 ‘Barry Lyndon’ lens now in Museum of Optics: Digital Pictures Evaluation


One of many uncommon Zeiss Planar 0.7/50mm movie lenses utilized by Stanley Kubrick for his legendary inside pictures with out synthetic gentle is now exhibited within the Zeiss Museum. Picture and caption: Zeiss

Zeiss has introduced that Jan Harlan, an government producer who labored alongside the late Stanley Kubrick, has handed over one among solely ten Zeiss Planar 50mm F0.7 lenses to ever be produced. The lens, which is one among three Kubrick had custom-made for use as a cinema lens, is being lent to Zeiss to show within the firm’s Museum of Optics, situated in Oberkochen, Germany.

This explicit lens has a fairly attention-grabbing historical past. Solely ten items had been ever produced, with six of them being made particularly for NASA. Three of the remaining items had been acquired and modified by iconic filmmaker Stanley Kubrick to be used in his movie, Barry Lyndon. In a day in age when low-light filmmaking was restricted by the sensitivity of the movie getting used, Kubrick and his government producer Jan Harlan opted to make use of one among these ultra-fast primes to movie a scene that was lit by solely two candles, every of which had three wicks for added gentle.

The Zeiss Planar 0.7/50 mm was made well-known by Stanley Kubrick. His government producer, Jan Harlan, is now handing it over to the Zeiss Museum of Optics on mortgage. Picture and caption: Zeiss

‘In 1972, I used to be capable of choose up the lens right here in Oberkochen immediately from the builders,’ Harlan tells Zeiss. ‘And now I’m bringing it again house on mortgage to the museum to honour the heritage of Stanley Kubrick.’

Harlan goes on to inform the story about how Kubrick got here up with the concept to make use of the lens and explains what modifications needed to be made to this explicit unit for use with movement image cameras.

‘Stanley learn an article within the ‘American Cinematographer’ reporting a few ZEISS 0.7/50mm lens and bought most excited. He requested me to analysis this. I known as ZEISS and spoke to a Dr. Kämmerer who defined that this lens couldn’t be used on a movement image digital camera because the rear ingredient is just a little bit greater than 5mm from the film-plane. I informed this to Stanley, and typical for him, he was not able to take a ‘no’ for a solution and investigated whether or not there’s a digital camera with this clearance of 5mm. A reflex digital camera is clearly not potential since there isn’t a room for a reflecting mirror, however 5mm ought to nonetheless be sufficient room to permit a rotating disk. To make an extended story brief: I purchased one lens and took it to Ed Di Giulio after Stanley had lengthy talks with him. Ed re-worked the receiving mount of a Mitchel BNC and made it purely devoted to this lens. After the check had been profitable, I purchased two additional lenses for potential conversion to different focal lengths. All are put in now within the Stanley Kubrick Exhibition besides the one which I held again.’

On 15 September 2022, Harlan opened a particular exhibition on the Zeiss Museum of Optics devoted to this extraordinary lens. Picture and caption: Zeiss

As Zeiss explains in its announcement, the Planar 50mm F0.7 lens holds a spot within the Guinness Guide of Data and captures roughly 4 occasions as a lot gentle as an F1.4 lens.