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Journey of a Lens: Rehousing in 5 Steps

November 17th, 2021 Posted by Articles 0 thoughts on “Journey of a Lens: Rehousing in 5 Steps”

Lens rehousing is a long and skill-requiring project with a surprising number of different phases. In this article, we tell about Whitepoint Optics’ rehousing process: what kind of steps rehousing requires and what kind of challenges can arise during the project?

What lens rehousing is?

Lens rehousing means that an old still camera lens is given a new life and converted to fit the modern standards of cinematography. After conversion, the lenses can be used in cinematography and are compatible with modern cine accessories. In a typical case, the converted lenses are originally still camera optics.


1. Before rehousing process starts: Inspection

Before rehousing process begins, we make sure the lens is suitable for rehousing.

All the lenses are first externally inspected. This is to make sure that our conversion work can be done to the lenses. The most common issue that can prevent rehousing process is lens fungus, which can permanently damage lens coating. If the coating is damaged by fungus or harsh cleaning methods, it might be necessary to do re-coating to fix the damage and this can lead to a more modern look. To preserve the desired vintage aesthetics we don’t recommend re-coating services and usually, the best option is to source a new lens with intact coating. Often we see lenses before the client does, as they are harvested around the world, and sent to us for rehousing. If we see any irreparable lenses, we notify the customer and work out what we can do.

Sometimes lenses are so damaged or mishandled that it makes them impossible to use or rehouse. Luckily, this is very rare. During the conversion process, we will be in contact with our customers, with estimated delivery-time.


2. A dedicated technician takes care of the conversion process

Each rehoused lens has a dedicated technician.

After the lens has passed the first check, a dedicated technician is named to work on the lens or lens set. Lens rehousing is artisan work, and working through a set of lenses, each technician gets to know their unique features. Getting to know these features means it is easier to work through possible challenges. During the process, they do keep in touch with the customer and send regular updates.

Our regular customers are familiar with our technicians. The goal is that the customer can have the same technician to work for possible future lens projects as well. This way the technician already knows what is important to the customer. Once we have rehoused a set of lenses to a customer, they will most likely return with new projects.


3. Dismantling the lens and designing new parts

Rehousing process starts with dismantling the old lens construction.

In the beginning of the conversion process, the lens is dismantled. For our standard catalogue products, all needed design work has already been done. However, with some lens series such as Zeiss Jena for example there are so many different kinds of source lenses and models out there that custom design is needed. Together with our lens designers, new parts can be designed to meet the unique part requirements. Every now and then we also accept more special conversion projects and designing dedicated parts to them keeps our designers busy.

Often lens technicians and lens designers sit down together to figure out the best possible technical solution for each lens. All unique parts are then custom-made to fit our standards. We have a trusted partner network working with us, and they are as dedicated as we are to manufacturing the highest quality mechanical parts for our technicians.


4. New robust construction and personalized engravings

Engravings are added to the lens construction.

Robust aerospace-grade aluminium construction is built to protect the valuable lens. We can add custom design and personalized engravings to finalize the look. These include a custom logo design, a range of colors to choose from and a stylish design to fit the client’s aesthetics. This is a nice final touch to have in a valuable and trusted set of lenses.


5. Testing and fine-tuning the rehoused lens

Final steps of lens rehousing: we inspect that the lens works as it should and meets industry standards.

Rehousing should enhance lens focus and convenience in use, and not take away bokeh or other unique features of the original lens. That is why testing the lens after rehousing is important. We carefully inspect that the lens works as it should and meets industry standards. Naturally, there are limitations when converting vintage lenses and also the inherent limitations of the source optics will follow all the way to the end product. We can for example most often improve the close focus abilities of a lens, but if the source lens doesn’t cover full frame, don’t expect the conversion process to fix that.

What you can expect from our rehousing process is, that your source lens will be built into totally new mechanical housing to meet modern cinema standards. You can expect a 280-300 degree focus throw with matching scales to fit modern camera motors. The technicians want to deliver the best possible result with each product, and that is why fine-tuning can take some time. A finished rehoused lens is durable and easy to use.


Interested? We rehouse vintage lenses to be used with modern equipment and still lenses to serve in filmmaking. We serve cinematographers, film equipment rental houses and filmmakers around the world.

Rehoused Kinoptik Lens Set

Top 5 Vintage Lens Rehousing Projects 2021

September 22nd, 2021 Posted by Articles 0 thoughts on “Top 5 Vintage Lens Rehousing Projects 2021”

Demand for vintage lens rehousing has risen significantly over the last couple of years. Since the launch of W. Rehousing Services with Leica R, Canon FD and Zeiss Jena rehousing designs in 2018, we have continued to increase the catalogue extensively. Whitepoint Rehousing offers one of the widest selections of vintage lens conversions in the market today. In this text, we reveal the most popular and sought-after lens rehousing projects at the moment, and what makes these lenses unique.

But first a couple of basic things about lens rehousing.

What is lens rehousing?

Rehousing an old lens can mean two things:

  1. Modernizing an old cine lens so that it can be used in today’s film cameras, or
  2. Modifying a photo lens so that the lens can be used in film cameras.

With lens rehousing, old lenses that don’t sit on modern camera equipment are given new life. It is possible to buy vintage lenses relatively cheaply, and by buying an old set of lenses and getting it rehoused, it is possible to save a considerable amount of cash compared to buying a similar, new lens set. In addition, the material shot with rehoused lenses has a vintage character that is difficult to achieve with modern cine lenses.

1. Kinoptik: Rehoused Lens with Original Iris

Kinoptik lens offers warm skin tones and beautiful bokeh.

As Whitepoint Optics is well known for innovation in the field of replacement iris for conversion projects, I want to first highlight the one project where we refuse to replace the iris. The original iris is a bit similar to the rosy shape of the Cooke iris. It is such an integral part of the Kinoptik classic look that we refuse to replace the iris for this project.

Kinoptik lens offers warm skin tones and beautiful bokeh that are the quintessential aspects of the 50’s and 60’s French cinema. Kinoptiks are also full frame from the 40mm upwards.

We expect the Kinoptiks to be the haute couture of rehousing trends in the coming years.

2. Canon FD Lens Mount mixed with 35mm Minolta Lens

Canon FD lens mount has been the usual suspect of cine lens rehousing for years. This has made a significant impact in both the availability of the source glass and the going rate for them, especially the SSC coated Canon FD lenses. This has led many to look for alternative lenses for rehousing. And if you are looking for a replacement, you might as well go for speed.

With a 35mm Minolta lens, you can go from the T2.1 FD down to T1.5. Minolta is a good fit with Canon FD’s. There are differences in coatings, but they are minor, and the temperature changes of the filmed material are easily corrected in post-production. Being from the same era, the lens patents are very close to each other.

We expect to make several rehoused Canon FD sets mixed with a Minolta 35mm F1.4 lens in the coming years. Whitepoint Optics was pioneering years ago by being the first company to replace the iris to the Canon FD project to get that round K35 bokeh. Today we offer wide range of customization including a more vintage shiny iris, a matte iris or a full maintenance for the original iris system.

3. Leica R: Full Frame with Warm Colors

Rehoused Leica R lens covers full frame with nice micro contrast and warm colors.

Leica R lens is another all time favorite lens rehousing project and for a good reason. Rehoused Leica R lens covers full frame with nice micro contrast and warm colors. They offer smooth bokeh, and much like the Kinoptik conversion project, we like to offer Leica R lens with the original iris.

In our opinion, the original iris of the lens with its angular shape and sharp corners is an important part of the Leica R look. However, we’re not overly zealous about the iris system and we do offer the option to replace the iris with a more modern round iris in case the client insists.

Even though we prefer to keep the vintage character of the Leica R intact, what we do suggest to our clients is the option of customizing the lens set with a moderate customization fee. Custom design allows the client to choose a personalized logo, compendium ring text and two colors for the engraving scheme.

4. Nikon AI and AI-S Lenses for Rehousing: Affordable Lenses with Good Availability and Gorgeous Characteristics

Now we get to our favorite lens rehousing project for 2021. We offer rehousing for Nikon lenses in two frame sizes, which both have their advantages:

  • The 110mm diameter frame size offers durability for the wearable parts (bigger bearings etc.)
  • The new 95mm diameter frame, which is a little bit more convenient in use because of it’s smaller size and weight.

The main advantages for choosing vintage Nikon lens for rehousing are the affordable price and good availability of the source lenses and the gorgeous lens characteristics. Nikon lenses perform flawlessly shooting directly towards light. They are sharp, but with less micro contrast than the Leica R lens, for example. Highlights have a beautiful slight glow. Some of the Nikon lenses, like the iconic 58mm Noct-Nikkor f/1.2, are very fast and deliver a blooming effect when shot wide-open.

5. Zeiss Jena Lenses: Beautiful Flares and Soft Look

The Zeiss Jena lenses offer the most beautiful flares we’ve ever seen in any vintage lenses.

This is another lens rehousing project we expect to start trending in the coming years. As one can expect from Zeiss, these lenses are optically of the highest quality. Apart from this, the Jena lenses offer the most beautiful flares we’ve ever seen in any vintage lenses. They have the low contrast quite typical for vintage lenses coupled with a pleasing glow and soft look. And don’t let the soft look deceive you, as these lenses perform well with the MTF charts.

Whitepoint Optics was the first to introduce Zeiss Jena rehousing project to the market in 2019, and ever since it has been one of our most requested vintage lens rehousing projects.