What is Lomocron?
Lomocron is a combination of two iconic anamorphic lenses: Lomo Square Front Anamorphic and Leica-R as the taking lens. With all the flaws, mumps and imperfections, the Lomocron lens is a special anamorphic lens with lots of character, producing very pleasing cinematic images. The updated “mother” lens adds contrast, brings more resolution and makes the lens faster. The signature blue flares are even more striking with less haze. The square front Lomos are widely available, but in many cases have been forgotten in to a shelf due to their poorish mechanical condition.
The Story behind Lomocron
Our Lomocron-journey started with our first anamorphic project in 2017.
We love the anamorphic look, and anamorphic lenses have been on our drawing board from the very beginning of launching Whitepoint Optics in 2017. Our first signature set the Hasselblad based WPO TS70 lens sets were successfully mixed with Hawk anamorphics in both Netflix features Come Sunday and How it Ends.
This led us to experiment using TS70 set with a back anamorphic element to get the anamorphic squeeze to the image. In creating the squeeze factor with a back anamorphic unit, we were still quite far from a true anamorphic look, as it lacked the signature oval bokeh and the anamorphic flares completely. It was enough, however, to give us the itch to move forward to search for the perfect cylindrical lenses to put in front of the optical system. We wanted to create those horizontal flares and oval bokehs.
Choosing Leica Summicron as the taking lens
The first pre-Lomocron version was built using a Schneider front element with a focus diopter. We have always been fans of the Leica look, so we decided to use a Leica Summicron as the taking lens. This lens had pretty much all the characteristics we were looking for. We set the taking lens to infinity and used the diopter in front as a focusing system.
We have always been fans of the Leica look, so we decided to use a Leica Summicron as the taking lens.
It was a quite big and heavy configuration and the diopter system lacked some of the vintage characteristics. Our partner, cinematographer Peter Flinckenberg noted that this version didn’t really have those anamorphic mums, and encouraged us to keep looking for a more authentic anamorphic front element.
We wanted to build a relatively light-weight anamorphic lens with a dual cam focusing system, so off we went to search for the perfect match for our German taking lens. Instead, as it happened the perfect solution found us.
Combining Lomo Square Front with Summicron
Our long-time client Marcin Mikolajczyk had an already rehoused Lomo anamorphic lens that he wanted us to repair. We convinced him to let us switch the original Lomo taking lens and replace it with a Leica Summicron.
We modified the original housing, replaced the iris system and installed the 50mm Leica R Summicron T2.1. We had to build a totally new configuration to fit the Summicron but the end result was more than we hoped for.
What makes Lomocron unique?
So why is Lomocron so special? Why did we end up combining Summicron with Lomo Square Front?
- The rehoused Lomo Square Front gave us the oval bokehs and all the mums and imperfections only a true vintage Soviet lens has to offer.
- The Leica in the back accentuated the horizontal flares and made them even more striking with less haze. The updated “mother” lens added more contrast, resolution and made the lens faster.
We finally had the perfect lens and the union of the two iconic lenses lent the name for the new project: Lomocron.
The rehoused Lomo Square Front gave us the oval bokehs and all the mums and imperfections only a true vintage Soviet lens has to offer.
Making Lomocron light-weight and rebuilding mechanics
We wanted to make the Lomocron series relatively small and keep the weight under two kilograms. Another main complaint users have in regard to the Square Front Lomo anamorphics is the poor mechanical condition. In the end we decided to strip the Lomos to their bare glass and completely rebuild the mechanics. We started the design process from the sensor side and worked our way to the anamorphic front elements.
Building the maximum coverage for Lomocron
Lomocron isn’t the easiest lens, as it has a floating system, so special attention was needed finding the correct travel range and close focus. There are optical elements that move in different order and tolerances for travel range are minute. The most challenging part in the design process was working to maximize the coverage.
When we originally announced the project, the 35mm Lomocron was designed with the 35mm Leica R F/2 in mind. In development, we started getting requests if it would be possible to extend also the 35mm Lomocron to cover full frame. Our Chief Technician Timo Alatalkkari started looking for other alternatives.
According tothe initial lens calculations, we could almost reach full frame by using the slower Elmarit f/2.8. We decided that it would be worth the extra time and work to give it a try and redesign the 35mm Lomocron using this lens.
It is up to the client to decide, which is the most important factor: larger coverage or faster speed.
The end result is that we can now offer the 35mm Lomocron with both options, so it is up to the client to decide, which is the most important factor: larger coverage or faster speed. Now we still don’t claim to have the 35mm as full frame, but it’s damn near close, approximating 95 % full frame coverage. During re-designing process we also managed to improve the close focus.
It has truly been a challenging ride, but we are excited about the end-result!