More Ammo In My Favor For The Stupid Heads; An Italian Article Translation “Homage to an immortal KUBRICK AND THE LEGENDARY PLANAR 50mm f / 0.7”   Leave a comment

Hey Everybody, stanley-kubrick-1

I’ve got a bit of an addendum  to the last article about the lens used in Stanley Kubrick’s stunning period piece Barry Lyndon. Especially for all my camera department super tech geeks out there, Here’s a translation of an Italian article floating around the net about the history of the Planar F/0.7 50mm lens used in the 1975 film.

Very tech, very cool.


Homage to an immortal KUBRICK AND THE LEGENDARY PLANAR 50mm f / 0.7

animazione_barry_lyndontwo frames of Barry Lyndon shot with the Zeiss Planar 50mm f / 0,7 former NASA full aperture f / 0.7.

Note the wonderful bo-keh, the detachment plastic and the extreme focus of this perspective, born to shooting
35mm film infinity of space and used here about 6-7 feet from the subject, out of any scheme
logic of the project.


UPGRADING 21/11/2007


The mystique of the Planar 0,7 / 50, for the NASA militance shining and the masterpiece of Stanley Kubrick,
is much more intriguing considering the ancetres of the optical lens: when it was calculated, in the early ’60s, it was not
drawed from the white paper but dusting off the wartime projects of superfast IR-Objektive used in cathode
nacht-wandler for the Nazi’s weapons, in the Following upgrading you’ll find the drawing of the unprecedented
precursor of this lens and of other similar wartime Zeiss lenses, unknown untill now, and for the first time an high
resolution drawing of the Planar 50mm f / 0,7 with the Kollmorgen converter used in Barry Lyndon, with all quotes;
last but not least, I added a series of snaps form Barry Lyndon’s scenes where this lens was on strike.

The Zeiss Planar 50mm f / 0.7 lens is a very fabled, which had arisen as a dowry by an active life worthy of
a novel, passing from the hands of NASA (he was born for unspecified shooting in critical light conditions
in spaceflight preparation all’allunaggio human) to those of the master filmmaker Stanley Kubrick, who adapted
laboriously this very special lens of a camera taken one of the higher flights of his career, signing
scenes by candlelight in the interiors of “Barry Lyndon”.

If all this were not enough to feed the aura of legend around this objective, equally exceptional and disturbing
is the origin of its optical design techniques, in fact, when the project of Planar 50mm f / 0.7 was started at the beginning of the 60s,
designers did not start from a blank sheet, but were inspired directly to documents relating to objectives superbright
intended for night vision with CRT, made ​​in the time of war for various weapon systems of the Nazi army, information
Technical saved from the chaos and Soviet hands thanks to the men of Operation Paperclip, which recovered the precious
patterns and put them at the disposal of the newly formed Western Zeiss, who by then was re-founding (first in Coburg and then
to Oberkochen), the novel contribution that follows compares the pattern of the Planar 50mm f / 0.7 (deliberate production
in 1966) with that of a UR-Objektive 70mm f / 1,0 realized in 1941 by Zeiss Jena for a vision device
infrared night

02the famous Planar 50mm f / 0,7 used by NASA and by Stanley Kubrick actually comes from
projects objectives superbright RH (Ultrarotstrahlung = infrared) made in the time of war
and constituted the primary objective of systems for infrared night vision (wandler)
applied in various weapon systems Nazis; diagram on the left refers to a 70mm f / 1,0 1941
and you can see how the Planar 50mm f / 0,7 is based on similar concepts: a group Gauss front
with two doublets glued and a rear group with the function of the field lens similar to
Smyth linse made famous in 1874 by the optician-Piazzi Smyth for the Petzval-type lens, in
both objectives the rear lens is almost in contact with the sensitive element (in Planar,
in particular, the space back focal was reduced to about 4mm), and the particular shape of the last
element of the 50mm leaves the door open to the hypothesis that this was originally intended
for use on cathode ray tubes in cascade, maybe used as amplifiers of the existing light, without
projectors IR (unusable space to similar distances)

03among the 42 well-Zeiss UR wartime intended for viewers who are IR
managed to take a census (including variants), these three models are the most similar
Optically the future Planar 50mm f / 0.7 designed over 20 years later: a DNA
really unexpected and disturbing …

as already seen in Leitz, Zeiss also home to the superbright viewers military
Infrared wartime derive from objectives achieved in mid-30s
and intended for use in radiology, at the instigation of the national documentation
on thoracic pathologies of the German population defined Programm offenbar;
this scheme is referred to a roentgenobjektiv of brightness with Zeiss f / 0.85, which
in turn already contains in germ all the features of Planar 50mm f / 0.7 final
a minimum of space back focal range (in this case, this objective working
directly in contact with the film and the last lens with a flat surface allowed
perfect register of the focal plane and scraping the emulsion)


The Planar 50mm f / 0,7 was calculated by Erhard Glatzel and his project went through
four prototypes intermediate before reaching the final configuration; Glatzel left
by a Gauss 50mm f / 1,0 (for 30 ° on the film format) manually calculated,
a double Gauss lens 10 to better distribute the forces on different elements and a lens
field almost at the focal plane, and this initial model was the subject of complex calculations,
operated both manually and automatically using an IBM 7090 computer, a tool
that in 1960 it cost 2.9 million U.S. dollars, here is the optical schemes of all versions,
from preliminary prototype final objective.

30The particular, the second lens manually split into a doublet collato passing
from the first to the second prototype, constituted the negative contribution to the sum of Seidel I,
but subsequent steps in computerized automatic distributed this contribution
uniformly dispersed in the two surfaces at the sides of the diaphragm, thus making
almost unnecessary complication in the front, the three front lenses present
in the third prototype were therefore simplified manually in a single lens, passing
then for a finishing touch to your computer to permanently optimize the scheme, the same
Glatzel pointed out the similarities with the aforementioned Roentgenobjektiv Carl Zeiss Jena f / 0,85,
arguing, however, that the transition to f / 0.7 represents a significant step forward.

 31The unpublished works of the MTF Zeiss Planar 50mm f / 0.7, measured at f / 0.7 on spatial frequencies
from 0 to 20 cycles / mm on a 10 ° on semidiagonale (half of the field, with guidance
sagittal and tangential) and at 14 ° on semidiagonale (edges of the format, always with
sagittal and tangential orientation), and of course these values ​​are modest but
perfectly justified by the opening extreme and seniority of the project.

32Erhard Glatzel, the father of Planar 50mm f / 0.7

(Picture: courtesy Larry Gubas)

An impressive overview of the IBM 7090, introduced in late
50s by Glatzel and used in optical computing this objective: as mentioned,
this monster cost then 2.9 million dollars or, if you prefer, 63,500 Dollars
monthly rental …


The copy of Planar 50mm f / 0,7 corresponding to the specifications of origin (no device
focus, Electronic Shutter Compur # 3) from the collection of the deceased and
the late Charles Barringer, a leading expert and collector former President of the Zeiss Zeiss

(Picture: Westlicht Photographica Auction – Vienna)

A copy of Planar 50mm f / 0,7 photographed at Oberkochen the dimensioned drawings in the original;
This specimen has a flange bayonet and a helical focusing
calibrated in feet.


The detail shows the scale of focus finely graduated (optics goes focheggiata to estimate
on metric scale) and the adjustable aperture from f / 0.7 to f / 8.


UPGRADING END 20/04/2011


The optical principle on which is based the calculation of Planar 50mm f / 0,7 and exceptional
brightness did not write anything new but was based on the preliminary draft made
in 1928 by Benjamin and Ellan Luboshez in 1937 by Maximilian Herzberger for Kodak;
the original design of Luboshez could be defined roughly a sort of “teleconverter
countdown “: in fact, it is a rear light unit (added in the calculation phase
the primary objective or objectives already set as accessory products) that intercepts
the beam back and it does converge on an image size less than the previous year by
Because the entrance pupil is not altered, the beam is as “concentrated”
(Imagine the classic trick of magnifying glass that focuses the sun’s rays
a bright point), and maintaining pupil aperture angle and field of view
unchanged on a smaller size we have a reduction of the focal length and a change
also for the gradient that defines the maximum brightness, which instead increases behold the
schemes elaborated in the draft Luboshez.

I highlighted in cyan and red primary objective the rear converging group:
maintaining the same entrance pupil (and therefore the same luminous flux and an equal angle of field)
rear projection is “focused” on a size smaller than the original, thus obtaining
a reduction in the effective focal length (same angle of view of the lower diagonal) and a
increase of the maximum brightness, since the luminous flux is “concentrated” on a
bottom surface; Luboshez in the draft was expected to be a simplified system and economic
consists of a single converging meniscus, is a most desirable option to four lenses, and finally a
“Universal” version designed for coupling with various targets already in production, and the destination
original of this project was the reproduction by fluoroscopy X-ray film, a field where
the weak fluorescence of the screen requires high brightness, while the chromatic aberration is not
been considered, since the fluorescence excited by X-rays is substantially monochromatic

A further evolutionary step in this area we owe it to calculations made in 1937 by Maximilian Herzberger
to the Eastman Kodak Company; Herzberger shooting the project and I Luboshez chamfer limits, evolving
the converging rear group in a model made even with the adoption of fluor krown acid glass to
low dispersion, the “defects” of the project consisted in the absence of Luboshez acromatizzazione in
presence of a strong curvature of field (Petzval sum due to the high intrinsic) and in an angle of
useful field rather narrow, the project evolved Herzberger was born with the aim of reducing the amount
Petzval and to obtain a sufficiently wide angle of field with a reduction of astigmatism without
to take over the coma, in turn reducing the coma and spherical aberration without penalizing the curvature of
field, the adoption of two glasses contained in dispersal also allowed a color correction exploitable
with the entire visible spectrum, and this project can be considered the forerunner of the concept at the basis of many
super-bright time of war and of the same Planar 50mm f70, 7; starting with a primary objective to
100mm f / 2,0 (conventional measures of reference), adding the converging group the focal effettica
was reduced to 40.65 mm, with a proportional increase in the maximum brightness of f / 2,0 to f/0.813, of course
on a smaller format.

The draft Herzberger of 1937 combined with the pattern of Planar 50mm f / 0.7
reveals many similarities, including the need for a space back focal really small;
as said, the last lens of the Planar is forged in the manner of the field lens of Piazzi-Smyth,
extensively used on superbright Germans of the last years of the war that
were calculated for coupling a cathode ray tube (for night vision goggles to
infrared), a lens which modified the field curvature of the conjugated back
and adapted to the curvature of the tube: the very limited space back focal
and the presence of this lens I suggests that even the Planar 50mm f / 0.7 may
be designed for NASA in view of a similar use, exploiting a
group in cascade with cathode-ray tube for shooting infrared or system
image intensifier, but this would not explain the presence of the burly
central shutter only necessary for photographic needs …

This diagram shows the operation of a classic rear teleconverter (multipliers
Focal commonly used by photographers) and group converged Luboshez and Herzberger,
then exploited also in Planar 50mm f / 0.7: while the multiplier diverges the beam projection,
distributing the brightness over a larger area than the original (but surpluses are not
exploited) and reducing the relative brightness of the system, the converging group acts in an opposite manner,
centralizing the luminous flux guaranteed by the entrance pupil of an area that is smaller than,
thus concentrating the beam and increasing the relative brightness; since the same angle of
field is guaranteed on a smaller paper size, also the focal length will be reduced by the same step;
of course to keep the original format will be necessary to prepare a primary objective with diameters
and redundant coverage

as regards the logic of the original NASA contract, it must be considered that it was not
a leap of faith: April 1, 1960 was already gone into orbit satellite Tiros I with a camera system
television cameras and infrared for meteorological use, and the need for very bright optics had
manifested when President John F. Kennedy proclaimed the need to accelerate the development of
space missions and a willingness to put a man on the moon before the decade of the 60s, with the budget tripled,
NASA He increased efforts related to the lunar missions and was planned to launch five shuttles Ranger
be put into lunar orbit to perform a photographic mapping range, including the
famous “dark side” always hidden and dimly lit, the first module Ranger was launched January 23, 1961
but only the Ranger IV (launched April 23, 1962) reached the lunar orbit without drawbacks, and these
modules boasted one of the onboard equipment SuperBright a goal to use photography, a
Gauss f / 1,0 designed in March 1953 by Pierre Angenieux in person, probably intended to conditions
critical lighting or the dark side of the satellite …. The Ranger IV impacted on the “dark side” and Angenieux
f / 1,0 rests in those silences still unexplored.

a summary of the original design conceived by Pierre Angenieux in person: it is
a lens f / 1,0 based on a classic Gauss, which also does not use any
floating most advanced available at the time

After this experience in mapping the dark areas of the Moon performed with
the Angenieux f / 1.0, it is possible that NASA engineers have found this
brightness still insufficient, and in anticipation of the famous Apollo project (formerly
presented in July 1960) have commissioned Zeiss optics yet
brighter, that is, the Planar 50mm f / 0,7.

UPGRADING END 28/12/2007


E ‘known to very few insiders that the Zeiss, after the realization of Planar
50mm f / 0.7, put his hand to his project, evolving into a versuch (prototype) that
9 used lenses instead of 8, a 50mm whose brightness was pushed even to
threshold f / 0.63, as confirmed by the late Walter pesonalmente Woeltche, the
substitute for Erhard Glatzel, this amazing versuch Planar 50mm f / 0,63 was not
ever produced and to this day he was completely ignorant of the optical structure, the pattern
that follows illustrates the section of the Planar 50mm f / 0.7 and – for the first time – even that
of its potential successor, the Planar 50mm f / 0,63.

The optical scheme of the prototype Planar 50mm f / 0,63 differs from that
the Planar 50mm f / 0,7 used by NASA and by Kubrick for adding
a meniscus earlier collective and the air spacing of the first doublet
glued, changes that do not have distorted the overall shape of the lens.

UPGRADING END 19/03/2010

a rare official image of the Planar 50mm f / 0,7 in the original configuration, scheduled for
NASA, the goal had a big central shutter Compur Electronic # 3 with times
1 “- 1/200” which was also the diaphragm and weighed 1.85 kg, and for the adaptation of the camera
Kubrick (an old Mitchell reflex, as required by the last lens almost leaning against the
film) the shutter was eliminated because of its bulk and replaced by a spacer of equal
draw, the goal appears to have been produced in 10 copies, of which 6 are provided to NASA, 1
remained at Zeiss and 3 then purchased by Kubrick (one of which is used as 50mm, another modified
with the adoption of an additional 36,5 mm and another – never used in the film – shortened to 24mm with
add a different bill), but in the catalog of manufacture of the Zeiss Oberkochen
is the production of a single copy, in 1966

the optical design of the base of the Planar 50mm f / 0,7 prefixed with the Kollmorgen used on unit
to change the focal length of the lens and convert to 36.5 mm f / 0.7 (as required by the master, who was
the focal length of 50mm a bit ‘tight 18x24mm for certain views on the format of the whole), whereas at the time
, there was no anti-glare multiple believe that the actual T of the complex by 36.5 mm was lower than the F / 0.7
said. The Extra Dimension 150 that reduced the focal length up to 24mm f / 0.7 was not used by Kubrick
due to an excessive distortion detected in the preliminary tests

together with an outline of the general data and the optical group overall was definitely
cumbersome, with a length of almost 40cm and a diameter of the front lens of more than 16cm
back focal free space is exactly 5.27 mm

After these documents unpublished let’s see what he was able to produce the great Kubrick
using this objective, so perilously adapted, during the famous shooting to light of
candle of the movie “Barry Lyndon” and for this purpose I made the snapshots taken from
the highlights of the film in which the Planar 50mm f / 0.7 was used (with inverted push in ISO 100 +1
ISO 200), either alone or with additional Kollmorgen and resulting focal 36.5 mm.


note chromatic aberration on candles

highlight the unique detachment plastic

PLANAR 50mm f / 0.7 + ADDITIONAL KOLLMORGEN (36.5 mm f / 0.7)

Note the increased softness in the rendering at full aperture with the additional
not foreseen by the original project Zeiss

Note the cometary shape assumed by the flames of the candles out of focus behind O’Neal
compared to those in focus on the table

A truly fascinating and incredible history, an intrigue, a tumult of current and emotions
that the Nazi secret weapons goes to the space and a masterpiece of cinema: everything
This is embodied by Planar f / 0.7, which call myth is frankly an understatement.



Till Next Time. Stay Tuned


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