If you are a student of film master Stanley Kubrick‘s methodology and style, you should know about the special, super-fast lenses that he famously used to shoot the candlelit scenes in 1975’s Barry Lyndon. They were Carl Zeiss Planar 50mm f/0.7 lenses, one of the largest aperture lenses ever made in the history of photography. The special lens was originally designed and was created specifically for NASA’s Apollo lunar program to shoot the far side of the moon in 1966.
Kubrick used these lenses when shooting his lit-only-by-candlelight scenes from the British-American period film Barry Lyndon, a film regarded as his neglected masterpiece. It’s safe to say these beauties are extremely rare as only 10 Carl Zeiss Planar 50mm f/0.7 lenses were made. It is believed that one was kept by Carl Zeiss himself, six were sold to NASA, and the remaining three were purchased by Stanley Kubrick. If that is not rarified or exclusive enough company, then we don’t know what is.
Luckily, a group of enterprising individuals has teamed up with German camera manufacturer P+S Technik to allow ordinary individuals like us to rent these lenses, as well as a digital camera compatible with their extreme aperture capability. Called the Kubrick Collection, the rental package includes P+S Technik’s new PS-Cam X35, which is capable of recording 1920×1080 footage; a 35mm f/0.7 Zeiss lens that is also reversible to 75mm; and a 50mm f/0.7 Zeiss lens.
Those who want to try their hand at such pedigreed gear can do so through rental partners in Munich, London, LA, and North Carolina. It would, however be easy to anticipate being wait listed, considering how few of these lenses exist. The conspicuous absence or no mention of a rental price also hints that this will challenge most budgets. Still… as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words … which is likely the kind of images you will yield with the Zeiss set-up.
See exactly how sophisticated and esoteric these lenses are here.