Dog Schidt Optiks is a UK-based lens manufacturer founded by DP Richard Gale. They take old Russian lenses, open them up and rebuild them with a cine housing. If you’re into the old-school, dirty, creamy, flary feel of vintage optics you should definitely check out Dog Schidt Optik’s rehoused Russian PL Glass. Cinema5D reader and cinematographer Benett Cerf has done just that and reviewed their “Trump” line of lenses, which you can find in the video below.
Let’s put the technical details aside first and talk about the elephant in the room: No, this is not an April Fool’s joke. It’s also mere coincidence that this company called “Dog Schidt” named their lenses “Trump” a few years ago…
Rehoused Russian PL Glass
Now that we’ve put that out of the way let’s look at what these lenses have to offer. The special thing here is really that these are not optically fantastic lenses. In the days of 4K a lot of people, including myself, are actually looking for imperfect lenses. That’s because they like their interesting characteristics like flares and vignetting. With their rehoused Russian PL glass Dog Schidt Optiks offers just that.
But Dog Schidt also features flexibility and options that you won’t find elsewhere. We’ve looked at the Celere HS primes recently – which allow you to choose different kinds of coatings for your lenses to achieve different looks. The Trump lenses let you change the rear elements from the classic to a modern Multicoated, Uncoated or an Ultra Low Contrast version.
[UPDATE]: As one of our readers (Christoph Hagen) pointed out “It’s worth mentioning that the lenses have no focus scale…”.
Benett Cerf says:
Below is a real world attempt to get an anamorphic effect with these lenses using the anamorphic waterhouse stops and a 4mm streak filter. (…) I think images with textures have a different kind of seductive quality than the clean, ultrasharp modern lens look that we’ve become used to.
Dog Schidt Optiks “Trump” Review
To give you a better idea how this Russian PL glass behaves, cinematographer Benett Cerf picked up a set and tested 25 different combinations of rear elements. You can check out the extended version below or find the individual takes on his site. You can also see an overview of all the lens elements and effects on this pdf.
I believe the flexibility and distinctive look of these lenses will be attractive to a large number of cinematographers. Plugins and stock footage that make films “dirtier” have become increasingly popular, and these lenses offer filmic effects that cannot be achieved with Zeiss PL lenses for example. One of the rear elements even simulates the look of 2x anamorph glass.
A set of 3 Dog Schidt Trump PL Lenses costs about $6000 at Richard Gale Optics, making them rather affordable in comparison to other PL glass.
What do you think about these lenses? Would you pick them up for your productions? Let us know in the comments.