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Vintage Emulation Lens: Meet The Canon V35 – YMCinema

The Canon V35 lenses are basically CN-E glass modified for the vintage aesthetic. This is not a Canon project, but an independent initiative to take the Canon CN-E glass and upgrade it to the rare look & feel of the legendary K35 lenses. And it is pretty cool (and beautiful). Check it out.

The Canon V35. Picture: V35 project

This project reminds us of the film emulation plugins for modern NLEs. With all those sophisticated codecs that were invented to grant us a clean, sharp, and crystal clear fashionable look, it appears that our eyes are still eager for the classic imagery. why? Because this texture initiates pure nostalgic memories of the beauty of film. The V35 project aims to bring the vintage glory back to modern cinema glass and to make modern lenses more cinematic through a unique modification process.

The Canon V35.  Picture: V35 project
The Canon V35. Picture: V35 project

The V35 is a new project by Duclos Lenses and Northwest Camera Co. in which modern Canon CN-E lenses are modified (upgraded) to get a more vintage aesthetic look that is inspired by the legendary K35 lenses. The final lenses are called Canon V35 and are characterized by a pure soft, desaturated, and unique vintage look & feel. This project will be expanded to other cinema lenses and not be limited to the CN-E set. “Recognizing the need to provide cinematographers and rental houses with an alternative to expensive vintage lenses, the two companies teamed up to design an aesthetic that could be applied universally to existing sets of lenses commonly found on productions. Beginning with the Canon V35 set, they have designed modifications to optically replicate the look of legendary sets such as K35s and FD Aspherical sets of vintage cinema lenses as closely as possible” says Domenic Barbero from Northwest Camera Co.

Domenic Barbero and the Canon V35.  Picture: V35 project
Domenic Barbero and the Canon V35. Picture: V35 project

Beginning with the Canon V35 set, they have designed modifications to optically replicate the look of legendary sets such as K35s and FD Aspherical sets of vintage cinema lenses as closely as possible.

Domenic Barbero from Northwest Camera Co.

As stated by Barbero: ”We like to think of them as K35 Mark ii. Just enough of the old traits with something a little new and fresh for digital formats. This means more interesting ares, less contrast, and less saturation while retaining those incredible Canon skin tones. Also, we retain the original housing and add our signature engravings to set them apart from the crowd. In addition to that, we are able to convert them to PL from EF, to make them the perfect cine lens setup. We’ve also made our adjustments between the front and rear elements making service much easier to maintain, and with these currently being produced lenses, parts for service are readily available”. Below we see the differences between the standard CN-E and the modified V35. Less contrast and saturation, and more highlight halation.

The original lens vs detuned version.

We like to think of them as K35 Mark ii. Just enough of the old traits with something a little new and fresh for digital formats. This means more interesting ares, less contrast, and less saturation while retaining those incredible Canon skin tones.

Domenic Barbero from Northwest Camera Co.

The ideal vintage look is achieved when the modified lens is wide open. However, according to Barbero, this modification allows the look to be retained even at higher T-Stops, which is quite rare. Explore the video below to learn more about the concept and its uniqueness:

So let’s suppose you want your lenses to be vintage emulated. First, you have to own a set (or at least one lens) of Canon CN-E. Then you contact Northwest Camera in order to start the process. The current turnaround time is 5-7 weeks from receiving your set. The prices are:

  • PL: 3,950.00 USD Per Lens plus taxes/shipping (starting 1/1/22)
  • EF: 2,300.00 USD Per Lens Plus taxes/shipping (starting 1/1/22)

That will be about $6,500 per lens (for EF mount including the price of a Canon CN-E Prime).

For sample footage check out this video shot on the Canon V35 paired with RED Gemini:

Barbero states that the purpose of the upgrade is to provide a less costly alternative to expensive and rare vintage lens sets. “The upgrade will give productions an alternative for more risky sequences and is designed to pair well on B-cam with the original vintage K35s” he adds. To sum it up, for $6,500 you can buy a Canon CN-E Prime and transform it into a ‘K35’. It is worth reminding that a set of real K35 will cost you about $2,500 per day (rental). If you want to purchase the whole set of five K35s, you’ll have to break your bank by saying goodbye to $200,000. Price-wise, the V35 project seems like a good idea. However, it must be mentioned that in order to get the full ‘vintage effect’ you will need to shoot wide open. Curious to explore what will be the next modified lens series. What are your reflections on this modification? Would you like to transform your glass to go vintage?

Product List

Here’re the products mentioned in the article, and the links to purchase them from authorized dealers.

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