RUS/ENG


We are very pleased that our ILLUMINA S35 lenses are already starting their professional life in Russian cinematography. We express our sincere gratitude to all those cinematographers who considered it possible after using our ILLUMINA S35 lenses to send us their opinions and wishes. As they become available we will publish them on this page.




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Yuri Sergeev,

Producer and Director,

Head of the Creative Studio «SOLO-PRODUCTION»


When we started working on the first full format project "Legends of the Ancient Volga" commissioned by the reviving film studio "Chuvashkino" I had the idea to extend the scope of the popular science film conceived by the customer and turn it into a full-fledged art project through the use of plastic video sequence. Therefore we discussed the possibility of realizing this idea with the Director of Photography Stanislav Lebedev and I advised him to use the "ILLUMINA S35" lenses of the MK-II series by LOMO that allow to create an image with special artistic features. Cinematographers of Chuvashia have already had the opportunity to test this optics, when specialists of a domestic manufacturer twice brought the optics to us for the Asam International Film Festival in Cheboksary. We really wanted to confirm our first positive impressions of working with these lenses by a real art project. And through the goodwill of the LOMO management this opportunity was provided to us.


According to the Drector of Photography the lenses proved to be the best possible. They concealed the excessive sharpness of the Sony FS7 II sensor; moreover, the shooting was mainly carried out at the fully open T1.3 aperture ensured by this super high-speed optics. At the same time, the lenses showed enough sharpness along the entire edge of the frame, perhaps, except for the 18mm lens. Its aperture had to be closed down to 2.0 - 2.8. Today's digital picture is now so sharp that it does not leave any room for imagination, as in the case with the chaotic grain of a film. Therefore in the historical parts of the picture I wanted more plasticity of the image rather than sharpness. And in the backlight, the lenses performed especially well. The light from the sun, the glare of its reflection in the lenses created a unique pattern like a kind of “fingerprint” of the lens. Though, there were little difficulties in operating the budget radio focus due to the tight focusing mechanisms of the lenses. I had to manually calibrate the lenses, and the 50mm lens’s radio focus motor failed to start working. I also had to use lens adapter support when mounting lenses on a Sony E-mount to avoid backlash when focusing. Unfortunately, it was not possible to use the standard LOMO supporter due to the lack of the necessary tripod platform with the appropriate rests. I suppose with a supporter we would avoid these difficulties. But the most important thing in lenses is to get that conceived image that allows you to realize your creative task.


Today when the film editing is almost complete I know for a fact that we made the good choice of optics. And after the delivery of our film to the customer we will strongly recommend the Chuvashkino film studio to purchase these lenses so that we and other filmmakers of Chuvashia have the opportunity to organize the work of cameramen using professional film lenses of the best price / quality ratio. And what is especially important, the lenses are of a domestic manufacturer.


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Maxim Mosin,

Director of Photography,

Head of MAXPRO rental-company


I have been familiar with ILLUMINA optics since 2017, when we received the new MK-II set for the filming of the TV series “Presumption of Innocence”. Since then till now, I have been taking part in the projects of the Look Film studio where these lenses are used and I technically supervise them. The optics has plasticity, it is soft (sometimes too much), with a pleasant coloring of the flare. The "breathing" when changing the focus is noticeable, but not annoying. The only significant problem is chromatic aberration. For example, it would not be able to obtain an image of a person against a bright window without a purple fringe. But it almost does not appear in less contrasting scenes.


The MK-II also had problems with the design: installing a matte box on the lens resulted in the jammed focus ring. At the sub-zero environment, one has to apply more force to turn the rings than with the counterparts of other manufacturers. Therefore, ILLUMINA MK-II had to be abandoned, but I wanted to maintain a good Illumina visual style.


So, it was decided to switch to the new ILLUMINA S35 MK-III line. We even got the first serial set of this optics. The differences are global and obvious. The new design provides the much-needed opportunity to use mounted matte boxes of any weight. Grease also does not thicken anymore; there were no complaints about optics in the sub-zero environments.

But the headline is the improved standards of the production and the assembly quality of new lenses. There are noticeable improvements in optical characteristics, the mounting screws do not loosen all the time anymore. It was so annoying in MK-II.

We are especially happy about the 18 mm lens: completely new, much better than its predecessor. In particular, the problem of the sharpness deterioration over the frame field has been eliminated. Unfortunately, there were shiny diaphragm blades of goldish colour. I hope this will be fixed afterwards.


A forcible argument to LOMO optics is the manufacturer's customer-oriented approach. LOMO experts are always in touch, ready to carry out repairs and provide replacement lenses for the repair time. I do not know any other manufacturer with a similar customer service.

With the MK-II line, the Look Film studio shot multi-part TV series: “The Presumption of Innocence” and “Just between us girls-2”, and with the MK-III – “Bezsonoff” and “The City of Secrets”.


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Evgeny Koroptsov,

Director of Photography
Moscow


In 2017, I started working on the TV series “The Crow”, a gloomy detective story, which takes place in St. Petersburg and its environs.


I really didn't want to make an overly sharp and literal image, but the budget did not allow using Cooke s5i or anamorphic adapters of the same manufacturer. The Cooke Panchro option was not considered, as I wanted an aperture of 2 or more. And then I was advised to try LOMO "ILLUMINA S35" MK-II optics. I took the advice with caution, keeping in mind the complexities of working with the line of 1st generation, but I made a test shot and was pleasantly surprised by the results. The lenses performed well at open apertures, at aperture of 2 they confidently tolerated backlighting, perfectly and very intelligently conveyed skin tone in portraits and did not raise the contrast and saturation of the image, as, for example, Ultra Prime optics do.


With this line I shot 78 shifts, used all lenses except the 14, as there was no need for it. The 135 lens seemed more boring in pattern than the others, which have their own highly artistic pattern and refer to the most outstanding examples of photographic optics of the USSR times. Also, the 135 lens gives a noticeably warmer color rendering than the others. Fortunately, this is fixable for color correction.


By the way, during post-production, the colorist (Viktor Mishchenko-Starkin, CSI) spoke very positively about the material received, noting that due to the plasticity and fine transmission of halftones by LOMO lenses, he has much more "information" in the frame than competitors in this price categories when using similar cameras and lighting conditions.


I would like to thank the LOMO Company for their hard and successful work in the development of cinema lenses. After a while, I had the opportunity to try the lenses of the MK-III series. I did not notice much optical difference relative to the 2nd generation. But the change in the body form factor to a more modern one made the lenses more convenient to work with accessories and with electronic stabilization systems Movi and Ronin.


The ILLUMINA S35 MK-II set for the filming of the TV series “The Crow” was provided by First Rental.


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Radik Askarov,

Cinematographer
Moscow


Back in the last century, since Soviet times, new shooting equipment was constantly brought to the Mosfilm studio for testing and trying. And nowadays, major manufacturers provide their cinema equipment to "test", "touch", "twist" and take a little shooting. In mid-July a set of ILLUMINA S35 MK-III series optics by JSC LOMO was brought to Mosfilm for review and technical tests from Los Angeles after the CineGearExpo 2018 exhibition.


So I decided to join the team for technical trials. There is a full-fledged, purely technical procedure for carrying out optical tests: shooting various test patterns, shooting color tables, checking with a collimator, counting the number of lines per millimeter, color correction, etc. But there are also simple cameramen tests: checking the distance of the lens with the test pattern, checking the breathing of the lens, internal glare of "reflection" with a light device or a flashlight, shooting portraits, macro details, etc. All these trials are done in the technical room of the studio, at best in the pavilion and rarely on location.


Now tell me please, is it possible in these almost Spartan conditions to assess the "artistic" quality of the lens? After all, the personalities, characters, the images of objects depend on the properties and characteristics of the optics used, because even insignificant details and light nuances are of tremendous importance for the viewer's experience.


Fate has prepared a gift. On July 30, 2018, I started shooting a pilot film with the working title "Durov’s Bullet ". Mosfilm ordered a complete set of RED EPIC cameras, with a line of Zeiss CP.2 lenses, from F-18mm to F-135mm.

And then came the first day of acquaintance with optics. Tell me, what can cause real ecstasy for a cameraman? That's right, this is not a lighting device, not a filter, or even a camera, but a brand new, smooth, slightly heavy, sparkling, pleasantly “smelling” lens ... And the next thought: I want to shoot something with it. Having got up my nerve, I suggested the head of the Complex of Cinematographer Equipment at Mosfilm, Alexei Senkovsky, to talk with LOMO representatives about the possibility of shooting tests or individual episodes on the “Durov’s Bullet” project.

It took almost a week for the approval, there was not enough time, and I, at my own risk, decided to start shooting the film. The peculiarity of this adventure is that I did not have time to make tests and samples of new optics. I didn’t even inform the director and producers. I completely trusted my inner voice...


On the first day of shooting, having two sets of lenses, I immediately decided to try the ILLUMINA S35 MK-III series optics. I will say right away that I wanted to take a few daytime shots and a few night shots, and then switch to the proven Zeiss optics. But the hustle and bustle of the first day of shooting, conversations and arguments about planning, and most likely the lack of time, did not allow me to switch to another set of optics during the filming.


At the beginning of the second day of shooting, I specially took time to view the working material of the first day, completely shot with LOMO optics. On the monitor display, I saw an image in which one could feel what is commonly called "the magic of cinema." The movies that used to be filmed earlier, before the advent of digital video, those sensual, emotional movies. The ones in which the "drama of the image" was present.


And an hour after watching it, I finally decided to shoot the entire film with ILLUMINA S35 MK-III series, consisting of only four lenses with focus 25, 35, 50 and 85mm. It reminded me of the phase in the development of cinema, the beginning of the 20s of the last century, when a "standard" set of cinema optics for shooting feature films was formed: lenses with focal lengths of 28, 35, 50 and 80mm, which allowed shooting general shots, medium shots and close-ups from the same direction...


Twelve days of shooting run by fast. The scenes changed one after another. In the morning, modern scenes were filmed and so the lighting was soft, diffused. In the afternoon, war scenes were filmed (the action takes place in 1944), so the straight light without filling was used. We filmed in natural light, sometimes without light, in semi-darkness, with one 40W lamp. It happened that in one scene the light was combined: HMI devices were lighting through the window, light of incandescent lamps was up in the room, and the booster-light devices were working on LEDs. Half of the footage used Tiffin and Schneider on-camera filters.


There came a day when I started the color correction of the film. And again I got great pleasure from the "correct" motion picture. In war scenes, the image was harsh; in modern scenes, portraits became delicate and beautiful. The lenses seemed to "hear" the operator. LOMO "ILLUMINA S35" MK-III optics turned out to be incredibly cinematic, it became "controllable".

I must be trusted.


kino_m_vasiliev.jpgKonstantin Vasiliev,
cinematographer of the «VASILIADIS PRODUCTION» studio

Essentuki


I have been working at the studio as an operator for 7 years. This year we finally made the decision to purchase our own professional digital camera and speed optics. On the advice of the St. Petersburg cinematographer Igor Plaksin, we settled on the Red One MX camera. It was he who drew our attention to the new Russian cinema optics of the ILLUMINA S35 series, produced at LOMO. We initially planned to purchase a used High Speed ​​line of the famous German company Zeiss. After numerous researches of cinematographic web sites, consultations with familiar cinematographers (special thanks to Igor Plaksin and Moscow cinematographer Sergey Sergeev), within the framework of our limited budget, we nevertheless decided to opt for LOMO lenses. Having sent an application, my brother Demis left for St. Petersburg to the factory for optics.


At the plant, he was greeted perfectly, conducted over the lens assembly site and the museum of the factory's history, all the documents were promptly completed and after making payment to the cashier of the factory, we received our optics. All this took no more than a few hours. It was unforgettable.

After I got the lenses, shooting of the short film “Philosophy” (scriptwriter and director Janisa Politov) began in 2 days. On the first day of shooting, we filmed a scene at the entrance hall. The light was not sufficient. The director sat next to me and looked at the playback screen. Once we got the shot, the director demanded additional lighting. We had lighting equipment, but the picture needed just naturalness and "liveliness". I immediately turned the ring, opening the full aperture, and everything fell into place. The proper picture was received. I felt proud not only for choosing the right lens, but also for the fact that this "super-aperture miracle" is being produced in Russia. Throughout the film, under various shooting conditions, LOMO lenses gave me the feeling of “an additional 200 horses under the hood of my car”. To experience the beauty and power of this lens series, you just need to put it on your camera and start shooting. I am sure that you will be very satisfied as I am.



kino_m_ivanov.jpgVladimir Ivanov,

Director of Photography

Kiev


Impressions of the ILLUMINA S35 Series Lens Line

In the summer of 2012, I worked with these lenses on the four-part TV series "Flight of the Butterfly" (directed by Nikolai Mikhailov, production of the "Star Media" company). Le me note right away that we did not conduct any special comparative tests, so all of the following applies mainly to my subjective personal impressions. We used a line of five lenses: 18, 25, 35, 50 and 85mm. The optics is made in a convenient form factor: the lenses are well adjusted in weight and dimensions. The mechanics of the focus and diaphragm rings are high quality and comfortable. I liked the dark brown color of the paint: it reminds of the experienced MosKinApovka equipment.


The set that I got was pretty well balanced in terms of color rendering: on the camera test (Sony F3) only 18 and 25mm wide-angle lenses stood apart. Compared to the rest of the set, these lenses produced a slight excessive dash of purple, especially noticeable in neutral grays, but this difference was not noticeable during further color correction of the live action material. As a whole, the line impressed me as "soft painting" both in sharpness and contrast, especially in comparison to the "sonorous" Zeiss Ultra Primes, which I use to work with. This "softness", however, did not make the image "soapy", but gave it a certain "airiness" and "transparency", which I really liked. In our story, in a melodrama genre, we wanted to create an image of love as a kind of magical light that marvelously transforms everything, no matter what it touches. Whether it is an interior or a landscape, we have always looked for an image that is literally “filled with light”. Initially, I thought to find a combination of ProMist Black and BlackDiffusion or SoftDiffusion filters to get the required light dispersion, but when I saw the plasticity of the lenses, I limited myself to a simple set of neutral gray and polarizing filters.


Also, in some scenes I wanted to use an effective backlight that gives falsch lichts. Direct light striking the front lens is always a challenge for any optics. It should be admitted that the AR coating and blackening of the ILLUMINA optics do not keep contrast and sharpness in the backlight, as UltraPrime or Cooke S4. However, the effect of these lenses is very different from Zeiss High Speed, it is more like the "shine" of old lenses, such as the Cooke Cinespeed, which John Mathieson took specifically for the portraits of Julianne Moore in Ridley Scott's “Hannibal”. Falsch lichts looked especially good at open apertures like 2 and 2 ½ , it was really the “ghost”, “smoky” image we were looking for, and without any filters!


I also liked how this optics draws contrasting lighting, in which I made some interiors to get the feeling of the blinding sun from the windows. The drawing on the faces reached 2, 2 ½ steps above normal, and the limiting contrast was 10-11 apertures. In this contrast, the "glow" around bright, overexposure spots looked very plastic: I constantly felt as if 1/8 ProMist was in front of the lens, and then looked into the matte box, but it was always empty. Lenses gave a similar effect in evening and night images when I filled the shots with natural light sources, such as table lamps, floor lamps, and garlands - there was a feeling of warm "enveloping" light.


On all lenses, there is a noticeable loss of overall sharpness, if you open the aperture more than somewhere around 1.8 (especially noticeable at 18mm). It is not so bad compared to High Speed, where this loss is already visible at aperture 2.


What I really disliked was that compared to the Ultra Prime, 50mm and 35mm lenses have much longer distance of close focusing. I used to take these lenses for capturing very large details and fragmented portraits.


As a result, I can say that the lenses of the "ILLUMINA S35" series, with which I happened to work, are a set of very high-quality lenses that give the image a kind of expressive "soft" plastic. I would really like to try this optics in some historical or military movies, where it would be necessary to achieve a feeling of texture touched by time. I hope that in the near future I will be able to carry out a comparative test of the ILLUMINA S35 optics with Cooke Panchro and Zeiss High Speed.




October 5, 2012
Review by cinematographer Nathaniel Kramer, USA:


I enjoy shooting with the Illumina S35 series lenses. I use these lenses for almost everything I shoot. They are incredibly cinematic, with exactly the characteristics that I love and the audience seems to love them. I rarely shoot anything less than 2.8 with them, and for the most part I am between 1.3 and 2.0. I also use them when doing commercials for fashion magazines. Again, their performance is incredible. Without losing quality, the images they create are cinematic and slightly warm. Ever since I got these lenses, my Zeiss has been gathering dust in its case and hasn't seen daylight for months. My only desire is that they have a front thread that allows me to screw on ND filters when I have to carry everything on myself and want to avoid excess weight in my filming box.

Nathaniel Kramer
Cinematographer/DoP/Director

NK MediaLab LLC

www.nathanielkramer.com


We thank Mr. N. Kramer for such a high assessment of our optics and the President of Luma Tech Inc (USA) Mr. G. Mirand for the provided feedback of the famous cinematographer.



September 17, 2012

Review by cinematographer Alexis Lanitis, Cyprus:


The ILLUMINA-MK II is a very effective lens set. I was told that they were developed in a military factory, and if so, then it is clear why they have excellent sharpness at any focal length. It must be said that the enormous depth of field required for any film is difficult to achieve. I succeeded in this in the range of relative apertures 1.3 + 2 / 3-2 + 1/3. Outside this range, the background becomes very sharp. This is a difficult task for the operator in charge of focusing the lens, as well as the need for heavy ND filters for shooting on location. But if you achieve this, the image quality of out-of-focus areas becomes pleasant and unobtrusive. Colors are rendered very accurately, providing a huge range for further image processing. Even with overcast clouds in Russia, we managed to obtain an image that requires only a slight increase in saturation. And the grays for dark and bright areas are fully represented. The kit includes 18-25-35-50-85mm lenses and I was delighted to hear that there will be a 135mm one soon. In this case, the kit would be complete, although it would be nice for the other end of the row to have 14 and / or 16mm. When creating wide-field lenses, it is necessary to pay great attention to the issue of distortion. The 18mm lens already has a subtle fisheye effect with chromatic aberration around the edges. Fortunately, it is very small and can be cropped during further image processing (less than 2%). Ultimately this is a great kit. ILLUMINA-MK II lenses are easy to use and produce stunning cinematic images. I am going to work with these lenses in different lighting conditions to see what they can do and also their further development: MK III. "

We thank the creative association "Detonator" (Nizhny Novgorod) and personally the producer and director Andrei Borisovich Dokuchaev for the provided feedback of the famous Cypriot cinematographer.



October 13, 2010

kino_m_astahov.jpgSergey Valentinovich Astakhov,

General Director of OOO "Agency of Filming Equipment",

Director of Photography, laureate of State awards, professor of St. Petersburg State University of Cinema and Television


In August of this year, I began filming another feature film under the tentative title “Three Days with a Fool,” the genre is “a lyrical comedy for all-family viewing,” at least that is how it is positioned by Alexey Kozlov, scriptwriter, director and producer of the film. As usual, the question arose of choosing a camera and optics for filming. Since, according to the script, there are mostly children in the frame, and not professional actors, we decided to shoot with a Red One digital camera. The objects that we planned to shoot were very dfferent in place and time of action: these are scenery on location on a sunny day and at night, and in "mode", and inside decorations at day and night, various kinds of interiors. I am not a big fan of frequently changing optics by focal length, for example, for the pictures "Happy Days" and "Brother", I used only one lens with a focal length of 25mm. The painting "Three days with a fool" required more variety in the choice of sizes and "detachment from the background", so the full line of ILLUMINA optics (from 18 to 85 mm) was used.


Для некоторых кадров я использовал сверхширокоугольную оптику 12 мм Elite и длиннофокусную Canon 400 мм. Оптика ILLUMINA очень хорошо сочеталась по рисунку с этими уже зарекомендовавшими себя на рынке объективами, а по многим параметрам, как то, резкость, светорассеяние, оптика ILLUMINA зарекомендовала себя самым лучшим образом. Съемка велась, в основном, на значениях диафрагмы от 2.8 до 8. Оптимальная диафрагма была 4 мм. Чтобы удержать такую диафрагму я применял нейтральные серые фильтры. Комбинацией этих фильтров я старался удерживать оптимальную диафрагму. Она меня устраивала по резкости и «оторванности от фона». Но даже при использовании объектива 18 мм на диафрагме 1.3 резкость меня вполне устраивала.


For some shots, I used the 12mm Elite ultra-wide and Canon 400mm telephoto lenses. The ILLUMINA optics matched very well in design with these lenses that have already proven themselves in the market, and in many parameters, such as sharpness, light scattering, ILLUMINA optics have proven themselves in the best way. Shooting was carried out mainly at aperture values ​​from 2.8 to 8. The optimal aperture was 4 mm. To keep this aperture, I used ND filters. With the combination of these filters, I tried to keep the optimal aperture. It suited me for the sharpness and "detachment from the background." But even with the 18mm lens at 1.3 aperture, the sharpness was fine with me.


Upon completion of the project, I can draw the first conclusions. ILLUMINA optics is very stable mechanically, good in optical design, and in no way inferior to the HS Carl Zeiss optics of this class, and in some cases even surpass it. I'm talking about chromatic aberration at the edges of the frame. In ILLUMINA optics it is much less prominent than in other manufacturers. I can say that ILLUMINA optics can be a reliable tool in the cinematographer's work. Among the shortcomings, the following should be mentioned: there are no mechanical elements around the rear lens that prevent accidental damage. There is also a wish to expand the ILLUMINA line into a wider angle and longer focus area. I know that work is already underway on the creation of lenses with a focus of 14 mm and 135 mm, which will eliminate the use of lenses from other friendly companies and will allow maintaining a uniform pattern throughout the entire picture.

In general, I am very pleased that a very worthy product made in our country and in our city appears on our narrow specific market.