V35 Project Re-Tuning for SIGMA Cine Lenses Announced – Inspired by Kowa FF Glass

At Cine Gear 2024, we sat down with Domenic Barbero from V35 Project to learn more about their new modified lens sets. Particularly, we focused on their new detuning option for SIGMA FF High-Speed Primes, which aims at giving these modern lenses a vintage-inspired feel. Let’s take a look!A few years ago, we brought to your attention the Canon V35 Project by cinema gear rental house Northwest Camera Co. Essentially, this consists of taking Canon CN-E cinema primes and detuning them to achieve a vintage look, similar to that of the legendary Canon K35 lenses.Apparently, V35 Project is now expanding the same lens modification approach to other modern lens series, including the popular SIGMA FF High-Speed Prime Line. Let’s take a closer look!V35 Project SIGMA Cine series emulates Kowa FF glassThe original SIGMA Cine FF High-Speed Prime series is a set of 11 fast, full-frame lenses ranging from 14 up to 135mm (14/20/24/28/35/40/50/65/85/105/135mm). They all share the same maximum aperture of T1.5, except the 14mm T2 and 135mm T2.V35 Project SIGMA High-Speed / Kowa FF 35mm T1.5. Image credit: CineDFrom an optical standpoint, these lenses perform exceptionally well, thus delivering clean, sharp images with minimal imperfections. However, some cinematographers may prefer lenses with a stronger “character”, and here’s where V35 Project comes into play.Indeed, the company has decided to offer a modification service to alter the character of these lenses to emulate that of Kowa vintage full-frame spherical primes. This is achieved using a mixture of techniques, such as modifying the coating of the glass elements and the spacing between them, for example.V35 Project SIGMA High-Speed / Kowa FF 35mm T1.5. Image credit: CineDAccording to Domenic, the result is a softer image, especially when shooting wide open, with a lower level of contrast, a heavy fall-off, a more textured bokeh, and neutral-looking skin tones. Moreover, the process is fully reversible, so you can always go back to the original look if you want to.Additionally, this approach retains some of the benefits of shooting on a modern lens set like the SIGMA High-Speed Prime series, such as close-to-zero focus breathing, low chromatic aberrations, fluid mechanics with a standard 95mm front diameter, and a sturdy PL mount with support for lens metadata (if applicable).Other lens modification options by V35 ProjectJudging by V35 Project’s website, it looks like the company has been hard at work to include many new lens sets that hit the market in the last couple of years in its portfolio. Here’s a list of all the modifiable series and their relative inspiration:Canon CN-E / Canon K35NiSi ATHENA / Olympus OMCanon CN-E / Canon RangefinderDZOFILM Arles / Pentax TakumarSIGMA High-Speed /Kowa FFTokina VISTA-P / HeliosVILTROX EPIC / Hawk V-LiteZeiss CP.3 / Zeiss Standard SpeedCanon 24-105mm / Canon K35 ZoomPrice and availabilityThe cost of V35 Project’s lens modification for SIGMA Cine High-Speed prime lenses is $2,750 per piece, including a custom external finish to distinguish the modified lens from the original.You can send in your donor lenses for modification or ask V35 Project to order a set of the original lenses on your behalf. Turnaround is approximately 4-8 weeks, but the company also offers an express service at an extra cost.For more information, please visit V35 project’s website here.Have you ever shot on the original SIGMA Cine High-Speed primes? Do you find their look to be too aseptic? What do you think of this lens modification service by V35 Project? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!

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