Frequently Asked Questions



I ordered ages ago and have yet to hear back from you!

Please bear with us.  We are a very small outfit and in order to maintain an affordability we do not employ a full time email administrator.  Nor do we use auto emails.  Instead, when you hear from us it will be a real person, who will be able to furnish you with any information you need and guide you when selecting your lens prescription.  Your credit card receipt is proof of your purchase.

Please don't be alarmed if you haven't heard from us yet.  Rather than starting email conversations regarding your lens straight away, it is more efficient for us to contact you nearer the time of your lens build (or more accurately, the time when the actual configurable processes will commence).  At the moment we're running at an approximate lead time of 5 weeks from your date of order to the date of completion/shipping.  And the moment any configurable options are about to be undertaken we will be in touch to be sure we know what is required for your lens.

Despite our clean new website, the operation is still very small and over-stretched so we limit our time with emails and dedicate the majority of our time in making lenses, one by one, with love.  


Can I still get shallow dof with a 2x oval aperture fixed at f3.5?

100% yes!  Infact due to the sharpening qualities of the oval aperture you'll find a 2x oval aperture at f3.5 appears to separate the in and out of focus areas of the frame a lot more than a wide open f2 circular aperture since the in-focus areas will be drastically sharper and more refined - providing a clear '3d pop' and step between the foreground and background.  The oval apertures are the same height as the original f2 circular aperture so the actual defocus ratio is very similar to a wide open f2 circular aperture.  However since the width of the aperture is reduced, the edge to edge sharpness of the lens improves, and fringing/CA are reduced in a similar way to closing down to f5.6.  This attribute becomes even more valuable when shooting at 4k+ resolutions.


I shoot a lot in low light.  I need a faster lens.

Without light, even an f1.0 lens looks uninspiring.  No amount of lens speed can make up for a lack of light.  However when used in low light DSO lenses are rather forgiving due to their low contrast aesthetic.  The result is a smoother roll-off of shadows and blacks meaning underexpeosed noisy areas of the sensor are masked by the shadow lift created by the lens.  As a result, you can expect to see cleaner images from iso's that would typically be redundant with contrasty lenses.


What is the difference between the TRUMP and FLARE FACTORY systems?

TRUMP is our flagship system.  It allows users to interchange between aperture inserts and optical cells quickly on set allowing the aesthetic of the lens to be changed quickly and efficiently.  The TRUMP is typically configured as a relatively clean lens (using optics circa 1968-1971) providing a tactful and authentic historic character to the resolved image,  Users can then interchange the glass with bespoke optical cells (available separately) to provide more extreme levels of optical/flaring artefacts.

FLARE FACTORY offers very similar optical qualities in a more cost effective package.  Each lens is built and configured with a fixed optical configuration so cannot be changed in the same way as the TRUMP.  Think of the FLARE FACTORY as an 'accessible to all' solution where some of the more costly processes are omitted in order to keep costs down.  As a result the FLARE FACTORY is perfectly viable as a project specific lens - configured to best fulfil the artistic demands of a project.


What does 'DEEP FIELD' and 'SHALLOW FIELD' relate to in the technical information about the 38mm and 88mm lenses?

Since both the 38mm and the 88mm lenses are effectively wide and tele attachments attached to the 58mm primary optical block each focal length maintains some of the dof characteristics of the 58mm focal length.

As a result, the 38mm lens provides a wider fov, but in (some respects) a shallower dof close to the point of focus than one would expect from a typical 38mm/f2 lens.  This shallowness produces a more pronounced step between the in focus and out of focus areas of the frame and a '3D pop'.  Actual defocus of infinity objects in relation to the in focus subject will match a 38mm/f2 lens, however the abrupt step can be of great benefit when a wide shot with a greater level of separation between in/out of focus areas of the frame is desired.

Conversely the 88mm lens provides almost the opposite.  -The field of view of an 88mm lens, but a deeper dof close to the point of focus.  As a result the 88mm lens provides the very creamy defocus desired from a longer focal length, but with a deeper distance either side of the in focus point.  The result is a greater amount of 'in focus information' in close proximity of the point of focus.  This attribute is beneficial when a close up head shot is required where all parts of the face are in focus, while background information is still heavily defocused.     


I'm an owner operator looking to invest in a lens set for use on both personal projects and on commercial shoots.  Will TRUMP fulfil my needs?

TRUMP is ideally suited to creative cinematographers who see limitations as an advantage rather than a hindrance.  Users who obtain the best from our lenses are those who embrace the inherent qualities and work around them.  TRUMP should not be seen as a cheaper alternative to lenses like compact primes and similar low level modern 'cinema lenses'.  Rather, think of TRUMP as an alternative to the use of LOMO Square fronts or similar vintage lenses which often need to be handled differently to modern refined commercial products.  TRUMP has its quirks, such as a lack of focus scale, and limited focal lengths therefore should be seen as a lens set chosen when the need for artistic expression outweighs the need for working by numbers.  

That said, TRUMP opens up the ability for shooters to obtain the look of lenses which are typically harder to integrate into productions, without some of the logistical nightmares (LOMO 'Square Fronts' lack resolving power, are heavy, usually unpleasant to operate and have limitations such as long minimum focus distances). 

With 3 focal lengths available - 38mm, 58mm and 88mm TRUMP is a formidable option for those looking to invest in an artistic tool for projects which require an authentic vintage look created 'in camera'.


I've seen a lens similar to the FF58 on ebay.  Is it a genuine FF58?  

Unless it has the DSO 'Dog' brass badge on the lens, it's not one of ours.  Over the years we have noticed a number of impersonators popping up.  Their descriptions of their lenses (usually modified text of ours) may lead you to believe their lenses will offer the same as ours, but unfortunately they won't.  It's not simply a case of polishing the paint off a helios 44 with a dremel tool, adding a hand cut cardboard oval aperture and using a coloured Sharpie to make the flares glow in a colour.  We run each lens component on the lathe, replacing some of the primary helical mechanism parts using stainless steel and machine our apertures in wafer thin metal using a cutting edge milling technique. Rather than magic markers, we use highly concentrated ink pigments.  You may also see Nikon options offered by our impersonators - be warned that it appears they are using off the shelf adaptors which will not permit infinity focus.  Another difference, since our Nikon units are meticulously remounted to Nikon mount to ensure infinity is achievable without any degradation of the optical pathway - this process takes time, skills and equipment.  Though our affordable DSLR mount lenses are currently unavailable we urge you to think twice about opting for an alternative product from one of the fraudsters.  We've had a number of recent emails from people who have made the mistake and paid almost as much for an inferior product they thought was the same as ours, only to order a genuine FF58 the week later.


I shoot on Canon DSLR's, Sony FS7 via a metabones speed booster and on Arri Alexa.  Will your PL mount lenses work on all three? 

Yes.  The PL mounts we manufacture are specially designed to work with PL-EF adaptors.  Therefore the PL mount lenses can be used on canon EF mount cameras without infinity issues or mirror/focal reducer optical interference.


Is the TRUMP lens system available in DSLR mount?

As detailed above, the PL mount will work with very cost effective PL to EOS adaptors (available separately). At the moment our Nikon remounting solution is not rugged enough to support the stresses that will be applied to the lens mount when future optical sections are made available - for example, the OLIVIA anamorphic front will require the support and integrity afforded by a true cinema grade stainless mount. Should a Nikon option be the only option for you, we are happy to discuss a bespoke stainless remounting solution, which is possible, but a costly process.


I have some special lenses that I need repaired or updated.  Can you undertake specialist work?

Yes.  We can occasionally take on bespoke projects when we have space in our schedule.  We have quite a bit of experience working on ISCO-Gottingen Iscorama anamorphic lenses and can undertake work such as relube, close focus modification or complete rehaul of unusable lenses.


Can you do PL remounting and rehousing to other lenses?

It is possible, but the cost implications are astronomical and somewhat negate the affordability of using Contax glass in the first place since the process involves an almost complete rebuild of the focus mechanisms.  That said, we are 'yes people' and enjoy a challenge so assuming your project warrants the financial outlay of a complicated bespoke job please get in touch.    


The lens isn't what I expected  What can we do?

99% of emails of this nature tend to be from users who email before they even use the lens Or from those who buy without doing any research on our product.  We urge you to fit the lens and use it for a week or so.  If you are still dissatisfied we will be more than happy to take the lens back and perform modifications as required, or provide you with a refund (minus shipping).  Before buying, please bear in mind that these are bespoke items made using salvaged optical components rather than mass produced brand new commercial products.     


What is your warranty procedure?

We operate a repair/rebuild or replace process when something goes wrong.  Occasionally we get lenses back to us for repair or modification and we always try to prioritise these so you're not without your lens for long.  Your lens is guaranteed for 12 months from date of purchase.  After that we're happy to undertake repair work and updating.  We can provide quotes on repair and updates via email so please get in touch if you need help.

Please contact us before attempting repair yourself or with a third party.  We employ proprietary manufacturing and assembly techniques which means attempting disassembly or repair by a third party will likely result in further damage.  Lenses coming straight back to us when they need some attention means the process is quicker, and almost certainly more cost effective.