Bausch & Lomb - yes the same company that may make the contacts that you put in your eyes every morning, has a long history of optical design going back to the 1800’s! And the brand famous for eyewear today, actually had a long stretch of making some of the most highly regarded Cinema Lenses in Hollywood.
The original Baltar Lenses were circa 1930’s designs, and the brand new “Super Baltars” came out in the 1960’s, originally called super because of their fast T2 stop and their sharpness compared to their peers. They quickly became the go to for many productions.
The Godfather Part 1 and Part 2. Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. Star Trek. These lenses were on everything!
With today’s prevalence of only a few top cinema cameras shooting digitally (no more film stocks for most of us to help change our image creatively in camera) lens choice has become more and more critical to help create a unique look. This has fueled a staggering surge in popularity for some of the oldest and funkiest vintage cinema lenses from decades past.
Today their original BNCR mount has been removed, and the TLS engineers have built a brand new and modern housing, complete with modern focus control, uniform front diameters, and rugged reliability, to rehouse the vintage glass elements.
These lenses give you the same optical characteristics of the original glass but all the convenience and dependability of a modern lens. The images they make have a beautiful low contrast look, but maintain rich and complex skin tones. Highlights bloom in a pleasing way not unlike a Canon K35, and the flares are unique but also controllable. They are plenty sharp enough for modern cameras, except when you open them all the way up - and that’s when you can unlock a dreamy surreal effect - a popular way to use them on music videos for example.