Originally designed to film the dark side of the moon, the Zeiss 50mm f0.7 lens was an obsession for Stanley Kubrick while preparing for Barry Lyndon. But in those pre-HDSLR days, it wasn’t as simple as buying an adapter to go from still camera to motion picture…

Each scene of Barry Lyndon glows with the soft light of 18th century painting because Kubrick shot even night scenes without artificial or electric light. The most dramatic are the candle-lit scenes, which have become part of the Kubrick legend. In an article in American Cinematographer magazine, camera engineer Ed Digiulio recalls that “At the very early stages of his preparation for Barry Lyndon, Kubrick scoured the world looking for exotic, ultra-fast lenses, because he knew he would be shooting extremely low light level scenes. It was his objective, incredible as it seemed at the time, to photograph candle-lit scenes in old English castles by only the light of the candles themselves!”

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