$50 lens, $190 million movie: This vintage Russian lens is the secret weapon of “Dune: Part Two”

Mar 11, 2024

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

$50 lens, $190 million movie: This vintage Russian lens is the secret weapon of “Dune: Part Two”

Mar 11, 2024

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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helios 44- russian lens

Dune: Part Two has captivated the audience with its breathtaking visuals, just like the first movie. But a surprising element emerged amidst the cutting-edge technology and high budget: a $50 vintage lens from the 1960s played a crucial role. The secret weapon? The Helios 44-2, a Soviet-made lens known for its distinct swirly bokeh.

Cinematographer Greig Fraser, also known for his work on “The Batman” (which also used the Helios lens), strategically incorporated a specially modified version of this lens into the movie’s arsenal.

“The Soviet glass was especially well suited to what we were doing; we used them all in harmony, effectively,” Fraser told Arri Rental. “What I love about 65mm [large format] is that it removes restrictions for me, opening up so many more lens options. You can work with lenses originally designed for smaller formats, where you see parts of the glass that were never intended to be seen.”

The company behind the modified Helios, IronGlass, expressed their delight on social media. “We are thrilled to finally confirm that IronGlass x VLFV MKII lenses were used on the phenomenal DUNE: Part Two!” the company wrote.

“This achievement is a testament to our team’s hard work and dedication, who continue to push boundaries and deliver world-class products. We are also immensely proud of our MKII lenses, which were carefully selected & crafted to contribute to the visual splendour of this iconic film. We are grateful for the opportunity to showcase Ukrainian products on such a grand stage and look forward to continuing our journey in the world of cinematography.”

I love seeing vintage gear being used in new, high-budget movies, or in modern context in general. It’s not always cameras or lenses, but sometimes they’re also used as props or as a part of scenography and story. I particularly love the Helios 44-2; I have it on my dad’s old Zenit film camera and I’m not only emotionally attached to it, but I love its sharpness and that gorgeous bokeh!

helios 44-2

Dune: Part Two is a perfect testament to the power of combining innovative technology with the timeless charm of vintage gear. This unexpected marriage has resulted in a visually stunning cinematic experience that we all love so much.

[via Digital Camera World]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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15 responses to “$50 lens, $190 million movie: This vintage Russian lens is the secret weapon of “Dune: Part Two””

  1. Mike Downey Avatar
    Mike Downey

    I have one of those Helios 44-2 lenses on an old Praktika Super TL, here. Might be time to get an adaptor to M4/3…

    1. Srđan Abdee Abdijević Avatar
      Srđan Abdee Abdijević

      Mike Downey on m4/3 and APS-C bodies you get okayish 75/100mm eq. lens. This one requires FF to show its full potential.

  2. Preso Petrov Avatar
    Preso Petrov

    Hahahaha. Again?

  3. Christian Chaney Avatar
    Christian Chaney

    Got two ! 😊

  4. Bartosch Salmanski Avatar
    Bartosch Salmanski

    Good luck to get one correct sample :D

  5. Maarten van Aken Avatar
    Maarten van Aken

    Daniël van Aken🙃

    1. Daniël van Aken Avatar
      Daniël van Aken

      Maarten van Aken gisteren de film gezien

    2. Maarten van Aken Avatar
      Maarten van Aken

      Daniël van Aken ik heb ze beide niet gezien maar jij hebt wel zo’n oud lensje

    3. Daniël van Aken Avatar
      Daniël van Aken

      Maarten van Aken ja meerdere, maar een paar zijn weg na de inbraak in 2010 ofzo

  6. Gustavo Muniz Avatar
    Gustavo Muniz

    I got one! I bought a Zenith reflex camera 30 years ago!

  7. Christian Lainesse Avatar
    Christian Lainesse

    I have a silver one, really amazing

  8. Chris Hestand Avatar
    Chris Hestand

    I’ve got one of those. Fun lens!

  9. Carter Tune Avatar
    Carter Tune

    Wow, a “secret weapon” that everyone knows about?

  10. Zane Healy Avatar
    Zane Healy

    I use one on my Leica M10-P.

  11. al.tobar@yahoo.com Avatar
    al.tobar@yahoo.com

    “Wow, a “secret weapon” that everyone knows about?”
    Voilà! BUT no one wants to mention because it was Soviet Made…

    Another clear example of American arrogance NOT to give proper credit to The Russian’s tech, quality, creativity, and manufacturing. History is written by those who controls and manipulates access to the media. Olé!
    #*ø! = Merde!