Isco Ultra MC 60/2


Double Gauss projector lens. Multicoated. Image circle c.50mm. AKA Cinelux. Brass body. Marked Isco-Gottingen

Weight 296 g
Dimensions 60 mm
Focal Length (mm)

Max Aperture (f)

Min Aperture (f)

Aperture Blades


Sharp (Near)

Sharp (Far)

Rear Mount

Front Thread

Flange-Focal Distance (mm @ ∞)

RF/L Extension (mm)

Serial Numbers



  1. 16:9

    As with all Isco cine optics, this is a beautiful package: the large brass hood unscrews from the solid brass body to reveal a little, weighty gem of a six-element lens (115g without the hood) with bright purple/orange multicoatings on front and rear elements. The FF-D is short for a 60mm lens: 38.5mm. Rearmost elements are housed in a barrel that steps down to 32mm diameter. A typical mounting arrangement will tuck this inside an M42 helicoid, leaving the 44mm diameter frontmost barrel sitting on the flange. Thus mounted, an extension of only 35.5mm is needed to reach infinity focus. The business end protrudes only 23mm if the 95mm long hood is removed. Flare control is rather impressive when used as a taking lens: if you’re looking for ‘special effects’, look elsewhere: only when provoked by a strong in-frame light source is a single, graceful arc visible: no ghosting or anything extraneous. You may prefer a small after-market hood or proper matte box rather than the chunky Isco item.

    Sharpness is a mixed bag. Resolution is slightly better at distance (68.5%) than close-up (66%). However, the average doesn’t tell the whole story: in Zone 1 a rating of 8.3 is achieved at distance, dropping to 8.1 near-field – up there with with the best projector lenses and better than many fine enlarger lenses wide open. However, Zone 3 is unusually bad, even for a projector lens – especially at short distance, where resolution drops to a barrel-scraping 5.1.

    Chromatic aberration is practically absent and colour rendition is excellent: rich, but neutral. The image circle comfortably covers a 35mm sensor, but prominent cat-eye highlights and a modest amount of bokeh swirl suggests there isn’t much spare coverage for movements. Bokeh quality is luxuriously smooth, with no trace of onion-ringing or doubling. Specular highlights are outline-free in Zone 1 but acquire fairly strong outlines in Zones2/3, at which point it would be more appropriate to speak about ‘cat’s eyeliner’ than ‘bubble’ bokeh.

    The Isco Ultra MC 60mm is therefore a one-trick pony: focus on something in Zone 1 and allow the plunging resolution in Zones 2 and 3 to boost the isolation effect, while turning defocused areas into beautiful, centrifugally-stirring, Angel Delight. Treat this lens like it has a in-built 1-stop ND filter: centrally-framed images look like f1.4, but expose at f2.

    You won’t go far wrong if you take this review as a skeleton key for all Isco Ultra MC lenses: longer lenses in this range have the same rendition, but acquire slightly better corner sharpness in sync with their large image circles, which goes hand-in-glove with a reduction in bokeh swirl – which practically disappears by 80mm. The longer focal lengths are perhaps more desirable, strengthening their trump suit: subject isolation and melting bokeh. However, the just-enough image circles of the 45-60mm lenses offer an added dimension of bokeh ‘effects’ complementary to their appealing rendition. Recommended for special purposes.

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