8mm Benoist S.T.O.P Baby Hypergonar 1.75x

The History By Redstan-theman

Baby Berthiot Hypergonar 1.75X anamorphic lens



The Baby Hypergonar Cinemascope lens were made around 1956 by Henri Chrétien with the company Benoist S.T.O.P Paris. The Hypergonar has double element design. "The smallest hypergonar lens ever made and one of the last designs of the great frenchman. Professor Henri Chrétien signed over the rights to his fantastical optical invention Hypergonar to Twentieth Century-Fox in 1952, he was legally bound not to develop commercial scope lens or work with any other studios or sell the optics commercially. This beauty was the only tiny amateur cinemascope lens he could legally make and could only be sold in France and her colonies. At first said it was impossible to scale a cinemascope lens down to this size, and make a usable system. Chrétien went to work and made this tiny gem a beauty. A work of genius. It was heavily revised and miniaturized by Chrétien at Villa Paradou, Cap Ferrat. The design was a fixed position non adjustable focus elements with distance set in the 9-11 feet range. These were made for the popular home movie amateur regular 8 (standard 8) film format and French 9.5mm format. Production was cancelled very quickly because of lack of sales and hollywood patent restriction. Chretien's sale of the Hypergonar patents and Cinemascopic concepts to 20th century fox meant he could only sell these babies at home and a few french colonies and only for amateur use. The small anamorphic home movie market quickly became dominated by Moller and Isco of Germany who could sell any place in the world with no restrictions. Moller's Bolex deal was the deal breaker as Bolex was the greatest 8mm and 16mm compact camera maker. Benoist went back to making massive Cinemascope projection lens under Hollywood license and 16mm spherical cine lens.

Another very interesting aspect is the compression factor of x 1.75. The lens is identical to the ones that are said to have a x 2.0 compression factor,as the latter was just an estimation that occurred in the internet.

Unsqueezing the footage in a 28:9 in my trials gave a 100% correct ratio. (with the lens compressing at x 1.75 => 16:9 x 1.75 = 28:9). This Mini Hypergonar therefore gives a broader image than the Iscoramas, but not as stretched as the sometimes too wide x2 anamorphic lenses like the Kowa, Sankor and the like. The size and weight allows you shoot anamorphic with no more weight and bulkiness as with a bigger standard zoom lens.


The real point of the 1.75:1 ratio is related to the change in CinemaScope ratios soon after its inception. Early CinemaScope was filmed with 2:1 ratio giving a 2.66:1 Ratio from a standard 4:3 Academy frame. Subsequently, the ratio was reduced to 2.35:1,which needed a 1.75:1 (actually 1.76) compression to fit the standard frame.

However, Super 8 Commercial prints were made with a 2:1 compression, which accounts for the black masking at the frame sides on Super 8 to achieve the correct ration on screen.


  • Alan Doyal









© Ian Edward Weir - 2020

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