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Anamorphic questions

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  • Anamorphic questions

    I'm looking into potentially getting an Anamorphic lens, but I've never shot with one so this will be an all new experience. What would be a good starter lens (Ebay is full of these things)? Do any of you shoot anamorphic on your bmd cameras and if so can you show me some of your footage? Any issues particularly with using these on bmd cameras?

    Thanks in advance

  • #2
    There are no BMD specific issues you need to worry about. What to suggest will depend on your budget. If you just want to try I suggest buying at the cheaper end. Anamorphics are a pain in the butt to use which is why 99% of anamorphic videos are camera tests. But they are addictive and fun and occasionally someone actually does something real with them and it can look pretty cool.

    You will need an anamorphic adapter (which is typically a repurposed projector lens), a clamp to mount it on your taking lens (ebay seller redstan preferably or vidatlantic if you want to save a few bucks). You will eventually want a front filter clamp as well to mount diopters which help to increase sharpness close up. +0.5 are the most useful diopter and they stack.

    Anamorphics on wide lenses will vignette. All lens/adapter combinations vary but generally 50mm is about the widest you can go. However if you are using a 2x then this is effectively a 25mm FOV horizontally. Most anamorphics need to be double focussed which takes some messing about. You also need to make sure every shot that the alignment is correct otherwise your footage will be skewed.

    The commonly available anamorphics that get decent results are the Kowa 16H or 8Z, Sankor/Singer 16D, Sankor 16c. There are many more that are good but if you don't know how to identify a good one I'd stick to these three to begin. In general a large rear element, shorter barrel length minimise vignetting but there are no hard and fast rules. I usually recommend the Sankor 16c since it is small and light, vignettes pretty much the same as the 16d, has a removable front ring that exposes a 52mm front filter thread (one less clamp), has appealing blue horizontal flares and flares readily, 2x stretch factor and pretty sharp even at the edges. It is much cheaper than the Kowa which is probably the lens most people get at some point.

    Beware, anamorphics are addictive, most people end up with a collection before they come to their senses. I have about a dozen and they don't get used much anymore. I always intend to but when push comes to shove when you head out on a project and need to be efficient, you take the gear that doesn't need constant messing with.


    • #3
      "There are no BMD specific issues you need to worry about."

      Well, yeah, there is. You only get a 16x9 frame, as BMD has refused to provide an anamorphic mode. A 2x anamorphic will be way too wide and cost you pixel real estate. That's why the Anamorphot is useful, with a much less stretched image, 1.33x. Notably the new Kinemini is supposed to have a 4:3 anamorphic mode, which makes it much more attractive right off the bat.
      Filmmaker - Author



      • #4
        That's not specific to BMD, that is specific to any 16:9 sensor. 1.33x stretch gives you the aspect ratio but almost none of the look. The horizontal flares are short and get shorter as you stop down, no waterfall bokeh.

        Cropping edges isn't so bad. You lose some horizontal pixels but vertical resolution has a bigger impact on perception of sharpness and that is preserved. 2x stretch softens the image pleasantly, taking some of the 'digital' out of the image. While I would prefer not to lose any pixels, with most anamorphic adapters the edges are prone to extreme softness and aberration anyway. And by cropping you lose no more actual pixels than you do by adding black bars to a 16:9 image, except you are not losing any vertical resolution. So you should perceive a sharper image than if the black bars version is blown up to the same size.

        Using a projector anamorphic is always a compromise at best. But a fraction of the price of a real anamorphic lens. I won't argue that I wouldn't prefer a 4:3 sensor to pair with my 2x it but I haven't been satisfied with the look of any 1.33x anamorphic adapters I have tried. 1.5x is the best compromise on a 16:9 sensor, flares are acceptable around f4 but the bokeh is still only halfway there.


        • #5
          Good advice from Egg Born Son.

          It's all personal and down to aesthetic choices. I also find 1.5x the sweet spot on 16:9 sensors. If you're really after a wide look, then the LA7200 can be put to good use, although I find it quite restrictive in regular shooting, to achieve the quality I want anyway.

          Best anamorphic I've used is the Bolex 16/32/1.5x. Prices are fairly insane these days as no one wants ton get rid of such high quality optics. I have one. I'll probably request to be buried with it :-)


          • #6
            Originally posted by Joe Giambrone View Post

            Well, yeah, there is. You only get a 16x9 frame, as BMD has refused to provide an anamorphic mode. A 2x anamorphic will be way too wide and cost you pixel real estate.
            Joe, aside from an Alexa Studio, this is the same with any digital camera, including a regular vanilla Alexa and a Red EPIC or even Dragon.

            Those cameras CROP a 2 X anamorphic lens...just like a BM camera does.

            Very few digital sensors are actually full height sensors for TRUE anamorphic with no lens crop.

            Normally I could care less about crop factors, but with anamorphic lenses it matters more because the interesting optical properties are usually on the edges and the distorion of the edges changes at a different rate on the X axis compared to the Y axis. Cropping in on a lens tends to diminish the anamophic-ness look in differeing ways on the X axis / Y axis.

            The whole reason that 1.3X anamorphic lenses exist is because they are made for a 1.78 sensor.

            If I was to put one of THESE lenses on a camera there would be no crop.

            What those cameras with anamorphic modes and only 1.78 sensors DO have which the BM cameras don't have is an anamorphic monitoring de-squeeze. That's perhaps what you're asking for ?



            • #7
              I did make it very clear that BMD's failure in this is its refusal to simply make an anamorphic mode to make it easier to shoot. If Kinefinity and Red can have an anamorphic mode then BMD can too, but they aren't interested. That's relevant to the original poster. He was looking into 2x squeeze anamorphics.
              Filmmaker - Author



              • #8
                I appreciate everyone's response. The watch button on ebay has been pressed on several Unfortunately my budget is less than $1k so hopefully I can find a really good deal.


                • #9
                  dual focus is a PITA.
                  with that said, for around $1000, look into the Bolex-Anamorphot system Moller 16/32.

                  and to resolve the dual focus issue,
                  check out the FM Lens. I havent come across any reviews, but worth researching about it.

                  edit: did a bit of digging on this Focus Module Lens. It apparently has a ridiculous amount of throw from minimum distance to infinity.
                  Last edited by prio; 12-09-2014, 01:15 AM.


                  • #10
                    Now that is interesting...

                    Someone clearly bought up a huge stockpile of those Schneiders when you couldn't give them away because there have been a number of attempts to make them actually usable over the last couple of years. If that focus module actually works...

                    Damn it, burn my eyes out - I only just my got anamorphic problem under control!


                    • #11
                      In case people haven't heard or read, but SLR is coming out with a 2x version soon. Definitely worth waiting for, and forget about dual focus using other anamorphic adapters.


                      • #12
                        Where did you hear this one from @raf702? I emailed them last 2 weeks but they did not mentioned anything about this (I was one of the early adopter of their Anamorphot package).



                        • #13
                          Originally posted by kicap View Post
                          Where did you hear this one from @raf702? I emailed them last 2 weeks but they did not mentioned anything about this (I was one of the early adopter of their Anamorphot package).

                          They are still in development bit it will be out in 2015 obviously Not sure how close they are but they debuted it a few months ago with their new 50mm Cine PL lens. Do a google search and you'll find it.