This is the brand new SIRUI 50 millimeter anamorphic lens which has a d squeeze of 1.6 times opens up to T 2.9 is way more compact than a lot of other anamorphic lenses on the market and can be had for less than fifteen hundred dollars. In this video we'll talk about image quality, features and why this lens is now my new favorite option for full frame cameras.
What's so special about this lens?
Well there's two words that you rarely see together especially on an affordable lens and that is full frame and anamorphic. It's a really tricky thing to do but SIRUI has figured out a way to make a lens that is somewhat compact and you can actually use on full full-frame cameras.
We'll talk about the squeeze factor of this lens here in a second but this is one of four lenses that SIRUI is planning to release for full-frame cameras like this A7SIII. So we've got the 50 millimeter T2.9 as well as a 35 millimeter, 75 millimeter and 100 millimeter that are also in the works.
When asking SIRUI about these future lenses, they told me that the aperture range should be the same as well as other features and size and focus rings and whatnot. We'll get into all of that here in a second but let's talk about lens mount options for these lenses.
There are four options available to choose from. All of these mounts are mirrorless. You can't use them with Canon EF cameras and things like that. These mounts include the Canon RF, the Sony E mount Nikon Z mount and finally the Panasonic L mount. At this time you are not able to swap out mounts or change them. SIRUI was kind enough to send along this 50 millimeter in an E mount so I could use it with my Sony A7SIII and all the footage you'll be seeing from this lens was shot with this combination.
When it comes to anamorphic there are several different popular squeeze factors including 1.33 which is what SIRUI used on their older lenses meant for crop sensors and then all the way up to two times anamorphic which is primarily what you see used in Hollywood and on big feature films and that gives you an insanely wide aspect ratio as well as giving you nice tall skinny oval bulk.
This anamorphic lens sits at 1.6 which I think is really really nice. It does several things for us.
First it keeps the size of the lens down. If this was a 2x lens most likely it would be significantly larger. Secondly if you're using it with a camera like the A7SIII, where it shoots in a 16x9 aspect ratio. A 2x would traditionally make this insanely long wide skinny image. But since we're shooting at 1.6 you're still getting a usable aspect ratio. So if you pick this lens up and film with it in a 16x9 standard kind of video format this is what you'll see when you pull your footage into edit.
You can take that footage and de-squeeze it by 1.6 times and you'll get something like this. From there you could scale the image to create any aspect ratio you need for your project. If you're using something like a Sony I'd recommend getting a monitor with a d squeeze option available. I used the Atomos shinobi and was able to use the 1.5 times de-squeeze to be able to see my image and make my composition choices.
And another huge benefit to anamorphic lenses as opposed to just adding those letter boxes is that we're gaining field of view on the sides or horizontally on our image. Here's a shot I filmed with a just standard ROKINON 50 millimeter lens or a spherical lens and then here is the same shot with this full frame anamorphic 50 millimeter.
As you can see there's a lot more information and image on the left and right. So if you use this lens you will have a 50 millimeter field of view when it comes to the vertical part of your image. But horizontally you're going to be at most around 30 millimeters and of course this depends on your final aspect ratio.
Another thing about this lens is that the aperture is in T stops not F stops. So this is a T2.9 and if you convert that to F-stop you're gonna get around 2.4 if my math is correct.
Now let's get into the build quality of this lens which I'm very happy to report is quite good given the price.
We have a fully metal body really nice action on these geared focus rings so you don't have to add anything to the lens. It's good to go out of the box. There's an 82 millimeter filter thread on the front of the lens and it does not rotate or move in and out when you change your focus which is obviously really important we don't want that thing moving on us.
And then on the bottom of the lens there is a built-in tripod mount that is removable so you could use that to stiffen up your entire rigging setup if desired. Overall size is really really good considering that again. We're rocking a full frame anamorphic lens which is just crazy to me.
If you compare it to SIRUI’s older lenses you'll notice that it is definitely a little larger but not by much. So again throwing a monitor on top of this camera and lens package running out like this is super easy. You don't need to build up this monstrous rig to get the job done. And in the past for a 2x setup on full frame I had to have this ridiculous build and it really takes a lot out of you after a long day of filming with that setup.
Starting with bokeh. Compared to SIRUI older lenses you're getting a little more stretch which means slightly taller bokeh and that's really kind of the gold standard. It's getting as close to 2x as possible. While I'd still prefer to have taller skinnier bokeh on this lens. I do like that as less round compared to the older lenses from SIRUI so at the end of the day given the size of this lens I'm really happy with the results here.
Throw anything out of focus in your shot and you're going to get some really really pretty stretch backgrounds which is one of my favorite signatures of an anamorphic lens. As you stop the lens down you're going to start losing that signature tall stretched background bokeh. But the good news is even wide open on this lens sharpness is really really amazing. I pretty much shot everything with this lens completely wide open and at no point felt that I was losing sharpness and having any issues there.
Next up we're going to talk about a big one for anamorphic and that is flares and there are some interesting things with this lens.
First we can take a look at some footage in a controlled environment with all the lights turned off and just a hard source in front of the lens.
As you can see there are some incredible flares. I really like how flaring happens on this lens or at least when it comes to the shape of those flares. You can clearly see flares are very blue and saturated. It doesn't take a lot to get this bad boy to flare up so if that's what you're into you're gonna be happy with this lens.
Unfortunately, when you're not in a controlled environment and you don't want flares to creep into your image they're gonna be there as you can see from this footage. If you have any kind of light source behind your subject you're going to get flaring or kind of what I call color hazing on your image. This is mostly a problem when you don't want flares or you're filming something very warm and don't want this blue blob showing up in your shot.
So to avoid that you're going to need a matte box with this lens. All of that said however I've been talking to SIRUI and they have told me that they're going to be reducing the flaring on the final units of this length. So if you go over to Indiegogo and pre-order this guy link in the description you will get a slightly different version of what I'm holding here and you're going to have reduced flaring and less of that kind of flare up if you will when you're out filming.
If you put it on your camera, get a custom white balance you're going to have no issues no weird problems when it comes to tints and things. That said this lens is significantly warmer than your average camera lens.
For example, again I used a rokinon 50 millimeter set correct white balance then I swap that lens out for this SIRUI. As you can see the image is significantly warmer. Not only is the color temperature difference but there is a green tint. So almost every time I set a custom white balance on my A7SIII. The camera had to add one full magenta shift to the custom white balance to get that corrected.
If you're like me and you often just run outside and just set your camera to 5,600 kelvin for filming outdoors you will need to not do that anymore. You really want to make sure you get your white balance set correct because this lens is around sometimes 2,000 kelvin warmer than your traditional lenses that you might already own and use.
Most anamorphic lenses are going to have some kind of distortion due to what's happening optically with these lenses and this one's no exception. You can see in this shot as I'm changing my framing, changing my focus. Things are definitely a little distorted. But given this is an anamorphic lens I have no issue with this whatsoever.
The lens can focus down to 2.5 feet which again isn't great if you're trying to get super close shots but this is very typical for anamorphic lenses given how they are optically designed. So no issue there and if you need to get closer you can always add diopters to the front of the lens.
When it comes to vignetting things are very controlled here of course you will have more vignetting wide open at T2.9 compared to stopping the lens down.
Here's a quick side by side not a huge difference. I'll add some contrast so you can more clearly see the differences between each setting. But when filming I had no problem leaving this wide open and there wasn't enough vignetting to cause any issues.
Then we have breathing on this lens which isn't fantastic so you can take a look at this clip and as you can see changing the focus will adjust your composition and framing. So definitely something to keep in mind if that is a deal breaker for you.
So is this lens worth it for twelve hundred dollars if you're one of the first one thousand buyers on Indiegogo or fifteen hundred dollars for people who buy this in the future?
For me personally the answer is absolutely.
I am so thrilled to have a full-frame anamorphic lens as you guys know I'm a big fan that said of course there are things to keep in mind breathing isn't great on this lens but again for anamorphic that's kind of standard. The real issue for me is going to be color. I know now that i have to get my white balance set custom in camera or at least pay very close attention to how warm or cool things are and that's a really tricky one right. So if you're switching lenses all the time then you're just gonna have to keep that in mind and that's kind of a bummer.
We'll see how this lens compares to SIRUI’s future lenses. Ideally they'll all be the same so you can switch between anamorphic lenses and not have any crazy color shifts but as it stands you gotta watch white balance on this guy.
And if you're in no rush you could always wait on this lens and see what the other options are from SIRUI including that 35, 75 and 100 millimeter. Although I think the 50 millimeter here is going to be a great all-arounder. It's a great field of view for full frame that said I cannot wait to see what that 35 millimeter is like once SIRUI releases it.