You know there isn't a soul on this planet that doesn't love the anamorphic look but actually I can probably think of two people but point still stands. I've been getting into shoot some anamorphic lately.
I've tried various filters, they've kind of worked to varying degrees. I wasn't entirely happy with what I was getting out of them.
Recently, SIRUI sent me their 50mm anamorphic Prime. I got to take it for a spin over this last couple of weeks do some tests.
In the past, they've made tripods, they've made budget wide-angle lenses, and anamorphic lenses for cell phones. And now, they are looking to disrupt the anamorphic prime lens market. Considering all of that, this is a it's a very interesting move.
Take a look at this bad boy look, at that front element just freakish. Goodness! The build is nice, it feels solid. The lens takes a 67 millimetre filter thread, we got the focus ring in the front and has a decent focus throw. The aperture ring is in the back near the rear element, this lens is completely manual.
You can't perform any automatic functions in camera with this little guy. Max aperture is F/1.8, the minimum focusing distance is about two and a half feet.
This would be the world's most sophisticated sharpness tests, only I lost my focus chart. So we're just gonna have to do this one back woods.
F/1.8 it's fairly soft not very usable we've got some Finn yelling no surprises here
F/2 a little sharper still a little vignette and going on though
F/2.8 better, F/4 and F/5.6 are the sweet spot. F/8 through F/16 we're still rockin.
This is a complete anamorphic lens for about $700, that's a steal.
These lenses don't start shipping until February 2020.
I'm hearing that the super early bird pricing on this lens is $549, early bird pricing is $599. In the retail is gonna be $699.
But if you compare this to like a projector deal, where you're like piece mailing and anamorphic set up. Building an anamorphic setup where the projector lens can be pricy, depending on what you're doing and there's also the learning curve.
If you want to do it right and get quality, you need to take time and do some research. The SLR magic anamorphic Primes run over thousand dollars. The Vazen anamorphic Primes running about three thousand and two hundred. Atlas Orion anamorphic Primes will run you over thirty thousand dollars for a set.
So by comparison, when it comes to anamorphic this is pretty affordable.
What anamorphic lenses do...
If you're not familiar with anamorphic, quicky cap these lenses, allow you to get a wider aspect ratio.
The whole widescreen deals started because the studio's wanted to find a way to entice audiences back into the movie theater when television was taken off. That's the abridged version, there's plenty of other videos that cover the birth of widescreen.
You know how we throw the letter boxes on the footage, crop the top and the bottom to get that really nice widescreen look. While with the real anamorphic lens, you don't have to do that. In laymen terms, you get to see more stuff on either side of the image.
If you look at that front element, it looks kind of funny. Because it squeezes the image horizontally, allowing you to record a wider field of view under that sensor. Now your image is gonna look funny right out of the camera, because you're gonna have to de-squeeze it in post.
Anamorphic come in different squeezed factors, some are gonna compress your image horizontally by a factor of two. Meaning that you would see twice the amount of stuff on either side than you would with a normal lens.
That would be a 2x anamorphic. This lens compresses the image by a factor of 1.33X, which means you get about 30% more field of view on either side of the image.
When I shoot anamorphic on my GH4, which has a 16/9 sensor. I end up getting a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. It actually gives me 2.36444 something what we're just gonna say 2.35.
Something to keep in mind, you will need some way to de-squeeze the image while you're shooting. Because it's a little distracting to stare at a squished image when you're trying to pull focus. You're definitely gonna want to use a monitor or something with a de-squeeze function.
These lenses come in a few different mounts, I've got an X mount and E mount, I've got the Micro Four Thirds mount. Because GH4/G7.
The anamorphic look
Anamorphic has certain characteristics that create that iconic anamorphic look. It goes beyond just seeing more stuff.
With a traditional spherical lens the out-of-focus areas, have the typical round bouquet the lens renders the image fairly realistically.
With an anamorphic lens you get the distinct oval-shaped waterfall bouquet. This isn't the highlights, it's it's everything. Everything that's out of focus gets that stretched quality.
It gives your images a more impressionistic artful look, rather than the true-to-life realistic look that you'd get from a spherical lens. The stronger the squeeze factor on the lens, the more of that stretchy out-of-focus bouquet effect you get.
And then there's also the characteristic horizontal lens flare that stretches across the image
The aperture ring is super small. I feel like I fat-finger that thing. Every time I want to adjust the aperture it would be nice if it were just a little bigger, just a little bit...
The widest I'd go is f/4, maybe have f/3.2 like a third or stuff. Any wider than that and it's crazy soft.
But at the same is true for most lenses, you never want to shoot wide open, you want to stop down at least one or two stops to get the best performance.
The focus ring has no gears, this is probably the biggest gripe I have with the lens. The long focus throw is nice but without focus gears I can’t attach a follow focus, which means I have to pull focus by hand. Or stuff to get a smooth pull by hand. You could get one of those cheap focus gear adapters, but in my experience, those tend to slip they're just not the best fit.
I would love focus gears but for me this is not a deal breaker. I know many of you out there may not use a follow focus so this won't be a problem for you.
Who's it for?
The anamorphic look will not make sense for every story that you're trying to tell. In fact, it can be very distracting in some cases if you're shooting like a dramatic scene. You've got this big lens flare just popping over your actors face. It's probably not gonna work right, not a good fit.
If that aesthetic is appropriate, it's gonna be very dependent on the story. You're probably not gonna want to shoot a documentary in anamorphic, I mean I'm sure there have been some shot anamorphic but...
Definitely say an anamorphic syn commercial shoots, definitely music videos. If you do a lot of running gun shooting where if you don't really get the time to do a lot of advance planning for renting lenses, then purchasing an anamorphic. That's affordable, this might be a good fit.
It all comes down to what you're shooting, how you're shooting it, and how often you would be using the lens. Because there's no point in buying Helens if you're not really gonna use it very much.
All things considered for the price, this is actually a really good lens and if you're a beginner trying to get into anamorphic photography.
Without spending a ton of money. This is a really good option. This is just their first lens, I think they're planning to make more of them. I would love to see a set of these because if I'm going on a film shoot or shooting a short. I want more than one focal length, at least three or four.
I am really digging this lens, I've got a couple of YouTube videos coming up that I've shot with it. The short film stay pretty is coming up I've shot a lot of that short film with this lens. Look out for that.
SIRUI is running in Indiegogo campaign for this little guy, if you're interested in hopping on that bus.