This lens turns your life into a movie

 

[Victor Laforteza] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JU7IJab2XC8 

 

Have you ever shot through a lens that turned your life into a movie? I’ve always tried to achieve that wide look by cropping my videos to be cinematic. But with anamorphic lenses, it just does it for you. I’ve been in search of something creative to pair up with the fx30, and I think this Sirui 24mm anamorphic lens might be it, so I took it out for a spin. I wanted to test it in low light to see if it looked good. It was quite a challenge because we were limited to F2.8, but we made it work by going into higher ISO values for the Sony fx30.

 

Overview

The Sirui 24mm F2.8 anamorphic lens is my first anamorphic lens, and I paired it up with the Sony fx30, which is a beast of a combo. This lens gives your footage a really interesting character, and it’s reminiscent of Hollywood films. Many films are shot on anamorphic - not necessarily the Sirui ones - but costly ones, like the Orion anamorphic and the Arri anamorphic. Most of the anamorphic lenses that I use in Hollywood are big and heavy, and the Sirui lenses are budget and smaller. Indeed, they are a bit heavier and longer than the photo lenses we are so used to, but they are really light and small in this category.

 

What I recommend for shooting with anamorphic lenses is to have a monitor or a video app transmitter that has a de-squeeze function. Since this one is 1.33x, you can see what it actually looks like rather than the stretched-out version compared to what we have on the camera’s LCD. Using an anamorphic lens gives you an interesting bokeh and makes the flares appear like lines, which for some people, is what counts as cinematic things.

 

Things to know before shooting with anamorphic lenses

Firstly, the minimum focus distance is actually further than the photo lenses we’re used to, which is due to how the optics are designed. To combat this, all you have to do is use a diopter.

 

The second thing is that anamorphic lenses usually have slow apertures. This Sirui one has F2.8, which is a bit tough in low light, so we had to increase the ISO levels on the sample footage. It totally works; you just have to watch out for the noise. Other Sirui APS-C anamorphic lenses have faster apertures (e.g., F1.8) and work well in low lights.

 

Another thing to keep in mind: anamorphic lenses aren’t as tack sharp as the photo lenses we were used to. Again the lack of sharpness is a good trade-off to get the cinematic anamorphic characteristics that we’re looking for in our videos.

 

Build quality

This lens is built like a tank: full metal body construction, with the focus ring perfectly smooth and the clickless aperture ring so that you don’t accidentally change the aperture while shooting and manually handling the lens. Since these lenses are also manual focus, you have to rely on your focusing skills. (*tips: use focus peaking in camera/monitor)

 

Spherical vs. Anamorphic

Distortion. Although it’s not a fair comparison between the 24mm G Master lens - which is one of the best lenses from Sony - and the Surui anamorphic budget option, the lines on Sirui lens actually distorted. It’s quite drastically different. If I’m shooting narratives or looking for an anamorphic look, this Sirui lens can be used as a creative choice. If you’re using anamorphic lenses anyway, you will get into a shoot knowing that this is a characteristic that appears on anamorphic lenses. Also, I compared it at the minimal focus distance and the 24mm photo lens versus another focusing distance, then compared that again to the 24mm G Master lens to see if the de-squeeze was actually changing.

 

What would I use this lens for

This anamorphic lens would be great for fashion films; it will give you a movie-like look. I feel like it’s one of the best options for lower-budget fashion film because the lens itself can elevate your look.

I usually shoot product videos, corporate commercial work and branded social media content. I think any industry out there can use anamorphic lenses if the style and the project brief call for it.

 

Conclusion

Sirui offers a lot of characteristics in this 24mm F2.8 anamorphic lens. Despite its minor setbacks, it’s still a really good budget anamorphic lens that pairs up with the fx30.


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