So what makes a video cinematic? Is it the lens, the lighting, or the story being told? What if I told you that it's much more than that? It's a culmination of everything that you see in your favorite films, and sometimes it's hard to describe what it truly is. We try to recreate these with the tools we have and honestly, we aren't too far off if we just work on every little element of the film: the way we pick lenses for a certain look, the flowing movements of our cameras, the sounds that immerse ourselves into an environment, and the feeling we try to tell with our stories. Cinematic is an experience that combines every element of filmmaking to feel immersed in a story.
My name is Victor, and this is the Sirui 135mm T 2.9 1.8 full-frame anamorphic lens. It's massive: just look at it and compare it to the size of the FX3, this thing is a beast. But in terms of its size, this is actually one of the smallest - if not the smallest - 135mm anamorphic lens in the market. Sirui is known for putting all the anamorphic elements into a smaller body, that's what they're marketing for. It’s also a more affordable anamorphic lens so that everyone can access this type of lenses. This one is no different in the performance. The 1.8 times squeeze is actually super wide, and it's kind of the anomaly in terms of their full-frame lineup because the whole lineup is 1.6 times crop and this is the only one that's 1.8 times crop.
With my limited experience with anamorphic lenses, coming from 1.33x to 1.8x, it’s like WOW. This is such a different field of view and such a wide aspect ratio. It kind of stimulates your creative juices because you're now composing a little differently with a wider aspect ratio, and it's always fun. Whenever you get into a different form or medium of art - no matter if it's a different aspect ratio, a different lens or a different style of shooting - it's always going to stimulate your creativity, like creative problem solving or “how can I make this look better”. So this is what my thoughts are and kind of like my creative approach to shooting with this 135mm lens from Sirui.
One more thing about the focus ring is that it only has a 120-degree focus row, and for such a long focal length - especially when you're trying to focus at T2.9 - it gets very shallow, and it's very sensitive when you're trying to focus. You want maybe a 180-degree throw with this one so that you focus more precisely, but once you shoot with it a few times, you will get used to it, like it's easier to focus, but it would just be nice to have a more precise or a longer focus throw with this lines.
Let's talk about the image quality and the anamorphic characteristics that come from the Sirui so far. The image quality is amazing! I have no doubts that this lens will produce really beautiful images, especially in the right hands. I mean the lens is sharp enough and it's not too mushy. The barrel distortion isn't too much either, it's just subtle. It’s there, but it's one of the characteristics of anamorphic lenses that you can see in movies or TV shows.
One thing though: the anamorphic flares. Some people might like this, whereas some people don’t like it. It’s pretty evident that this lens still shows blue flares and that's what they're kind of going for for this lens. I wish it was like their 35mm carbon fiber one, that one has neutral flares and I wish we had the option of kind of changing the colors of the flares because sometimes it's just too in your face or too distracting for the image to have these flares, especially if you have really big bright sources that it's casting an overall blue tint on a lot of the image.
Overall, you still get a decent anamorphic look with this lens. I think this 135mm lens from Sirui is a specialty lens. If you're just starting to build out your kit, you might be better off getting the 35mm first because that will cover everything you need. you can go wide with it, you can go close-ups with it. This one is more for specific shots. But if you're missing a long telephoto lens in your kit, this might be a good addition because it just offers a unique look, a compression of 135, and a wide field of view offers a lot.
This lens will set you back around $1500, similar to the prices of the other full-frame lenses that they have to offer, which is very cheap in the anamorphic world, especially for a full-frame anamorphic lens. And again, If you're just getting into anamorphic lenses, I suggest getting the 35mm or the 50mm even, and that I would skip this one first; but if you already have the current set, this is a really great addition to that set.