As you go on your journey into filmmaking, you learn to try everything. You learn to try new cameras, try new techniques and try new experiences. But, I feel like I have unfinished business, I feel like there's one thing I haven't done, one stone I've left unturned... Until I found this.
Anamorphic lenses are either one or both of these things. They're either really big bulky, and heavy or they're ungodly expensive.
But the SIRUI 35 millimeter T2.9 1.6x squeeze for the Sony E-mount, that's a mouthful. Is actually none of those two things.
Now this anamorphic lens does have everything that you would expect from Cinema glass. It's fully manual, you have your markings for your feet and your meters as well. And you also have an aperture ring with all of your readings on there right up into T2.9, all the way down to T16.
This lens is made out of carbon fiber, it honestly a lot smaller than what I expected coming out of the box. I have pretty decently sized hands, and this is maybe an index finger to the middle of my palm.
Now it does have a focus throw of 120 degrees which makes it a lot easier to manual focus by hand. But you could still use a follow focusing system for this lens. On top of that the front element is going to look a little bit different than some of the lenses you're used to.
SIRUI lenses usually have circular elements, but this one has a little bit of a shape to it. Which is going to help with the anamorphic look.
It does have a 58 millimeter filter thread, which is great in some aspects. But also kind of sucks in others. The 58 millimeter filter thread means the lens overall going to be smaller in size, more compact. And you're going to have the ability for cheaper filters, however, on things like using matte boxes like the Tilted Mirage, or even some of the small rig ones. It's going to be hard to find the rings that are necessary for the 50 millimeter length.
In fact, I do have to use step-up rings to step up into one of the filter rings for my Tilted Mirage. Because my Sony FX30 doesn't have built-in ND filters, when I put the matte box on it, it actually does cause a little bit of vignetting. Which means I either have to punch it in post or use clear image zoom in order to kind of remove that.
So if you guys are new to anamorphic lenses, they do have something called a squeeze factor.
The SIRUI anamorphic lens does have a 1.6X squeeze factor, which means the horizontal sides are going to have more information than something like a spherical lens like my G-Master 35 millimeter. When you compare the two of them together, you do notice that there's more information on the horizontal.
In fact, if you divide your focal length by your squeeze factor, you're going to have more of a 22 millimeter field of view in the anamorphic lens with a 35 by SIRUI.
So let's actually talk about image quality.
In the quantitative sense in terms of what the image quality actually is you're going to have something called an anamorphic aspect ratio.
We mentioned de-squeezing before, but what you have to do is actually stretch the footage, because in your monitor it's going to kind of look like a smushed up mess.
This is going to give you that look of a wider screen field of view, especially when you're adapting it to 16/9, which you're probably watching on this video right now.
Now let's actually talk about some of the images that this lens actually produces. I do actually like them quite a bit.
In terms of the sharpness, it doesn't feel like it's overly done or it's super clinically clean. It actually reminds me a lot of when I use the DZO Primes, where you still have contrast, you still have a bit of sharpness, but the edges don't look super sharp. The whites don't look super crisp and clean. But I also don't find that it's leaning a little bit too warm or too cool, overall it's just a pleasing look that doesn't look overdone from a sharpness perspective.
Something that a lot of people look for in anamorphic lenses is going to be having oval bokeh, and having pincushion distortion.
In a couple clips that I did find if you are looking for ovular bokeh, that's super pronounced. This might not be a lens that you're looking for.
In terms of pin cushion distortion, I didn't actually notice it super obviously in my face. But that's also because I use clear image zoom a lot of the time to get extra reach out of this lens, on both the Sony FX6 and the FX30. However when I am using the full aspect ratio, and lines are supposed to be straight around the edges. They do bokeh a little bit.
We're going to talk about flaring.
Speaking completely honest with you, I kind of didn't care about the SIRUI anamorphic line of lenses. Particularly because a lot of the lenses had a blue flare and a blue streak, no matter what color the light sources that I was using actually was.
For me personally, I wasn't a big fan of the blue flaring streaks especially if my light sources didn't match up to how it looked. But with a SIRUI Saturn anamorphic lenses, the flaring actually feels really neutral and it also adopts the color of the light source that it's actually flaring from.
Some people might like this and some people might not. But personally for me, I like subtlety with a little bit of style.
So not having super pronounced flares that are in your face and almost distracting to your image is something that I actually like a lot about this lens. While keeping the anamorphic aspect ratio, which overall for me personally gives me the look that I'm looking for.
It's also without saying that these lenses have great color reproduction, and also has a great highlight roll-off.
Now I do have to use an external monitor and able to de-squeeze the footage while I'm actually recording. At first I was a little bit concerned because the highlights looked a little bit blown out. But once I got this into DaVinci Resolve and I started color grading the footage. This is a really nice highlight roll off in a lot of these images, and the color grading for a lot of this footage was actually really easy and it looked really good.
Now this lens for me is personally going to be a game changer, and a lot of my personal projects or my clients let me I'm probably gonna go anamorphic. However this lens is not completely without fault and like other things there's stuff I'm not a big fan of.
For one, it's actually going to be the squeeze factor of 1.6X. Now from what I understand the higher the squeeze factor, the better your image is going to look with using anamorphic lenses. However when I am using the Atomos Ninja 5 monitor, there actually isn't a 1.6X setting, in terms of viewing your footage in anamorphic. Which also means that I'm gonna have to use 1.5 in pretty much hope for the best. However the Holly Land Mars M1 does have a 1.6X de-squeeze, so that might be 1.8 versus the Atomos Ninja 5, however it would have just been nice if it was something that most monitors actually have.
Now speaking of that 1.6X squeeze factor, even when I go into DaVinci Resolve, there isn't a preset settings to set all of my footage to de-squeeze at 1.6X. However if you are a DaVinci Resolve user, and you want to de-squeeze your 1.6X footage. All you have to do is unlock your zoom parameters in X and Y, and change your y value to 0.635 times in order to de-squeeze your footage properly.
Now this isn't a fault of the lens itself, but if you do want to shoot a project anamorphic you actually probably need more than one of the anamorphic lenses.
With a 35 millimeter Saturn lens being the only one available in that type for the SIRUI system. It becomes a little bit difficult to shoot an entire project with it, because it's going to have that 22 millimeter field of view with a de-squeeze factor on 35 millimeters. Images are going to appear pretty wide, so if you are trying to get variety of shots from close-ups tights and mediums, you only have this one lens to rely on if you want to keep all the characteristics out of the Saturn 35 millimeter. I just wish that SIRUI actually came out with something like a 50 and a 75, just like the new full frame anamorphics that they've already released.
The minimum focusing distance for the SIRUI anamorphic lens is about three feet, which means that getting close-ups are going to be almost impossible. However there is one way that you can get close-up shots when you only have the one lens that you're working with. That's actually using diopters or close-up filters.
Diopter or close-up filters basically go on the front of your lens to actually help close in that minimum focusing distance. If ND filters are more like sunglasses for your lens, then diopter's close-up filters are kind of like magnifying lenses.
You could put these in different strengths from a one stop, a two-stop or even a 10 stop depending on how macro you actually want to get your shot. Diopters are easy to find and they're actually really affordable as well.
T2.9 isn't an aperture used necessarily sleep on, however it's not the best in low light if you are in much darker situations.
Using my Sony FX6 while I was testing this lens, I did actually have to use a lot of shots at 12800 ISO. And if you're not using a camera with a high base ISO and great low light performance this might be a lens that might give you a little bit of trouble.
At T2.9, you're able to cover a lot of situations if they're well lit and they're well set up, but if you are in a much darker situation the T2.9 might not be the best for you. Also if you watched my low light video, one of the tips I say is to light your scenes and honestly that's exactly what I did for all of the testing for this video.
Lastly like a ton of other things, once you go anamorphic, you probably can't go back.
Anamorphic footage has a unique aspect ratio, it gives you the most information on the horizontal sides of your frame. You can use spherical lenses instead, and use the anamorphic bars like a lot of creators end up doing. However you are going to lose a ton of information during that process on the top and bottom of your image.
So if you are shooting a project with an anamorphic lens, you're going to have to be okay with accepting the fact and committing to using anamorphic for the entire project.
I do love the anamorphic aspect ratio, but the flaring is so neutral that sometimes it's almost not in existent. I do wish that even when having brighter light sources in my image that I got a little bit more flare out of it. Especially because it adopts the colors of the lights I'm actually flaring to.
We haven't even mentioned price yet, but the time of this video it's about $1,299 and I still categorize that in the affordable Cinema lens category.You guys might think that $1,300 USD is a lot for a lens, and honestly you wouldn't be wrong in certain situations.
But compared to other lenses that are anamorphic in the market, they're incredibly cheap by comparison while still getting a lot of that anamorphic look at the same time. If you haven't noticed by now, I definitely recommend getting this lens and adding it to your kit.
You can have a lot of fun with the images. It has a great look and if you are into the anamorphic look this is a great place to start.