This is the Sirui 35mm 1.6x full-frame anamorphic lens. I've always been a huge fan of anamorphic lenses. To me it adds a nostalgic quality that is a little bit ephemeral and hard to put your finger on. It gives an interesting texture and feeling to the image that is a bit subconscious but it takes your image just another step further towards greatness. This lens comes in at 1299 dollars, which is decently expensive. But considering that it's the smallest and lightest full-frame anamorphic lens that you can possibly buy, I think the price is pretty reasonable.
This lens is a 35mm 1.6x squeeze full-frame anamorphic lens. Anamorphic lenses squeeze more information on the sides of the image. Typical focal lengths that you don't expect to be wide on full frame will end up being extremely wide and anamorphic. This 35mm lens has a roughly 22mm horizontal field of view on full frame. I'm constantly on the hunt for smaller and lighter equipment. Having small and light gear is just so much more freeing when using it, and the fact that we have a sub-400g full-frame anamorphic lens blows my mind. We absolutely need more lenses like this in the future. This lens shows me the potential of Sirui and I really hope they continue to produce this line of lenses.
This Lens comes in two variants: the blue flares and the neutral flares. I think the neutral flares are the way to go with this lens, thanks to which it has so much more character and feels more like a high-end anamorphic lens. Blue flares are a little bit overdone for me, especially on the less expensive lenses they don't seem to look as good. These neutral flares are amazing. I hope that anamorphic lenses in the future come with the option of either cool or neutral flares. They're much warmer, they give the image a more vintage feel, and just further enforces that vintage nostalgic quality of anamorphic that I love so much.
One of the defining characteristics of this lens is its distortion. It actually has very pronounced pincushion distortion. It’s not a very common type of distortion to see in spherical lenses, however, it's not that uncommon to see in anamorphic lenses.
The main benefit of using a lens with higher squeeze factor like 1.6x as opposed to 1.33x is that you get a little bit more of an anamorphic look in the bokeh. Bokeh is one of the most defining characteristics of the anamorphic look, and higher squeeze factor yields more anamorphic looking bokeh. Oval shaped bouquet is due to the squeeze factor of the lens, so the higher the squeeze factor, the more oval shaped the bokeh will look.
The biggest drawback with this lens is its minimum focus distance. This isn't just an issue with this lens in particular, but anamorphic lenses as a whole. Due to the construction of anamorphic lenses, close focusing is a little bit more difficult to achieve mechanically. The minimum focus distance of this lens is 0.9 meters, which is not very close, especially considering this lens has a 22mm field of view. You can't really get very close up with this lens without using diopters. If they could make this lens focus even closer, and sacrifice a little bit of the weight or image quality to do so, I think that would be a benefit overall.
Sirui went from making tripods to making some of the cleanest and best looking lenses that you can get for the money. I'm constantly impressed by the quality of Sirui lenses. The anamorphic lenses that I've used from theirs so far have all been extremely sharp and devoid of chromatic aberration. My hope for the future is that Sirui can make an entire line of these extremely light and compact anamorphic lenses. They would be absolutely perfect for the way that I work, and I think there would be a gigantic hit.
Five to ten years ago, anamorphic lenses were just not accessible to the everyday person. Anamorphic has such a vintage nostalgic characteristic to footage that it's so cool that it's accessible to more people now. If you're looking to minimize your kit and looking for the smallest and lightest full-frame anamorphic lens possible, you've found it.