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Best Anamorphic option for Full Frame 5D Mark 3?


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I have a 5d3 and am new to anamorphic shooting.


Getting ahold of an Isco 54 will be difficult, and probably out of my budget, lol..

So I've been looking at the Vid-Atlantic Isco's they sell for $849 with the clamp kits..

The videos they have of it in use with the Mark 2 look kind of like they were shot in

the 70's though, so I was curious if anyone had some experience with the Vid-Atlantic

adapters and could vouch for them, or if someone had a better solution?


I'm trying to stay under a thousand dollars..  


I thoI thought this one looked great with the Kowa 16D, but I've heard bad opinions also..




(Favorite shot @ 00:37)


Also this one:




Both shot on a Kowa 16D.

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Kowa for Bell&Howell (its the best quality kowa out there) will be much better for the 5D3 & they go for about £300 - it really is about as close as you're going to get to an iscorama (just as sharp, can use taking lens wide open, but dual focus).

Taking lens will have to be 85mm or above, but the anamorphic will give you a wider field of view similar to a 35 or 50mm lens - can't remember which.

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I'm a bit new into anamorphics, and work with a 5d3 as well. My first lens was the Kowa B&H. Dual focus is really challenging at the beginning, but you get the hang of it after a while. You'll also need double focus for vid-atlantic's iscos.


I can't tell for sure about how easy will be to find a Bell and Howell lately, since they vanished from eBay... This made the prices increase as well.


As for vignetting, anything above 85mm is clear (it gives you the field of view around 45mm, to be accurate). It is possible to use it with a helios (58mm), but, I'd say the distortion here is MUCH worse than any vignetting.


A good (and cheaper, usually) option is the Sankor 16-D.

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never buy an optic based on a video or film clip it is bonkers.

never believe a seller.

collect information and base a purchase decision based on that.

do not believe most bloggers most are paid hack sacks some talented many free loading opportunists looking for money and gear kickbacks.

andrew who runs this site is one of the few you can trust  as his passion outweighs financial gain.

better to walk away from a sale than jump in with doubts.

if your skint sankor 16d,16c 16f..

if you want a bit of 70s sweetness kowa bell howell,16h or 8z..


you mention bad opinions about kowa 16d bad opinions from who.

no disrespect but probably idiots who have a bad old optic that has been taken apart.


kowa made the 2nd most expensive anamorphic after iscorama..

kowa designers where fantastic technicians and japan had super high quality control standards.

they simply cannot be blamed for 30 year old battered optics being sold on ebay with 0 care history over the period.

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I have the same camera owning the Kowa 8Z. You have to do your own research and be both patient and diligent at the same time. It's true everybody is an expert and they really know nothing! So who do you believe? I feel fortunate to discover Andrew's site. I am no expert but I like many on this forum want to learn and grow.

With that said I highly recommend buying Andrew's anamorphic guide. It really is invaluable. This is why it is worth it: when I first read it I was skeptical about some of the information pertaining to buying. I kept reading and rereading the guide, constantly searching ebay. I saw a glass that was interesting and most importantly cheap- I referenced it with Andrew's guide and the book labeled the glass I saw as don't buy. Initially this was hard because I was desperate to get started shooting anamorphic. It took couple of months of constantly searching and referring back to the guide before I finally came across the Kowa that I have.

My point: the guide is invaluable because it PROVES invaluable. The amount of research in the guide saved me from making costly mistakes. Also, you are at the best forum because the folks here respond quickly and their advice is sound and I appreciate that they explain the reason behind their advice.

So here's my advice: buy the guide, constantly search ebay, be patient, and continue to ask questions,like you are doing now. This is what has worked for me.

Glad to see another mark 3 user!!!
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It really depends on what you want. I had a Singer 16D, which is similar to the Kowas afaik. It was pretty sharp, 2x, decent bokeh. I was shooting on a 1.6x crop and had to use lenses over 50mm b/c of vignetting. I settled on a 75mm taking lens (didn't have anything in between 50mm and 75mm). Easy to use as far as dual focusing goes.


I picked up one of those golden bricks (Schneider 2x) on ebay. Andy Lee is 100% correct about it being sharp. That thing is totally sharp. You wouldn't even know there was glass inside. And, it can take wider taking lenses. I haven't done a thorough test yet, but it easily takes my 50mm, I could probably go down to about 40mm with my 1.6 crop. There are three big downsides with this lens:


  1. Heavy (about 600g)
  2. Focusing is a pain if you get the screw version
  3. Bokeh will not come out round depending on which version you get (you can fix this via DIY project)
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IMO the best bit of advice is to forget trying to gain wide angle as you would do normally with a full frame sensor and typical lenses.


a good f2.8 85mm or even a 135mm f2.8 zeiss will be beautiful and will yield good results on most half decent anamorphics and use the centre of the glass, and thus will likely help tone down some of the drawbacks created by a full frame sensor - they have a habit of being less forgiving on anamorphics (which most are designed for 8mm or 16mm sensor area).


85mm 2.8 would be a great standard prime and would create a very cinematic look on portrait shots similar to the look you would get with a 50mm on super35mm sensor size

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I'd also suggest, for folks with full-frame sensors, they might consider just embracing the aesthetic of full frame, which is, ideally, nearly as different from standard 35mm motion pictures as anamorphic photography is.  It's already got an impact advantage and one that's easier for less sensitive viewers to still appreciate when shooting daylight photography.


Anamorphic on full frame, with almost all of the available adapters, is the most compromised setup you can build, largely because there isn't a lot of precedent for anamorphic at this size.  65mm options were crazy big and the least anamorphic of all of the standards.

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Burnet I don't think practicality is part of the whole, 'projection anamorphics on DSLRs' thing is it? ;)


Germy1979 I would honestly look for a Panasonic AGLA7200 as you will be able to use a wider variety of lenses, and indeed wider lenses, than most of the alternatives.

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Germy1979 I would honestly look for a Panasonic AGLA7200 as you will be able to use a wider variety of lenses, and indeed wider lenses, than most of the alternatives.

width is pretty pointless when you can't get a single shot sharp and all with horrible CA.  The LA7200 struggles on APs-c, let alone a full frame sensor.  It seems to be a regular point I try to make, but IMO just because a lens doesnt vignette doesnt mean its actually providing a decent image.  LA7200 will result in the thread starter having to resort to f11 on his wide lens, meaning everything will be in focus from infinity to 2ft.  with no option for any selective focus.

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Or he could do like, 2 seconds of research and get some diopters. Then you can get sharp focus at f2.8 and use wider lenses.


LOL.  Diopters...  So his affordable LA7200 then turns into a £1000+ system due to needing 90mm+ achromats in order to gain your so called benefit of width.  He said that the price of an iscorama is not viable so why would spending a lot of money on top of his initial purchase be any different?


I'm very aware of the use of diopters, and the fact that the LA7200 is just about the most diopter unfriendly anamorphic solution there. is...  



But that's ok, you weren't to know richg101.


I'm not going to sink to your level by trying to be condescending.  Don't get so upset when people question your advice.

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I think what comes almost as wide as LA7200, and way easier to put diopters in front for close ups, wide apertures and longer lenses would be Optex, or Century, right?

indeed. I see next to no difference in image quality between samples i have seen of either the LA7200 or the optex/century. The ability to go wider on the la7200 seems to be the reason they command a high price. though in any case large sensors + wide lenses + big apertures + 16:9 converters = image quality issues no matter what diopter is used. Just my opinion, but i certainly wouldnt be willing to fork out the going rate of £400 for a century/optex + £200-250 for a tokina if the results were going to be as sub par as i have seen from movies shot with them on the 5dmk2 and 3. I actually love the century 16:9 at f5.6 - f8 in daylight with a 35mm taking lens on a aps-c sensor, but feel the optical detail is only just there (coming from a lucky owner of a iscorama). I imagine even better results would come from a 25mm on m4/3. IMO the full frame sensor needs an iscorama , LOMO or other big boy in order to yield results worth the expense, effort and hassle.

If your plan is to optically de-coat a century, optex or la7200, use it on a 35mm taking lens at f5.6 or smaller apertures and use a tokina +0.4, using a sensor of aps-c or smaller I think this is a lovely idea to get softer, lomo-esq style. And is something I am personally thinking of doing to replace the cumbersome Iscorama

ps. I have owned and used a Century 16:9 converter.
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Burnet I don't think practicality is part of the whole, 'projection anamorphics on DSLRs' thing is it? ;)


I didn't say a thing about practicality.  I said compromised.  Any solution that enforces an 85mm+ scenario I consider an expensive toy.  If you insist though, there certainly isn't anything "practical" about spending thousands to shoot VIMEO uploads that make the bokeh-boys go "oooh" and "ahhh".

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But isn't vimeo and bokeh the main goal Burnet? ;) And lens flares. Don't forget lens flares.


IMO the full frame sensor needs an iscorama , LOMO or other big boy in order to yield results worth the expense, effort and hassle.


Nothing is going to work as well as Iscoramas on full frames. Lomos are designed for 35mm motion picture film which is half frame anyway and aren't worth the trouble until we have 4:3 sensors. But I reckon now the Alexa has gone 4:3 there will be a move back to that sensor ratio from everyone else.




I'm trying to stay under a thousand dollars..  


I'm not sure you will keep to that. Anamorphics seem to be a slippery slope dude.


For me at least the thing with the LA7200 and diopters is that even shelling out for the adapter and a 138mm .5 filter and +1 achromat will still be cheaper than an Isco these days. Hell, I'm looking for someone to rehouse the adapter and make it more matte box friendly so I can just drop diopters in but even paying for that conversion I'll still be significantly under the price of an Iscorama.

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Basically it's really expensive because it's now popular, but no-one has yet made new products to address demand.


In classic eBay style some big far-eastern shops are buying up everything then releasing them one by one at exploitative prices that no one is actually willing to pay. Same with some legacy stills glass. These shops are trying to artificially push up the price by engineering rarity and legend, and some people have more money than sense and encourage it.


Luckily, many people get bored of playing with anamorphics quickly unless they're very dedicated, since they're hard to use, so stuff appears from time to time. The sad thing is that these are often snapped up by the aforementioned stores who are going to charge twice as much for it, or just leave it on a shelf.


If you look at the difference in price between lenses that actually sold at auction and what some shops charge for buy it now prices it's startling. There's some really greedy and rather silly stores on eBay. Sometimes other shooters sell on forums, that can be a good way to do business.

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Although, sometimes you get those lifetime-chances on ebay as well! More than once I've seen very expensive lenses sold cheap due to seller's lack of info or research. For example, I've paid $1400 for an Isco-54. Mostly, I see them go for more than $3k.


These occasions only reinforce the addiction to constantly check Saved Searches. :P

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