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Skylight

Paid work- Anamorphic Lens vs Adapter vs Fake

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Hello!

I’m new to anamorphic shooting but I’ve been researching for the last 8 months to trying make a decision. Hoping for a recommendation. Here’s my situation:

I shoot on RED and Blackmagic Pocket Cinema 6K. I work with mid-budget clients, mostly with Canon Cinema lenses and a great set of vintage Canon FDs (which I love!).  Most of my projects are simple commercials and corporate videos though a few times a year I get a project where I think anamorphics would be ideal. I also live in a location where rentals are really inconvenient and time consuming to pick up, so that isn’t ideal. A purchase really is my best bet.

Because I’d be using the lens or adapter on paid, mid-budget work they may or may not be run-and-gun, I’d like something that is sharp, with nice pronounced flares and single focus. Weight isn’t a huge factor.

One more thing, I have a potential project with a generous budget that would cover most of the cost of one new Xelmus or Atlas Orion lens, or a nice Iscorama or something. The third option would be a full set of Ironglass anamorfakes.

Having not used anything, I’d love to hear other people’s opinions on my situation. The idea of a full lens is appealing, but I couldn’t afford a full set, so perhaps a really nice adapter with some diopters and use my Canon FDs as taking lenses? The Ironglass anamorfakes seem like a good option- easy to use and fairly inexpensive so I could get a full set. I’m just not sure if they are suitable for client work.

My apologies for the long post. Any thoughts are welcome!

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I would! But I’m in an area that doesn’t really have any options for rentals and driving to the big city isn’t really feasible on a regular basis.

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Assuming you're going for a 2.4:1 aspect ratio, 2x anamorphic is designed to fill about 18mm of sensor height before desqueeze I believe, so with a 15.8mm high sensor you can factor in a 1.14 crop factor. Which isn't too bad. More crop on the pocket 6k.

I think there's no right answer, it's totally subjective. I don't think the Iscorama has a strong enough effect to meet a client's need for an anamorphic look, but it does look really good and perform really well. In your shoes I'd probably get a 40mm Xelmus or Atlas I think (the Xelmus looks like it might be based on the vintage Panavision designs, so I lean toward that but rent both first) but it's a matter of taste... 

I'm still in the rent camp. The SLR Magic 1.3 stretch lenses with PL mount do a remarkably good imitation of true 2x anamorphic and have come way down in price, but I find them a bit bizarre.

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Get the BMPCC4K to perfectly complement your BMPCC6K, then get the entire set of Vazen Anamorphic Primes. 

Even once you add up the cost of the new camera plus buying an entire set of Vazen primes (only two out now, but a 3rd is coming along "soon"), this is still cheaper than buying a single Xelmus lens!

Wouldn't having a new camera and a set of anamorphics be more fun than having just one lonely Xelmus lens?

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That’s an interesting idea. I hadn’t looked into the SLR Magic lenses as I assumed they were MFT. They might be a good option! When you say that imitate anamorphic, what do you mean?

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5 hours ago, Skylight said:

That’s an interesting idea. I hadn’t looked into the SLR Magic lenses as I assumed they were MFT. They might be a good option! When you say that imitate anamorphic, what do you mean?

SLR magic made these monstrosities that combine anamor-fake with a real 1.3X anamorphic lens and from what I've seen it's the best imitation of the real thing where you don't need to crop the sides and would work well on the 6k:

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1233200-REG/slr_magic_slr_ac35133pl_35mm_1_33x_anamorphot_cine_lens.html

So you unstretch by 1.3 but it looks like 2x. 

I can't really recommend buying them because they're so weird. But in my limited experience they do an uncannily accurate imitation. I would mistake them for real 2x, but weird 2x. Weird edges and CA, and sort of a harsh look. But then with modern flares. I strongly considered renting them for my own personal project, but just renting them....

I'd still rent–the differences between anamorphic lenses are way bigger than those between Nikkors and Cookes or FDs and Zeiss. 

The Kowa evolutions look pretty awesome, though, as does the 40mm Xelmus. If I were in your shoes and could get away with just one focal length, I might go with either of those, but I would never recommend it as a good idea. And those are two of the only options I have no experience with (worked at least a bit with Lomo, Cooke, SLR magic, Iscorama, C Series, T series, never with Kowa or Xelmus except a Kowa 2x adapter, which I loved).

Edit: I missed the M43 options but those might be your best bet with a P4k!

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Hmm, we’ll since renting is not really in the cards due to my location, maybe I go the adapter route. 
 

My biggest concern is usability and sharpness. I move pretty fast on set so a double focus system is right out. Since the budget for the project will pretty well pay for any adapter, I’d love recommendations on a good option for paid client work that would be simple to use on set or location.

Any advice would be amazing!

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I'm a big advocate of faking it. Get a spare samyang set and install fakes on all the lenses. Done, focus super quick, big aperture, sharp images. Works fine with gimbals. Boom.

Another option is to get the Sirui 50/1.8 and be creative about simulating other focal lengths with it. I have a video about the subject coming up in a few weeks. :)

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Thanks Tito! I’ve been following your stuff for months (it’s incredible!). I appreciate you weighing in and love that you’re a fellow Canadian!


Why do you recommend the Samyang primes for modding? Is this a better option than the Ironglass lenses?

Thanks in advance!

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21 hours ago, Skylight said:

Thanks Tito! I’ve been following your stuff for months (it’s incredible!). I appreciate you weighing in and love that you’re a fellow Canadian!


Why do you recommend the Samyang primes for modding? Is this a better option than the Ironglass lenses?

Thanks in advance!

Thank you! 😄

I like the Samyang because they're much more neutral than the Ironglass and in the end you might end up spending way less plus having full control over the mods. There's also Contax, or even a Russian set, but the Samyangs are guaranteed to work fine with your clients.

Check out www.anamorfakeit.com for more info and samples and a guide!

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Double focus has a bit of a learning curve but once you get the hang of it (and get good at estimating distances) it’s not too bad. You only need a single focus diopter for video use

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On 3/26/2020 at 8:49 PM, 0072731ed8 said:

Double focus has a bit of a learning curve but once you get the hang of it (and get good at estimating distances) it’s not too bad. You only need a single focus diopter for snaptube vidmate video use

You only need a single focus diopter

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I’d probably rent if it’s a fairly high paying job. Although, I never rent usually, and always want to keep whatever I use on a shoot, hehe.

 

I have been using DIY anamorphic for about 7 or so years. I use an Iscorama pre36, but have used other 2x in the past. Nowadays I mix the Iscorama with a modified prime lens to enhance the oval characteristics. I attached some stills from a recent music video to give you an idea of the iscorama.

 

and here is some old footage shot with a Sun 2x which I got for £30 - 

 

So here’s some examples of DIY anamorphic in controlled settings, and I think it can really shine. So if you want to keep an anamorphic for all future projects, deffo look into an Iscorama or a 2x setup with rapido clamp, or the aviascope seems OK. Then you have a variety of taking lenses to choose from, and it’s cheap !!

But you could always rent a set for the shoot, but I always think that I wanna keep it and use it whenever I want, hence me going the DIY route. Purchasing a single anamorphic prime is also tempting, but it really depends on your budget.

 

C6631580-DC62-4EB0-8878-7025038B7864.jpeg

6C53B395-A7FE-4A5C-8203-470167A4A2D9.jpeg

CF7FD9E4-1BAC-4162-B30D-9A7116F37915.jpeg

F7CA4600-ADA6-41D1-B685-4EB250556A5B.jpeg

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