SLR Magic Prototype Anamorphic footage and feedback request


Above: A message from Andrew of SLR Magic

SLR Magic are stepping into the world of anamorphic lenses. Developed afresh, this will be a 100% new custom designed anamorphic lens for filmmakers but priced accessibly for DSLR filmmakers as well as pros. The footage above is from the early prototype and I have been speaking to Andrew Chan of SLR Magic about the early development of the lens.

The research at SLR Magic on anamorphic has gathered pace (with Andrew buying a multitude of Iscorama lenses including the big beast ’54’ back at Photokina). Now they have the first prototype lens ready in Hong Kong. I’ve sent my feedback to SLR Magic about what I’d like to see in a new anamorphic lens and now it is you turn to have a say.

At the moment the prototype is designed to give the most common Cinemscope standard aspect ratio of 2.35:1 from DSLRs which shoot in the TV format of 16:9. I have learnt to enjoy the more extreme 2x stretch / squeeze from my LOMO and Isco Centa Vision lens but the 2.35:1 aspect ratio is certainly more of a standard than the very wide 3.55:1 you get from a 2x lens.

Most Iscoramas are 1.5x which produces 2.66:1 (1920×720 if shooting HD and squeezing in post).

This is a 1.33x lens, the same as the popular LA7200.

Unlike the Panasonic LA7200 however which was designed for the small chip classic DVX100, this lens will be a proper focussing anamorphic like the Kowa or Iscorama lenses. The LA7200 was originally designed to turn 4:3 DV camcorders into 16:9 at a time when the widescreen TV format was new.

At the moment the SLR Magic design is an adapter which can be mounted on pretty much any prime but in my feedback I’ve suggested they match it to one of their own lenses and house them together with one focussing barrel. The SLR Magic prototype anamorphic doesn’t vignette until about 25mm on the GH2 which is very impressive for a focussing anamorphic on a large sensor. The best Iscorama 36 vignettes too badly at 25mm on the GH2 – too marginal. I tend to use a 35mm or 50mm the most with my anamorphic adapters and the GH2. (On the Blackmagic Cinema Camera MFT the Iscorama 36 can be used on the Voigtlander 25mm F0.95 without those completely dark corners).

I’m very excited for this new lens, as there’s been nothing new on the prosumer market for absolutely years (possibly even since 4:3 MiniDV was a standard). The new anamorphic offerings from Zeiss for example are very high end offerings designed to compete with Hawk and Panavision at the $25,000+ mark. They’re for Hollywood.

Pricing of this lens will be accessible as are SLR Magic’s other high end lenses. Pricing hasn’t been set yet so I cannot specifics on that other than to say “don’t worry”. The best anamorphic offerings on eBay like the Iscorama 36 and LOMO round-fronts are fetching between $3000 and $7000 now and this lens is not at all close to that price range thankfully.

I’m impressed with how sharp this prototype anamorphic is at F2.0.

Be sure to post your feedback on what kind of anamorphic lens you want to see from SLR Magic in the comments below or on the Vimeo clip!