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Anamorphic newbie..
  • Hi guys! :)
    I think this is really nice community that is able to help each other..
    I have hackable GH1 .. and I'm preparing for a really large project next month and I think this is the right time for the anamorphic lens for my GH1..
    First .. There are two types of anamorphic lens squeeze, right? 2,0X and 1,5X? .. what is the general output difference here? Like the final aspect ratio?

    And second thing.. I decided to buy a anamorphic lens for my GH1 of the eBay.. and I need some good tips for cheap (you know.. I don't have lot of money as a digital multimedia, motion advertising and motion picture student at this moment) anamorphic lens and also some converter (adapter) (?) to mount it on GH1? I really have no idea how this works.. so maybe you can help me to get started with this stuff.. :-) Basically, I need a great anamorphic setup for a lower price (I really don't have hundreds dollars for this.. you know) for my GH1..

    So maybe this can be a really helpful information for others, with a idea of buying an anamorphic gear for GH1/GH2..

    Thanks everyone in advance!
  • 63 Replies sorted by
  • Just multiply your current aspect ratio with the anamorphic and you have your result :
    1,78 (16:9) x 2 = 3.58 or in case of a 1.5x anamorphic it's 1,78 x 1,5 = 2.66

    You could film in higher resolution VGA mode at a 4:3 aspect ratio, but i don't recommend it as the resolution is much worse than AVCHD if higher than 1280x720

    So a 1.5 anamorphic is best, but there aren't many around and the good one from Isco is very expensive. Your best chance is a 2x anamorphic probably.
  • And may be even better choice is using normal lenses and cropping. If you need flares, as I understand, people made cheap filters to simulate them (most probably software solutions also exists for this).
  • @ Vitaliy .. well yes.. I can simulate anamorphic flares in post-production, yes I can crop the frame .. but I want to try something new..

    Ok.. for example this lens .. .. It's US $299.00 .. so it's not that expensive..

    Where I can find adapter for lens like this on GH1?
  • I heard good things about LA7200. 1.33x.

    I had thought cropping could simulate anamorphic. I was wrong. Yes it's wider. But there are other aspects that make anamorphic lens special. softer corners, circular bokeh, etc.
  • Doesn't 1.33x convert a 16:9 image to 2.36(ish)? if that's right, that's very close the current standard of theatrical release, which is 2.39... If my maths are correct.

    I have a 1.33 Cambron lens which I used to use to convert 4:3 to 16:9 so maybe I should give it a go on my GH2 to give me 2.36:1.

    I remember it was great to use as it gives you a greater "wide angle" but it didnt like being zoomed in too much. Maybe that's common with all Anamorphic conversion lenses. Up till now I've gone down the crop route but you've all got me intrigued to get that lens out again!
  • There is also the Cinemorph filter:

    This is basically a filter to give you the oval-shaped bokeh and flares you'd get with an anamorphic lens, but you shoot with normal spherical lenses in the 16x9 aspect and crop later if you want.

    The big advantage is you can still easily rack focus so it's great for run-and-gun type shooting. The big disadvantage is you lose about 2 stops of light, and you have to shoot at or above certain focal lengths to avoid vignetting: 50mm on crop sensors, 85mm on full frame.

    I own three legit anamorphics (Kowa 16H and 16D, Panasonic LA7200) and also recently got the Cinemorph. I still think there is a certain look you get with real anamorphic lenses that is impossible to produce simply by cropping and mimicking the bokeh and flares, it has to do with the wider horizontal perspective applied to the same (shorter) vertical perspective; i.e. it is a wider view without feeling like a wider lens. But this is a pretty esoteric difference and for many things, the Cinemorph is also a great tool. I will probably use a mix of the two on future anamorphic projects.

    P.S. The Cinemorph filter is probably easily replicated in DIY fashion if you're so inclined. It's basically combining two ideas, the use of paper cutouts in a filter to alter the shape of bokeh, and the use of a small string to reproduce anamorphic-style flares.
  • It's like 24p argument. Many people are used to with anamorphic movies. No software tricks can replace anamorphic lens. Plus it won't break your bank to own it. I don't have it... yet.
  • The Panatar is well overpriced. Of course, it all depends on what people want to pay for it, but i have seen most panatars go for under 100$
  • Hi, all! I've been reading this site from the sidelines for a month or two now, and I have a GH2. I have been slowly acquiring peripherals (poor film student), and an anamorphic is close to next on my list. I have been closely eyeing the adaptors by Century Optics. (I have recently seen one go for $400 USD on Ebay). Just thought I'd mention this brand. They operate the same as the LA-7200 (that is, no silly focusing on both lenses. Just stick it on the front of your prime and start shooting.) They're a tad more expensive, but that seems worth it for the much improved ease-of-use.

    Also, they seem to give really nice blue flares.
  • Before one jumps into the world of anamorphic lenses, this is my personal experience:
    First I was mystified and attracted by the overly projected effects of a physical anamorphic lens over cropping;
    then I got obsessed into finding/bidding for anamorphic lenses,
    wasting a fair bit of money and a lot more time that could have been productive;
    and eventually understood why Philip Bloom has not been promoting it.

    I own a Bell and Howell, Century Precision Anamorphic and a Kowa something;
    There are a few things to consider:

    1. It's difficult to focus(have to do 2 lenses), even if you have a Century Precision Anamorphic;
    2. It's bulky and heavy, so handheld is out of the question unless you purposefully want your audience to puke;
    3. Flares aren't that cool really, compositions of the image and finding your the color tone of your film's atmosphere is way more important;
    4. It is not easy to find a solid and suitable anamorphic lens adapter.

    That's my 2 cents. Cropping as Vitality suggested is way less pain.
  • Ok, so to clarify, even with an adaptor that does not need to focus (e.g. an LA720 or a Century), focusing is STILL difficult? (I mean, focusing at f2.8 or lower is already difficult if not almost impossible during run n' gun shooting.) I have rails and a follow focus, and the anamorphic would be for narrative film work, always on a tripod or a slider, under controlled conditions. Does the anamorphic increase the "sensitivity" of focusing?

    I understand that none of the anamorphic are light weight, and they're just a pain to handhold.

    Anamorphic for me is about helping the "film atmosphere". The GH2 gives a really great digital image, but it is a fair bit inorganic. To my eyes, anamorphic (with the tall bokeh, the softening, some CA, and increased susceptibility to flaring and glaring,) seems to help mask the medically clean reality that is digital footage.

    I've been shooting for several years with a Canon GL2 (great standard-def workhorse camera), and I've pulled off a few good shorts with it, but it is more difficult to engage the viewer in a film narrative when it is so obviously shot on video. 16:9 on DSLR with shallow DOF was my first step towards a more cinematic setup, I guess anamorphic just seemed like the next logical step, but maybe not.

    So you have a Century? and you say you must focus the "taking" lens AND the Century both? I thought the Century was like the LA720, where it simply adapts the taking lens to anamorphic.

    And I still hold that lens flares are pretty cool when used tastefully and lovingly. (Have you seen Super8 btw? They overkill anamorphic flares in that quite a bit, but I'll forgive J.J. because the story was enjoyable.)

  • I have a 37mm Century. Not that heavy. You can mount that on most regular manual prime lenses from 28mm to 135mm. The problem with it and most Anamorphics is "close focus". They can't focus within 5 feet. But that's fixed with a diopter and you can buy a cheap macro/close up lens. I bought a $25 set from adorama and it works BUT....with the diopter you can ONLY focus close. And it willl only focus within a narrow range.
  • yup, I actually already have some good diopters :)

    and I know exactly what you mean. Anamorphics are clearly not for on the fly shooting, but for planned, controlled shooting (which is exactly what I'm doing.) You have to know when you need the diopter, and what your limitations are with the diopter on, and plan accordingly.

    (In another vein, I made my own "cinemorph" filter. IMO, the oval bokeh is not an effect worth replicating by this means. you have to use the lens in a very specific way, and the result is minimally cool. HOWEVER . . . the vertical fishing line works like a charm, even if the flares do not cross the entire frame. Awesome addition of my own: color the fishing line with a dark blue Sharpie for blue flares. I tried this on a whim and it really puts the icing on the cake.)
  • For a Century, it does not require focusing, but in my case, I put it on a Nokton 50mm f1.1, as it conveniently has the same thread size of my Century Precision Optics 58mm.

    However, with Anamorphic lens, you have to rotate the lens and adjust it to the correct position, otherwise the image would look "skewed", and it's not very easy to find the correct position.

    But then because of the thickness or "thinness" of the Nokton's filter thread, I have been unable to rotate the Century after it has been screwed firmly onto the taking lens.

    With other anamorphic lens, especially older ones meant for projection, there are simply more difficulties, like finding an appropriate anamorphic lens clamp(usually overpriced) is also not easy.

    The point I have been trying to make is one would run into all sorts of unexpected problems and inconveniences, and the results and burden required may not be as rewarding as one would expect.

    Color correction in post could help achieve the film look that we all love, flares could be cool in 1 shot or 2 max, but anything more than that would be very irritating(i.e. who wants a torch pointing directly at his/her eyes all the time?). I guess it's about the objectiveness of considering the way our audience would like to receive the message we try to express.

    But you are right, in the mean time anamorphic lens are for "controlled shooting", however definitely not for shooting in guerilla style, not without a good shoulder rig at least IMO.

  • Still, I think using projection lenses was a good lesson into how the anamorphic format works. Yes it's very restrictive but it helped me to really stop and think about how I wanted to frame my shots: Here's my first piece of work using the bulky Hypergonar anamorphic projection lens:

    But now I've progressed to using Lomo anamorphic lenses so no more double focusing, lens clamps, taking lenses and all that hassle. But all that training and experience with projection lenses have taught me well.
    If you want to upgrade from the projection lenses and adapters, Lomo's are your next stop... but be prepared to open your wallet!
  • Nice color tone
  • I found that really compelling to watch - thank you! That's a really good illustration of the qualities an anamorphic lens can bring to a video.
  • @ed_lee83 The actor looks familiar. Is it you?
  • @stonebat LOL. No, he's a friend of mine. Sometimes use him as my "product model" for my rigs or lenses that I sell. Also in a few other shorts. And he's no actor...
  • Although it's been a few weeks since this was discussed, I'd thought I'd say something that seems to not get mentioned enough as a drawback in using anamorphic adapters: you can't use wide angle lenses!!!!! Nor can you use normal focal length lenses!!!

    You're basically stuck with telephoto, and, it's hard to think of a film that you'd want to make restricted to this lens choice. (Yes, you can move your lens back to get a particular object the size you want, but you can't replicate the perspective of wide-angle or normal lenses.)

    Most anamorphic filters, with the exception of the century and the LA7200, don't allow you to go any wider than, say, 40mm max (usually 50 is recommended) on something like the GH2. If you do go wider, then you have major vigenetting. Even the Cinemorph filter has this problem.

    You can go wide and normal with the Century adapter, and, it seems, the LA7200. But the problem with doing so is that you either get really blurry (and ugly) edges or you have so many work arounds and limitations that it's a pain in the ass to use.

    Until we get adapters that work across the wide-normal-telephoto lens spectrum (and that are not a pain in the ass in terms of double focusing and using clamps, etc), I think shooting an actual film on anamorphic on a dslr is a dead end. Unless, of course, you have the cash and can find a set of normal-range Lomo lenses.
  • I had my first anamorphic shoot few days ago, run and gun style, no tripod, right after mailman toss me the lens. It feels like my first Letus35 mini shoot. It was not too bad at all. But, editing was crazy. It took forever to render each clips, 3840 x 1080. I think I had to find efficient way to edit...

    I got my anamorphic lens for pretty cheap price. But, I had to buy a clamp, connects prime lens to anamorphic lens. Also, I had to order another filter clamp, a diopter and other accessories. Almost same price as the lens.

    The lens what I got recently, is Proskar 2x 16B. I attached to my old 50mm 1.4 Nikon AI lens, what I feel little bit soft even I closed all the aperture. I also tried, Nikon 35mm 1.8g, really sharp, but huge vignetting. I was using GH1. I also tried with Nikon d3100, wide open to 1.4, I had no vignetting. When I close aperture, I can see vivid vignetting on the edges.

    Overall, I am having a good time with my set up.

  • The LA7200 is a lovely anamorphic which works well on my GH13's from 14mm to about 150mm. I have three semi-permanently mounted on: 20mm Nikkor; 50mm Zeiss Contax and 100mm Canon FD Macro. It's a 1.5x which produces a pleasing 2.65 aspect ratio. For my work this is a superb anamorphic which allows very close focus and even works with AF. Image quality is excellent. I actually like this adapter better than the over-rated over-priced Isco 1.5. However I'm not the only one to discover its merits as I notice the prices have gone from about $300 when I bought my lot to over $1000 on Ebay now.

    I also use a couple of Century adapters in my underwater housings since they are very compact. However the image quality is not as good as the LA7200...and I'm currently trying to adapt one of the latter inside the housing's large glass dome for when my Pana 14mm arrives.

    I have a few 2x Kowas, Sankors Isco and misc types...but they do stretch the image a bit too much. Fun to play with but a pain to use (dual focus) and can't get very close...better for use with longer lenses.

    Another superb but rare anamorphic I love to use (since it cuts well with the LA7200) is an ISCO Inflight probably selling for around $1000, but worth it if you can find one. Mine is permanently clamped to a Nikkor 24mm...needs a matte box as it picks up flare around the edges. Just so happens a Croziel 3x3 fits it perfectly and allows the use of grad filters, etc.

    The very best anamorphic clamps were made and sold by "Redstan" in the UK...hope he starts selling them again on Ebay... I really need some more.
  • Skeptical,

    I am afraid Alan Doyle,"Redstan54", was kicked off of Ebay permanently. This was because he got into some type of dispute with Ebay management over being defrauded by one or more Ebay buyers concerning his Hi-end Anamorphic lenses. I purchased 3 or 4 anamorphic lens clamps and 3 anamorphic lens filter clamps from him myself. It is fairly easy to get a much less extreme stretch image in post also, see videos below.


    I love shooting with an anamorphic lens and only shoot with an anamorphic lensnow. I have a Kowa 2X anamorphic for Bell and Howell and have used it with both the Canon 7D and the GH1(7). I love the look of the Kowa anamorphic lens with my Nikon Ai/Ai-s lenses. here are two examples best seen on vimeo in "HD" mode:

    I got rid of my first anamorphic lens, An Elmoscope I 2X anamorphic, because I was just starting out with anamorphic lenses and felt that this one, as well as all anamorphic lenses, were more trouble than they were worth( dual focusing( no follow focusing except with Iscorama lenses), no way to attach the lens securely to "taking lens", proper alignment, proper de-squeezing in post...etc) but I have solved and learned how to deal with all of these problems. Hang in there as long as you feel you can, you just might love it

  • bleach551

    Sad to hear that about Redstan54...I also bought some anamorphics from him and always considered him good to deal with. Unfortunately Ebay/Paypal is very buyer biased when it comes to disputes...

    Yes it's easy to crop 16:9 to whatever ratio one desires (with resolution loss) for pseudo anamorphic ; or to scale down 2x anamorphic acquisition to cut with 1.5x. I've made up several presets in Edius to do this...but it's just more work when dealing with hundreds of clips. The advantage is that excellent, very affordable 2x adapters can then be used.
  • Skeptikal,

    Here is a link to his discussion about being kick off Ebay on Vimeo:

    I see he has finally decided to open up his own website, here is the link below: