SLR Magic Developing Budget Anamorphic Lenses and Canceling Development on Others
Not too long ago SLR Magic (maker of the 12mm T/1.6 and 50mm T/0.95 lenses) confirmed that they were in the early stages of developing anamorphic lenses designed for Micro 4/3 mounts -- like the Panasonic GH3 and the Blackmagic Cinema Camera MFT. This is certainly very exciting for any lower-budget or DSLR-level shooters who have so far been deprived of any low-cost anamorphic shooting options (or at least those that don't require serious workarounds). They've also said they will not be developing select new lenses the Leica mount that premiered at Photokina.
First, here's a video from Matthew Allard at DSLR News Shooter going through the newest lenses from SLR Magic -- though not the anamorphics since those are still in the prototype stage:
It's clear that SLR Magic is focused on providing lenses for the growing number of video shooters, and that includes clickless apertures and geared focus rings. They showed off four new prototype lenses at Photokina, the 25mm T0.95, 35mm T0.95, 35mm T1.4, and 23mm F1.7 lenses. Now it seems they may be canceling the 35mm f/0.95 and 24mm f/1.4 lenses for the Leica mount specifically. Here was their message about canceling development (this is from Leica Rumors):
We are now working on lenses for anamorphic and cancelled all rangefinder coupled lens projects due to too much effort in defending our brand from Leica community attacks. It had been tiring for us and tiring for moderators of many websites. It is hard to develop in a market where users do not want another alternative to Leica lenses and that is understandable. Hopefully when the HyperPrime LM 50mm T0.95 get acceptance as a new third party lens we will consider to continue future rangefinder coupled lens projects again.
It doesn't seem like that refers to all of the new lenses, but we'll have to wait and see on that, since not all of them were designed for the full frame format of the Leica M. As for the anamorphic lenses, they currently have a working version of a 1.33X anamorphic attachment, which is mounted on their Cine 25mm T/0.95. Here is a still shot of that:
They have not decided yet if they will just develop the attachment, or will develop a full anamorphic lens, but either are possible with their current design. For many shooters, this is exciting news, and with a 1.33x ratio, it gives around a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. This kind of look is sought not just for the incredible flares from light sources hitting the lens, but for the oval bokeh in the backgrounds of the image. All of these should be improved as the development on the lens continues, but the big thing for shooters of cameras like the Blackmagic Cinema Camera or the GH2/GH3 is actually being able to afford these lenses, which certainly seems to be the goal for SLR Magic.
Nothing else seems to be confirmed at the moment as most of this is still in early development, but I would imagine we will have a bit more concrete info on the progress by NAB next year.
What do you guys think? Would you be interested in some anamorphic lenses from SLR Magic? If you're thinking about the Cinema Camera MFT or the GH3, or you're already a GH2 owner, what is your experience with anamorphic lenses so far and are you interested in a lower budget option?