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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?


[via 4/3 Rumors & DSLR News Shooter & Leica Rumors]


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  • Whats the difference between canon lenses and MFT lenses? i donk know what are mft lenses?

    • mft = micro four thirds for gh2 or blackmagic

      George –

    • MFT stands for Micro Four Thirds. It is the mount used on cameras like the GH2 with the 4/3 sized sensor. MFT lenses are designed for the MFT mount.

      • Miha Horvat on 11.5.12 @ 10:11AM

        So if i buy bmcc is it better with canon or MFT mount?

        • Depends on what you need…you can adapt pretty much any lens to the MFT mount, but the BMCC’s MFT mount can’t control electronic features. The BMCC’s EF mount can control electronic features, but you’ll be stuck to fewer lenses.

        • Canon EF lenses cover full-frame and (nearly all) EF-S cover Super35 sized/APS-C sensors. MFT lenses only copy a teeny little MFT sensor, which people are only shooting with because it’s cheap at the moment. It has intrinsically (simple laws of physics) worse low-light and Depth of Field performance than larger sensors.

          By next year the way things are going no one will be buying MFT lenses anymore and they will want to replace them with at least Super 35 covering lenses that have a future. Full frame EF lenses have the brightest future of all and can be used for still photography as well, maximizing their resale value. MFT lenses and systems will only be used by students and starving artist types, who may make some interesting things with them, but aren’t worth their current asking price.

          I suggest the Canon 5D3 over the BMCC right now actually, although that’s un-heroic of me. The BMCC has a much higher resolution recording format. The 5D3 has every other advantage and will sell 2nd hand for more than the current BMCC of either mount 12 months from now, for good reason. And your 5D3 lenses will all be safe investments while you learn cinema.

          • For a variety of reasons, I believe you’re wrong that people are only shooting MFT because it’s cheaper. But I guess time will tell how successful MFT will be. So far, it’s been a great success, outselling all other mirrorless systems, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

          • I’m shooting with Canon FD lenses because they’re cheap and look beautiful. And guess what? You can put them on a MFT mount, but not an EF mount.

          • M43 is the best selling mirror less system and not everyone wants to make teh best film eva with a T4i and Zoom H4N.

            A lot of people use non M43 lenses on their M43 cameras, with Canon you are much more limited in your lens variety.
            So coverage is not a problem since many of these legacy lenses are already “full frame”(such an amateur term). With EF lenses you can only use them on canon cameras and most EFs don’t cover a . Also M43 mount has a few other advantages over full frame cameras. One being is that you can make your lenses and camera smaller and more compact which is the whole point of M43. DUH! So to say M43 is going away anytime soon is kind of stoopid on your part. I am glad this DSLR thing is dying down a bit.

          • While I respect M43 sensors you are somewhat right…Canons mirrorless cameras are going to be Super35 and I hope to God nikon follows through…Sonys got a God damn full frame sensor camera in a pretty small package already too! M43 is cheap and convienent but anamorphics for S35 and 36×24 should be priority…you can throw an S35 lens on an M43 but the other way around leads down some dark paths…

          • The 4/3 sensor is not “teeny tiny” compared to Aps-C. It is a little smaller than APS-C or Super 35, but still larger than super 16 film or broadcast 2/3″ sensors.
            The good thing about 4/3 or micro 4/3 is that the lenses can be smaller than APS-C or let alone Full Frame.

            I am so tired of hearing that all sensors smaller than Full Frame 35 are so inferior and nobody would ever want to use them again. If you can’t make a beautiful film on a 4/3 or 2/3″ camera, you should re-think your creative process. Not everything becomes a beautiful film just because you are showing off some Full Frame f1.4 shots with nice bokeh!

          • @Heiko, its just about that! I like 4/3rds but I don’t plan on running a 4/3rds camera right now! I want some anamorphic lenses but if they make them exclusively for M43 then I will NOT be able to use them no matter what kind of adapter! If they make a set with an EF mount of a removable mount (like Zeiss) then they are working for a bigger amount of users. Full frame isn’t that big of a deal, your right, film is not 36×24 its closer to 24×18 and I’m not talking about Super35 either. 36×24 is equal to the 8-perf film you put in a still film SLR which only one technology for motion film used (VistaVision) and it was rare except for a few movies and some VFX work. Not everyone has a hacked GH2 hack GH2 hacked GH2!!!!!

          • *Its not just about that

  • Soosan Khanoom on 11.5.12 @ 5:14AM

    Oh Leica…

  • Hells yes I would be interested in an affordable anamorphic lens/adapter. I’ve just finished a new TV show and we shot it in 2.35 and must say I love that ratio interms of what it does to your framing and composition choices. Among other things.

  • gimme a full frame sony alpha lens…

  • john jeffreys on 11.5.12 @ 6:05AM

    I heard SLR Magic lenses are of pretty awful quality

    • The quality is bad indeed. But they are cheap!

      • So whats the point of making a poor quality lens? Especially with the influx of hi rez cameras on the market now. Quality over price! reasonable price however…not talking about Hawks…hahaha. I will stick with my vintage anamorphic kowa 8z! beautiful image and it didnt break the bank.

        • john jeffreys on 11.5.12 @ 11:45AM

          i guess because the demographic for the lenses (dslr and gh2 users) don’t know any better? i really have no idea why you would buy those lenses instead of vintage glass. it baffles me

          • Someone please make an affordable adapter and take our money. SLR Magic No thanks!

            SLR magic baffles me a bit. The market is asking, no screaming for cheap adapter to combat the high prices on the various legacy isco’s, and Kowas but instead they are making a set of lenses. This is probably to make more money since the demand is for a $600ish adapter. They will probably make these close to a G$ so we’ll actually be forced to get a set. It might make more sense to get a set of LOMO’s than these.

          • It’s not only DSLR users as you can see from this test of the SLR Magic CINE 50 T0.95 on the RED Epic.


            As for why a m43 shooter would use a lens like their 12 1.6 over a vintage SLR lens clearly has to do with focal lens. There are so few quality ultra wides period, and hardly any with such a fast max aperture. And if you read the MTF tests on a site like Photozone, you see that it actually has similar resolving power to the Olympus 12 f2.

          • Daniel Mimura on 11.14.12 @ 6:11PM

            Maybe they’re crappy in a good way? Like the whole Holga or Pixelvision thing. Ha ha.

    • Really? Is that why Philip Bloom used the SLR Magic 12mm f1.6 on the GH3 Short “Genesis”, and is a favorite of GH2 shooters? Because it’s awful quality?

      It’s wide, has a reasonably fast max aperture, no click stop aperture ring, has an all metal barrel and dampened MF ring. It’s not a Zeiss Compact prime, but “awful” quality is a bit of a stretch.

      • I use every day the 12mm f/1.6 SLR + Voigtländer 25mm f/0.95 + Canon 50mm f/1.2. SLR Magic is very very good, like Canon and Voigtländer.

      • VINCEGORTHO on 11.5.12 @ 9:56AM

        Remember, there isn’t much that phillip bloom doesn’t like about anything. His reviews are interesting but a little too partial for my taste.

        • The point is if he didn’t like the 12 1.6 Hyperprime, he wouldn’t have used it on something as important as the Panasonic GH3 Demo Short.

      • Space Captain on 11.5.12 @ 12:24PM

        An aside: In the spirit of democracy and the election tomorrow, can we vote to have someone banned from this site for wasting time, space and energy?

      • I have to agree with John. No matter how informative he may be for some reviews and so on, Philip Bloom is not a filmmaker to aspire to when there is such an amazing variety of genuinely fantastic directors out there.

      • You may be right about Bloom, but that is not the way you criticize people and their works. He is not a douche, and he doesn’t “fucking sucks”. He is a filmmaker just like almost everyone on this site. Film-maker = the one who makes films, good or bad. Besides no one here said that is inspired by him.

      • Just because Philip Bloom doesn’t make traditional narrative films is no reason to get personal about it. Though you’re entitled to an opinion John, your attack is personal, lacks any level of constructive criticism and smacks of sour grapes. So what if he’s found his niche and reviews products? He’s worked hard to get to where he is and despite what you say, he inspires many filmmakers young and old and that alone makes his contributions worthwhile. Show the man some respect.

        • Another Neil? This concerns me. It’s like looking into a mirror… that’s looking at a computer screen. Did anyone else just get goosebumps?

          Phil Bloom is my boy, though. Totally agree, other me. He gets it done and I enjoy watching his reviews. Very informative stuff and he always seems to be a first responder. If only there were more of him…


          • Very weird… You’re like bizarro Neil! You should probably keep your distance – too many Neil’s in one spot could rupture the fabric of the Space/Time continuum… or something.

        • Very well said. Philip Bloom might not be the best filmmaker out there, but he has certainly achieved more than many many other filmmakers. He managed to become an important voice in the camera market, and he did so through writing blogs/reviews and testing a lot of camera gear. What’s wrong about that?
          If you don’t like his skills or his opinions, then don’t read his articles, write your own reviews, make movies that are better than his.

  • This is awesome news. I cant wait to get one!

  • Someone say ana…. ha, yeah definitely interested. And “low quality glass” can be quite interesting, even preferred on high res sensors of which we are soon to be happily up to our eyeballs in :D

    • john jeffreys on 11.5.12 @ 11:46AM

      there is a huge difference between cheap glass that softens the harshness of new digital sensors, and older glass that was designed for film stock that softens and romanticizes the harshness of new digital sensors

      • I wish this site had a lens/filter that softened your harshness John. :)

      • Where did you get cheap glass from? The 12 1.6 has similar resolving power (MTF scores) as the Olympus 12 f2, has an all metal barrel, and a 12-blade circular aperture. Sounds like you’re making assumptions based on some of their toy lenses.

      • John, if you get your RED 1 you should experiment. I have some lovely expensive vintage glass, but have seen results with cheap glass that really surprised me. Cheap will obviously equal lower quality, but I’m pretty sure if someone makes cheap ana lens, that creatively people will find it’s uses with the extra latitude high resolution can give you, depending on what you are trying to achieve.

        In any case, I always try to reserve judgement until I have tested and keep an open mind. I also like to support companies trying to do what hasn’t been done before. Oh, and a bit of diplomacy about your opinions can also go a long way too. Judging from the fan base your building, that might be worth considering.

  • This video shows off the SLR Magic 12mm prime.

  • VINCEGORTHO on 11.5.12 @ 9:55AM

    So it’s the build quality thats cheap? Or the image quality these lenses put out is cheap?

  • I bought their 12mm and i would buy their anamorphic in a heart beat!
    I am mainly interested in an anamorphic lens where i only have to focus once
    Focusing 2 times just doesnt seem easy for run and gun, i hope this is possible.
    Very exicted about this possibility.
    Thank you slr magic

  • Love my 12mm lens – nothing cheap about it.

  • animal_264 on 11.5.12 @ 3:04PM

    SLR Magic makes fun, ‘toy’, and serious lenses. The fun and toy stuff are good for the price, and many have clickless apertures. The serious glass is reasonably priced and perhaps usable in formidable productions. Affordable lenses seem suited to indie types, especially artists. Why not?

    I have a bottom-end SLR Magic lens. It’s fast, clickless, small, lightweight, and cheap. The effect is somewhat crazy, but can use it creatively. It would be rad on the BMCC.

  • I welcome any low cost anamorphic lens solution! I did a big test for a sci fi short out in the Hoh rainforest in WA state where we attached the Panasonic la7200 to a 5D. We had to velcro diopters to the front of it and sometimes use tape – it was ridiculous.

    The footage turned out great, the process was just cumbersome. You can see it if you’re curious:

    • Daniel Mimura on 11.14.12 @ 6:24PM

      Cool! I was just out on the peninsula for a doc last wk and am out there again on a commercial this week. Prospect looks good, as well as that anamorphic footage.

  • Who the hell hates Philip Bloom, that guys great! Someones jealous :P

  • I just found this sample on Flickr from their upcoming CINE 35 0.95 HyperPrime. And I have to say it looks very good. Helps to have a stunning model. Bokeh looks terrific as well.

    Larger version:

  • I think it’s great that lens manufacturer is making anamorphic lenses. as much as I love the quality of Zeiss, their lenses are priced too high; $5K for a MFT CP lens?

    SLR Magic understands the market as a startup and is making fast lenses that Canon/Zeiss aren’t making: sub $5K cine lenses lens gears; very smart.
    I’m not worried about glass quality; if that was was such a concern I’d save up $5K.

  • I would be enormously interested in an anamorphic prime series for MFT. There is a real lack of good glass for the MFT market right now (particularly in primes) and adding anamorphic on top of that would be a real gem. Please put me on the reservation list.

  • Just give me some 1.33x anamorphic adapters so I can mount them on my 35mm (might be stretching it), 50mm and 85mm primes! The AG7200 is such a simple design its crazy that no one has invented a similar adapter for EF or Nikkor lenses! All my primes front elements don’t move so that makes it even simpler! 2.35:1 is my default resolution for near everything. Searched high and low for affordable solutions…would pay like $500 for an adapter even though thats wayyyy over priced.

    • **Just give me some 1.33x anamorphic adapters so I can mount them on my 35mm (might be stretching it), 50mm and 85mm primes!** Hehe pun intended might I add :D :D

  • Oh and IMO if they are gonna make glass and/or adaptors for anamorphic DO NOT go just with M43…Super35 sensors are good for a reason and while I respect M43 sensors and mirrorless cameras for all there benefits its like a step backwards if we are only going for M43 and not both Super35 and M43.

  • Simon Falkentorp on 11.8.12 @ 5:21PM

    The quality of the SLR Magic lenses are very different, as are the prices. I shoot a NEX-7 and startet with Zeiss 24/1.8 (E-mount) and a Zeiss 85/1.4 (A-mount with adapter), and they are both very sharp. Then I got the SLR Magic 50/0.92 CINE (M-mount) and that is much higher quality than the Zeiss-lenses, and have very soft and beautiful bokeh. But it’s also much more expensive. Steve Huff (who shoots Leica) compared the SLR Magic 50/0.95 CINE with the Leica Noctilux 0.95 ($11K) and found the SLR Magic ($3K) even a bit sharper, and overall not very different in performance. However I find that hard to believe. Anyways i love the performance of the CINE, and if shot wide open it makes a “3D pop up”-effect. Peronlly I love it, and will go for the 35mm also, if it performs in tests.

  • Pierre Samuel Rioux on 11.9.12 @ 1:57AM

    For a anamorphic lens the target ratio should be 2;40 like in cinema it’s not much 2;35 ratio any more.
    About lens flare for me this is a bad image and distract the viewer from the story telling.

  • Yes, please! Anamorphic for MFT! Why would anyone get so upset about people making good tools? People are funny!

  • Any updates?