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New Anamorphic Adapters Are Just Around the Corner. First Up: SLR Magic

09.9.13 @ 3:36AM Tags : , , ,

Video thumbnail for vimeo video SLR Magic Anamorphic - nofilmschoolThere has become quite the secondhand market for anamorphic lenses and adapters since DSLRs and mirrorless cameras appeared on the scene. Cameras like the Panasonic GH2 were able to adapt almost any lens imaginable, including all sorts of anamorphic contraptions. With the popularity of shooting anamorphically on the rise, it was only a matter of time before companies introduced new adapters or lenses with their own designs affordably. SLR Magic, a well-known lens manufacturer, has been in development of their own anamorphic adapter, and we’ve got some early footage from their 1.33x prototype below:

Some more details about the video and the adapter from Vimeo:

The first ever user test of SLR Magic’s prototype (v.2) anamorphic lens with 1.33x ratio.
The lens is for Micro Four Thirds and utilises their 35mm f1.4 Cine II as rear taking lens.
As SLR Magic is based in Hong Kong it’s only befitting that a local crew took her out to play and show off our city.
Shawn and I had a few precious hours to shoot something so our little film test took place in Mong Kok, Hong Kong, the most densely populated district on earth. What results is a man’s burgeoning quest for ‘relief’.

Shot on Panasonic GH2 (unhacked). Nearly every shot at f2.8 and maximum 1600 ISO.
By the way the last shot with the ice cream turned out blurry – was due to sloppy focusing on my part.

Personal notes about the lens:
As mentioned above, this is a prototype lens. I cannot reveal images of it but I can say it’s light and compact. Built to operate like a single lens, it allows shooters to pull focus to a certain degree. It also has a neat close-up function that allows you to shoot up to about 1 meter.
Right now, the flares are a little too scattered for my liking – I’m just too used to the Hypergonar and Lomo styles. However, SLR Magic has yet to apply any lens coating so I hope to see something that suits my taste.

At the moment the anamorphic flares are intense because there is no coating on the lens yet (as mentioned above). Much of the quality of flares on anamorphic lenses is due to the coating, so the next step is an important one for the team over at SLR Magic. The 1.33x factor was decided upon because so many cameras shoot with a 16:9 aspect ratio natively. With this anamorphic adapter, you get very close to the “proper” 2.40/2.39 aspect ratio (the DCP cinema standard for 2K is actually 2048 x 858). 2x adapters and lenses were much more common in the days of 4:3 film gates, which would then give a similar aspect ratio as above upon desqueezing.

SLR Magic is trying to target somewhere around $1,500, and it currently works with a 35mm taking lens on Micro 4/3 and 50mm on full-frame. Here’s more from SLR Magic on the cost factor from the Personal View forum:

Trying to target for a $1.5K budget. $300-500 expectations are quite unrealistic at this point. Many are comparing used anamorphic at $300 but they definitely did not cost $300 when it was brand new. To be fair, our product should be compared with modern anamorphic that are currently in production.

We need a realistic price expectation for us to bring an idea into production. For example, we have many requests for our 50mm T0.95 lens to be made in EF mount version. However, price expectations for the lens is always sub $1K. When we feel it is not possible, we will never put an idea into production.

I’m sure we are going to see a few more anamorphic lenses/adapters in the near future (like one from Letus), which should correct for many of the issues currently facing those who want to use somewhat tricky adapters like the LA7200 with their setups.

You can read more about the development process and responses from SLR Magic over on Personal View.


[via 4/3 Rumors]


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Description image 25 COMMENTS

  • Can’t wait to see more from this. Always loved the anamorphic look.

  • Fresno Bob on 09.9.13 @ 4:18AM

    As far as I am concerned, $1500 is a massive rip. Just because the KOWAs etc command those prices (due to limited numbers available and high demand) doesn’t mean they should think they can get away with charging that.
    It’s an adaptor for God’s sake.

    The LA7200 cost peanuts when it was first released. The DSLR explosion artificially inflated the prices.

    I’d love if someone could deliver an affordable solution without feeling the need to gouge the community.
    But lets face it – we’re used to paying $1000 for a few 15mm pipes, so why would they not take the money?

    • Joe Marine on 09.9.13 @ 8:17AM

      What do you think would be a fair price for an anamorphic adapter that not only can take front filters easily, but is actually usable at wider apertures and has good close up performance?

    • R&D + high quality optics + small production quantity means that the price can’t be set too low. I don’t think an anamorphic attachment has the possibilities to sell in large quantities, which means fewer items sold needs to pay up for the production and R&D.

      If you compare anamorphics, this one should be more comparable to a KOWA or similar anamorphics – and those weren’t cheap optics when they were new either.

      Also, look at footage shot with the LA7200, on larger crop cameras it is soft in the corners. The footage from this prototype surely doesn’t look soft so far.

      I think it’s great that SLR Magic is producing a new anamorphic that is far more affordable than Hawk or Zeiss anamorphics. Noone else is producing new anamorphics even remotely close to the price range SLR Magic are aiming for. Meanwhile, the prices on the used anamorphics keep going up, which doesn’t put this lens at such a crazy price level.

      Granted, it would be nice to see new production of 1.3x, 1.5x and 2x anamorphics in the $500-$1000 range. Question is just how much quality would have to be sacrificed for that…

    • I don’t think it’s a ‘massive rip’. This company has always produced very good value for money. If you read the forum link, the guy explains their approach to costs. This is a very small company, especially compared to Canon and the like. Their lenses ooze character and have a nice cinematic feel and are generally cheaper than the competition. Check out Philip Bloom’s video of the girl in the London Eye (big wheel) on his review for the Black Magic pocket cam. That’s using the SLR Magic 12mm and I bought one new for £350. Beautiful lens.

      Let’s be realistic – they’re not going to make 10′s of thousands of these. Probably not many at all. So they’re bound to be pricey. But for the features already mentioned and the ability to rack focus to a degree, I think $1500 is not bad at all. They do listen to feedback and I’ll bet they get the flares right once they’re coated.
      Stick one of these on a Black Magic, 5D or Digital Bolex and you’ll see some beautiful results.

      And if you can’t afford it, do what I’m doing and save up until you can. Because this will, I believe, be the best option for reliable low budget anamorphic shooting. If you’ve mucked around with some of the other options available you’ll know what I’m talking about.

      • I had the misfortune of buying the original SLR Magic 12mm F1.6.
        I thought it was a rehoused CCTC lens (and I hadn’t heard that rumour before getting it). The bokeh was very ugly, and it just behaved very strangely. It had the same character as a $30 CCTV lens I had.
        Apparently the new Cine T1.6 version is far better.

  • PhinioxGlade on 09.9.13 @ 6:38AM

    As an existing anamorphic shotter I want a new anamorphic lens, but at this price unless it very high quality and can be setup perfectly in seconds

  • So, what’s the primary reason to get anamorphic for the modern digital cam – the light break-up and the full use of the “native” 16:9 pixels?

    • Generic characteristics for anamorphics that give a look that some of us love:
      - Oval bokeh, more pronounced on 1.5x and 2x anamorphics
      - Anamorphic flares
      - Wider aspect ratios

      For digital cameras (1080p) there are a few other gains:
      - If you film with an 1.5x anamorphic attachment at 1080p and then downsize the footage down to 1920×817 in post (2.35:1 aspect ratio), you will only have to crop away a a slight amount of image data captured by the sensor. With 1.33x stretch you don’t need to throw away any image detail that the sensor captured. Compare that to cropping to 2.35:1 shot with a normal lens, and you throw away 25% of the image information captured by the sensor. In addition to that, due to the line skipping method of many sensors, you already have less than 1080 lines of vertical resolution to start with.
      - Another bonus for slow-motion: If you like 2.35:1 aspect ratio and you have a camera that shoots 50/60p only in 720p, stretching the squeezed 720p footage horisontally will look far more detailed at 1920×817 than a normal upsize of 720p+cropping does.

      So, on a 4k camera you’ll shoot anamorphic for the look of oval bokeh and/or the anamorphic flares mainly. On soft low-resolution DSLR’s, you might actually gain perceived resolution too besides getting the anamorphic look and wide aspect ratio.

      • Thanks very much for the answer, Johan D. IMO, the various formats, including the anamorphic option, is why you’ll begin seeing a lot of the F65 and/or Dragon type of sensor technology, where the 4K is a downscaled result from a larger pixel count. (F65, of course, has own technology with its green pixels, so it’s not just for the anamorphic stretch or squeeze … personally, I like the 1.66 format and the related shot composition more)

  • That looked incredible. Film look and quality. I wouldn’t pay that much though.

  • That is great news. No word though on when we can expect to buy one… A year ago, there was also another company who wanted to jump on the anamorphic bandwagon. I think it was called Scorpiolens. Would be great to learn if that is still actual..

  • I gotta say, I have respect for a company that is this upfront and honest about estimating price for an item.

  • Sorry if this has been mentioned, but I was wondering how is focusing with this anamorphic adapter? Is it dual focus, or can you focus with the adapter (or even focus-through)? Thanks.

  • I love anamorphics but, I don’t know much about how it works digitally. Once captured, the image is desqueezed in post, correct? If that’s the case, then, the pixels would be ‘stretched’ horizontally. Doesn’t this stretching create artificial information (interpolation) in the image? Is this a non-issue?

    And, how does it get desqueezed? In what application and with which tool? Can it be done in all of the current NLE’s?

    • roccoforte on 09.9.13 @ 1:40PM

      I usually squeeze it vertically rather than stretch horizontally. My Bolex 1.5 anamorphic lens on a 1920 x 1080 image becomes 1920 x 720 when I alter it in post. Yes. you can fix it in post in pretty much all of the NLEs. My workflow of choice (because I shoot raw) is to bring everything into Resolve, squeeze it there and spit out letterbox Quicktimes. Alternatively, you could just do it in the NLE very easily.

      • Interesting – I was wondering about this too. Squeezing rather than un-squeezing makes so much sense. What about when it’s a different sensor size, like 4×3 on the new Alexa?

        • On a 4:3 you shoot with a 2:1 anamorph and simply squeeze it… or stretch it by 2 to get the classic format scope format. by squeezing down you get the advantages of oversampling Though, I think that to stick to the classic cinemascope standard you’d only use a 1.175:1 image area on the sensor to get the 2.35:1 resulting image. Why 1.175 instead of using 4:3′s 1.37 academy standard to get 2.74 image? On film they used to crop in to allow multitrack sound on both magnetic and mono optical…. it’s a long and very convoluted history… ;)

  • If it’s a high quality adapter and it allows for close focus, $1500 seems like a good deal. I can t see that I’m in the minority, but I’d be very interested in this.

  • I would like a lens maker like canon or nikon to take their primes and make an anamorphic version of them (i know it isn’t quite that simple). But I think there would be some money to be made.

  • A C note gets you the cinemorph filter from Vid-Atlantic…

    • Another Dan agrees!

      It’s also possible to make your own cinemorph/anamorphic adapter w/ a broken filter (or break a cheap one yourself) Pop out the glass, then run a single string of fishing line across the center. You can also get some black poster board or construction paper and cut out an oval. You’ll have to figure out a way to keep it all in place (ductape/glue/rubber band). The fishing line creates the light streaks, the black paper w/ the oval cut out shapes the bokeh. Ideally you’ll want to use a filter that has a rotating element like a polarizer.. Alternatively, you don’t have to pop the glass out of the filter frame and could try it with clear filter, but i the streaking effect may not be as intense. There are a couple only articles online about; here is the first decent one i found by typing ” DIY anamorphic filter ” into google:

  • Boh… I Don’t like. It’s not cheap. The images are not beautiful, Bokeh is not oval.

  • Can’t they start off with making an affordable version? I’d like to see something in the $350~ range certainly NOT over $450. I just love the look and no matter what you do you simply cannot replicate a truly anamorphic image in post, even with magic bullet looks it doesn’t compare to what I’ve seen with the AG7200. A shame. Just make a 72mm screw mount square front anamorphic with a set of step down rings included and I’ll be happy, along with everyone else who simply can’t walk into a rental house and rent cine glass let alone anamorphic cine glass.