Anamorphic Calculator

Anamorphic Cookbook

Anamorphic on a Budget

Specials

“Great photos! You must have a great camera!”

June 16, 2018

If you take your craft seriously, the odds of having heard these words are quite high. Audiences associate good images with great cameras, and for the longest time this (almost) accusation has bothered photographers who felt their skills were downplayed. The interesting bit is that we’re walking towards making the “great cameras = great photos” equation true! And they fit in your pocket.

Speaking of great cameras, here’s an Arri Alexa with a cinema prime!

Before I started for real with photography and cinematography – more than ten years ago – I used to play with a Sony compact camera. Back then I believed that great photos could only be achieved with great cameras. Mine lacked everything I associated with great photos: shallow depth of field, wide dynamic range and beautiful color science (I did not know these terms back then).

When I got my first DSLR in 2008, a Canon Rebel XTi, I started to learn that a good camera indeed makes things better, but it won’t prevent you from taking plenty of crappy photos – as most of mine were. I’ve had this thing where I look at the total number of images shot on a given project and the number of images I process and export out of Lightroom. Back then, this used to be a 25:1 ratio. These days I’m at 3:1.

Over the last ten years I’ve improved my photography skills considerably while also improving my gear – from the XTi I went to a 7D, then to a 5D MkIII and lastly to a Sony A7sII. Every time I switched cameras I remember being blown away by the new capabilities and improvements on the image – color reproduction, full frame sensor and low light sensitivity. Each one of my cameras was stronger than the ones preceding it. That was never enough guarantee some photos wouldn’t turn out bad anyway – out of focus, poorly lit, too contrasty, too shallow depth of field, too much depth of field, and so on.

During this trajectory I took more than a few photos I’m proud of, and many times I heard the bothersome “Woah! This is such a great photo! Your camera must be amazing!”, as well as its reverse when people saw me working: “With a camera like that I bet all your photos turn out flawless”. Many of these people were close enough friends that I was able to explain the camera is just a tool and without someone behind it to push the right buttons the quality of the photos is not guaranteed.

During my learning process I also watched the rise of smartphones. I used to write a column for a photography magazine back in Brazil (2012-13) and I saw several big photographers arguing about the validity of an image taken with a phone by an untrained photographer. This was a particularly hot topic in the journalism community. Regular folks (non-photographers) would be closer to a story when it broke, snapping photos on their phones and recording precious developments in real time – way before a photographer got to the scene.

The pros would get up in arms about the media outlets using low-quality, phone-shot images. “These are not good photos!” they’d say, “Then you should’ve been there faster”, magazines, newspapers and TV channels would reply. Phone cameras and lower entry-prices for digital cameras represented the democratization of photography, an extreme boom in popularity. Everyone was now a photographer – but not everyone was able to make a living out of it, sometimes not even the established photographers from before the boom.

Until recently it was easy to tell when a photo was taken using a phone or an actual camera. In its latest iterations though, through the use of dual-lenses and/or machine learning and automated processes, smartphones experienced an unparalleled upgrade in the images coming out of their cameras. This is where optical photography lines start to blur as we introduce the powers of computational photography.

Wikipedia has the perfect definition: “Computational photography … refers to digital image capture and processing techniques that use digital computation instead of optical processes. Computational photography can improve the capabilities of a camera, or introduce features that were not possible at all with film based photography, or reduce the cost or size of camera elements”. Smartphones are taking advantage of their strong processors to bring in serious upgrades over their optically limited cameras.

The latest iPhones (7 Plus, 8 Plus, X) use two lenses – a wide-angle and a telephoto – in order to create a depth map of the scene in front of its lenses. With said map it’s easy to realistically simulate out-of-focus areas like a full-sized camera would. The difference is the depth map gives you freedom to manipulate that data in ways your camera wouldn’t. You can change the lighting of the scene to some extent, you can create impossibly shallow – yet accurate – depth of field, as well as you can change your focus point after pressing the shutter. None of this is particularly new = the Lytro camera kicked around with a similar concept ages ago – but it has never been so accessible and easy to play with. Apps like Focos and Anamorphic allow cost under $5 and allow you to fiddle the results of your dual-camera shots.

Hover over the image to see the difference between the original photo and the one using the depth map in the Focos app

Apple’s approach can be seen as conservative when compared to the solutions implemented in Google’s Pixel 2, which relies in a single lens camera and the full force of its artificial intelligence. The Pixel 2 stacks and aligns up to nine photos taken on a burst in order to achieve maximum dynamic range as well as to create its own depth map based on the camera movement and the parallax in the scene. Not only that, its AI has been taught what a person looks like and as soon as they find something that fits the bill, they’ll make sure that part of the shot is in focus. This leads to amazing photos coming out of a fairly inexpensive, light and multi-functional device when compared to a full-size camera. Plus, the photographer doesn’t need to make any decisions. Photos taken by my 7-year old niece and taken by me can look just as good with the press of a single button.

If you want to read more about the technical wonders coming out of smartphones, Rishi Sanyal’s article “Why smartphone cameras are blowing our minds” on DPReview has been a great source of inspiration for my own article.

This makes now a time when someone can say “Great photos! You must have a great camera!” attributing the quality of the images solely to the equipment used and not be wrong! At the same time computational photography levels the playing field of day-to-day photography, it makes other skills stand out – for example framing and lighting are things machines are not good at just yet, among other subtleties we pick up while honing our craft. It goes to say if you’re only able to take good photos because you have a good camera, things are about to get tough! Just to paint a clearer picture, all the photos in this post were taken with an iPhone 8 Plus and a Google Pixel 2.

Anamorphic

Panasonic LA7200 Anamorphic Wedge Fit

April 18, 2018

Here’s a quick trick on how to mount filters on the Panasonic LA7200 without the need for any extra gear. Plus, a super rare diopter that makes this adapter much better overall!

USEFUL LINKS:

All the RED links on this post are part of eBay’s Partner Network, so if you purchase anything through them, you’re helping me to keep this project going.

You can support this project on Patreon. Make your contribution and help the Anamorphic Cookbook!

Hey, I’m Tito Ferradans and in this episode I’m gonna teach you a neat trick that turns the Panasonic LA7200 into a much better anamorphic adapter.

Back in the days when these LA7200’s were cheaper (like $500-750), they were very popular adapters. The only issue folks constantly struggled with was close focus and that had a few sources. First, the gigantic front element required a huge diopter. Second, how would you even mount any diopters on a lens that is square and has no threads?

Enter the Kenko 105mm +0.3 diopter. This beast here is big enough to cover the front element of the LA7200, it sets infinity at 3m and works amazingly well with the Panny’s limitations, which has fixed focus at 3-4m. The cherry on top is that the Kenko also fits in the front of the Panny safely by itself!

When this info was made public the Kenko – which was already rare; come on, why would a 105mm +0.3 diopter ever be popular? – vanished from the world. This one here is the first one I come across in four years since I sold my previous one. They used to sell for $300-350 back then, but there’s not enough of them around these days to trace a trend! Have you ever seen one? Do you own one?

Anyway, this hint applies to any 105mm filters, so you can wedge fit anything of that size in front of your LA7200! Or you can follow my instructions and make a front filter holder to screw in 95mm filters. The caveat is 95mm isn’t wide enough to cover all of the front element! So, there’s always a challenge.

This is an early episode of my attempt of having more than one post per week. If you like this initiative, hit the like button below and leave a comment suggesting simple subjects for these episodes! I’d love some insight. If you haven’t subscribed yet, you don’t know what you’re missing out on. This channel is all about anamorphic, and the future points towards anamorphic so, stay tuned. I’ll see you on the next episode! Ferradans out.

Anamorphic

Magic Portrait Filter – Anamorphic Looking Filter?!

April 15, 2018

I’m in Japan and I’m finding all sorts of crazy things here! Among them a Magic Portrait filter, which seems to be an anamorphic filter. How does this work?!

USEFUL LINKS:

All the RED links on this post are part of eBay’s Partner Network, so if you purchase anything through them, you’re helping me to keep this project going.

You can support this project on Patreon. Make your contribution and help the Anamorphic Cookbook!

Heya folks! Tito Ferradans here and if you follow me on instagram or facebook, you know I’m in Japan. Yay! As my voice tells, I’m also a little sick. I went out exploring the used camera shops and while I stumbled on a Hypergonar for a decent price, the true surprise was THIS guy on a !FREE JUNK! box. This is a 55mm Kenko Magic Portrait filter. It does look a lot like anamorphic so I took it for a spin and this is what I got using the 35 and 50mm on the Contax set. I tried on the 28mm too but vignette was obvious.

You can already see the inside edges of the filter on the 35mm shots. The most interesting thing about this filter is, as the name states, that it is a portrait-oriented filter, so performance is designed for close focus. I can’t get sharp infinity, but I can come up really close to my subjects and still get decent focus. It plays really well with high-key scenes, and there’s a diffusion to it that also helps with making nice portraits. You have to stop down your lens, though: I couldn’t get anything close to clean faster than f/4. And yes, it flares.

I didn’t know the stretch factor for it, so I had to figure it out on my own! The result is… 1.10x

As a matter of fact, I didn’t know much about this thing at all. The fact that it’s called Magic Portrait and it makes people thinner is a bizarre concept to me and if it wasn’t for my interest in anamorphics I would’ve never picked this up. A while ago I saw a bit of chat about one of these filters in the Anamorphic Shooters group but I didn’t chase the subject. In terms of price, this one I got for free, but there’s a couple on eBay around $30. Is it worth it? I can’t really tell, but I’m keeping this one as a souvenir!

What do you think of the filter? Is this the true anamorphic on a budget? Do you think it’s a worthy trinket? Let me know in the comments below, and don’t forget to subscribe to the channel and like this video. My schedule in Japan has been insane but I already got to meet some awesome people and I’m hoping to start collaborating with them soon, so stay tuned! Tito Ferradans out.

Anamorphic

The Making of SCOPE

April 8, 2018

I’m sorry to break it to you, but SCOPE wasn’t real. Here’s how I created all the parts of that video, plus a warning about promises and expectations regarding anamorphics.

All the RED links on this post are part of eBay’s Partner Network, so if you purchase anything through them, you’re helping me to keep this project going.

You can support this project on Patreon. Make your contribution and help the Anamorphic Cookbook!

Tito Ferradans here with updates on SCOPE. If you haven’t figured out yet, SCOPE was, unfortunately, an April’s Fools video. I am not making my own lens yet, but I’d like to address some related topics. Here’s what we did:

First I wanted to come up with something exotic. Everyone wants to go wider on anamorphics so I figured I’d start there. 30mm 2x stretch is super wide. So I wrote my pitch and ran it by Ari a few times, tweaking things here and there. Our main concern was that folks would get super upset once they figured it was a prank. After that I went back to school to use their space and lights to shoot my presentation. Huge thanks to Ari and Renata Batistini on that process.

Then I moved on to create compelling images of the lens. We see plenty of cheap renders out there, all static, all one-image, generic type of thing. To beat that I teamed up with my buddy Paul H. Paulino, texture artist whose work you’re familiar with (Black Panther, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2) and we started making the lens.

I did all the modeling based on a mix of references, but the key visuals came from LOMO. All dimensions are accurate to the fraction of millimeter and even the glass inside sort of makes sense. That also helps selling the illusion. From there Paul took over with the textures and we came up with the set together, based on my desk at home, which would make it more believable. It shows up in almost every video.

After this I consulted with another friend who works in animation – Fernão Morato, who also helped me build some of the things in this channel and shows up in a few tests – and he gave me pointers about the virtual camera. Then I hit render. Each of the four shots took about twenty hours to render.

The last thing left was to shoot the actual footage. For that I was planning to use the LA7200 paired with a 28mm on full frame and fix sharpness with diopters, but luck struck and I ended up using an anamorfake Samyang 24mm f/1.5 paired to the Letus AnamorphX 1.33x PRO, which turned out to be the widest combo I’ve ever tested, with an equivalent hFOV of 18mm on full frame, which is wider than 30mm 2x would be on S35. I wasn’t pleased with the amount of flares, so I bumped them up in After Effects, and that was my unique look, comprised of various parts from various pieces.

Now that all of this breakdown is complete, here’s a few words of warning which motivated me to make this video: We’re seeing more and more promises for anamorphic these days. Most of them from unknown folks with no known background designing lenses or relevant presence in our community. My target with SCOPE was the “we want to believe” way of thinking, and that is a dangerous feeling online. There are more bad than good deals around, and with prices skyrocketing, I’d recommend being extra careful with the promises you buy.

The last thing to cover is price. Some of you got really upset that I said $4k is affordable. So I went to check with experts and pros if $4k was too much for a cine anamorphic prime. It was almost unanimous that it would be too cheap or, even worse, fall into the spot in which it’s too expensive for users to buy yet too cheap for rental houses. Because of that I wouldn’t expect anything like SCOPE for less than $5-8k. Making an anamorphic lens consumes a ton of money and time and the market is just not big enough to make it a safe investment.

What did you guys think of the prank and its insights? Do you still hope for a sub-$1K perfect scope? Let me know in the comments below and hit like and subscribe before you go! Oh yeah, and next time I say I’m making a lens, I’ll be ACTUALLY making one. I’m Tito Ferradans and I’ll see you next week.

Anamorphic

This is SCOPE – 30mm T/2 2x Anamorphic Lens

April 1, 2018

I made a lens! SCOPE is what I’ve been working on for the longest time.

TECH SPECS

  • 30mm Lens for S35 sensors
  • T/2.0
  • 2x Anamorphic squeeze
  • 1.2m / 3’11” Minimum focus distance
  • Geared focus and iris rings
  • Single focus operation
  • Filter Tray for 114mm / 4.5″ filters
  • Swappable EF and PL mount

Make a pledge at my Patreon page to be notified of updates and to support this project! You can cancel your pledge at any time.

Tito Ferradans here with something that might sound out of the blue. I got tired of watching prices rise and few new anamorphics being added to the market – none of them aimed at the budget market – so I took matters into my own hands and, with an excellent team around me, I created SCOPE.

SCOPE is what I’ve been working on every time I mentioned my LOMO set. A small batch of super-wide, affordable anamorphic lenses. These are 30mm T/2, 2x stretch babies. If you MUST know, the first batch of SCOPE sells for $4000 with delivery scheduled for January 2019. Here’s how the footage looks like.

After experimenting with all sorts of adapters I had a solid idea of what worked and what didn’t. SCOPE’s single focus operation is the same as old LOMOs. To achieve such wide angle the front element is huge – by far the most challenging part of the design. SCOPE features a slot for 114mm (4.5″) filters, minimum focus at 1.2m (4ft), focus and iris gears and swappable EF/PL mount.

The website for pre-orders will be up soon, so make a pledge on my Patreon page to be notified right away. The link is right here on the screen and in the description! I don’t have much else to say. Shoot me questions in the comments below and subscribe to the channel for updates! How pumped are you for an actually affordable anamorphic lens? Tito Ferradans, out.

Anamorphic

DIY 3D-Printed Anamorphic Front Clamp

March 25, 2018

Wanna be cheap with me and make your own front clamps? Here’s a detailed recipe. Thank you, Lucas Pfaff!

USEFUL LINKS:

All the RED links on this post are part of eBay’s Partner Network, so if you purchase anything through them, you’re helping me to keep this project going.

You can support this project on Patreon. Make your contribution and help the Anamorphic Cookbook!

Tito Ferradans here for another collaboration with Lucas Pfaff – yes, the same guy of the Anamorphic Mumps Corrector. Today we’re making a 3D printed front clamp for any given anamorphic – almost any, actually – by combining a 3d printed part and a step ring for filter threads.

You’re gonna need a step ring slightly bigger than your anamorphic front glass, a 3d printer, your anamorphic and a caliper.

We’re gonna start by measuring the front diameter of the anamorphic. For this Dyaliscope, I got 77.9mm. Now I’m gonna get my step ring, in this case a 72-77mm fits nicely over the front element. The outer diameter of the ring is 79.6mm, and its height is 5.5mm.

Now I’m going in Autodesk’s Fusion 360 and making a clamp by using all these numbers. Fusion is pretty easy to use. You can also use any 3d modeling software you feel more comfortable with. I’ll start with a sketch that uses most values I got from the dyaliscope and ring. I’ll create a circle with the overall outer diameter of the clamp – 88mm in this case.

Inside this circle, I’m creating another one, with the outer diameter of the step ring, 79.6mm, and then a third circle inside, which uses the diameter of the dyaliscope (77.9). Lastly, I’m adding a fourth circle with the diameter of the smaller threads of the step ring.

From here I’ll start extruding the front of the clamp, with a partial height for the step ring (4.5mm), and then I’ll select the circle that has the dyaliscope diameter and extrude it in the opposite direction for 13.5mm which is enough overlap over the lens.

As an option you can chop out the rear threads of the filter and make it more compact, which will reduce the odds of vignetting. If you don’t have the tools to do so, just take into account the ring’s rear threads when designing the clamp – which is what I’m doing now: I’m using the circle with the step-ring’s small diameter to create a little ledge which will house those threads safely and prevent the anamorphic from pushing the ring out.

Export this as an STL file and print it. Fit the step ring in, it should be tight. If it’s too tight, I’d say warm up the print with a blow drier. Same goes for the anamorphic. It should fit in super snuggly and be hard to move. This is what makes it safe.

Easy and cheap enough, right? Do you feel comfortable trusting your diopters with something you made yourself or would you be more at ease using a traditional clamp like the ones from Redstan and Rapido? You can always drill a hole and add a nylon screw to this like Lucas shows here!

If you liked this tutorial and this is gonna save you money, please like the video and subscribe to the channel! I’m always coming up with new tricks and solutions to make anamorphic shooting more accessible. If you got any questions, shoot them in the comments below! And the file for this particular clamp can also be downloaded in the description! See you next week! Tito Ferradans out.

Anamorphic

Kowa Variance and GH5 Anamorphic Calculator

March 21, 2018

It’s time to admit past mistakes and share info on the top tier Kowas. I also updated the Anamorphic Calculator so it works properly when you pick the GH5 in the menu!

USEFUL LINKS:

All the RED links on this post are part of eBay’s Partner Network, so if you purchase anything through them, you’re helping me to keep this project going.

You can support this project on Patreon. Make your contribution and help the Anamorphic Cookbook!

Tito Ferradans here for a quick video with little bits and pieces of updated info on old episodes!

You might remember the comparison I made between the Kowa B&H and the Elmo II, correct? Then, I recently posted a comparison between all the other Kowas (16-H, 8-Z and B&H). Some might have also noticed that the review for the Rectilux HardcoreDNA was shot with an Elmo II instead of the regular Kowa B&H and quality had absolutely no difference, right? That is because I was wrong on my Kowa vs Elmo video. After that episode I got a lot of feedback from several users claiming that their Elmos were better than other Kowas they tried.

After several months, multiple Kowas and Elmos, I feel it’s safe to say these are all the same. Putting it in all the words, Elmoscope II, Kowa B&H, Kowa 16-H and Kowa 8-Z are the same lens. They might have slight cosmetic differences, but in the end they are all the same glass. What creates the difference between them is sample variance. Some are amazing, some not so good. It depends on how life has treated them and if they have been recently serviced or not.

Before anyone starts pointing out that they could be different, here are the only things I noticed: their coatings can vary and you could have either purple or golden flares depending on when the lens was made; also, the 16-H and 8-Z are capable of going a hair wider than the B&H – you can see that for yourself on the Kowa 16-H comparison.

Now that this information is out there, grab your Elmos while they’re cheaper! The tendency is for sellers to match the highest prices in the market (aka, the B&H, at around a thousand bucks). That also means that every mod in my Kowa playlist is applicable to any of these lenses! You should check it out.

The second part of this video is about an update for the Anamorphic Calculator. The Panasonic GH5 has been shaking the community since it came out, and gathered a lot of interest recently with its firmware update. I reached out to GH5 shooters and worked its math for the calculator. You can fiddle with it on the blog, the link is on the description. Again, the calculator is a tool aimed to give you a close approximation to what’s doable or not. It is as precise as I could make it, but lenses are a wide market and there will always be exceptions to the rules.

That being said, this is one of my most accessed tools, with very little negative feedback, so I’d say it’s pretty well put together. It was even copied by someone else without giving me credits! I see plagiarism as one of the greatest honors in modern day. It sucks, yes, but still, it’s so good that someone went through the trouble of copying it and trying to take the credit! After that event I included a link on the blog for anyone to embed the app in their website.

I’ll be back next week with some more serious business here. For now, subscribe if you haven’t yet and leave a comment below if you managed to break the calculator, or if you have strong opinions about what I said on the Kowas and Elmos. If you absolutely LOVE this channel, take a peek at my Patreon page and pick something you like. The help is more than welcome, as time becomes a scarce commodity! Ferradans, out.