Anamorphic Calculator

Anamorfake It Until You Make It!

Anamorphic on a Budget


How to Buy an Anamorphic Lens!

February 9, 2020

I recommend opening the image on a new tab and maxing out the zoom. This is my thought process for buying an anamorphic lens. It can be your first, it can be your twentieth. Have fun!

Below is a list with all the things mentioned in the flowchart. There’s a brief description and useful links. This should equip you with more than enough information on whatever endpoint you reach!

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.

Aivascope 1.5x 
The second version of the Aivascope. A single focus adapter that rivals image quality with the mighty Iscorama. It makes some of the most beautiful flares among adapters. Product Page / Test Videos

Anamorfake It Until You Make It!
An extensive guide I wrote on how to craft the anamorphic look without anamorphic glass. – Product Page / Videos

Anamorphic Mode
Some cameras offer this alternative recording mode that shoots 3:2, 4:3, or 6:5 aspect ratio for better use of sensor area. + info at Cinema5D

Atlas Orion Lenses
These are the new love of low-budget productions. Affordable anamorphics for cinema rates. Official Website / Video Review

Baby Hypergonar
One of the most famous baby scopes. This thing is tiny and incredibly rare. Performs pretty well, but offers an odd squeeze factor (1.75x) and requires a lot of extras for proper rigging. Also not the best in terms of coverage. Look for one on eBay / Test Videos

Blade Runner 2049
A sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1979 classic, featuring Ryan Gosling. It was shot by Roger Deakins, who is known for not using anamorphics. IMDB / ShotOnWhat

Bolex Moller 16/32/1.5x Anamorphot
The double-focus cousin of the Iscoramas. These gems are hard to find and pricy, but produce beautiful images. Look for one on eBay / Video Review

A political theory derived from Karl Marx, advocating class war and leading to a society in which all property is publicly owned and each person works and is paid according to their abilities and needs. Wikipedia

Davinci Resolve / Color Grading
DaVinci Resolve is a color correction and non-linear video editing application for macOS, Windows, and Linux. Official Website / Tutorial on Fixing Flares

Auxiliary lenses that help with close focus, especially for anamorphic lenses. Look for some on eBay / + info at Anamorphic on a Budget

Glasswerk One Lenses
German lens maker, debuting with two lines of cine anamorphic lenses and claiming innovative optical design to deliver always perfect oval bokeh. Official Website

The unbeaten holy grail of anamorphics. Single focus, compact, razor sharp. Sells for large sums of money. Look for one on eBay / Video Review

Isco Ultra Star Anamorphic Lens
A popular, fairly cheap and reliable anamorphic adapter. Due to its modern coatings, it barely flares. Delivers sharp images and beautiful oval bokeh. Look for one on eBay / Video Review

Kowa B&H / 8-Z / 16-H / Elmoscope II
The golden standard when it comes to 2x projection lenses. Vintage glass leads to strong flares, extreme distortion around the edges and excellent image quality. Look for one on eBay / Video Review / + info about Sample Variance

Letus AnamorphX PRO 1.33x Anamorphic Adapter
The absolute king of the hill when it comes to “how wide does it go”. Delivers great image quality, but weighs a lot and requires double focusing. Official Website / Video Review

LOMO NAP2-3 Anamorphic Lens
A doorstop that smart people manage to adapt into usable optics. Look for one on eBay / + info at EOSHD

LOMO Squarefronts and Roundfronts
LOMOs are the cinema lenses of the Soviet Union. Needless to say they’re not in production anymore and are very sought after because of the character they bring to the footage. Squarefronts are older and less reliable, using a synchro focus mechanism. Roundfronts are newer and use variable diopters for focusing (see below). + info at Anamorphic on a Budget

Moller Anamorphot 46/2x
A very heavy projection lens. Makes handling the camera a real challenge. Delivers beautiful flares and image quality, but its unyielding size and weight make it unusable for me. Look for one on eBay

Panasonic LA7200 1.33x Anamorphic Adapter
Second place to the “how wide does it go” list, the LA7200 was a very popular adapter for beginners. Now not so much due to the many new additions to the market such as SLR Magic and Sirui. Look for one on eBay / Video Review

Rapido FMJ
FMJ stands for Front Metal Jacket, a metal tube that hides your adapter from prying eyes, disguising your DIY setup as a single unit. Official Website / Video Review

Rapido Full Package C
This Rapido package includes the FMJ, FVD16a and a Schneider Cinelux, all of which are referenced in this list, so look for their own definitions. The advantage of the package is they all come together. Official Website

Rapido FVD16A
The best cost/performance ratio on the market for single focus solutions (see Single Focus Solutions below). Official Website / Video Review

Rapido FVD35A
The FVD16A (see above) is a limiting factor when it comes to vignetting on some of the bigger adapters in the market. The FVD35A supercharges on the size, keeping your image cleaner and wider. Official Website

Sankor 16D
A cheaper and reliable 16mm anamorphic projection lens. Nice purple/blue flares. Look for one on eBay / Video Review

Schneider Anamorphic Lens
Sibling to the Isco Ultra Star (see above), but less friendly to double focusing since it doesn’t have a focus ring. Requires a single focus solution for better operation. Look for one on eBay / Video Review

Scope 30mm T/2
In April 1st, 2018 I said I made a lens. A lot of people loved the idea so much that they got mad when I said it was all a joke. Launch Video / VFX Breakdown

Single Focus Solution / Variable Diopter
All the rave when it comes to converting double-focus setups into single focus. Set everything to infinity and go out to shoot. + info at Anamorphic Cookbook / Video Review

Sirui 50mm f/1.8 1.33x Anamorphic Lens
A groundbreaking lens from a tripod-making company. Shook the foundations of the cheap anamorphic market in the end of 2019. Official Website / Video Review / Modding Instructions

SLR Magic 1.33x-40 Compact Anamorphic Adapter
Also one of my most popular recommendations, a super cheap adapter that works straight out of the box without requiring lots of clamps, step rings and other paraphernalia. Get one at B&H / Video Review

SLR Magic Anamorphot 65
The Anamorphot 65 was developed in partnership with Fujinon for perfect pairing with their MK lenses. Bigger elements mean less vignetting and can be made single focus when paired with said Fujinon MK lenses and a dual-motor follow focus system. Get one at B&H / + info at Cinema 5D

Van Diemen Rehousings
These rehousings are amazing. The downside is they take a long time and cost a small fortune. You provide all the glass, they do the mechanical design and building. Official Website / Video Review

Vazen 40mm T2 1.8x Anamorphic Lens
Vazen made a splash by offering a lens suited to MFT cameras and aiming at 4:3 shooting, optiminzing sensor use and squeeze ratio. Built like a tank, could be called a cine lens, but much cheaper than the other ones. Official Website / Video Review

Xelmus Apollo Anamorphic Lenses
A brand new lens maker from Ukraine who promises to revolutionize performance on the low-budget end of cinema anamorphics. Official Website / Video Review


Iscorama 36 vs Bolex Moller 16/32/1.5x

December 1, 2019

The greatest comparison between anamorphic adapters you’re gonna see this year. The kings of image quality and 1.5x stretch go head to head and only one can emerge victorious! Iscorama vs Bolex Moller!


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 big match in the anamorphic game! Today we’re putting the Bolex Moller 16/32/1.5x against the world’s favorite Iscorama Pre-36. These are the top 1.5x stretch scopes out there and you can watch their individual reviews before watching this comparison. Before I start, I’d like to thank Evan Burns for letting me play with this Bolex for these tests! You’re awesome, man!

There’s constant speculation over which of them is the better anamorphic, so let’s put down all the rumors and work with facts! To make things easier, I’ll be using a series of different categories for the comparisons. They are DIMENSIONS, EASE OF USE, PRICE, IMAGE QUALITY, FLARES and VIGNETTING!

The Iscorama weighs 400g, with lots of plastic body parts that get old and crack, versus the Bolex that weighs 370g and is made of solid metal and glass. Fairly close, eh? If we factor in the Rectilux HCDNA as a single focus solution, the Bolex goes up to 1kg. In terms of size, the Bolex by itself can be compared to the size of the Iscorama and both make great compact rigs, but once you add a HCDNA in front of the Bolex for single focus, the Iscorama is the clear winner, thanks to the plastic housing.

The Bolex has 39mm rear threads and it’s not hard to get a clamp for it, but you still need one for alignment. The front threads are standard 62mm, so this gives you versatility when looking for diopters. What kills it is the double focus process, especially when compared to the Iscorama, which is naturally single focus. The Isco has standard 49mm rear threads and a built-in alignment mechanism, so you don’t need any extra gear for it. The front threads are 72mm, which isn’t too bad for finding cheap low-power diopters.

Sure, you can add a single focus solution to the Bolex, but then you’re adding one more step to your setup. Native minimum focus is 1m on the Bolex and 2m on the Iscorama, both with an extremely long, full 360 degrees, focus throw. These focus numbers are quite loose, though, because minimum focus changes if you add a HCDNA to the Bolex, and there is an easy process to shorten the minimum focus of the Iscorama – DIY style or with the Proxiscope mod, or even a full rehousing at VanDiemen. The ultimate minimum focus without diopters for the Iscorama is 1.1m.

Since this whole focus thing is debatable for both lenses and adds complications in both cases, I will not take it into account for declaring the Iscorama winner of this category. You literally take it out of the box and screw it to your taking lens and you’re ready to shoot, single focus. No need for any extras.

We’re talking about gems here. These are not easy to find, regardless of having the money or not. So you usually have to act swiftly once something pops up. When I got into anamorphics, back in 2012, an Iscorama would sell for around $2000 and a Bolex could fetch not more than $1000. Today, an Iscorama sells fairly easy at $3300 but can reach higher prices. The prices on the Bolex continue to go up, sitting right now between 2000 and 2300. Since the Bolex is double focus, if you want to use it for anything fast, you’ll need a single focus solution, and that adds another $500 to $1000 depending if you’re going with the Rapido FVD-16A or the Rectilux HCDNA. Even adding that cost, the Bolex wins as the cheaper option.

This was fun. The Bolex clearly has a warmer tone than the Iscorama and maybe even a touch better contrast. The Rectilux HCDNA adds a bit of softness throughout. When we get to the nitty gritty, the Bolex performs better with longer taking lenses while the Isco will struggle with the faster apertures. Both lenses sharpen similarly as they’re stopped down, which is disturbing. If I disregard the double focus aspect, the Bolex wins. If I make the Bolex single focus, the Iscorama wins. Tough call. Let’s go with the Bolex. At least you’ll have the OPTION of being super sharp by taking out the HCDNA when you need it.

This is a tough one. The Iscorama has strong orange flares that show up easily, while the Bolex has cool purple tinged streaks. The Bolex wins this category only because the Iscorama is prone to a weird box-shaped rainbow flare that requires some modding in order to disappear. This tends to show up on wider taking lenses and when the light source is closer to the center of the frame.

This was one of the only easy comparisons in this test: The Iscorama can clear 40mm on full frame, while the Bolex fails that number even before adding the HCDNA. Once you add the single focus solution the clear frame for the Bolex moves up north of 50mm. With 1.5x stretch clear the entire frame is worth extra points for a slightly wider 2.66:1 aspect ratio when shooting 16:9, as opposed to the standard 2.4:1. So Iscorama scores.

Neither lens provides you with focus gears and from their raw form they can both be improved. The easy addition to the Bolex is a single focus solution and both the FVD and Rectilux have focus gears, plus a solid clamp that goes on rails so you never have to realign it. Take your pick from Rapido or Redstan. For the Iscorama, you can go for a full rehousing at Van Diemen which can be a lengthy and expensive process, or do it your own by purchasing the Proxiscope or Maxiscope mods, from Max Prodaniuk, which adds focus gears, shortens minimum focus, makes the Isco ready for rails and fixes alignment issues. I can’t recommend it enough.

Let’s tally up the score. The Iscorama takes DIMENSIONS, EASE OF USE and VIGNETTING, the Bolex wins PRICE, IMAGE QUALITY and FLARES. So in terms of raw categories it’s a tie. If any of these categories is key to you, this is enough for your pick, but for a winner, let’s discuss how much better than the competitor each lens performs in their categories. The Iscorama has easy wins in its three categories, but the Bolex struggles to outperform the Iscorama in IMAGE QUALITY, only getting an edge at longer lenses, the box-flare on the Iscorama can also be fixed and that would lead to a tie on FLARES. The price category is a clear win for the Bolex if you keep it double focus, but once you make it single focus, the price difference between both lenses is not that far apart.

On that note, the Iscorama is the best lens here. Cue all the hate comments below! Cue the all the “I KNEW IT” comments below too! And before you go, here’s a reason to subscribe: The Iscorama might be the winner, BUT… There’s an odd secret about it! If you wanna know more about it, hit subscribe and stay tuned for next week’s video, when all facts are finally out! Thank you for watching, and I’ll see you next week!


Anamorfake It Until You Make It!

November 13, 2019

I’ve seen the effects of my research while watching anamorphic adapters on eBay. Prices have been consistently going up since 2014 and good adapters are increasingly harder to find. This made me sad because the whole point of the Anamorphic on a Budget project was to achieve the anamorphic look without breaking the bank. Then adapters became expensive and the look was locked away from those without as many resources.


So I spun the process on its head and started looking at the final image. I wanted to reverse engineer the look as if I never knew anamorphics existed. What other tools had I at my reach that could put me on the right track? Over the last two years I combined various techniques to craft a look that no one could tell if the footage is anamorphic or not. As I went down this path I also came to the conclusion that most anamorphic adapters are overrated (in price and performance).

Then I compiled all the data into a guide that is close to two hundred pages long – almost half of them with detailed tutorials for modding lenses and the other half with post-production techniques, mods that don’t require opening lenses and related products such as streak filters and plugins.

To prove the point that it’s nearly impossible to tell anamorphic apart from anamorfake I made a little quiz using my own footage and shots from a few friends. I figured it would be a fun way to bring attention to the fact that not even seasoned shooters can get them right.

Can you tell anamorfake shots apart from real anamorphic ones?

I’m betting you can’t. I’m so confident in my prediction that I’m giving a 15% discount code for the “Anamorfake It Until You Make It” guide in the off chance you get all ten images right! Click the “NEXT” button below to start.

You got

  Wow, you did it! Congratulations!
  Let’s not get into specifics of how many times you had to take this quiz to get it right. ;)
  You have a sharp eye to tell anamorphic shots apart from anamorfake ones! How about you use that skill combined with the Anamorfake It Until You Make It! guide to help me blur the lines between scope and spherical? To encourage you on this quest, here’s the discount code I promised. Just copy it and paste at checkout!



Well, I said it was hard, didn’t I?
I’ve been doing this for years and I still have a hard time telling apart some of these frames!
But you know what? If anamorfake footage can trick you, it can also trick your audience! Why don’t you get the code below for a small discount on the Anamorfake It Until You Make It! guide? Then you can start making your own anamorfakes that no one can tell apart from the real deal. Boost your production value by spending less money! :)




#1 By T. Ferradans.


#2 By M. Hann.


#3 By T. Ferradans.


#4 By Ichidomo.


#5 By T. Ferradans.


#6 By T. Ferradans.


#7 By T. Ferradans.


#8 By Ichidomo.


#9 By Ichidomo.


#10 By T. Ferradans.


Kowa Anamorphic 1.75x

October 27, 2019

Here’s a big and super rare scope that fits into the exotic family of 1.75x scopes! And it’s a Kowa. Oh, this could be good!


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, this time with the help of a fellow Vancouverite, Victor Prokopowicz. Victor came to me because he was having trouble with his Kowa 1.75x. Because of the massive front ring, he wasn’t able to fit it inside the back of the Rectilux HCDNA. So he gave me all the parts, I took the Rectilux apart (like shown in the tutorial I posted here) and he took the back of it to mill it wider.

As soon as he brought the HCDNA back I put everything together and the fit was perfect, so I took it out for a spin and test shots.

This Kowa is a heavy lens, at 600g, or 1.5lb, plus the weight of the HCDNA so I had a Rapido clamp mounted to 15mm rails, which made alignment a lot easier when swapping taking lenses. This is one of those lenses that feels heavier than it looks. If it didn’t deliver such beautiful images, I’d say it’s too heavy.

Part of the select club of 1.75x scopes, this Kowa has no front or rear threads, making clamps mandatory. Focus comes as close as 1.5m or 5ft, and the body has marks in ft. Due to its double focus nature, I’d stick to the HCDNA, which is the only single focus solution right now capable of covering the big front glass and making this lens shine.

It’s hard to place this Kowa on a price chart. The last ones to show up on eBay sold (or are still listed) for ridiculous over-two-thousand dollars marks. I guess it’s that rare. Victor told me he actually found his on a random, old school used items site and had to phone down the store in the US to hear about their return policies. The Kowa was the only thing sticking out in their inventory, so he was a bit suspicions. It turned out the lens was real, and he paid a lot less than two grand for it. There are still scopes out there, friends.

Image quality is pretty good at all apertures, and the smudges you see at f/1.4 are because the newspaper wasn’t perfectly flat against the wall and DOF was shallow enough to get parts of it blurry. At 135 and wide open the Kowa struggles a little bit, but still holds up alright. A little sharpening in post and you’re ready to go. $$ sound. Price increases.

Flares are not super crazy, but very much present. They show a reddish hue a bit deeper than the Kowa B&H and Iscoramas. Remarkable flares from a remarkable scope. Price goes up!

I have an extensive test for vignetting. The initial problem here was that the HCDNA was sitting too far from the front of the Kowa. This is what we had. Heavy vignetting until 50mm, then almost clear at 85mm and finally clear at 135mm. Let’s step back to 40mm. That’s bad. After getting the back of the HCDNA wider, we were able to clear a lot more of the frame, getting 2.4:1 clear around 50mm on Full Frame and no trace of vignetting at 85mm. Once we remove the HCDNA entirely, you can clear 50mm!!! And get a tiny bit of dark edges at 40mm using Canon’s pancake. Price goes up a lot.

This Kowa was a beast of a lens, it’s large, sturdy, could be used as a bludgeoning weapon, delivers Kowa-like sharp images, goes pretty wide for its stretch factor and has unique reddish flares. I am not surprised at the asking prices on these after testing. It’s too heavy for my style, I mean, I got these skinny arms that will die upon a heavy handheld setup.

I’d like to thank Viktor for letting me run all of these tests and for trusting me with his gems. What did you think of the results on this one? Is everyone already scouring the web for lucky finds like this? Let me know if you succeed in the comments and don’t forget to subscribe before you go. If you enjoyed this video, please hit the like button. I’m Tito Ferradans and I’ll see you next week. Thanks for watching!


Sankor Anamorphic Type-5e

October 20, 2019

Here’s an obscure Sankor coming straight from Japan. How does such a good lens stay hidden for so long? Are they just that rare?


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 what seems to be the last of my pending reviews using JSD’s gear – and if you follow his posts on facebook you know this guy has a lot going on when it comes to anamorphic. So I hope he shows up here soon again. Today we’re talking about the Sankor Type-5e, an exotic projection lens with almost no information going around.

The footage coming out of this lens reminds me a lot of the Isco Ultra Star, it’s quite sharp, has a pronounced 2x bokeh and it’s coming from a golden-looking lens. The biggest difference I could spot was how this Sankor handled flares – or failed to. Direct sun hits flooded the frame with white and when I could get it just right, an interesting green streak would show up. I used the HCDNA for these shots, because no one has the time for double focusing anymore.

I tried finding good sources of info on this lens and failed, so everything that shows here is pretty fresh. JSD found this lens in his favorite Japanese auction site and got two of them. It’s a compact adapter, feels slightly shorter than the Ultra Star and weighs 580g, almost 1.5lb. It’s a 2x stretch projection lens, which implies double focus. The focus ring is smooth and it comes down to 1.5m over 240 degrees of throw. There’s also a handy focus-locking screw, for setting it to infinity and coupling to a single focus solution.

There are no front or rear threads, so you’ll need clamps for attaching filters and connecting to a taking lens. Due to the size and weight, I recommend using rails on this one – or almost any projection lens, for that matter. You have seen this lens before when I made a tutorial on making your own 3d-printed front clamps.

In terms of pricing I couldn’t find any info on it. Some eBay listings, but very low key, sell at $300. This exact one sold for $400, and considering how prices are going, as well as its performance, I’d expect them to go for something in the 450-600 range.

Image quality is outstanding, even in the corner areas, performing well at fast apertures and any focal length, which makes me think even more of the Isco Ultra Star. It displays a sensible improvement when stopped from 1.4 to f/2.8 and I don’t think you can get much sharper past that point, it might even be a taking lens limitation!

Flares are nice and green. I think this is my first green-flaring lens ever. There’s a fair amount of blooming around light sources, which is not great, but I’d take these flares over the non-existing flares of the Ultra Star any day.

Vignetting was interesting, like a Kowa chart. We have a bit too much at 40mm but Almost clears full frame at 50mm, definitely clears 2.4:1, which is a rare trait for projection lenses. Then all clear at 85mm. The big glass and short body certainly helped here.

This scope has a lot of impressive results: nice flares, great image quality, can go pretty wide for a 2x adapter. Too bad it’s almost impossible to find! The world could benefit from more of those floating around. This time I’m not putting down a double focus projection scope. See, I’m a fair person. Good scopes get good reviews.

What did you think of the results? Are you as impressed as I am? Let me know in the comments below! Before you go please hit the like button and don’t forget to subscribe so you get a new anamorphic video next Sunday! I’m Tito Ferradans and I’ll see you then!


Moller 32/2x Anamorphot

October 13, 2019

This is like the Baby Kowa Bell & Howell with sci-fi flares. But there are traps all around. Be careful when getting yours! Use the code “Tito” for 15% off on the Phantom LUTs.


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 today with a bit of an identity crisis. This is another video using JSD’s gear, so at this point I’m wondering why do I even have my own gear. Today I’m talking about the Moller 32/2x and this one was fully rigged with a Rapido FMJ and Rapido FVD-16A. I shot these tests while in Japan and editing it together was a bit of a good time-travel.

Alright, Japan might be a small place, but it’s still pretty big. So this was on our way to Hiroshima and the day we spent there. Timeline wise, this was shot the day before I shot the tests with the Hypergonar of two weeks ago. The Moller was a lot easier to shoot. It’s a smaller scope and even adding the FMJ, it didn’t feel too heavy. It actually felt easier to handle. Focus was locked to infinity and all of the focusing was done on the FVD. This is a pretty good projection scope and I don’t have much to say about shooting. Oh, this footage was also shot S-log and I used the Phantom LUTs to quickly create this look. You can find more info about them as well as a discount code in the description below!

The Moller 32/2x is a lens full of catches. It goes by a few names – I had one named Vidoscope, while JSD’s was a plain Moller. There’s also differences in the focus markings and a completely useless version. Let’s get the basics out of the way:

This is a 2x stretch projection lens. It’s small and light, weighing 390g, or a pound, and it’s a breeze to carry around compared to the other stuff I tested in the previous videos. It has 39mm threads on the back, which makes it easy for clamps and alignment. There are no threads on the front. It also has these notches right around the front, which make life harder to get a front clamp to fit snuggly – hence the FMJ.

When we get to the subject of focus, things get sketchy. There are mainly two versions of this lens. The first version (which still goes by multiple names) has focus markings (either in ft, or ft AND meters) and minimum focus at 1.4m (4’10”). Focus throw is about 330 degrees, so quite long. The other version of the lens – regardless of the brand written on it – has no focus marks. This is a telecine version of the lens, with very specific uses and it’s almost useless to anamorphic shooting, as it is unable to focus on infinity. The dead giveaway to the telecine version of the Moller is the recessed rear element you can see in these pictures. Many thanks to Oli Kember for the photos and many other members of Anamorphic Shooters to referring to this difference between these otherwise identical looking lenses. So be careful when buying one of them.

This lens has always been a random roll when it comes to prices. Maybe it’s because of the different versions. Since earlier 2018, these Mollers soared to the $600-800 range and stayed there. It sounds pricy, but just like a Kowa, it’s amazing what this little lens can do, so the price is justified. You’ll find plenty of good footage from it.

Image quality is excellent at the center with any focal lens and aperture, but it drops towards the edges, only getting consistent sharpness across the entire frame when stopped down. Not a surprise. The sharpness on this adapter makes it a great contender for a vintage scope on a smaller sensor.

The flares are interesting. I had a Vidoscope which showed neutral coatings and the resulting flares were more of a muted purple, while JSD’s had strong blue coatings and displayed much more saturated flares.

On full frame the Moller 32 clears the frame at 85mm and vignettes heavily at 50mm. Something in between should be good to get you cleared on 2.4:1, possibly a Helios 44, at 58mm. when shooting on a crop sensor, JSD has worked hard tweaking parts and is able to clear 25mm on the GH5 shooting 4:3.

This was a fun lens to test. It didn’t hinder my style of shooting like the heavier projection lenses, it turned out to be a lens full of exceptions and little details to be aware of, capable of rendering beautiful and sharp images at the same time it shows good vintage character. Good job, Moller. Not a surprise after the 1.5x Mollers, though. All of these positive aspects are probably what drove up the prices of this guy last year, almost doubling in the span of just a few months.

What do you think of the Moller? To me this sounds like a Kowa killer for smaller sensors. It’s compact and versatile. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and please hit the like button to help me grow the channel. If you’re not subscribed yet and you watched this far, you should definitely hit that button too, because there’s a lot more about anamorphic here, including a brand new review next week. I’m Tito Ferradans and I’ll see you then.


The Truth About Phone Anamorphic Lenses

July 24, 2019

If you’re anything like me, you have an eBay saved search with the keywords “anamorphic lens”. If you’re a little more like me, you check that every day. I do it in the morning, before getting to work. I had eBay ping me every time something new popped up, but those times are gone. I almost don’t buy lenses anymore but I still check the search. It’s my way to stay up to date on prices, what’s more common and what disappeared from the market.

In recent times, I noticed an increasing number of phone anamorphic lenses. Not just used ones in the wake of Moment’s Kickstarter delivery last year, but completely new brands, with prices ranging from $20 all the way to $150+.

This happened in a matter of months. What has changed?

An overview of Kickstarter campaigns and marketing

Anamorphics for phones first came to life in the end of 2013, also through a Kickstarter campaign, but by Moondog Labs back then. It got funded on time, sold a little over 450 units and reached $57k in funding for their $30k set goal.

Moondog Labs had a product aimed exclusively at iPhones, which needed to be updated every time Apple released a new iPhone model. Their product was so different that there weren’t even apps for desqueezing the image on your phone at that time.

The lens costed $125 on Kickstarter and has been priced at $175 after its release. I’d say it was a fad. Some people thought it was cool, “Tangerine” was an interesting movie shot with it in 2015, I made a review for it years too late. The need to buy a new lens every time you upgraded your phone was a big let down for me, plus it was incompatible with anything but iPhones.

The whole thing kind of faded into the background.

In 2017, BeastGrip tried their luck with the same market, also on Kickstarter. Same price point as Moondog Labs, but with 37mm rear threads and a weird case to hold it in place. The project was funded in little under ten days, sold roughly 350 units and raised $155k for an original goal of $80k. It sold less than Moondog Labs’ lens, but Beastgrip’s campaign focused on other products too which helped getting the whole lot funded.

Beastgrip’s PRO 1.33x anamorphic lens + phone cage

It also didn’t go very far and disappeared into the generic pool of phone lenses.

Last year Moment kicks their campaign online. They got funded in 40 minutes, reaching whooping $1.6M for a $50k goal and sold 9500 anamorphics on official pledges only (not considering add-ons). Their campaign also featured other items but its pinnacle was the anamorphic lens.

Moment’s anamorphic lens

The first thing we notice from watching the three campaign videos is how much phone cameras have improved in the last five years. The second thing to notice are the different approaches to the gear. Moondog Labs is straight to the point, technical, and fills their video with somewhat generic shots made with their lens. Beastgrip tries to be more exciting with some epic shots, but the video is more focused on their DOF adapter. They really want to turn your phone into a DSLR.

From Beastgrip’s Kickstarter campaign. I don’t want to attach my full size lenses to my phone. I got cameras for that stuff.

Moment did everything different. Their video, almost 25 minutes long, goes on a trip while they take the lens to several instagram and youtube influencers and film their (mindblown) reactions. They focus on how much fun they’re having while shooting and selling what comes to everyone’s mind when they think anamorphic (if you’re not sure, the keywords are “cinematic” and “flares”). The audience reach they got from the featured influencers is well above 4M viewers.

4M views is a large number but $1.5M in funding is the kind of number capable of motivating a market. That’s what happened. During Moment’s development and delivery, other companies realized there was money to be made from anamorphic lenses for phones. They also dropped prices much lower. So while you have Moment, MoondogLabs and Beastgrip priced to retail around $175, most of the generic versions on eBay range between $20 and $60, for they have no name to back a higher price tag. If you try Amazon the prices are more uniform, though, at $150.

Some examples from eBay. Have you ever heard of any of these brands?

Is this bad? Probably yes for Beastgrip and Moondog Labs, maybe for Moment too (although they just made huge bank) but for shooters, this is good. It creates variety, innovation and competitive prices as each company tries to get a larger share of the market.

Words of caution

For the beginners considering phone anamorphics as an entryway to shooting scope: these lack oval bokeh and many of the visual traits of real anamorphics. You’ll get flares and a wider aspect ratio, maybe some barrel distortion, but that’s about it.

A sample from Moment’s website/campaign. They picked super favorable lighting.

One thing fundamentally wrong with almost all of these lenses: their mounting system is garbage. Pretty much all of them have a different way of mounting to your phone (thanks to the endless variety of phones’ sizes and shapes). Beastgrip does the best job by making their lenses with 37mm threads. Moondog Labs also joined in this trend, although they offer different mounts as well. Standard threads give the lens more versatility, allowing you to connect it to regular photo lenses through the use of step rings, or to swap the phone behind it as long as you keep the 37mm threads in place. All other phone anamorphics are either dependent on special phone cases (such as Moment) or cumbersome attachments. There is an opening in the market for unifying these lens mounts – even camera makers could find some common ground and share lens mounts!

Another thing that worries me with this sudden flood of brands and products is quality control. Anamorphic glass is very finicky and doesn’t handle imperfections well. Bad quality control means poor quality glass getting to users and the loss in image quality is not negligible. If we see the impacts of sample variance with Kowas and Sankors that were never manufactured in stupidly high numbers, think of what would happen in a Helios 44 scale of manufacture. That is likely what is happening with all these new phone anamorphics.

I don’t believe there’s a difference in design. These basic 1.33x squeeze lenses follow the same formula as a Century Optics or Panasonic LA7200 adapter: two cylinders with fixed focus, failing hardcore at close focus and fast apertures. Your phone has no aperture mechanism, so that’s sorted out, only close focus still fails (and I’ve seen it happen with my Moment lens as well as the MoondogLabs back when I had it)

Panasonic LA7200 anamorphic adapter taken apart. Two cylindrical elements for 1.33x squeeze.

What should I choose?

To settle the matter of what’s the best option out there: when Moondog Labs’ lens came out, phones were not quite up to speed but they kept improving. Since everyone is using the same optical design the difference comes from the coatings. Coatings will determine light transmission, overall tone (warmer or colder), contrast, flare colors and fine resolution. I don’t trust the smaller brands with quality control, so the choice stays between the big three.

Moment, Beastgrip and Moondog Labs’ flares.

Moment’s flares take the color of the light source, Beastgrip’s are warm and green and Moondog Labs’ are purple and blue with some amber streaks. I’d go for Moondog Labs any day because of its consistency and its original goal: they didn’t want to be *lit*, or turn your phone into a DSLR. They made an honest product and kept working on it, hoping that the results would bring the audience (kind of what I do in this blog/channel). It takes a painfully long time for that strategy to work, and I hope it pans out soon.

Here’s a head-to-head comparison with footage to back up my theory!

Before you go: if you’re anything serious about shooting content on your phone you’ll need a few more things to get good-looking pictures. The first of them is the FiLMiC Pro app to desqueeze the image on the fly and give you manual control over your phone’s camera. Then throw on a variable ND for more control and a gimbal stabilizer. Your phone is crazy sensitive to movement and that translates into the footage. After all that you are ready to shoot some good phone footage using the anamorphic format!


Lots of options to choose from when picking an anamorphic lens for your phone. I’d steer clear of the cheap unknown brands. Try to score a used Moment or Moondog Labs (prefer the latter) on eBay (just follow the links) and gear up your phone before trying to shoot scope with it.