Monthly Archives:

December 2015



December 30, 2015

I am moving. Moving into a new home, with three amazing friends. We’ve been planning this for some time and finally it happened. Finding the place was an adventure of its own, but I’m not going into that. The series of events I’m going to talk about starts this week. Sunday morning I got a call from our new landlord saying the house was clear and we should swing by to get the keys and then move in whenever we wanted. We gathered and decided that Wednesday was the best day, since Nati had the day off, and there was at least two entire days to finish packing. I had started on Saturday, bagged most of my clothes – except the ones I was still gonna wear! -, all my gear and some random bits and pieces.

Monday morning I went hunting for boxes. Tried the closest supermarket and only found a few small ones – tiny, I should say. Useless. On the way out I decided to check the bins around the back, maybe I got lucky. There were a few good ones in there. Miraculously dry. I spent some time digging into the bin and saw some large ones at the bottom of a second bin, the problem was that to reach those I would have to jump INSIDE the bin and then figure a way to climb out. Why not? Sounds like a bad idea! So, there I went, into the bin. Got the boxes, threw them out and burned a few good minutes climbing and puffing to get out. I never thought it would be so tricky to get out! Anyway, by the time I got to the top, there was a supermarket employee coming out the back door. The poor guy had a brief jump scare before making sense of it all. I didn’t bother explaining. On the way home my hands started to hurt due to the cold. Not ‘light pain’, but joints jammed and the tips of my fingers feeling like they were going to explode. My hands are the most susceptible part of my body to the cold temperatures. Plus carrying boxes is never cool, they’re always bulky and slightly larger than your arms can stretch. So I hurried home as fast as I could, swearing all the way from the cold and because of the cumbersome boxes.

Got home. My hands were like pincers, just two moving parts. Grabbing the keys and rotating them on the lock was a real challenge. Then dragging the boxes in and into the elevator then out and into the apartment. THEN I finally started the real packing and worried that I would need more boxes. Fuck that, this would be a problem for the future. I went on packing and realized the boxes by themselves wouldn’t be enough to hold the weight, so I thought of getting myself a ton of tape and cheap rope to reinforce the boxes that were already full. Cool, a good reason for a short bike ride. As soon as I got up and started pedaling I felt something was wrong. I stopped three or four times along a single block until I realized the back tire was completely flat.

Oh, great. First I have no boxes, then I have to jump in the bin to get boxes, then my hands freeze, then the boxes aren’t good enough, now I have a flat tire to fix, WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH TODAY? I went back home, absolutely píssed. I’d have to either walk or take a bus to get to the bike shop, and none of these options filled me with joy. After two hours of suffering and complaining I decided it was enough and I would play the day by MY rules, whatever that meant. Somebody knocked on the door, it was a package. First time in 18 months that I’m home to receive a package. What are the odds? Then I notice I have ONE bus ticket left, maybe my luck is finally turning. By the time I get to the bus stop, the 44 magically shows up and halts so I can mount the bike and get in. I get to the bike shop quickly and the guy tells me it’s super fast to fix. Also, I should replace my brake pads – second time in two months. Since the bike is still new, labor is free. Cool. Since I have to wait I decide to look around for the things I needed. Tape, check. 200m of tape for $5. Then I realize I’m hungry and hunt for something tasty. When I’m done enjoying some cookies, the bike is finished. As soon as I get up and feel it on the lane my mood improves 200%. Man, I really enjoy riding this bike…

Time to go for an immense sidetrack and then get back to Monday.

During the messed up morning I started to think about some of the things I use on a daily basis. My phone’s screen cracked this last time I was home (Brazil), and then some more during VIFF. My notebook’s battery is completely dead (it prompts me a warning every time I turn the computer on), the bike had a flat tire. These are just the three easiest examples, but there are several others. Ok, stuff is broken, so what? You might remember when I started to write I was going through a hard part of life, some time ago. My philosophy during that time was “it doesn’t matter I’m broken, I just need to last a little longer to finish this or that, and then I’ll start to get better”, and I didn’t take care of myself when or how I should. I was doing the same thing to these “items” around me. Screen is cracked? It’s still usable! Battery is dead? Fine, just keep it attached to a power source. Flat tire? Ok, that’s too much. I’m not even going into the metaphors of “cracked glass”, “running out of battery” or “empty of that invisible thing that keeps you going”. Might be subject for another post. So while I was suffering and complaining about the flat tire, I went online and found a replacement battery for the notebook, then started to look for a new phone. Found one – the most recent version of the one I already have. Then I found out it’s not available in Canada. Craigslist. Dude selling for $500. I’m not paying $500 on a phone. Not now, not EVER. Kept that in mind, trying to figure out what to do. Now, back to biking.

I still had to buy rope. I had a rough idea of where I wanted to go, but the main thing right now was to enjoy the ride. Somewhere along the way I spotted an ice cream place. Heh, why not? Jumped off the bike and enjoyed some decent ice cream. I mean, at this point I wasn’t in a rush for anything else. The goal was to enjoy every step in the process. Back on the bike, I got to Canadian Tire and finding rope was easy enough. The tape and a bit of rope should be more than enough to create some super safe boxes. Going down the street I pass by Best Buy and think “HEY! I SHOULD LOOK FOR MY PHONE HERE” – yes, in caps – so I head in and get lost among the dozens of people enjoying boxing week deals. I confirm the information that the version I want is unavailable in Canada. At some point I realize I didn’t check my favorite e-commerce. Ebay! There I was able to find some good options for an even better price. I keep an eye in a couple of auctions and leave the decision for later.

Back home I reinforce all the done boxes and pack some more. I don’t finish it all, and it’s late so I go to bed. I wake up less than two hours later, soaked in sweat. “HOW IS IT SO HOT IN HERE?”. Well, it’s not. I think there’s just too much going on with moving and getting things done. After slowing my mind down I go back to sleep. I’m up by 6am and on the bike by 7, for what would probably be the last of my so frequent Stanley Park rides. We’re getting a super sunny week, so I better enjoy it! The issue is when the Sun comes out the temperatures drop, so by the time I finished my second lap, my feet were blocks of ice. I had to meet our landlord to pick up our keys and check the house but there was no way I was gonna bike another 20+km feeling so cold. Back home I put on two extra pairs of socks and THEN I was ready. This morning I also put back the straps on my pedals, because I was unable to handle them when I bought the bike, but felt now it was time to try it again. Biking towards the new home took another half hour and the straps made a huge difference. Getting used to them is quite easy!

In the new house I checked every room and cabinet, windows and closets, everything, and then got our several copies of the keys. We’re officially moving! By the time I got home I had already biked 45km today so I thought relaxing a little could be a good idea. I ended up not doing that for very long and headed to the new house again, after picking up some stuff on the way. I rode 65km today, and some stupid uphills. When I got home for the second time I found a checklist of the stuff I need to clean in this apartment before handing back the keys. It’s absurd. Now imagine finding an absurd list after an intense day of exercising, with some packing still left to do and moving on the next day? With no time left, I started the cleaning tonight and got a good part of it done. The apartment is an absolute mess.

After all my physical strength was exhausted I sat here and started to write. In the middle of the process everything started shaking. I even tried to hold the table steady before I realized the entire apartment was shaking. And that’s how I’ve survived my first earthquake. It was pretty quick and not that strong, but I spent at least five minutes cursing and swearing because of the scare. Another “first time” for the book of first times.


Anamorphic on a Budget – SLR Magic Ep 04 – Achromatic Diopters

December 27, 2015

Let’s talk about the most accessible achromatic diopters in the market and how they stack up against more popular options.


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!


Freezing, Biking, Living.

December 20, 2015

If you know Portuguese and have been following my adventures since last year you might remember snow and I don’t get along too well. I think it’s very pretty, seeing everything covered in white and whatnot, but not very pleasant for everyday life – important reminder: I’m from the warmest parts of Brazil. Yesterday we decided to go to the top of Grouse Mountain and, besides putting on plenty of layers and waterproofing myself I remembered to pack one of the lenses I barely had the chance to try since I got it, the Tair 300mm. I wrote about it a while back too. Just for safety I took the Contax Zeiss 135mm as well and the GoPro with the AnamorphX just to see what could I get out of it – still haven’t checked the footage.

We didn’t manage to stay out for very long, so we did a bunch of short (15-20 minutes) runs around the snowy area. First run was the most shocking one, figuring out how to measure the light when EVERYTHING is white and not underexpose my subjects, waving a 300mm lens around and manual focusing with the viewfinder, stopping it down to f/8 (it’s a 300mm after all, I needed a little more depth of field than usual), many different challenges. The best thing about having a camera on me is I got to go into “Photographer mode” and not be bothered by the cold or the piling snow until we got back in the warm area. Even my sore neck stopped hurting for the entire time outside.

I had a blast seeing how the snowflakes turned out in every picture. Sometimes bokeh, sometimes little super dynamic particles, sometimes sharp white dots. It just adds to the organic feel of the pictures – combined with the vintage optics it’s mesmerizing.

Before we decided to leave we wanted to go into this “tunnel” thing entirely made out of Christmas lights. I’m crazy for Christmas lights. I think it’s sad we only use them during Christmas, especially when they look so good in camera. Anyway, that’s not the point. The most amazing thing about the Tunnel of Lights was the magic performed by the 300mm. By defocusing the background to a blur and having only little lights as foreground turned the pictures into bokeh dreams.

By the time we came down, we were so tired that everyone went straight home. Just like coming back from the beach after an intense day of Sun and running around. Snow is exhausting, but I feel less threatened by it now.

Moving on along the title, I’ve been planning a 100km bike ride for a few weeks now. The only things missing are the time and the guts to do it. Since the longest I’ve done so far was 40km, with plenty of stops, I decided to put myself to the test and get a hardcore 50km (25 to go and 25 back) ride to the park where I shot this video. It was a very long (over one hour if I remember it right) bus ride until we got there, so biking should be fun. I just chose the wrong day I think. It was raining like hell and the rain turned into light snow at some points. Nearly half of the way was along a road – not streets and avenues, intermunicipal road, which wasn’t that bad since I couldn’t get lost, but a little worrying in case anything happened or I needed to turn around.

I’m not one to turn around, so I made it. I also faced the meanest uphills ever – combined with a heavier gear for the bike that I installed the day before – which weren’t the most exciting part of the journey, but definitely taught me routes to avoid in the future. Even though I had waterproof clothes, it was raining so much that eventually water got in my shoes and my water RESISTANT gloves didn’t prove themselves so resistant after all. When I got to the park I sat down, looked around – everything was grey, wet and empty – had a cup of raspberries, coconut water, watched a lady buy some ice cream for her dog (true!) and headed to the washroom for two reasons – and I bet you got them both wrong. First one, it was warmer than outside. Second – and most important – they didn’t have paper towels to dry your hands, but those warm air blowers. I hanged around there for good forty minutes, drying my gloves and socks and warming up for the way back.

As usual, coming back was much easier and faster than the first part of the ride. When I got home, for the first time since I got here, I filled the bathtub with warm – hot? – water and just relaxed for a good while because I thought I deserved it. The whole ride took me about four and a half hours, so I think I can manage the 100km plan sometime before the year is over.

The next day I biked to the airport – with some very stupid ideas that didn’t work out – and that was another 30km. I also found out the seawall is open again – it was closed for at least an entire month – so I can start going there again!

Saved as last thing in this post, the Hedley video I helped shooting is out, an acoustic version of Hello. As anamorphic as it can be!


Anamorphic on a Budget – SLR Magic Ep 03 – Rangefinder

December 20, 2015

Third episode of this series, now it’s the Rangefinder’s time to be carefully analyzed. Paired with the Kowa B&H anamorphic adapter, the Rangefinder turns this amazing double focus lens into single focus. I had a blast running around and shooting without worrying about constantly checking focus.


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 to talk about the Rangefinder! Announced just a few days after the Rectilux (correction: the Rectilux was announced almost a year earlier, as you can find here), SLR Magic’s single focus solution shook the market due to their larger visibility and several posts across different photo/video blogs (Kowa) to single focus – and solves lens breathing” target=”_blank”>by the end of July, 2015), including the anamorphic community. Both the Rectilux and Rangefinder – and FM – work based on the same principle: variable strength diopters. This video won’t compare these three different products, but I am shooting one just for the sake of comparisons, which will be released later. Anyway, back to the subject, even though I’ve used the Rangefinder in the Anamorphot 2.0x’s video, this one will have the same standards I used for the Rectilux, pairing it to the Kowa B&H and having Contax Zeiss as taking lenses.

The Rangefinder has a very simple “setup”, with 82mm front threads and 77mm rear threads that can attach to literally any lens out there. For the Kowa I had to dust off my Redstan clamps and everything went fine – this will be the case with most anamorphics, since they don’t have standard threads. One of the coolest things about having standard threads is that you can attach the Rangefinder to spherical glass as well and override their focus ring with the Rangefinder’s geared and marked ring. It’s also a super compact adapter that you can fit in your pocket – and I did it a number of times, with caps on, of course! – when not being used, that you can take out and put back at any moment. Well, why would you take it out then? As you’ve seen in the Anamorphot 2.0x-50 review, the Rangefinder adds quite a lot of vignetting, so whenever I had locked focus shots near infinity, I just unscrewed the thing off and shot without it, attaching it back for the next rack focus. Instead of seeing this as a negative, I think it’s an added bonus, that you can get rack focusing for most of the time and, when you just need infinity, you get an even clearer frame.

It weights 340g and feels pretty solid. Focus ranges from infinity down to 1.1m or 3’6, throw is around 270 degrees – better than most lenses out there! – and it extends good 2cm (little under an inch) from infinity to minimum focus. The rotating front element is one of the downsides, since you can’t use NDs without some funkiness going on, plus the focus ring offers an uneven resistance, being lighter to spin near infinity and getting slightly harder near minimum focus. An added bonus is that you can also “fix” your Nikon glass that focuses the wrong way. I never manage to do it properly whenever I use Nikons, so now I think I have a chance. Ah, I almost forgot to say it clearly: what the Rangefinder does, for anamorphics is transform a double focus lens into a single focus system, which is pretty damn awesome. In order for it to do its magic, you have to focus both your taking lens and anamorphic to infinity and add the Rangefinder to the front of the anamorphic!

As any other SLR Magic product, the Rangefinder is widely available at a number of gear-selling websites, including B&H and Adorama, as well as SLR Magic’s own page. It goes for US$600, and you can find a cheaper option ($300) with no focus marks and 72mm rear threads though!

It took me a little to get used to the Rangefinder “filter” style, and I ended up twisting the Kowa’s focus ring quite a few times while trying to focus with the Rangefinder. After these occasions, I simply taped the Kowa and went on to the world test. I feel it a little softer than the Rectilux when combined with the same lenses, specially around the edges. Performance shines at f/5.6, but isn’t that great at f/1.4 or f/2.8. I guess you should be ready for this with or without the Rangefinder, since no anamorphics like stupid-fast apertures, so, I don’t think this is a deal breaker for most shooters out there, since not everyone is using full frame AND fast lenses AND reading fine print at the same time like these tests.

Contax Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 CENTER

Contax Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 CORNERS

Contax Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 CENTER

Contax Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 CORNERS

Nikon 135mm f/2.8 CENTER

Contax Zeiss 135mm f/2.8 CORNERS


As discussed in the previous Anamorphot videos, the Rangefinder adds a few blue elements to the flare. In the distance they disappear among the Kowa’s orange flare but they show up when the light source is closer to the lens. They should blend in pretty well with any other lens that has cooler flares.

Contax Zeiss 85mm

Contax Zeiss 85mm f/1.4

Pushing for a 2.4:1 crop I could go as wide as 63mm with the El-Nikkor, getting just slightly black corners. 50mm is way too wide, getting some heavy black edges, plus vignetting is heavier when focusing closer since the Rangefinder extends for good 2cm from infinity to minimum focus. 58mm with the Helios still shows vignetting. If you want a full 3.56:1 aspect ratio, 85mm is the widest you can go – and still get a little bit of vignetting. Of course, this is all for 2x stretch lenses and these numbers all change for 1.5x and 1.33x stretches.

Contax Zeiss 50mm f/1.4

Helios 44-2

El-Nikkor 63mm f/2.8

Jupiter 9

Playing with the Rangefinder out in the field was a very simple and straightforward experience. I really liked its small size and reduced weight. I even dusted off my follow focus and attached it to the Pocket Rig for better pulls. I just wish it was sunny outside when we shot, to get some flares going on. In practical terms I didn’t feel the difference in resistance while racking focus just when I was playing with it in the “lab” (also known as “my room”. I wished minimum focus could be closer, since I still felt the 50 and 85mm too similar in terms of framing, but not having to worry about double focus with the Kowa is as amazing as shooting with an Iscorama. Another thing I noticed was a certain softness during the night part of the test, shooting more towards wide open apertures. Sharpening in post helps, but the full frame sensor doesn’t forgive and some times I had to zoom in to check if the image was really in focus.

3.56:1 Version of the World Test

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m really learning some stuff while making these SLR Magic videos, so thanks a lot for the opportunity, SLR Magic! Next week’s video is about achromatic diopters, so subscribe now to get it as soon as it comes out. It was one of the videos I wanted to do for a long time, since lots of people ask questions about SLR Magic’s achromats and almost no one had technical or decent answers so far! Anyway, head on to the blog for downloads and checking out previous reviews and we’ll meet again next week. Also, I wish you all a merry Christmas, hope you get some lenses from under the Christmas tree! Ferradans out.


Community (2009-2015)

December 16, 2015

I just finished watching the (possibly, maybe?) very last episode of Community, “Emotional Consequences of Broadcast Television”, and for a comedy show, it made me cry from start to finish. Let’s go back in time for a little bit.

Community is a weird show. Weird in the best possible way. Created by Dan Harmon, the pilot episode introduces us to Jeff Winger, a lawyer caught with a fake diploma so, in order to get back to his work, he needs a real diploma and the easiest way is attending to Greendale Community College. There we’re introduced to Abed, Britta, Troy, Shirley, Annie and Pierce. Later on Jim Chang and Dean Pelton also become key characters, but that happens because their importance in the show grows along seasons. Critically acclaimed and with a huge fan base, it sounds almost absurd that the show faced cancellation at the end of almost every season (but the first two). Community’s humor revolves around being self-aware and tons of meta jokes, it’s a show where jokes are planted across several different episodes and seasons (such as the numerous times they hum or play daybreak and then the Dean comments on it in one of the last episodes as he enters an elevator), but at the same time, you can watch any episode independently and not feel lost. Season two is particularly brilliant, with different styles/genres for nearly all episodes (copied from other shows and movies), and some of the show’s best jokes, so if you want an incentive to start watching, pick anything in season two, and that extends into season three.

Besides almost being canceled every other season, Community faced an uncommon issue for tv shows, which is the fact that almost half of the original main cast left the show – for various reasons – along the time and even the showrunner was fired during season four – and he constantly jokes about this season in the show. During season two, Abed – which is the most fourth-wall aware character of all – creates the hashtag #sixseasonsandamovie and that has literally guided the fans to push for the show to stay alive when it started to face trouble with audience numbers in season three – Community is so aware of its uncertain future that the ending for episode 14 in that season is Troy and Abed enacting a charity drive to save Greendale. We thought it would end there, but it didn’t. Then we thought it would end by the end of the fourth season, with Pierce’s departure, but no, we got Dan Harmon back just to find out Troy would be jumping the ship next, before the middle of season five. Shirley also leaves by the end of season five and NBC confirms it won’t renew the show for the sixth season. That’s when Yahoo picks it up and fulfills the promise of six seasons, through the roughest of roads.

Season six was overall strange. Very different yet too familiar. I didn’t crave for next week’s episode and ended up not watching the last five episodes until today. They were here, sitting in my hard drive ever since they came out (the last one aired in June 2nd) so I thought “you know what? I could use that space” and decided to watch them so I could get rid of the files. The first three were kind of ok, the fourth was weird in a way that I couldn’t make up my mind if it was good or bad or just plain weird – and that made me think about it, about its message and the way it was delivered and how that didn’t sound like Community, but at the same time was extremely true to its nature, which is not common with TV, so I decided it was a good one – and then we got to the very last episode in which I cried for 25 of the 27 running minutes. I didn’t cry out of sadness and desperation, plus I also laughed while crying and that too is not a common thing overall. I cried because it connects with many many things in my life right now.

When I started to watch Community, it was in the break between seasons two and three. May started it at home, and then she rewatched the first few episodes with me and we were hooked. We did watch a ton of tv shows during the years, yes, but if I were to rank the most important ones, the ones we deeply cared about the characters, the ones we went online to find out more information, it would be Community and Breaking Bad. We wouldn’t watch them without each other. And we never minded watching repeated episodes – so many favorites! – to the point of knowing several lines. We turned off our phones and woke up in the middle of the night to watch Breaking Bad’s finale just so no one would spoil it for us in the morning. We have clothes from Community. It’s a show that followed May and I around since almost our beginning and one we rooted for during its crises, one we constantly reference in random moments or conversations and, lastly, one that makes me think of her every time I watch an episode. Watching the ending of it was very close to what we talked in our last conversation as a couple. It was good, it was great – amazing, actually – but it was also time to let go. The same way the characters pitch absurd solutions that obviously wouldn’t work for “season seven”, we had our own crazy attempts of keeping us going and, just like Jeff, realized it wasn’t gonna do us any good.

In the last two episodes the characters start to raise the subject that one is different from itself when it’s part of a group and each member of the group is as part of them as they are part of the others. Confusing, I know, but they realize how much better (or worse, for Chang!) they are when they act as individuals instead of part of the study group. This whole argument was also extremely in sync with plenty of our latest conversations, how each of us had a separate life from the other and that that wasn’t a bad thing. We may not be girlfriend and boyfriend anymore but the connection we share is not going away, ever. Quoting Abed’s words from the last bits of season six’s last episode: “(…) It’s a friend you’ve known so well, and for so long you just let it be with you, and it needs to be okay for it to have a bad day or phone in a day, and it needs to be okay for it to get on a boat with Levar Burton and never come back. Because eventually, it all will”.


Be More Daring.

December 14, 2015

I think I mentioned I’m working on a number of different projects at the same time recently and that involves getting feedback from different people regarding how they feel about the way the idea develops. Yesterday I got out of a call with the goal of “being more shocking, more creative, this is looking too simple, doesn’t look like you”. Today I heard almost the exact same thing, regarding a similar project (on a much smaller scale, though), from a different person. “Be more daring. Less predictable, like everything you do”. Well, crap.

In the past I’ve worked on some pretty crazy projects with both people. They turned out to be awesome in the end, but I was in a different stage of my life and being digitally careless had no serious consequence other than multiplying the amount of time in front of the screen fixing all the stupid mistakes and non-organized animation. I look back and see things that I could easily fix or improve today, and that’s fine, I guess this is how it should be in an artist’s career. The point now is that being reckless with creative work drove me down some crappy roads recently. Let’s rephrase that, being reckless with several aspects of my life got me in so much trouble this past year that after things started to improve and I felt I was getting better, I started to be careful. During this “recovery phase” – as I feel it – I decided (not consciously) to play safe. Play safe with work, play safe with food, with people and friends, play safe with my plans or even with my bike rides, and that’s precisely from where I should be learning.

What? How would you learn anything from playing safe with bike rides? Of course I don’t want to die on the road, so I play safe, but sometimes the bike doesn’t like the idea, or the road, and I have to either strengthen my grip through the wreck and do my best not to fall or deal with the consequences. To illustrate the matter: I’ve fallen twice recently. The first time, the road was frozen and the tires lost grip, so I fell. The second time I went over an obstacle that was a little too tall and that sent me flying in one direction and the bike in another. I’m ALWAYS afraid of falling, even before these two occasions, but hitting the ground was much less scary in real life compared to what I had imagined.

It means I’m very likely playing safe because the possible outcomes for taking risks are way too worrisome. Following this train of thought I should take the damn risks and deal with whatever comes afterwards because even if it turns out bad, it won’t be as bad as I think. Of course, I can be mistaken about my own internal motivation and the reason I’m playing safe is because I wanna do more things, different things, and taking risks on every single one of them isn’t creative, it’s just stupid. I know I’ll hit walls once in a while, roll on the ground, get a few bruises here and there, scratches, but nothing is likely to kill me or crush my dreams in a very definitive manner.

The main problem is saying is way easier than actually doing it. I’m wired to take the safest route recently and willingly drive towards risks and challenges doesn’t come naturally. I’ll try taking the hands off the wheel for a while and see where that leads me.


Anamorphic on a Budget – SLR Magic Ep 02 – Anamorphot 2.0x-50

December 13, 2015

The second episode of the SLR Magic series goes over the bigger and heavier Anamorphot 2.0x-50, closer to a double focus system, it doesn’t perform so well at fast apertures, which let me down a bit. The Rangefinder turns it into a much better lens, so keep an eye for next week’s video!


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!

Welcome back, ladies and gentleman, for the second episode of the SLR Magic Anamorphic series, I’m Tito Ferradans and this week I’m gonna ramble about the Anamorphot 2.0x-50. If you haven’t watched last week’s episode, I strongly advise you to do it, since there are some key aspects shared by both lenses and SLR Magic’s guidelines which I won’t repeat because these videos are already too long!

The Anamorphot 2.0x has a more anamorphicky feel, with 2x stretch, making oval bokeh much more noticeable, and it’s quite larger and heavier than the 1.33x. It weights around 500g and keeps the 62mm rear threads plus 77mm front threads. Alignment is identical to the 1.33x, with a reverse lock ring – which is pretty awesome -, but getting it aligned properly is trickier and I wouldn’t trust just the white line, but also check with flares every time.

It features the Near/Normal dial too, but Andrew Chan from SLR Magic informed me they’ll be mostly sold along the Rangefinder since double focus wasn’t such a hit. For that reason, these tests will be conducted with the Rangefinder attached. If it’s not being used, the settings will indicate that. The lens was released very very recently so there is still little information about it going around.

A little more expensive than the 1.33x version, the 2.0x retails for US$1200 or US$1600 if you include the Rangefinder in the package. You can get it at SLR Magic’s website or Adorama.

This one isn’t supposed to perform good faster than f/4, and that shows pretty easily. I still find resolution a bit too compromised even at slower apertures on the 135mm, so I guess it didn’t like the Tair 11A very much. Maybe it performs better with modern lenses. Poor edge quality is also quite noticeable, disregarding the aperture.

Also, if you go too extreme on the fast apertures, you’ll get diamonds all around for bokeh, as you can see in this other video.

Helios 44-2 CENTER

Helios 44-2 CORNERS

Jupiter 9 CENTER

Jupiter 9 CORNERS

Tair 11 CENTER



As saturated as the 1.33x version, I’d definitely give these lenses a go if I wanted an extreme sci-fi look from the flares. Using a warm light source takes a little of the saturation, but it’s still very strong. A useful tip is that you might be able to fine tune this strong blue with a hue adjustment in post without affecting the rest of the shot, since it’s so well defined.

Helios 44-2

Helios 44-2 WITH Rangefinder

Just for the record I also shot the flares without the Rangefinder, the effect is the same, just a couple more added elements, also blue and a little streaking out up or down from the light source – which I thought looked pretty cool since it’s not a common artifact.

Again, tests shot with and without the Rangefinder. Without the Rangefinder, you’re able to get an almost vignette free image at 58mm with the Helios 44, which is kind of amazing. Not even the Kowa does so good on a 16:9 frame. Switching to the El-Nikkor clears the image completely, and the Jupiter 9 is just for comparison, since most 2x anamorphics are only vignette free at 85mm. Yeah, distortion is pretty extreme, but if you’re just planning on using a 4:3 crop, you’re all good!

Helios 44-2

El-Nikkor 63mm f/2.8

Jupiter 9

When the Rangefinder comes into play, the 2.4:1 aspect ratio becomes mandatory for both the Helios and the El-Nikkor, with massive black edges.

Helios 44-2 WITH Rangefinder

El-Nikkor 63mm f/2.8 WITH Rangefinder

Jupiter 9 WITH Rangefinder

In some ways the Anamorphot 2.0x-50 was very similar to the 1.33x, since both lenses have a very similar design, but I struggled a lot more with focus this time, even at slower apertures, having to close it down to f/8 or f/11 at some points when most lenses are fine at f/5.6. You can also check this test with a 3.56:1 aspect ratio on this other link, but for here I’ll stick with 2.4:1, which clears the frame from most of the distortion on the sides – side note: distortion isn’t always a bad thing, since anamorphics are the only way to achieve such artifact. Having the Rangefinder on simplified things a lot, saving me from a truly double focus system, but still wasn’t enough most of the times to be absolutely positive if something was in focus or not.


The low light part was HARD. I tried to hang on to f/4 for best results and to avoid the diamond shaped bokeh, but that caused an increase in the ISO values, plus I had to go for better lit environments – no matchstick flares this time – which aren’t always available for the guerrilla shooter. There are a few f/2.8 shots in there and it’s quite easy to spot them. I feel this Anamorphot wasn’t expected to be used on full frame sensors and it should perform much much better on MFT or even APS-C.

This series of videos has only been made possible thanks to SLR Magic, so thank you for the opportunity, I hope you guys found some useful information in this video. Subscribe now for next week’s video and then go to my blog for extra links and stuff! See you next Sunday, discussing the Rangefinder, which was already used on this video, but will have a proper review by then! Also, any and all help spreading these videos around is more than welcome, along with feedback. Are these reviews interesting? Is there anything in particular you’d like to see? Comment below or shoot me a message! Tito Ferradans out.