Monthly Archives:

August 2018


Anamorfaking Contax Zeiss 28mm f/2.8

August 26, 2018

It’s time we start exploring sharper lenses for anamorfaking. The Contax Zeiss 28mm f/2.8 is a perfect wide angle to start this journey!


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 tutorial on high quality anamorfaking! Time to start the Contax Zeiss anamorfaking process with this beautiful 28mm f/2.8.

The 28/2.8 is a classic lens in the Contax lineup, preferred by many over the 28/2 “Hollywood” due to it’s small size, cheaper price and stellar performance. Sharp all the way to f/2.8, this is a much better wide angle than my previous wide anamorfake, the Pentacon 29 and Mir 10A. Close focus is at 0.25m – just under a foot – and this is what gives this anamorfake an edge over actual anamorphics: it’s really hard to do extreme close up wide angles.

For this mod we’re gonna need the lens – duh -, lens wrench, the Mir 1B oval iris – link in the description – , sandpaper, black sharpie, scissors and electrical tape.

On the back of the lens, note which side faces up – I’m using a Leitax mount, so I know the lock pin is always on the left, which means this is the top. I’ll use a piece of electrical tape to mark what’s up and that will help me orient the oval later in the process. Unscrew the outer locking ring and that will bring out the rear optical groups, giving you direct access to the aperture mechanism. Bingo. Set it aside.

Sand down your oval disc then paint it black. When you put it over the inner glass element that goes right against the aperture, the disc is much bigger. Cut it to the best fit, go in slow steps and don’t worry too much about keeping it a perfect circle. Mine are always ugly. Now that you got it with the right size, orient the oval according to the mark we placed before disassembling this part. Use electrical tape to secure it in place.

The last bit is to put the lens back together. The aperture mechanism works fine, and you can reverse the mod any time. If you do so, please take care to remove all the tape residue from the inner elements. If you want to make this lens even better, check out my guide to mod them at Cinema5D and SIMMOD Lens’ website – link in the description. If you’re my Patreon supporter you have access to the 3d-printable focus gear I made for mine, and if you really want to buy one of these gears, send me a message!

Coming along the rest of the month I’ll anamorfake the 35, 50 and 135 lenses in the Contax budget lineup along with some Rokinon glass. Are you for or against anamorfaking? This is part of the process I used to create the look for SCOPE, so it definitely works. Like the video to help me grow the channel and make sure to subscribe to get more updates. I’m doing a hard push this month and you can come back here tomorrow at this same time for another episode! Also, make a pledge at my Patreon if you need anamorphic to live, these free videos won’t last forever. Tito Ferradans out.


Smartphones and Depth Maps

August 19, 2018

I’m taking a break from the intensity of reviews and delving into computational photography and how it can be used on your phone to create anamorphic-looking results.


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 folks! Tito Ferradans here for a different subject. I recently picked up an iPhone 8+ because of its dual camera. The dual camera is the secret to Portrait mode – where the phone uses info from both cameras to simulate depth of field and subject separation through math and software.

Portrait mode by itself is not that impressive since it gives you very little control over the final result – just kidding, it’s still pretty impressive -, but it sets precedent for much more interesting apps. The way Portrait mode works is when you take a photo, the phone uses information from the two cameras (which have different placement and focal lengths, displaying parallax between them) to create a depth map. This is a black and white image in which objects closer to camera show up brighter and fade into black as they get further away – this matches the regular photo we just clicked.

Through the use of this depth map, software is able to break a 2d image (the photo) into layers in 3d space and process that data simulating a real camera with a real lens and aperture. The original image has extreme depth of field (tiny sensor, wide lens) so nothing is out of focus, and the depth map allows you to pick where you want focus to be, while blurring the rest like a big sensor would. This by itself is also no big breakthrough, Hollywood has been doing it for years with CGI. Having it on the palm of your hands is where the paradigm shifts. Now you don’t need exclusive software, dozens of specialists and powerful 3d apps to manipulate depth of field realistically in post.

It didn’t take long for app developers to jump in and take advantage of the depth map to turn dual camera photos in something much more interesting and controllable than Apple’s Portrait mode. On upcoming episodes I’m gonna talk about the apps Depth Cam and Portrait Cam as well as Focos – which add their own spin to anamorfaking in post. I’m stopping this one here because I think there’s enough post-production theory enough. This has big implications on how the anamorphic look can be achieved on a budget – even if just for stills.

If you wanna go further down the rabbit hole of smartphone cameras, take a look at how the Google Pixel 2 creates a similar effect using a single camera instead of Apple’s two cameras. For now, let me know your thoughts in the comments below about this parenthesis among all the anamorphic talk! Subscribe to the channel to be notified when the app reviews come online and like this video if it made sense to you! Lastly, I highly recommend making a pledge at my Patreon page because this stuff is not gonna be free forever. With more money comes more quality and better tools! See you tomorrow. Tito Ferradans out.


Rapido FVD-16A

August 12, 2018

This is Rapido Technology’s first take into the single focus market in order to compete with Rectilux and SLR Magic. It’s a pretty awesome adapter!

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 Rapido FVD-16A. Before I even start, I’d like to thank JSD for letting me have his lens for a few days and take it to the distant lands of Hiroshima, while I was in Japan. The FVD-16A is Jim Chung’s single focus solution and it puts Rapido in the same market as the SLR Magic Rangefinder, Rectilux and – the now seemingly defunct – FM Lens. This is a small and light unit that magically turns your double focus setup into single focus. When I was out shooting at night I could always tell if something was in focus. The loss in IQ compared to just the anamorphic and taking lens feels negligible.

Unlike my previous single focus solution tests, I didn’t have a Kowa B&H for this one, so I tested with a Moller 32/2x and a Hypergonar S.T.O.P. 16 and the Contax Zeiss taking lenses. The name – FVD-16A – means front variable diopter for 16mm scopes, version A, implying there are other versions coming in the future. I was shooting in extremely hot weather and there was some grease leaking on the outside of the barrel every time I refocused. This is something I experienced with the HCDNA as well, so maybe these adapters are just not meant for tropical areas!

The FVD-16A feels like the Rangefinder should be if it wanted to compete with Rectilux. It’s smaller than the HCDNA, lighter too – only 415g. It has 75mm female threads on the back and connects to your scope through those or three small screws (just like the HCDNA). The 75mm threads also match the front of the Rapido FMJ and HTN’s Kowa Locking Ring. Rapido also offers an adapter from 72mm threads to 75mm so you can attach it to anything else.

The front has 77mm threads, which are much MUCH friendlier than the Rectilux’s 86mm. The FVD has focus scales in feet and meters, solid focus gears for follow focus and comes down to 1.2m (4ft). You’ll need diopters to get closer than that, but it’s cheap to get good 77mm diopters. Thanks to the non-rotating front it’s also easy to use 77mm vari-NDs. Handling feels solid and one of the debatable downsides is focus feels too light (no dampness to the ring). I’ve heard from a few users it’s quite stiff once you get it, but this one has been smoothed out by repeating turns. Another thing that constantly made me miss shots is that focus is reversed, Nikon-style. This is a big downside for me, since it takes me days to rewire my brain.

The FVD costs $500 and is made in small batches, while the HCDNA costs $1000 and is made in even smaller batches. If you’re on the fence about it, I’d say it’s a great investment. Go for it, but at this point, it means getting in line for one of the later batches.

Image quality is immensely superior than the Rangefinder, staying fairly sharp all the way to wide open and it feels in the same league as the HCDNA.

In terms of flares, it doubles up flare reflections, like all other single focus solutions, but I didn’t see any orbs like the ones from the Rangefinder. It has neutral coatings which won’t play with your original look.

My biggest concern at this point is the added vignetting because of its smaller size. So if you’re constantly pushing towards the widest combo you have, your setups will take a hit. With the Moller I had to go past 85mm to clear full frame with the Moller (smaller scope), but did fine at 85 and the Hypergonar. For clearing 2.4:1 crop on full frame, you’ll have to go longer than ___mm

My closing thoughts are this is a great piece of gear especially for those trying to spend less money and making a good single focus setup. Focus is a little light, but that’s a personal preference, and my only real downside to this whole thing is the reversed focus. Having 77mm filter threads is amazing, non-rotating front, focus gears, focus scales and a simple process to setup is all great. Jim did a great job on this one, and I’m curious to see if/when there’s gonna be another one for larger scopes.

What do you think of the FVD-16A? Are you getting one, or sticking to the Rectilux HCDNA? Let me know in the comments below! Also, like this video and subscribe to the channel so you can get updates with new episodes. I very much recommend making a pledge at my Patreon page, since you’ll have early access to content and other useful perks. I’m Tito Ferradans and I’ll see you soon.



August 5, 2018

I’ve been away for quite a while. It’s time to put things back on track and I’d love to hear from you. :)

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!

Ahoy ladies and gentlemen. Tito Ferradans back here after a good chunk of time away. If you only want lens reviews and solid data, skip this video, but if you care a little bit about the one who speaks to you, maybe keep watching. I’m gonna talk about other things.

This is the longest I’ve gone without posting a video. I had some existential issues about the channel – it struck me I was putting way too much energy here and not getting enough back – and by that I mean financially. It’s hard to stay motivated when you can take easier jobs that pay a lot more. So I wanted to change my approach in a way I wouldn’t feel I was cheating myself every time I published my hard work for free. I don’t think many of you love working for free. Do you?

That added up to getting harsher negative feedback on some videos, plus folks being upset at the Scope video. On top of all these challenges, there’s managing the facebook group, which is an unyielding task in terms of accepting new members. I get personal messages of people asking me why I didn’t let them in. Guys, I see the queue every day. Please don’t send me messages, I can’t do much about it! :(

Yeah, I know I should ignore all of this but it doesn’t really work that way. I don’t “have” a brand, I AM a brand and my whacked mind interprets all negative feedback to my work as negative feedback to my person. That is a bummer. Overall I felt like nothing was going right and I was throwing my time down the drain.

So I retreated to the real world and focused on other things for a bit. It’s summer, so I biked a lot, walked a lot, enjoyed plenty of time with Ari, traveled, and so on. Along all those things, I kept thinking what I could do to make Anamorphic on a Budget better and inspiring to myself again.

Honestly, I haven’t found an answer, but one day I woke up and I was back into it. That was last week, when I did the instagram thing answering questions. That was a rehearsal towards live broadcast here, aimed at your interest rather than whatever I want to focus on pre-made videos.

I’ve been developing things in the background, like my sponsorship by Simmodlens and a few other things that aren’t quite ready yet, so there are surprises to come. I’m also running short on lenses to review (there isn’t THAT MUCH of a difference between various 2x double focus projection lenses). So now, more than ever, I’m open to your suggestions of what would be interesting to do/show here. I feel this video is just the first part of the reasoning for my absence, but I’d rather make it public now than to stay quiet for longer. Tell me what you think.

Before I sign off, I wanted to bring up some more stuff about Scope. Sure, it was a prank, and people got upset, but did you know that Zess Ikon did almost the same thing in 1966 with the Super-Q Gigantar 40mm f/0.33? But instead of a Youtube video (the internet wasn’t such a big deal back then), they brought their “prototype” to Photokina in order to draw attention to the aperture speed craze going around lens manufacturers (more details in article below). Does anyone complain about Zeiss reliability or quality even though they “made a fake lens”? Hmmm.

The second thing about Scope is, even though some people were upset, others saw that as a chance to learn. Paul and I were invited to write a tutorial covering the process of making that scene photo-realistic. The tutorial was published last month in the 3D Artist magazine in the UK.

Ok, that’s it for today. More in a little bit, with a crazy-technical video. Recap: I’m back. Like this video, leave comment with suggestions of what to talk about here. Subscribe to the channel. I’m Tito Ferradans and I’ll see you again next week.


Designing Anamorfake Apertures

August 5, 2018

This episode was requested by one of my Patreon supporters and I just went all the way down math path to add some DEPTH to it!

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!

Alright guys, I’m Tito Ferradans and this is my first episode requested by one of my supporters on Patreon – you can make requests too if you make a pledge! Today we’re gonna learn how to properly design aperture discs to anamorfake lenses and reduce light loss to a minimum while also figuring out the new f-stop for the lens. This is definitely not one of those one-size-fits-all kind of thing.

The tools we’re gonna need are a caliper, any lens you want to mod and a vector-based design program. I’ll be using Adobe Illustrator.

The first part is to get to the aperture mechanism of the lens you want to mod. I recently did the Tair 11A, so I’ll use that one. When you get to the aperture, there’s two numbers you want to get. The first one is the diameter of the mechanism area. In this case, it’s 51.90mm. The second number is the diameter of the aperture, the hole that lets light through, 44.86mm. Write things down with two decimal cases, as precision is always good when dealing with small builds.

With these two numbers, I’ll go on Illustrator and create two concentric circles. Don’t forget the measurement unit to make it in scale with real life. The bigger circle on the outside is gonna be the full size of the disc, while the small one is the cut to let light through. So far so good, the problem is there is nothing anamorfake about this.

Select the inner circle and change its width without messing with the height. The percentage of the original size you want depends on the stretch you want to fake. Just divide 1 by the stretch. For 1.33, it’s 75%, 1.5 is 67% and 2 is 50%.

This design will give you a disc that will fit over the aperture mechanism, so it can’t fall anywhere, and at the same time benefits from all the vertical height of the aperture, which minimizes your light loss to… about as little as you can get.

If this much math already sounds heavy to you, stop watching now. We’re going deeper.

First we’re going to calculate how the oval affects your f-stop. If you don’t know how apertures work, here’s a crash course: for every sqrt(2) decrease in aperture area, you cut one stop of light. If that didn’t make sense to you there’s probably a more user-friendly method out there, look for it. In visual terms, sqrt(2) = 1.41, and dividing 1 (full aperture) by 1.41 results in 0.7.

This means that every time you shrink the area of a circle to 70% of its original size, you’re cutting one stop of light. Which is basically what we did!

Let’s do the math for the Tair. We originally had an aperture with XYZ diameter, which equals f/2.8. The area for it is pi * radiusH * radiusW – duh, it’s a circle, both radiuses are the same. Bear with me. This equals 1551.7 square millimeters.

Now I’m gonna cut it down to a 1.5x oval by reducing its width to 67% of the original size. Ovals are also called ellipses and there’s a formula for their area too: pi * radiusH * radiusW – see my point now? – and this is 1024 square millimeters, which is also 67% of the area of full sized circle.

67% is close enough to 70%, which is sqrt(2), which means one stop of light loss. So by making this a 1.5x bokeh, we’re cutting one stop of light of the max aperture of our modified lens. f/2.8 becomes f/4. If you make it a 2x bokeh, then we’re cutting the area in half, which is sqrt(2)2, so TWO stops of light.

This will unfold into resolution and depth of field. Since your vertical aperture is considerably wider than your horizontal aperture, you’ll end up with better image resolution and sharpness horizontally, since it’s a narrower f-stop than vertically, which is funny because with regular anamorphics, it’s the other way around. When using an anamorphic lens, you get better vertical resolution, since you’re effectively squeezing more information in the horizontal axis. This is fairly confusing, but it also leads to the last point of this episode.

Many of you like using anamorfake lenses to enhance bokeh in less pronounced adapters, such as 1.5x and 1.33x. So let’s assume for the rest of this episode that we live in a world where the dream bokeh is 2x – because by combining anamorphics and anamorfakes you can easily achieve unrealistic bokeh, like 3 or 4x compression. I’m not gonna go into that, but you’ll be able to figure out the math.

For now, I’ll write the path for optimizing light loss and achieving 2x bokeh through the combination of 1.33x and 1.5x anamorphics and a custom designed aperture.

[Squeeze works in a similar way to everything we saw here so far. A 1.5x lens will make your bokeh 1.5x thinner, which is 67% (1/1.5) of its circular width. This is multiplied by the area of the oval disc, so if you made a 1.5x aperture and combined it with a 1.5x adapter, your anamorphic bokeh will be 0.67 (from the iris) * 0.67 (from the adapter) percent of its circular size. 0.67*0.67 = 0.44, which IS LESS THAN 50%, so it’s longer than 2x bokeh – which is 50% -, and we don’t want it. We don’t want it because it’s unreal and because we are losing more light than we need on the aperture. So we need a more subtle aperture.]

The best way to approach this problem is to start at the end. The result we want to achieve is 0.5, or 50% width, and that number has to be the product of two other numbers (stretch factor and anamorfake aperture) and you have to know at least one of them! In order to bring in the stretch factor, divide it by 1. If I’m using a 1.5x stretch Bolex, I’ll divide 1/1.5 which equals 0.67, if I’m using a 1.33x Century, then it’s 1/1.33 and that is 0.75.

Now we solve the equation for what’s left.

0.5 = 0.67 * X
X = 0.74
0.5 = 0.75 * X
X = 0.66

And this resulting number is how much you need to shrink the width of your oval aperture from its original circular shape. These are both pretty close to 70%, which is the one-stop loss mark, so not too expensive for cheating 2x bokeh on an adapter without that strong of a squeeze!

Another positive aspect of combining anamorphics and anamorfakes is that your resolution sort of evens out – remember that anamorfakes deliver better horizontal resolution and anamorphics do better vertical resolution? – for a “best of both worlds” type of thing. Wow, this started out simple enough and ended on a very elaborate note!

Now, if you managed to make sense out of all this, please like the video and leave a comment saying “AH! I GET IT!”. If you haven’t subscribed to the channel and you got this far, you should really subscribe because we have a lot in common you’re gonna love what’s coming! Lastly, if you want to suggest me an episode, just like Andre suggested this one, make a pledge on my Patreon and we can go far on the anamorphic business. See you next time, folks! Tito Ferradans out.