Hey guys and girls, how’s it going? Tito Ferradans here for a review of yet another French lens! This one sent in by the French Justin Bacle! It’s a long projection lens, so you know what to expect. Let’s go.
This was a challenging shoot. The setup was pretty heavy, regardless of how light the Sony is, because the Dyaliscope is heavy. Focus was also stiff, so I did some modding to a Rectilux HCDNA in order to get single focus. When I had this setup mounted onto the 135mm taking lens, a passerby could claim I was shooting closeups through a telescope – and not in a good way. Overall the image looks “diffuse” to me and the highlights really bloom even when stopped down. It’s not a bad bloom entirely, but it’s a boom nonetheless. Bokeh gets quite smeary when wide open, giving a dreamy look that could be useful depending on the project.
The Dyaliscope Champion is a 2x stretch, double focus, large and heavy projection lens. Not the largest nor heaviest of the French batch, but still bad. The lens weighs 620g and – at least – features 60mm threads on the back, which allow you to use step rings or a clamp to mount it and align. At this load, I’d recommend using rails when shooting with this setup.
The front is large, so large that your only option for clamps is making your own, through 3d printing. It’s in fact so large that a regular HCDNA won’t fit over it. The one I used for these tests was provided by Victor Prokopowitz, as we worked on getting it to fit a Kowa 1.75x. More on that in upcoming videos. So, unless you’re willing to mill out pieces of your HCDNA, your only option is diopters.
The price range for these on eBay is wild. I’ve seen them for a low as $150 all the way up to $400. If it’s a full, ready to shoot, rig, that’s not too bad of a price. But just this lens for $400 is far fetched.
The Dyaliscope shows consistent performance through the entire range of lenses I tested. It displays similar results on similar apertures regardless of focal length. That’s a positive thing. And the edges aren’t as bad as most scopes.
The flares are one of the highlights (heh, did you get it? flare, highlights?) anyway, one of the highlights of this lens, with shiny yellow colors and a good variety with elements. It reminds me of the Aivascope.
Vignetting on this one is worse than the Hypergonar I showed last week. This one shows intense dark edges at 50mm on S35 crop, which is concerning, and only clears at 85mm, which means the threshold for getting 2.4:1 clear on full frame with this lens is above 100mm. The frame is clear of any vignetting at 135mm on S35, which is just over 200mm on full frame.
Just like last week, this lens fuels my disliking for projection lenses. They’re a necessary evil in a market that gives us very few new offerings. This forces new shooters to hash through lots of repurposed things, many of them far from ideal. Some work out, others don’t. If you really have to make this lens work, you can, but it’s not something I’d recommend. The rig becomes impractical and the results are just ok.
Phew, I’ve been really going at it for projection lenses these days, huh? I shot most of these test videos in a row, so after struggling so much with projection lenses and heavy rigs, I was pretty upset at shooting anamorphic. Honestly, it’s not worth it if you hate the process. On that note, next week things are better, so subscribe to hear more about the Moller 32/2x and make sure to hit the like button before you go. If you have any questions or disagree with my harsh remarks about projection lenses, please leave a comment below and we shall talk about it. Tito Ferradans out.
I’ve been into shooting anamorphic on a budget for almost ten years now.
When I say “on a budget”, the number goes between $0 and $4000, which is very little when compared to Arri, Cooke, Hawk or Panavision anamorphic lenses.
Why should you care? Production value. Anamorphic adapters are special lenses that go in front of your regular camera lens. They squeeze more field of view onto the camera’s sensor, allowing you to create wider-than-usual shots. As this extra field of view is squeezed onto the sensor, it requires stretching in post. Without dwelling into all the math, shooting 16:9 video with a 1.33x anamorphic adapter results in the much desired Cinemascope aspect ratio, 2.36:1, that fancy Hollywood thing you do by adding black bars on the top and bottom of your shots. Except no more black bars.
I have tinkered with all you can think of when it comes to adapters and DIY solutions. You can check many of my experiments and reviews on my YouTube to attest that I’m not saying nonsense. It’s not often an adapter surprises me while testing. I was even more surprise because there’s so little praise (or information at all) out there for the Letus Anamorph-X 1.33x PRO.
Letus is an American company which started out making SLR lens adapters for DV cameras and nowadays makes niche high-end gear, such as the Helix gimbals and various adapters. The subject today is their 1.33x PRO anamorphic adapter, which follows the original Anamorph-X 1.33x, released in late 2013 and discontinued shortly after. The first Anamorph-X was a good sketch of an adapter but it had many quirks: a massive size, uneven stretch across the frame and not so impressive resolving power.
Speaking to a representative from Letus, they said that the glass in the first version was almost a copy from another famous 1.33x adapter: the Panasonic LA7200, which was out of production since the late 2000’s, but still loved by many DIY anamorphic enthusiasts. After the initial release of the Letus Anamorph-X, their optical designer came up and said “I can do better!”, pushing higher quality glass and redesigned lens elements, leading to improved image quality and addressing the issue of anamorphic mumps (the cause of stretched out faces in the center of the frame especially at close focus, which you can clearly see in my tests).
The Anamorph-X 1.33x PRO
For their second, or PRO, version Letus redesigned the entire lens, improving its size, mechanics and, most importantly, the optics. I had the chance to play with both the first and the second versions of the Anamorph-X and the difference between them is like night and day especially when it comes to size, corner resolution and how wide you can go.
One thing many anamorphic shooters struggle to achieve is truly wide shots. Many adapters already show vignetting at 50mm on full frame sensors, with very few being usable at 35mm. The Panasonic LA7200 – Letus’ starting point for the Anamorph-X – was able to clear 28mm, which turned to 21mm horizontal field of view (hFOV). Pretty wide, right? As soon as I unpacked the Letus and noticed the gigantic front and rear elements, I wanted to put them to the test. That’s how I learned that with the right base lens you can go as wide as 21mm (15mm hFOV) on full frame. If you want to learn more about these calculations, check out this hFOV calculator I made.
When pushing this far into wide-angles and combining them with anamorphics you start to notice bent lines and a special type of distortion that people go through great lengths to simulate. Once I realized the footage was looking much more expensive than the gear I had actually used to shoot, I decided to go beyond testing just the lenses and test also the audience. That’s how SCOPE was born.
This is SCOPE
For SCOPE I matched the Anamorph-X with a modified Rokinon 24mm f/1.4 CINE. The mod consisted of inserting an oval cutout at the aperture mechanism, in order to make my anamorphic bokeh more pronounced. Most 1.33x adapters struggle in that sense, so I was giving it some incentive. Then I added the Blackmagic Video Assist 4K for external recording at higher bitrates and shot some footage emphasizing bokeh and distortion.
Below is a photo of the handheld setup I used. The whole setup goes on 15mm rails because the adapter is pretty heavy (900g), but it has a 1/4″ hole in the bottom that makes it super easy to mount to the rails and keep it aligned. The Anamorph-X has a small tolerance for racking focus just with the taking lens, so I was constantly (literally all the time) adjusting focus on both the adapter and the Rokinon in order to get sharp shots.
The downsides, but really?
The process of focusing both lenses to achieve sharpness is called double focus and it is one of the biggest challenges when it comes to anamorphics. This leads into my issues with this lens. Double focus is one of them, but it’s not as hard as other adapters I’ve played with. For me the real challenge was to switch focus direction, as this adapter focuses Nikon style, while everything else out there focuses in the opposite direction. So while operating the Rokinon I had to focus one way for the taking lens and the opposite way for the Letus. Talk about crossed wires.
I already mentioned I wanted stronger flares, and Letus said they can deliver different levels of coating. If I was buying one of these for myself (and I’m seriously considering), I’d ask for a flarier lens. This is a personal preference though; there are lots of shooters out there that prefer a clean look over something that looks straight out of Star Trek.
The fact that I can call up Letus and ask for a modification or give them feedback and suggestions that could be incorporated in a future version of this lens is where I believe lies the utmost advantage of this adapter. Most anamorphic adapters have been kicking around for 40+ years. There are very few companies making them these days, which means that if you don’t like something in the look coming out of an old lens, there’s nothing you can do about it except choose a different lens that will look completely different.
In this case you can send Letus your feedback and make the adapter better – just like they did internally from the first version to the PRO -, dialing in small changes instead of completely different looks. For example, my biggest suggestion would be flipping focus to the proper direction, and making that huge mattebox optional to make the prices more competitive.
The current version of the Anamorph-X is pretty awesome to begin with – as you can see from all the footage I shot with it and the effort I put into making the reviews as well as writing this article. I’m still surprised with how little info and video others put out there about it. What did you think of the footage and its features?
Tito Ferradans here today with a story from Japan. I spent all of April in Japan – which is also why I stopped posting around that time – working with a friend in a very cool project that involved tons of vintage lenses and exotic optics.
One day we went out to hunt for cheap glass and my friend was telling me how he’s always been on the lookout for anamorphics on his usual vintage shops, but never found anything, I’m telling him how I had a similar experience back in Brazil. We walk into the first store, Lemon Camera, in Ginza. I glance into the shelves and go like:
“Hey, dude. That’s anamorphic. Right here.” And I point to this Hypergonar. It wasn’t super cheap (Lemon Camera is pricy!), but still much cheaper than eBay, so he gets it right away. That’s how I got the chance to review this scope.
. Focus was a bit stiff on this one, so if I didn’t have JSD’s FVD I’d be in a sea of trouble. My biggest challenge shooting with this rig was holding it steady because of the overall length and weight. Image quality is ok when stopped down, still showing a fair amount of blooming – this is us at Miyajima, aka Deer Island. We thought it was a good idea to climb this huge hill (Mt Misen), and we almost missed the boat back! The Hypergonar is quite soft when shooting wide open giving it all a somewhat dreamy look, and the flares are pretty trippy. I think I like this footage mostly because of colors than because of the image quality. Oh, and this was using the XYZ LUT, from Joel Famularo. You can find a link in the description to get them. Use the code “Tito” for a 15% discount.
This is only one of the many variants of Hypergonars out there. They were made in France by the almighty Henri Chrétien, the father of anamorphic lenses. It’s definitely a projection lens. The metal walls are super thick, adding a ton of weight to the setup. The lens weighs around 680g! Focus comes down to 1.5m and it’s suuuper double focus.
It doesn’t have back or front threads, which means you’re gonna need clamps to mount it and align. The weight of it throws stress on the taking lens, so use lens support. I mentioned I had a FVD for single focusing and in order to connect that, I had to take out the front of the barrel of the Hypergonar using a tiny screwdriver. This also locked focus.
Going prices on eBay are all over the place, from 400 to 650 bucks. I feel anything in that range is still too much for what this lens does and the hassle you’ll go through to shoot with it.
Image quality is never ok wide open, even using proper diopters, which might be a case of alignment, but it sharpens up a lot stopped down. Edges are shady, and if you can shoot 4:3 and avoid edge areas entirely, go for it.
Flares are maybe the only remarkable thing about this lens. They show this “infinity” symbol that I’ve seen very few times and that could be a cool thing to make your footage stand out. But then if you’re relying in only flares to stand out, I think you’re in trouble. Cool, still.
Vignetting is not terrible. Unusable at 50mm unless you crop some more in post, but almost clears full frame at 85mm, which means you can clear 2.4:1 around 65mm. 135 is completely clear. I’m yet to see something vignette at 135mm.
Overall this is not a bad scope, but it’s faaaar from being in my list of favorites – or even my list of second runners. This lens shows a lot of the traits I dislike about projection lenses: It’s unnecessarily heavy and long, offers no help to mounting and using filters, and delivers just acceptable images.
At least I had the chance to play with it and you get to learn from that experience. You’re welcome. Hahaha. I’ll take a like as payment. Thank you so much. On that note, if you like getting free information about anamorphics and dodging the process of buying lenses you’re not gonna love, you should subscribe to the channel and check out the collection of videos that came before this one. I’m Tito Ferradans, and I’ll see you next week.
Hello ladies and gentlemen. Tito Ferradans here for a quick episode about an unbranded 1.33x adapter. This episode is brought to you by JSD, who shipped me this lens from Japan so I could try it out before parting with it. Here’s some footage:
In almost every aspect this adapter is a clone of the Century Optics 1.33x. They were made in multiple flavors: Soligor, Optex, Century and – apparently – unbranded too. It performs nicely when stopped down but again we start to see bokeh artifacting and loss of resolution on faster apertures if I’m not being smart with my diopters.
1.33x stretch is a great combo for 16:9 sensors, stretching out to perfect Cinemascope without requiring any crop. This one is super light, 170g, just under half a pound and very compact when compared to most adapters.
This is a fixed focus adapter, which means that you’ll rely heavily on diopters for getting anything closer than 4m (12ft) sharp. That whole “focus through” concept is nonsense. Whenever you’re focusing with just the taking lens, you’re compromising your image quality. Get yourself a front clamp – or make one! – and use a cheap diopter kit with this one.
Mounting is easy, this lens has 52mm rear threads and it came with a 37-52mm adapter which I can only think it was meant to be used with handycams. While the Century has a screw-lock mechanism for alignment, this one relies on a rubber band type of thing, which was surprisingly reliable and fast to adjust on the go.
These used to sell for $300 when I got into anamorphics, then jumped to $500 and nowadays they go for $750. I think that’s a bit much, and their maximum value should be around $550 – ideally less. These unbranded versions are harder to come by on eBay but that’s no excuse for hiking the prices.
When it comes to image quality, the center is pretty decent at any aperture as long as you use proper diopters, but the edges are blown to garbage the wider you go, and recover a bit when stopped down. As most fixed focus adapters, this one also dislikes longer lenses and you can see the quality drop from 50 to 85mm and more on the 135mm.
Flares are a nice mix of blue and purple. Personally this is one of my favorite tones for flares. If SLR Magic was able to reproduce this instead of radioactive blue, they’d have a much better market acceptance.
The only aspect that this adapter outperformed the Century was vignetting – and I can’t quite point out why without having both to compare. While the Century can only clear down to 35mm on full frame, this one can go almost to 28mm, with very slight dark corners.
The ability to go wider with the taking lenses makes anamorphic distortion more pronounced in a good way – not the crazy warping you see on the Kowas or the Aivascope. I like this adapter, it’s super easy to use, small and light, and it brings out most of the anamorphic look. Pair it with an anamorfake and you’re set for bokeh, flares and distortion – the Pentacon 29, Mir 1B or Contax 35mm are all excellent candidates.
AFTER you subscribe and like this video, I’d love to hear your opinion about 1.33x adapters combined with anamorfakes for boosting up the look? What’s more important in a rig, size or stretch? On that reflecting note I’m ending this episode. I’m Tito Ferradans and I’ll see you next week.
Tito Ferradans here for a review that’s two in one. Earlier back this year Evan Burns was kind enough to let me have BOTH of his Moller lenses for a little bit while he didn’t need them. The fun part is that one was a Bolex Moller 16/32/1.5x and the other one was just Moller 32/1.5x. The footage that comes is from the Bolex Moller, but I shot technical comparisons with both lenses so you could see the differences.
WOW, this lens is sharp. As soon as I mounted it and went out to test I knew they were worth their high price. I used a Rectilux HCDNA to make the system single focus and due to the smaller size of the Bolex (especially when compared to 2x projection lenses), I almost couldn’t lock it to the HCDNA using the original screws, and benefited from reduced vignetting when compared to bigger scopes. I was able to easily run and gun and nail some pretty intense shots due to focus being so clear. By the way, do you also know anyone that bikes in the snow? Bokeh looks amazing and oval, which was a surprise due to the lesser 1.5x stretch factor and the flares are gorgeous. Aaah, can I keep one of these?
In years playing with anamorphics I had never actually seen one of these lenses. They’re fairly large, or at least larger than I expected, but not bulky. It’s one of those lenses that have the perfect size and weight for what they do. For reference, they weigh 370g each.
Focus throw is long, just like the Iscorama, almost full circle, and it comes down to just under 1m (3ft). Oddly enough, these ones extended when focused to infinity and became shorter at minimum focus. I’ve heard different stories from other users, so if you have any insight, please leave a comment below!
The back has non-standard threads, which require clamps. Redstan makes some fine clamps for the Bolex and Rapido also offers some great options. From there you can find your alignment through the flares. The front has regular 62mm threads, which saves you some money buying another clamp. Just step rings will do.
If you’re already in love and desperate for one of these, I have bad news. They only show up eventually and their prices are pretty high. The latest I saw was between $2000 and 2500, not too far behind of an Iscorama – even closer when you add the cost of a single focus solution.
Image quality of the Bolex is insane. This adapter goes hand in hand with any taking lens you pick, never hindering its resolving power, no matter the aperture. Corners are also quite good, as long as you don’t push it to vignetting. When we compare the Bolex to the Moller it’s easy to see the Bolex has better coatings and contrast, but IQ doesn’t change much between them.
Flares are purple/blue on the Bolex, which is quite sci-fi and modern, but not too much. This is like the exact opposite of the Iscorama in terms of color tone, but the same when it comes too mood. Due to different coatings, the Moller has neutral flares, which take on the color of your light source. Not a common trait these days and it’s directly related to the lesser contrast we saw in the previous test.
When it comes to vignetting, the two are the same, clearing dark corners just over 50mm on full frame. The Rectilux HCDNA makes vignetting a bit more intense, requiring slightly longer lenses to clear the entire shot. It’s not too bad, and you’ll be fine if you’re going for a 2.4:1 crop instead of the whole 2.66:1.
These are two of the best adapters I’ve ever played with, the Bolex taking the superior edge here over the Moller. I can understand why their users love them so much and the cult that exists around them. I wouldn’t think much if given the choice between a Kowa B&H and a Bolex Moller.
What would your pick be? After seeing this footage, are you still convinced that anamorphic has to be 2x stretch? Are we gonna see an even higher increase in the prices for the Mollers now? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Subscribe to the channel to be notified of new videos – like the comparison between Bolex and Iscorama that I have coming up – and like this video if it was useful to you! I’m Tito Ferradans and I’ll see you next week.
Since I moved from Brazil to Vancouver in 2014 Vancouver International Film Festival has been my most anticipated event every year. I always attend and watch all sorts of films. I work in film, so watching stories from places other than Hollywood, in languages other than English, on the theatres with lots of people is something I treasure immensely.
Two days ago I went to watch “Baikonur, Earth” with Ariana. It’s a film about a little town in Kazakhstan from where all Russian spaceships and satellites are launched. It’s a visual documentary so I didn’t see much of a “story” to it. Ariana didn’t like the film and I enjoyed lots of it – I like pretty visuals. Andrea Sorini, the director of the film was among the audience, so there was a little Q&A. Things got really interesting when one of the questions was something like:
“I’m from there, Baikonur. I grew up in that place and I came here tonight to relive a little bit of it. I was hoping you’d make me cry, but… You didn’t. You chose a very cold approach to the place and its culture. Having lived there, I can tell it’s one of the few places in the world I feel we, humans, exist as a species, as a civilization. People are happy and they celebrate lots of things, but your film doesn’t show that. What you chose to show is actually very different from the place actually is”.
An academic debate did not follow. The director focused that he was showing his perspective of the place and reinforcing that they had been there for only fifteen days to shoot the film and they didn’t quite have time to check out other things than the ones they were specifically looking for.
After we left the theatre, Ari and I argued for the longest time about which side was right: the filmmaker with a vision, trying to convey a feeling with images and sounds, or the guy who lived there most of his life. I went down the path that any film, by choosing to show something, automatically chooses to NOT show something else. There is no film that covers all perspectives. Not even the news do that these days.
The next day we went to watch “Amateurs” (Amatörer).
“Amateurs” is a Swedish film about the small town of Lafors which is candidate to receive a big foreign investment. In order to secure they’re going to be picked, they decide to make a film showcasing what makes Lafors special. They have no budget though, so they go to the local school and encourage the students to make films showing why their town is great and deserving of the big investment.
Obviously the student films don’t cut it as what the city council is expecting, so they bring in an experienced filmmaker to make the video. The movie is then intercut between the pro – and the city council – making the showcase of what they value in Lafors, and these two students that won’t give up on making their own film about the town.
As this has to tie with the beginning of this post somehow, at the end of “Amateurs” we get to the same discussion we witnessed the previous day. One of the films looks great, everyone enjoys, is short and pretty, and it shows an idealized version of the city. The other one is five hours long, but it shows everyone’s perspectives. It succeeds, to some extent, but most of the audience gives up and leaves before the end.
One member of the city council is the only person – besides the girls – that stays in the theatre until the end, and he is very touched by their work.
Throughout the film there are discussions about being foreign, discrimination, class differences, what is the truth, and how much of cinema is far removed from reality, as well as how boring and bland reality is. “Amateurs” also addresses the frequent question of “who are we trying to reach with this film?”, whenever we’re making something new. All of these themes are a big deal for me.
“Amateurs” made me cry hard at the end and it provided me food for thought for months to come – much of it because I had watched “Baikonur, Earth” the night before and engaged in a giant argument about it.
Films influence how I see the world. They offer me different perspectives and make me change how I make my own films. One day I’ll get one of mine up there and I can only hope to inspire others the way they inspire me.
I love that I have the chance to experience this every year thanks to VIFF
Tito Ferradans here for a quick word on color correction. When I first started this channel, I was shooting everything RAW on the 5D3 in order to achieve maximum dynamic range and flexibility in post. That was a hell of a workflow. When I switched to the Sony A7s2, I started out shooting SLog for the world tests, but after spending too much time to get consistently good looks on the footage, I decided to switch over to Andrew Reid’s color profiles (the EOSHD Color) when shooting the world tests.
Then I was recently approached by Joel Farmularo and he invited me to try out his set of LUTs designed for Sony’s SLog colors and aiming to achieve a style matching of an Alexa or a Film look. Quite a bold beginning. So I switched back to SLog (still using some of EOSHD color’s settings) and shot footage for weeks, using these LUTs as a base for color correction – some of it has already showed up in the reviews, like the Letus PRO, some of it is still to come.
I had this extreme opinion that LUTs always give you the same look – with the teals and the oranges that the whole world is tired of seeing – but it turns out it this was not to be blamed on all LUTs! With Joel’s Phantom LUTs I can quickly get a good starting point for my slog footage and go from there. They all have a common thread among them, either the Alexa pack or the film pack, but each one has its own subtle personality while still grounded to a neutral style.
My ONE favorite thing about these LUTS, besides the time-saving aspect, is that they deal wonderfully well with Sony’s blown highlights. When you clip something in Slog, it looks bad. It looks horribly bad. I’ve always had to fight hard to make the clipped areas look smooth and match the neighboring non-clipped pixels. The Phantom LUTs address this issue pretty well – Joel calls these blown-out highlights “candle wax”, and I like his choice of words – giving it a sort of soft glow/diffusion, like what you’d get with a bit of filtration and non-clipped highlights. :)
I’ve had a few people message me asking about them, so I figured I’d make this video and forward all your requests towards Joel. You can find links to his website where you can get the LUTs as well as a discount code that helps me too – since the more partnerships I make, the more this channel grows. So go on, check them out, watch Joel’s videos about them and incorporate these to your own footage!
Let me know what you think of the looks, hit the like button and post any questions in the comments below! This is part of my effort into diversifying from ANAMORPHIC CONTENT only! Before you go you should hit subscribe and check out my other – anamorphic! – videos. I’m Tito Ferradans and I’ll see you soon.