Anamorphic on a Budget – Sankor 16-D

April 9, 2017

Following right behind the Kowas (B&H, 16-H and 8-Z) comes the Sankor 16-D, a little clumsier than its competitors, but with glass big enough to deliver good results and small enough to not encumber.


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I’m Tito Ferradans and today we’re gonna talk about the Sankor 16-D. While not as great as other projection lenses I’ve reviewed before, this Sankor is still a good performer. It has flares similar to the Kowa 8-Z and 16-H and can deliver beautiful cinematic imagery. As any projection lens, it’s double focus, and I’m using a single focus solution to make it friendly. Another thing about projection lenses, if you’re close focusing WITHOUT diopters, you’re also changing the stretch factor – as explained in this episode – so keep that in mind. Bokeh is nice and long and the edge aberration can be beneficial to some projects.

When I started out in anamorphics, there was an obvious rank of best projection lenses. Aim for a Kowa B&H. If you can’t get one, go for the Kowa 8-Z. If that’s still not achievable, get yourself a Sankor 16-D. Being third place, among all projection lenses is no easy feat. It also helps that these three are more commonly found than some more obscure – yet amazing scopes.

This is a 2x stretch adapter, double focus, and focuses down to 5ft, or 1.5m. It has sizeable glass, so it won’t eat away much light from your taking lens, but it’s considerably longer than the Kowas. As for attaching it to a taking lens, the Sankor doesn’t have standard threads. You can get front and rear clamps. As usual, I have my custom support clamp that you can download and 3d-print. This adapter weights 545g, I’d recommend using rails.

For attaching diopters and filters to the front, I will strongly recommend Vid-Atlantic’s replacement ring. It’s much more elegant than a clamp, as you screw out a piece of the Sankor and replace it with the custom-made ring, which has 72mm filter threads.

We are moving down the line regarding prices and the Sankor 16-D, even though not super common on eBay, goes for a more manageable price, between $250-450. Make sure you’re getting a clean one, as many of these have hints of fungus or scratches.

You get excellent results at the center at any aperture, but the edges become less reliable and introduce chromatic aberration as you open up the taking lens. One thing that was very noticeable with this adapter is how the size of the front element in the taking lens affects the result. Just compare the Contax Zeiss 85mm results with the Jupiter 9’s and you’ll see what I mean. The huge Contax has way more vignetting and lower image quality, while the Jupiter delivers much better results because of its smaller size.

The Sankor 16-D has similar coatings to the earliest Kowas, delivering cool, purple-ish flares that resemble the flares from REAL anamorphic lenses with a much higher price tag – I mean Panavision.

The length of the Sankor affects its vignetting negatively. Anything upwards from 100mm is your safe range for full frame 3.56:1 aspect ratio. You can get a barely clear 3.56:1 aspect ratio on full frame with a compact 85mm – but not with all 85mm’s -, and 2.4:1 at 58mm. 50mm is way too wide and will give you black edges no matter what. Keep in mind that if you’re adding a single focus solution, that will build into vignetting. If you want help with this math, or convert it all to a different sensor size, use my calculator!

The Sankor 16-D squeezes in the first tier of projection lenses, thanks to its big glass and good results. Flares are also desirable, but for me it requires too long taking lenses and it’s shape makes the whole setup a long train of lenses and very front heavy. One of its strong aspects is that it can be had for cheaper than the Kowas.

That concludes this week’s review. If this video was useful to you, share it with your friends! Let’s make anamorphic a mainstream thing! Feel free to ask questions in the comments and be sure to subscribe. If you REALLY like this channel, you should consider joining our crew at Patreon, where you can get rewards like aperture discs, t-shirts and others, but more importantly, discuss upcoming episodes! Join us! I’m Tito Ferradans and I’ll see you next week.