Anamorphic

Hypergonar 16 ST

October 21, 2018

I found this Hypergonar in the first used camera store I got inside, in Japan. It’s a French projection lens by the father of anamorphics! Use the code “Tito” for 15% off on the Phantom LUTs.

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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.