Anamorphic

How to Buy an Anamorphic Lens!

February 9, 2020

I recommend opening the image on a new tab and maxing out the zoom. This is my thought process for buying an anamorphic lens. It can be your first, it can be your twentieth. Have fun!

Below is a list with all the things mentioned in the flowchart. There’s a brief description and useful links. This should equip you with more than enough information on whatever endpoint you reach!

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.

Aivascope 1.5x 
The second version of the Aivascope. A single focus adapter that rivals image quality with the mighty Iscorama. It makes some of the most beautiful flares among adapters. Product Page / Test Videos

Anamorfake It Until You Make It!
An extensive guide I wrote on how to craft the anamorphic look without anamorphic glass. – Product Page / Videos

Anamorphic Mode
Some cameras offer this alternative recording mode that shoots 3:2, 4:3, or 6:5 aspect ratio for better use of sensor area. + info at Cinema5D

Atlas Orion Lenses
These are the new love of low-budget productions. Affordable anamorphics for cinema rates. Official Website / Video Review

Baby Hypergonar
One of the most famous baby scopes. This thing is tiny and incredibly rare. Performs pretty well, but offers an odd squeeze factor (1.75x) and requires a lot of extras for proper rigging. Also not the best in terms of coverage. Look for one on eBay / Test Videos

Blade Runner 2049
A sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1979 classic, featuring Ryan Gosling. It was shot by Roger Deakins, who is known for not using anamorphics. IMDB / ShotOnWhat

Bolex Moller 16/32/1.5x Anamorphot
The double-focus cousin of the Iscoramas. These gems are hard to find and pricy, but produce beautiful images. Look for one on eBay / Video Review

Communism
A political theory derived from Karl Marx, advocating class war and leading to a society in which all property is publicly owned and each person works and is paid according to their abilities and needs. Wikipedia

Davinci Resolve / Color Grading
DaVinci Resolve is a color correction and non-linear video editing application for macOS, Windows, and Linux. Official Website / Tutorial on Fixing Flares

Diopters
Auxiliary lenses that help with close focus, especially for anamorphic lenses. Look for some on eBay / + info at Anamorphic on a Budget

Glasswerk One Lenses
German lens maker, debuting with two lines of cine anamorphic lenses and claiming innovative optical design to deliver always perfect oval bokeh. Official Website

Iscorama
The unbeaten holy grail of anamorphics. Single focus, compact, razor sharp. Sells for large sums of money. Look for one on eBay / Video Review

Isco Ultra Star Anamorphic Lens
A popular, fairly cheap and reliable anamorphic adapter. Due to its modern coatings, it barely flares. Delivers sharp images and beautiful oval bokeh. Look for one on eBay / Video Review

Kowa B&H / 8-Z / 16-H / Elmoscope II
The golden standard when it comes to 2x projection lenses. Vintage glass leads to strong flares, extreme distortion around the edges and excellent image quality. Look for one on eBay / Video Review / + info about Sample Variance

Letus AnamorphX PRO 1.33x Anamorphic Adapter
The absolute king of the hill when it comes to “how wide does it go”. Delivers great image quality, but weighs a lot and requires double focusing. Official Website / Video Review

LOMO NAP2-3 Anamorphic Lens
A doorstop that smart people manage to adapt into usable optics. Look for one on eBay / + info at EOSHD

LOMO Squarefronts and Roundfronts
LOMOs are the cinema lenses of the Soviet Union. Needless to say they’re not in production anymore and are very sought after because of the character they bring to the footage. Squarefronts are older and less reliable, using a synchro focus mechanism. Roundfronts are newer and use variable diopters for focusing (see below). + info at Anamorphic on a Budget

Moller Anamorphot 46/2x
A very heavy projection lens. Makes handling the camera a real challenge. Delivers beautiful flares and image quality, but its unyielding size and weight make it unusable for me. Look for one on eBay

Panasonic LA7200 1.33x Anamorphic Adapter
Second place to the “how wide does it go” list, the LA7200 was a very popular adapter for beginners. Now not so much due to the many new additions to the market such as SLR Magic and Sirui. Look for one on eBay / Video Review

Rapido FMJ
FMJ stands for Front Metal Jacket, a metal tube that hides your adapter from prying eyes, disguising your DIY setup as a single unit. Official Website / Video Review

Rapido Full Package C
This Rapido package includes the FMJ, FVD16a and a Schneider Cinelux, all of which are referenced in this list, so look for their own definitions. The advantage of the package is they all come together. Official Website

Rapido FVD16A
The best cost/performance ratio on the market for single focus solutions (see Single Focus Solutions below). Official Website / Video Review

Rapido FVD35A
The FVD16A (see above) is a limiting factor when it comes to vignetting on some of the bigger adapters in the market. The FVD35A supercharges on the size, keeping your image cleaner and wider. Official Website

Sankor 16D
A cheaper and reliable 16mm anamorphic projection lens. Nice purple/blue flares. Look for one on eBay / Video Review

Schneider Anamorphic Lens
Sibling to the Isco Ultra Star (see above), but less friendly to double focusing since it doesn’t have a focus ring. Requires a single focus solution for better operation. Look for one on eBay / Video Review

Scope 30mm T/2
In April 1st, 2018 I said I made a lens. A lot of people loved the idea so much that they got mad when I said it was all a joke. Launch Video / VFX Breakdown

Single Focus Solution / Variable Diopter
All the rave when it comes to converting double-focus setups into single focus. Set everything to infinity and go out to shoot. + info at Anamorphic Cookbook / Video Review

Sirui 50mm f/1.8 1.33x Anamorphic Lens
A groundbreaking lens from a tripod-making company. Shook the foundations of the cheap anamorphic market in the end of 2019. Official Website / Video Review / Modding Instructions

SLR Magic 1.33x-40 Compact Anamorphic Adapter
Also one of my most popular recommendations, a super cheap adapter that works straight out of the box without requiring lots of clamps, step rings and other paraphernalia. Get one at B&H / Video Review

SLR Magic Anamorphot 65
The Anamorphot 65 was developed in partnership with Fujinon for perfect pairing with their MK lenses. Bigger elements mean less vignetting and can be made single focus when paired with said Fujinon MK lenses and a dual-motor follow focus system. Get one at B&H / + info at Cinema 5D

Van Diemen Rehousings
These rehousings are amazing. The downside is they take a long time and cost a small fortune. You provide all the glass, they do the mechanical design and building. Official Website / Video Review

Vazen 40mm T2 1.8x Anamorphic Lens
Vazen made a splash by offering a lens suited to MFT cameras and aiming at 4:3 shooting, optiminzing sensor use and squeeze ratio. Built like a tank, could be called a cine lens, but much cheaper than the other ones. Official Website / Video Review

Xelmus Apollo Anamorphic Lenses
A brand new lens maker from Ukraine who promises to revolutionize performance on the low-budget end of cinema anamorphics. Official Website / Video Review