The ultimate comparison between Single Focus Solutions for Double Focus Anamorphic Lenses. Rectilux vs Rangefinder vs FM Lens. All charts can be downloaded at the blog, check the link below.
- Look for a Rectilux on eBay
- Look for a SLR Magic Rangefinder on eBay
- Look for a FM Lens on eBay
- Watch the Rectilux 3FF-W Review
- Watch the SLR Magic Rangefinder Review
- Watch the FM Lens Review
- Assembly tutorial for the Rectilux 3FF-W
- Assembly tutorial for the FM Lens
- Understand Variable-Strength Diopters
- Download the 3d-printed clamp
- Tutorial on how to cut your FM Lens shorter
- Download the full resolution Sharpness Tests
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Brief review: these three are the key single focus solutions for double focus anamorphic adapters. You attach your anamorphic to one of these, focused to infinity, focus your taking lens to infinity and go shoot happily ever after. They work through a variable-strength diopter. To understand what that is, check my post about it.
The categories are Dimensions, Assembly, Compatibility, Image Quality and Price. Comparisons will be objective. If, at any point you want more info about a specific lens, watch its individual review. All the charts and tests can be downloaded at full resolution for your own inspection.
Size matters. Size matters a lot! There is no argument here that the Rangefinder owns this category, with 950g (considering the anamorphic and clamps), followed by the Rectilux at 1200g and then the FM with 1700g.
Assembly is about how complex it is to mount the anamorphic to the variable diopter and mount that to the taking lens.
Again, another easy category for the Rangefinder. Just screw it to the front clamp and then the back clamp to the taking lens.
Both the Rectilux and FM require some disassembly of the anamorphic adapted and have a couple more steps until successfully mounted (assembly guide for the Rectilux and for the FM Lens). The Rectilux has a different clamp for each anamorphic. The FM might not even have filter threads depending on the anamorphic inside.
I highly recommend lens support when using single focus solutions due to the added weight. The FM gets a star for being the only option that already comes with a solid support system. I made a clamp for the Rectilux that also works with the Rangefinder, but even in these cases, I have a second lens support in place to distribute the weight and ensure the adapters are not tipping down.
Compatibility is the next category. Here we have close competition between the Rectilux and the Rangefinder as they can be paired with multiple scopes while the FM faces challenges with smaller and shorter scopes – unless you wanna cut it in half!
The Rangefinder gets an edge because of its simplicity and takes its third category in a row. All you need is a clamp and you’re set. If you’re using multiple anamorphics, that’s an easy swap. The Rectilux requires specific mounting rings – which need to be purchased separately – for each anamorphic. Besides that, some adapters will fit inside the 3FF-S, while others inside the bigger 3FF-W.
Still about compatibility, extra stars are awarded. The Rangefinder takes 82 or 77mm filters – which is good for NDs – versus 95mm for the Rectilux and 105mm for the FM.
Another star goes for the focus gears. The Rangefinder has them by default. You can add gears to the FM and Rectilux at extra cost, from third-party manufacturers.
Two categories to go, and I know these are the ones that matter the most.
For image quality, here are the results and download link for the full resolution samples.
Besides these charts, I’ve already shown that both the FM and Rangefinder bloom at faster apertures. The Rangefinder also adds some blue reflections to the flares. This crowns the Rectilux as the best performer.
Adding to it, the FM gets a star for minimum focus, at 0.6m, opposed to 0.9m for the Rectilux and 1.1m for the Rangefinder.
The FM gets a star for having a focus scale and the Rangefinder gets half of a star because some models have a focus scale and others don’t. The Rectilux has none.
As for price, the Rangefinder will kick down its competitors with the budget version retailing for $300. The FM is no longer in production, but it used to go for $700 and the Rectilux tops the list at around $1000 – price has changed due to the £ fluctuations! (£449 for the 3FF-S, £595 for the 3FF-W).
The score is four categories and two a half stars for the Rangefinder, one category for the Rectilux and zero categories plus three stars for the FM.
If you want the most advantages for the least amount of money, the Rangefinder is your best shot. It will provide you with a lighter and smaller form factor, simplicity to set up, focus gears and the possibility of using filters more easily, all at a very low price. The trade-offs are issues at faster apertures and added flares.
If performance is what you seek, go for the Rectilux, with the cleanest and sharpest images. You’ll spend more, but you’ll get better results too.
Lastly, I want to address the Rectilux CoreDNA. I didn’t have a chance to try it yet, but it does improve several aspects of the 3FF version, making it more competitive against the Rangefinder. I guess this match is the next big thing I have to plan.
Do you have a single focus solution or are you getting one soon? How do you like it? I love these things for fixing double focus and allowing easy use of many magnificent projection lenses.
I have a short film coming up, mixing these three lenses, so you can try to spot the differences between them in a real-world test as opposed to charts only. If you’re into watching that, subscribe now and the video will pop in your feed soon. Also, if you want to watch each review individually, here they are, with much more info about the adapters Ferradans, out.