Anamorphic

Anamorphic on a Budget – Century Optics WS-13

August 2, 2015

For this episode I picked a lens which has very little information online, and performs incredibly well among its competitors. The Century WS-13 is like a small Century Optics mixed with a Panasonic LA7200 on steroids and a focus ring.

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OVERVIEW
Hi there, I’m Tito Ferradans and we’re back with Anamorphic on a Budget Video Reviews. A few episodes ago I talked about the small Century Optics adapter. This time, I’ll be talking about its big brother, the Century Optics WS-13. First of all, explaining the name, the WS stands for Wide Screen, 13 stands for the 1.33x stretch factor and the final two characters (SD or 58) indicate its mount, bayo, or 58mm threads. As previously explained, you can mod this bayonet as well, just need a larger step ring because the rear element is a little bigger.

This lens is one-of-a-kind. The only reason the Panasonic LA7200 gets all the credit for being the best DV adapter out there is because these big Centuries are hard to find. I wouldn’t think twice between the Panny and this Century. While the Panasonic, Optex and others have fixed focus and were designed to work on a specific zoom range of the DV camera, this one is full-zoom, which means it has a focus ring for distance adjustments. It’s important to clarify that even though you focus both taking lens and anamorphic adapter, using this lens isn’t hard at all, specially when compared with a regular double-focus system. Think of it as a predecessor for the “near” position on the SLR Magic 1.33x-50 Anamorphot. In its core, this is a focus-through adapter, since most of the focusing is done on the taking lens. I’d say you can “fine tune” focus using the Century. For example, if you’re doing a rack focus, set the Century between the initial and final focus positions and rack with the taking lens.

Bokeh has a very subtle stretch, since 1.33x isn’t strong to affect it that much. It doesn’t have the squarey look of the Panasonic or smaller Centuries, that feature rear square-shaped glass elements.

The adapter has a metal body, making it heavier than the Panasonic, at 400g. In mine, the rear threads are 58mm, but my previous one had a bayonet mount which I modded to 67mm threads, no sweat. The front has no threads. There is a clamp/mattebox for it, made by Century, which can hold 4.5″ filters. Don’t put too much faith on it, though. It’s harder to find than the lens itself. Diopters aren’t as crucial, though, since focusing ranges from 0.5m to Infinity.

Like all other DV adapters, the alignment is adjusted by loosening and tightening this little screw on the side. Once again, be careful not to lose it!

PRICE and AVAILABILITY
Well, I kind of spoiled this bit up there, it’s extremely hard to come across these lenses, so they don’t have a regular price range. I’ve seen them going from as low as $600 up to $1600. Just for sanity reasons, if you see one going for less than $1000, get it straight away, you’re getting a good deal.

RESOLUTION
It beats the crap out of the smaller Century and pairs up at the top with the Panasonic LA7200. Edges are very messed up, even more than the small Century, I’d say, but I kind of like the way it behaves. Also, it doesn’t perform as good at minimum focus.


MIR 24M CENTER

MIR 24M CORNERS


Helios 44-2 CENTER

Helios 44-2 CORNERS

As opposed to its fixed focus brothers, this lens doesn’t care if you’re using longer taking lenses such as 85mm or 135mm.


Jupiter 9 CENTER

Jupiter 9 CORNERS


Tair 11 CENTER

Tair 11 CORNERS

You can also download the original full resolution raw photos of these tests.

FLARES
The Century Optics WS-13 has some pretty epic flares. They’re blue, very saturated and add a very cinematic feel to the images. Very sci-fi. I could look at these for hours. There are some more going on at the world test, just ahead.

SENSOR COVERAGE
Being bigger allows this adapter to go wider, being the second widest anamorphic adapter there is out there, losing only to the Panasonic LA7200. Here’s the Century at 37mm, totally clear image, and here at 28mm with some vignetting on the corners, but still not full-on black edges. The 28mm lens used here is the Mir 10A (28mm f/3.5).

WORLD TEST
When I was shooting this test with my sister, I didn’t worry about any technicalities of handling the lens. Aligning it is very easy, focusing is fast and image quality holds up pretty nicely. The moment the flares start showing up, I’m sold. I could shoot anything on it. The image doesn’t have much distortion to it, except for the taking lenses, and stretching it straight to 2.36:1 – even for the in-camera preview – already conveys a cinematic feel to it. I believe its “clean and futuristic” aspects blend pretty well with the randomness of the russian taking lenses. If I had to shoot anamorphic and don’t worry about any technical aspects of it, I would be between this adapter and the Iscorama. That shows how simple it is to handle it and how well it can perform. Please don’t hate me!

And so we get to the end of another review. I’ve passed the halfway mark of the lenses I own, so soon I’ll be running out of gear to talk about. I’ll figure something out in the meanwhile. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please feel free to contact me through email or facebook! Subscribe to the channel for more episodes and check the full Anamorphic on a Budget guide at my blog.



  • TFerradans. · Anamorphic on a Budget – SLR Magic Ep 01 – Anamorphot 1.33x-50 January 22, 2016 at 8:52 am

    […] how I said the Century WS-13 is double focus but not quite? The same rule applies here, but I got the feeling that the distances vary according to the taking […]