Anamorphic Cookbook – Double Focus On The Fly

December 11, 2016

Double Focus is painful, but there are ways to deal with it more easily. Here’s one of them. Take turns adjusting your lenses until you get rid of all streaking!


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Tito Ferradans here to show you the best way of handling double focus adapters. Double focus is the unfriendliest starting point for anamorphics. Starting something that’s already hard – shooting anamorphic – through the hardest possible way – double focus – just makes the experience hateful.

As much as I dislike double focus, I can’t just tell you to buy an Iscorama or a Rectilux. So here’s the ultimate trick to double focus on the fly.

“Double focus” means that both the scope and taking lens must be focused at the same distance to produce sharp images inside the camera. Getting that right to the centimeters is a real challenge as any mismatch will degrade image quality considerably.

My aim here is the target in the middle. Each lens is set to a different distance. As a first step, I’ll take a guess at the distance to the target and quickly set both lenses to that. Next, I’ll adjust the taking lens to make the image as sharp as I can. This will produce a streaked image on the viewfinder, either vertically or horizontally.

Now tweak the anamorphic with the goal of shrinking these streaks and getting the image sharper. At some point, they’ll change direction. When that happens, go back to your taking lens and adjust focus to fix the new stretch. Repeat the process switching back and forth until the streaks are reduced to dots. Boom, focused.

After you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to use both hands and twist both focus rings simultaneously. The key is finding the direction that the image is streaking and counter that. The order of operations – anamorphic first, or taking lens first – doesn’t matter at all.

When you get rid of all the streaking, you’ll have a sharp focused image.

There’s LOTS of practice involved. You get faster as you go, but having a clear objective – normalizing the streaks – spares you from going way past your marks, hunting for focus like a mirrorless camera.

Now it’s up to you to put it to practice. Do you have any hints to help other double focus users? Write them in the comments below! Don’t forget to subscribe and check the previous videos. I’m Tito Ferradans and I’ll see you next time!