Affordable anamorphic lenses? The idea of owning a set of anamorphic glass is no longer an unattainable goal with the likes of Sirui, Great Joy, and Laowa coming out with new options all the time for the more everyday filmmaker.
Each is aiming for a distinct look but all are going for a reasonable price point.
Almost spoiled for choice, you are going to want to see what each of these lenses brings to the table and pick out your favorite.
For that we should go to the experts running Anamorphic on a Budget since they seem to know everything about, well, getting anamorphic on a budget.
SLR Magic got a jump on the market with a few lenses, but they haven’t really followed up on them which has left the door open for competitors to enter the affordable anamorphic space—and they have.
Sirui jumped in with a 50mm f/1.8 1.33x Anamorphic for APS-C systems. They followed this up with a few other focal lengths all with the 1.33x squeeze.
That worked for a minute since many consumers are using 16:9 sensors which turns into a 2.36:1 image. As for the look, they went heavy on the flares since that is considered part of the anamorphic look.
Realistically, a lot of full-frame systems were coming out and taking charge in a market originally dominated by APS-C/Super 35mm.
They came out with some mirrorless full-frame anamorphic lenses. The lenses are very sharp, almost too sharp, even on full-frame when wide open. They move a bit away from the “classic” anamorphic look.
Sirui is hoping to expand and bring more anamorphic options to market, such as an upcoming 2x anamorphic series for full-frame mirrorless that uses 1.6x lenses and a 1.25x adapter.
The MARS set was simple and reliable on Micro Four Thirds and hopefully, the full-frame options do the trick for most people.
Affordable, sharp, acceptable minimum focus and decent flares are all creating a good overall package. There are four lenses in the set: asdf asdf asdf asdf 100mm.
It’s a versatile option and if you are looking for quick and easy then it is the place to start looking.
The Great Joy optics are relative newcomers to the space and they went with a range of products to cover a more diverse audience. They also aimed for a larger squeeze.
Adapters were their initial entry and people do enjoy being able to use them on their own spherical lenses.
Their 60mm anamorphic is okay, but when combined with the adapter you can get some very nice images.
Great Joy pushes for a stronger squeeze of 1.8x vs 1.6x on Sirui plus you can pick them up in Canon EF and ARRI PL mounts.
This does expand the compatibility of the optics. It isn’t a standard design though, so you can’t use it on a lens with a mirror or with focal reducing adapters.
These lenses cater more to indie cinema where the mount options are going to be preferred.
Also, the 1.8x squeeze works with 4:3 recording which is the main anamorphic mode on true cinema cameras. It results in a more traditional 2.39:1 aspect as well.
They are put together and come in at a competitive price. Unfortunately they may be a little too bland.
The lenses Laowa puts out are emphasizing size and the anamorphics are following suit. The Nanomorphs are small lenses, though they also cover smaller APS-C/Super 35mm sensors.
There is going to be a range of focal lengths offered in tons of mirrorless mounts.
The company is benefitted by a strong background in lens manufacturing and was able to produce a set of focal lengths (27mm, 35mm, 50mm) as well as multiple flare color options (Amber, Blue, Silver) all at once.
A 1.5x squeeze in an ultra-small package is pretty sweet. It’s great for gimbal shooting and shooting more discreetly.
They may not be as popular as the Sirui or Great Joy since they aren’t full-frame, but they are compelling options.
Atlas Lens Co.
The just announced Mercury line from Atlas Lens Co. doesn’t exactly fall under the budget line but it does get a mention here. These lenses are coming from a more professional background and produce a look that is more in line with what you would expect from anamorphic lenses.
It’s worth taking a look at the image these lenses produce to see how they compare to the budget options since these are very appealing optics.
Adapters vs Lenses
Tito is not a fan of adapters. They generally result in a more complicated rig and are annoying to use. These new lens options are much more convenient to use and what he recommends for the average user.
What do you think of these lenses options? Or are you still sticking with your adapters?
[source: Anamorphic on a Budget]
- Sirui 50mm f/1.8 Anamorphic 1.33x Lens (B&H, Amazon)
- Sirui 50m T2.9 Full-Frame Anamorphic 1.6x Lens (B&H, Amazon)
- Great Joy 1.35x Anamorphic Adapter (Amazon)
- Venus Optics Laowa Nanomorph S35 Prime Lens Set (B&H)
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