Create Quality Vintage Look with SLR Magic Anamorphic Prime Lenses

by Bret HoyLeave a Comment

Every filmmaker has, at one time considered the importance of aspect ratio when shooting your film. How could you not? Interesting and non 16:9 aspect ratios are a vital part of the film look. Most of the filmmakers I know that have cropped their footage in post to re-create this iconic look. For many, it’s a badge of authenticity as a film, even though it’s everything but authentic. This isn’t a condemnation of those filmmakers either. I too have done the same thing, and you know what’s crazy? It looks pretty good. That problem is that the black bars at top and bottom of the screen are only one portion of what makes up the cinematic, anamorphic look.

Anamorphic lenses are used by industry pros and cinematographers to create that cinematic feel and look. These lenses are generally incredibly expensive and keep independent artists from utilizing them. SLR Magic has worked to change this, by releasing a series of anamorphic adapters and indeed, native anamorphic lenses. The lenses come at a high, but reasonable price; ranging from $2,499 to $2,999. In comparison to the other anamorphic options and adapter options on the market, this is a downright steal.

At this price, you’re still inheriting the issues that are associated with lenses on the lower end of any market. There is circular distortion on the edges of the 35mm. Chromatic Aberration appears when you shoot wide open. But the ability to not have to mess with any adapters that will (I promise you, they will) mess with your critical focus, is invaluable. Also, in general, having less glass between you and your subject is better. Most of the adapters on the market do degrade the quality of your image.

In my mind, it’s easy compare this series of lenses to the Canon 50mm 1.8. They open up a great deal of options for the independent shooter and indeed give you the look that you’ve been cropping for— but you get all of the cool blue flares, vertical bokeh and cinematic looks that you never realized you didn’t have.

I may not be investing in this round of SLR Magic lenses, but I can almost guarantee you that with these on the market, more will appear. That, my friends, is the oval shaped bokeh future that I’ve been waiting for.

SLR Magic Anamorphic primes image


Via Hugo Goudswaard:

Have been shooting with 3 native M43 anamorphic cine lenses:


First I have to say that it was such a pleasure to shoot with these lenses compared to shooting with other vintage anamorphics. No hassle, no aligning, no triple checking focus. Other lenses can give great results. Kowa, Bolex Möller, Sankor, Iscorama and other anamorphics all have their special character, beauty, disadvantages and solutions to be able to shoot in a proper way. But being able to shoot without lens clamps, rings, front lenses and other stuff feels so good. It’s just choosing the right focal distance, attach it and shoot.

Is it perfect? No. But I have to compliment SLR Magic because they are at least putting energy into anamorphic solutions and now even into native anamorphics.

When shooting wide open, which I tend to do and have done for this short film, some chromatic aberration can be visible, it disappears when stopping down. The 35mm mm has clearly some visible circular distortion in the edges. I tiny bit too much to my personal taste but i know many anamorphic lovers love the distortion. I am enthusiastic about the sharpness, the overall look and user friendly usability. These are the first ‘lower range’ anamorphics I would dare to take with me on a commercial job.

Color correction was done in Adobe Lightroom, not the most easiest and common way common way to color correct video but I love some tools that are available in Lightroom. I exported and color corrected every single frame as a tiff.

Some characteristics:
Blue flares
Vertical bokeh
A vintage cinematic look
The oval bokeh is not so evident. It can become like a diamant shape.

These lenses are a perfect match for the Panasonic GH4 which shoots 4K in 4:3 aspect ratio required to make the best use of the cinema standard 2x stretch anamorphic format.

The lenses are Micro Four Thirds mount and produce an aspect ratio of 2.66:1 from 4:3

Squeeze factor: 2x
Camera mode: 4:3 Anamorphic
Objective front filter thread: Φ82
Mount: micro four thirds
Lens Coating: Multi Coated
Close Focus: 3’6
Weight (oz./g): 47.9/1,360
Length (cm): 19.25
Diameter (cm): 10
Suggested aperture setting: T4-5.6
Image Circle: mFT for 35mm T2.4, S35 for 50mm T2.8 and 70mm T4

(cover photo credit: snap from EOSHD)

Leave a Comment