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The arguable real (dis)advantage of anamorphic shooting with adapters.
  • I didnt find this related topic, just a few floating opinions inside other anamorphic topics.

    Let me start point it out.

    What is the real advantage of putting a glass above another glass to change the pixel aspect ratio, and get arguable more horizontal resolution?

    If we use a real and good anamorphic lens, we get a real advantage in terms of resolution. But just put an adapter over a lens is not always a good idea. Resolution is not only pixel quantity, but pixel quality. If we need to use extra glass to get these "extra" wide, we will be loosing resolution by the degradation of quality caused by the extra glass. Experiment put many filters in your lens, than pixel-peep it. You will notice an image blur. This is what happened with most (I say most, not all) adapters around. It is fancy to shoot anamorphic, but what is the real advantage? Lets go to an example:

    If you use a 7-14mm lens at 7mm than just crop to get the desired ratio. You get an anamorphic ratio and very wide frame. You cannot use an anamorphic adapter in very wide lenses. So, you win in one side but lost in other.

    What you get:
    * more horizontal resolution
    * some flares (arguable positive)

    What you lost:
    * very wide lenses
    * the capability of use fast lenses at wider apertures
    * time
    * money

    Some guys claim that can achieve 2k resolution from full HD by using anamorphic adapters. This can be untrue depending on the configuration used.
    The extra horizontal resolution gained from the pixel squeezing can be lost by the image degradation caused by extra glass, not not mention here vignetting.

    Anamorphic fan guys, please no offence here, lets try to use logical arguments instead of emotional ones.

  • 76 Replies sorted by
  • When you're after a widescreen look, the 4/3rds crop factor puts you at a real disadvantage. The Lumix 7-14mm f4 is a very fine lens, but it has its drawbacks as well - it's slow, can't take filters, and has too much depth of field. The virtue of a good anamorphic adapter is its ability to mate with a wide variety of old-school lenses and bring out their cinematic qualities. What I'm looking for are not the still-photography qualities of fine resolution and high contrast, but the filmic qualities of selective focus, color saturation, and dynamic flare response. While these things can be cosmetically manipulated in post, the GH1/2 don't have as much color depth and dynamic range as you really need to go as far as you'd want. In practice, I find it far more gratifying and artistic to create the cinematic look I want in-camera, and leave cropping and color correction as finishing touches rather than full-blown makeovers.

    With ISCO, Lomo, and Optex anamorphic adapters, I typically shoot at f1.4-4 in 28-85mm focal lengths. In the EVF I see the exact framing I will get with each shot, horizontally squeezed into the 16:9 LCD display. I'm obsessed with lighting and will make finicky adjustments until I see exactly what I want in the viewfinder.
  • I don't think many people are shooting with anamorphics just to get wider. It's more about a look that these lenses add to the image, rather than the ability to get wider or more resolution. You're right, most anamorphic aren't super sharp, but thats what I think makes them look amazing.

    If I want to go super wide and tack sharp, I would definitely use the 7-14mm lens, but that's not always the most important thing.
  • I don't own anamorphic lens... but this is something I've been thinking, too.

    GH2VK giving photo quality video means different things to different people. Some people wanna preserve fine details all the way to final artifacts. Nothing wrong with that. Some people wanna apply more color grading which kills sharpness a bit, but it looks fine. For some people post-processing doesn't give the look they want. For them anamorphic lens seems a godsend. It does change the look that can't be created during post-processing. Also m43 format & anamorphic seems happy marriage. I don't hear people complaining about wider angle on m43 anymore.

    But a lot of hassle. Prolly it fits better to film production where careful calibration is possible.
  • Most folks use anamorphic because they want the anamorphic "look." It includes screen-wide lens flare streaks, oval bokeh, and vertically stretched areas outside the depth of field.
  • @Ze_Cahue Your post is misleading.

    For anything but the widest lenses (<14mm on the GH2) anamorphics give you a wider field of view than if you cropped, removing the need for very wide lenses like the 7-14mm.<br />
    "more horizontal resolution"
    You get more vertical resolution, not more horizontal than if you cropped, since you're lose vertical resolution through cropping. If you want to shoot at cine aspect ratios, anamorphic lenses are currently the only way to fully utilize the resolution of a DSLR sensor. Anamorphic lenses do not have to be expensive or time consuming.

    You also get oval bokeh. At 1080, the difference in sharpness at most apertures is virtually unnoticable.
  • I am yet to see a sharp anamorphic video.
    Apart from cool lens flare I do not see any advantage to using anamorphic.
  • @Hazna You're not looking hard enough. Anamorphic lenses are perfectly capable of sharp footage.

    How about:
    -Higher resolution than cropping
    -Wider FOV than cropping
    -Oval bokeh
    -Lens flare
    -Cinematic aesthetics
  • I dont know what im doing if i shoot for pixel peeping over emotional pictures...


  • this stuff looks amazing to my eye. Im not the most technically sound guy but im no stooge either and after seeing tons of videos around the net if you wanna shoot a film intended for a cinema showing, anamorphic lens's are the way to go.
  • @Ze_Cahue
    >If we use a real and good anamorphic lens

    Which lens would you consider real and good?

    [Edit: I just realised you may not be sure what an anamorphic *adapter* is. It's a misnomer, really: a lens, rather than a mechanical device. Anamorphic lenses were pretty rare. If that's the case we're talking at cross-purposes here].

    When film sets used anamorphic, [whether integrated lenses or lens+adapter] you hardly knew it! The lenses & viewfinders were matched. Life went on. Those must have been good lenses. When the new generation of fine-grain film stocks arrived, it didn't seem so essential to use up every square millimetre of emulsion.

    Me? I shoot for the wider screen. I sold all but 1 of my 2X adapters and bought one Panasonic LA7200.
    After watching a documentary on László Kovács (Easy Rider, etc) I have decided to get one good 2X adapter and use up some of the film in my fridge with my16mm 4:3 Bolex/Angenieux and my 35mm Eyemos. [The Russian Krasnogorsk wll stay unused in its glass case while its Zenit Zoom does service with the LA-7200]. If you're interested, I'll load up the Bolex with Kodak Vision 2 and attach the Panny. that will give me close to 16:9. Then I'll telecine and crop, possibly 2.35:1. I can't wait to hear those crisp dollar bills shredding through the shutter!

    With video, trying out anamorphics is a well-known challenge and Holy Grail more than a real result. Some famous directors have been bitten by the bug (in their own free time). We've been producing 2.35 footage on video cameras since analogue days, the quality of which was sometimes so terrible it produced guffaws.

    I am now producing an anamorphic film for projection in a museum. Pretty soon we'll have to commit to a production format and I think it'll probably be film +anamorphic or else digital +spherical.

    I'm shooting reccy shots on the GH2/LA7200/Zenit/Pentax 6mm. I'm yet to shoot anything I'm satisfied with. It's looking very tempting to use the 6mm and crop. If you want to know the client was so impressed with the LA7200 on my rig I feel I'd be letting him down! So I've sort of made a rod for my own back and I'm paying for it with lots of my own time.

    I am watching all the 1970's anamorphic films now. I haven't noticed any flare or bokeh. They do have a feel and grit (not grain) all their own.
    See http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi3703177497/ about the making of Blade Runner.

    I say if you're not smitten with the bug, there are easier ways to produce widescreen (as Hollywood discovered).
  • @heradicattor

    "I dont know what im doing if i shoot for pixel peeping over emotional pictures... "

    Why should it be one or the other? Pixel peeping is to optimize the procedure/equipment/codec...to then go and shoot emotional pictures.

    The GH13/GH2 is probably the best VidDSLR currently available for anamorphic shooting. Particularly when combined with an LA7200. On a lens as wide as a 14mm there's no vignetting; AF works (if you need it); and it's possible to focus very, very close without diopters. Resolution is almost indistinguishable from using the prime lens alone. No wonder the LA7200 has quadrupled in price in the last 18 months.
  • @LPowell

    7-14mm was just an example, there is also the new 12mm f2 pretty wide and has less DOF.

    As an artistic tool, I agree with you. When you try to achieve a different look before post production, it can be done creatively using adapters, lenses, lighting methods and so others ...... my point was regarding the low efficiency of using a not good anamorphic glass, only to be anamorphic, just to be fancy. Art is relative and aesthetics can be endless discussed.
  • @Ptchaw

    Not really, the wider field of view that you get with anamorphic glass, you lost with the fact that most very wide lens will vignetting with an anamorphic adapter.

    "You also get oval bokeh. At 1080, the difference in sharpness at most apertures is virtually unnoticable."

    Oval bokeh can be achieve with simple filters, and at 1080, sharpness in big screens is very noticeable.
  • @Roberto

    Sorry if I didnt make myself very clear, when I mean "real lens" instead of "adapters", I mean real good glass instead of just a piece of round glass used to squeeze pixels, it can be anamorphic lens or good adapters.

    I do love the anamorphic view on film, but it works better with the film aspect ratio in relation of the 16:9 sensors.

    If we could use the full 4/3 area of the GH2 sensor to produce videos, than the use of anamorphic filters make more sense.


  • @Ze_Cahue If you're shooting on a big screen, the more you need the extra pixels. The resolution lost from the glass by using a sharp anamorphic is far less than the resolution lost by cropping. With the exception of fast apertures, an anamorphic will be more detailed.

    Again, not true regarding wides. With the Panasonic anamorphic, you can go as wide as 14mm. Equivilant to using a 10mm lens when you include the 1.33x squeeze. There are very few circumstances where a 10mm FOV would not be adequate.
  • @Ze_Cahue

    I don't understand anything you say in your last post - except the last sentence:

    >If we could use the full 4/3 area of the GH2 sensor to produce videos, than the use of anamorphic filters make more sense.
    -with which I think we all agree.

    [sorry, if it helps, feel free to write in whatever language you prefer. We English speakers should be more tolerant]
  • Hey, you guys, there are some things I feel you deserve to know.

    I'll be 60 this year and I've taught film making to lots of young people. Some of them were brilliant and never listened to me or the usual rules, they tried new stuff and just had a taste for it and made great films. Some new-generation film-makers will be reading these pages, making history with hacked GH cameras and champing at the bit to get creative.

    So there's a minimum amount of accountability required of people like me when it comes to advising young people who might waste their time and money.

    To people like that I say, with anamorphics, yes, give it a try. *Rent* an adapter. Or buy it on credit, test it for a month and sell on eBay. Same thing. Look up Eyepatch Productions' tutorials. You'll know soon enough if anamorphic works for you.

    Doesn't anybody *rent* any more? Most Film makers never own the cameras they shoot on.The guy I was talking about who shot bad anamorphic in his own time was Werner Herzog. In 1987 he showed me his only camera, a super-8!
    These days, you can do the books on a project and find that a brilliant camera like the GH.x is worth buying. So is a 1965 Miller tripod. Rent, borrow or improvise anything else. If you're brilliant enough, people will throw the good gear at you.

    If I'm sounding like your dad, it's because I didn't follow my own advice. Film gear is poverty -creation stuff, like horse-owning. Or boats. Think of your long-suffering spouse. Or kids. You think my grown kids could care less that their childhood movies were shot on 16mm Kodachrome? Nope, that was their dad's self-indulgence.

    Now, I give most people a very slim chance of getting far with anamorphic lenses. Damn those bewitching bastards and all the time I've spent with them!
  • BTW, if you do decide to crop, here's two hints:

    Put a hard matte in front of your matte box to block out the unwanted vision at top and bottom. This will also give your codec less to compress - maybe you can raise the bit rate;

    OR

    Look up what a "Soft matte" is. (There's no reason you can't soft-matte 16:9 the same way we soft-matted 4:3. You get a bet each way with your release prints)

    Then, tape coloured gel strips to the top & bottom of your LCD viewfinder to help you frame.
  • @Roberto Great wisdom you've passed on from your perspective of 60 years! Not sure if life had an "undo" function, I'd undo any of it, but what you say has a fabulous sense of personal learning and humility. You reminded me about when I taught radio at the BBC: we got all our new people to do a radio piece which had to be 10 minutes long, on any subject that intrigued them. Now of course, when you're experienced in a medium like I was with radio, you know the conventions, there are "rules", there are some rights / wrongs. And there are hazy areas: things that are more negotiable, more subject to individual opinions. And what those new people did, was often to just invent their own rules, and do brilliant things because they hadn't spent years, like me, living within the conventions of my part of the industry. Some of it was shit, and some of it was breathtaking, but I count myself privileged to have been there to encourage it, and to hear the end results.

    PS great tip about the cropping in-camera and giving the codec less to do.
  • @Mark_the_Harp
    Thanks, Mark.
    I also worked on Radio (ABC Science Unit, Social History etc) and like to think I still do! [A good grounding for film, with shorter timelines!]
  • @Roberto, how do I go about making a Hard Matte that correlates to 2.35:1 for my Lens and do the same on my LCD viewfinder? It sounds simple, but I don't want to assume anything and do it wrong.
  • What I don't get is why there is no one making NEW anamorphic adapters! I would think that would solve much of the price issues. how can an LA7200 or Century be worth $1000? Sure, they're great, but C'MON! that's more than I paid for my GH2! Unless I'm mistaken, its one, (maybe two?) glass elements that the camera focuses thru. It shouldn't take a rocket scientist to whip up a ripoff of something like that. (China, I'm looking at YOU.) Doesn't even need to be high quality coating. The older stuff flares better anyway.

    I can understand where vintage LOMO OCT19 square fronts or ISCOs are priced high, but the LA and the Century are not vintage. The LA has a plastic body for goodness sakes.

    If there was even one adapter in current production, prices on the other stuff (especially the newer lenses for 4:3 digital) would be forced down. Sure, as a young filmmaker I'd like to be able to shoot anamorphic 2.66 on my (still AMAZING) GH2, but the fact is, the price is too high, and I think artificially so. If I get to the point where this darn script is finished, I'll consider renting.
  • @Ptchaw

    The LA7200, that can be used with wide lens, and have a nice 1.3 squeezing, now cost 1K, that is what I mean in my first post "money". Lucky (or smart?) the guys who bought that a few years ago.

    Prices are getting incredibly high since (beside a few serious guys in this area) things are getting fancy.

    @Roberto

    What I mean is, it just work if you use a good glass/adapter. And that anamorphic works better on film instead of 16:9 sensors, due the aspect ratio.

    I agree with you, when you have a family, the way we spend money must be more reasonable. I´m just starting my own family this year. Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us.
  • +1 B3Guy
  • @Aria

    A suitable hard matte would be far enough in front of the lens so that fine adjustments would be possible - which is why I say in front of the hood or matte box (if you have a bellows-type). It could be cut out of cardboard with a good blade or simply two strips of black insulating tape. It should show you what you're framing but leave a little unwanted frame for the final, clean-line crop to be done in post. Do some tests first! Some lenses might even vary the crop as you pull focus.

    You could hard-matte anywhere, right back to the sensor itself. A modified M 4/3 adaptor comes to mind. However, closer to the front means you're keeping stray light out altogether!
    Since the letterboxed image from a hard matte will appear in your LCD screen (and viewfinder) anyway, you need no matte on the LCD.

    A *soft* matte should be transparent enough to see the stuff above and below which will be out of frame in your 2.35 widescreen shot but still help you frame the content well. It also allows you to compose for a 16:9 release at the same time. I like framing with soft mattes because you see things which help you anticipate camera moves. You can't soft-matte a GH.x's eyepiece viewfinder (unless you make up some sort of separate matte on an accessory-shoe viewfinder) - but you can put a nice transparent film at top and bottom of the LCD screen. I've never done this except on a video-assist glass monitor but I quite like automobile window-tint film. It comes in a variety of shades and peels-off glass quite easily. For LCD screens, best be safe & use a screen-protector first, then stick the tint stuff on top of that. (or make a line with a water-based marker pen)
    That film shouldn't be too dark for you to see through - which has given rise to extraneous things appearing in the 4:3 cinema releases of some widescreen films (microphones are common, but much worse has happened!). At least these days we can review footage without waiting for the film to be developed!