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True wide scope with Anamorphic Adapters ( lenses ).
  • i bought and read the Andrew Reid's Anamorphic Shooters guide again. What i understand from the condensed info Andrew is providing is; as much as the Anamorphic lenses give you horizontal wide view for a given focal length - if we need a true wide scope effect there is only one option with compromises and that is LA7200. Surprisingly those compromises pile up quickly also ( eg. lack of shallow depth of field, forced to shoot F/4 and up, .... ) . Considering this $50. piece of glass in plastic housing is valued at around $1000. these days, are there any other options available for GH1 + anamorphic for start up with almost same capabilities as LA7200 ?
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  • In addition to the Panasonic LA7200, Century Optics and Optex 16X9 widescreen adapters will produce the same 1.33X anamorphic squeeze factor. Unfortunately, these adapters are all out of production and only available used.

    Less expensive Japanese 2X anamorphic adapters can be found on eBay under a variety of vintage brand names: Kowa, Eiko, Elmo, Sankor, Singer, Bell & Howell, and others. On the GH1 and GH2, these 2X adapters can be used with the hacked MJPEG VGA video mode, which records at a 4:3 aspect ratio. Here's a link to a GH1 patch I developed for use with anamorphic lenses:
  • It's an honour to get a reply from the Great LPowell himself. Yes, as new as i am in the GH world i have that patch. Now only if i could find an affordable ultrawide anamorphic lens, i will be able to enjoy the powers of that genius patch. The project at hand calls for ultrawide scopes shot in dimly lit confined places. Most of the time the only lighting will be the bare bulb hanging at the end of a power line.
  • Besides the LA7200 there are other 1.33x anamorphics, most based on a design by Soligor (this is basically the same used be Optex and Century) which are also found on many "generic" adapters. These are harder to find, but a lot cheaper and simpler to use. I had the luck to pick one up for about $100, after about a year of searching. The good thing is that these are round-fronts, with 72mm filter threads (or in the case of mine, space for a filter thread) which allows you to use a diopter. REDSTAN sells an achromatic Tokina 0.4 diopter that is a godsend. It allows shooting at F2, closer focus and the achromatic elements removes most of the chromatic abberation found on these lenses, improving performance greatly. I have ordered one and will update once I get it!
  • I made this point a while back as one of the main disadvantages of shooting anamorphic on dslr that people don't mention enough: your FOV (without compromises such as badly blurred edges, vignetting, etc) is limited to about 35 and up for 4/3 sensors (if not higher), and 50 and up for larger sensors. This is not something any patch can fix, but is rather a function of the relation between almost all the (semi-affordable) anamorphic glass out there and the sensors sizes of dslrs. Even the VidAtalantic anamorphic filter has this issue. There's the LA7200 you mentioned but that has some hassles. And also the Century Optics (there's one that ends in "-59") which allows you to shoot as wide as 14mm on 4/3 sensors, but the few limited examples I've see have pretty bad blurring and distortion on the edges.
  • Gable, from what you are mentioning i am gathering an idea that ( specific ) non focusing Anamorphic adapters like LA7200, Optex, ( non focusing ) century, .... are the solution for both the price and shooting ultrawide to standards of LA7200.
    The last Century adapters went almost at $1000. on the eBay and currently the starting bid for LA7200 is always around $750.
    i really like to know what was the adapter you managed to pick up for $100.
  • Quite happily filming sharply @ f1.7 on the 20mm panny with a generic 1.33x focus thru anamorphic (essentially a Century 58) and the aforementioned Redstan front clamp and Tokina achromatic dipoter - got a few 2x lenses also and definitely think it's luck for the draw when you get one to how badly it performs. Theres a pic of the GH2 with it on in Gabel's other thread about anamorphics, it's a v compact setup.
  • qwerty123,
    i think i have seen your arguments here and elsewhere on anamorphic shooting. As amazed i am about the look that these $50. ( OEM pricing ) pieces of glass could produce in the hands of experts like Andrew Reid, i am neutral about them as i am about any other tool. In fact i have seen a few heavy shooters that threw their hands in the air with disgust after trying and trying again various adapters and combinations of diopters and went to crop their 5D-II footage and they are content with partial look.
    For me those blurred edges and even partial vignetting and aberrations are needed for the style required. As long as i could get that ultrawide on my timeline ( for very low budget ).
  • test1,
    i am glad to know it' been working for you. Aside from Century 58 and the generic 1.33x shoot through could you share other Adapters that might work well on the ultra wide side. Its greatly appreciated.
  • @010101: I also have one of those generic adapters. I made a thread about it. But I found it by pure luck on a Swedish site called "Filmprylar" (Film stuff). These are the sort of things that "uneducated" don't know the value of... So try to find one of those!
  • There's a general consensus that if you are going to use the front mounted lenses that require both lenses to be focused (unless you want to spend $1500 on an ISCO or LOMO), the Kowa 8h/8z or the Bell and Howell variant seem to be the best bet, there's a shed load of stuff out there on the net and from guys using these setups, including some very well versed chaps on here (EOSHD etc) Just bear in mind these buggers are big when you have at 50mm + clamp + anamorphic, so some lens support + rails might be an idea too - it's a never-ending money sink lol but hey it's fun :) Here's a list of some of the ones you see flying around on Ebay :
  • I think the LA7200 is the best out of the truly wide anamorphic lenses, less soft in the corners than the next best (Optex). The Century I have not tried but it will be close. The generic ones are hellishly bad on the whole so avoid.

    And that's about it sadly!

    I've come to value the LA7200 more and more as a cinematic tool, I think if any company could produce something similar at a cost of $50 OEM they would have done it by now. Anamorphic glass is hard to make. Believe me people have tried in the DSLR era, and it's not for lack of demand.
  • @EOSHD
    I totally agree with you! LA7200 is a great piece of glass, despite all of its limitations.
    I like it very much on the 14mm 2.4 lens! On the longer 14-45 it works great on steadicam because it gives more stability.
    The use of round diopters between camera & lens work great also b.t.w.
    How far are the developments of a 1.33x factor pixelstretch for in-camera anamorphic MJPEG frame?
    For the moment i do AVCHD in Sony Vegas with 1.33 pixel-interpolation in properties, sometimes a boring job! It would be wonderfull to have 1920 X 810p with my LA7200 incamera

    feat. my son Yoeri Sylvian - pls. go to 1.08 to skip the macho-prt.
  • @Gabel good point... Search camera fairs and the less well trodden paths and you will still find treasure.

    Eventually a consumer manufacturer will need to recognise the artistic value of cinemascope once more and give us a new anamorphic lens but I doubt it will be cheap. Consumer manufacturers have always been very bad at recognising cinema aesthetics, because they're on the whole a bunch of scientists and businessmen not filmmakers. So don't hold your breathe for Canon, et al to step up to the plate.
  • My generic bizarrely is factors sharper than my Century - sure they're all exactly the same innards looking at them to be honest.
  • EOSHD,
    i completely agree. Unfortunately that trend even spread to APPLE inc. The Lack of presence of Anamorphic support in FCP X is the manifest of that fact.
    i will be shaking the trees of knowledge about this subject around the globe. Hopefully i will be able to report back with some worthy information. i thank you all for participating in this discussion. Long Live The Art.
  • Each brand/type of anamorphic adapter has it's advantages and disadvantages. The problem now is the pricing has gone thru the roof for the more popular ones. Luckily I bought into the game when Ebay prices were so low that it was no big deal to simply "buy-to -try". Hence I'm in a position where I've been able to test/compare many types (15 at last count).... and have decided to use each for more or less a specific application (many with a lens mounted full-time).

    Quality and convenience wise the LA7200 comes out on top...and particularly usable with a wide range of focal lengths on the GH1/GH2. Probably the only one that can sensibly be used on a shoulder rig for ENG type work.

    Century and Optex are good for me because of their size...they will fit in my underwater housing/dome port system. But, image quality is down from the LA7200.

    Sankors, Proskars etc can do a decent job when matched with the right lens...but can be fiddly to use/focus. Treat them as you would a prime lens...on a tripod with careful focus work. Also the aspect ratio tends to be greater than often preferred (here again the LA7200 is perfect @ 1.33x).

    Some of the nicest yet still affordable anamorphics are the "Inflight" types...including some from Isco and Kowa...that were used on the airliners of yesteryear for in-flight movie projection. Require double focussing but capable of superb image quality. Some are even available in 1.5x ratio.

    Final thought...if you can get your hands on a Nikkor 50-135mm f3.5 AI-s it will work brilliantly with the all focal lengths and has CONSTANT aperture. It's one of the very few zooms of the correct focal range for anamorphic use where the front DOESN'T rotate during zooming or focusing...hence it doesn't alter the anamorphic alignment during use.
  • I've been reading up on using the LA7200 with the GH2. Happily, I have one (from DVX days). I'm not quite sure I understand the entire diopter issue, though. I understand that it improves image quality as well as making it possible to get closer - but I'm a little unclear as to why.

    Also, it seems that the diopter can be put between the lens and the LA7200. Is that correct? Is there a particular diopter that you guys recommend? Should I get more than one, or does a single value work? What are the advantages/disadvantages of different values?

  • No need to use any diopter with a LA7200 on a GH2...true for Lumix lenses or Nikkors, Contax, etc. long as the lens focal length is appropriate, i.e. no vignetting.

    The 20mm or 14mm Lumix in particular allow very close focus and even AF if desired. That's the beauty of the LA7200 when combined with the M4/3 sensor. Of course, image quality improves around the middle of the f-stop range as is the case for all anamorphic adapters.
  • @cbrandin - PM me your email address and I'll send you a complimentary copy of this book to get you started with the LA7200. That is all my knowledge in one place basically. The diopters go in front of the anamorphic lens and are designed to reduce the minimum focus distance and improve image sharpness at fast apertures. All anamorphic lenses due to their fundamental design, even the £25k Hawk ones are challenged when it comes to minimum focus distances and fast apertures. Bare in mind guys although the Iscorama is expensive for consumers at $3k, it is in some ways better than a £25k Hawk!! 5ft minimum focus is VERY good for an anamorphic, and it's tack sharp without a diopter at F1.4 on most primes.

    @Skeptikal Curious you mention the 50-135mm F3.5, at the 135mm end depth of field would be pretty shallow yet you still get a sharp image on the LA7200? I find the LA7200 pretty poor at anything longer than 50mm so this Nikon lens could have something the primes don't... I am interested to try it.

    Was at the Philip Bloom meet up in Berlin the other day and took my anamorphic rig along. Pistol grip from eBay, the LA7200, 14mm Pancake and Zacuto EVF on hacked GH2. Love the look and being able to shoot in the proper aspect ratio on the EVF, it feels like a high-tech anamorphic Super 8!!

    1920 x 820 - 346K
    1920 x 820 - 285K
    anamorphic super 8 gh2.jpg
    597 x 800 - 116K
  • @EOSHD

    Thanks very much for the book! It answered all my questions. It was an easy read too...

  • @EOSHD

    Yes I actually did some careful tests the other day (I was thinking about selling it as I'm standardizing on Zeiss optics, but decided it's too nice to part with).

    It's certainly usable at 135mm even wide open...but image quality improves significantly by f5.6, and is excellent by f11.

    IQ also looks good when zooming thru the full range...with the bonus of no vignetting and no f-stop variation.
  • Nice diopter test with LA7200 here looks like an improvement - lots of lenses tried ...
  • Somebody had mentioned that he put a diopter between the lens and a LA7200. Does that work, or do you have to put the diopter at the front of the LA7200 is you want to use one?

  • @cbrandin: My understanding is that the diopter must be in front of the anamorphic lens to work correctly. You "could" put a diopter anywhere in the lens assembly but it will only be beneficial if it is in front of the anamorphic. Someone please correct me if I am wrong.