Premium Member Max Jacoby Posted January 29, 2005 Premium Member Share Posted January 29, 2005 ANAMORPHIC LENSES General Information and Advice FOCAL LENGTHS The focal length of anamorphic lenses is different from sherical ones. The anamorphic element changes the horizontal angle of a lens by a factor of 2, but leaves the vertical angle untouched. So in fact you have the characteristics of two focal lenses combined in one. A 50mm anamorphic lens for instance has the vertical angle of a 50mm lens, but the horizontal angle of a 25mm lens. This also influences the depth of field. To be safe one should calculate the depth of field based on the actual focal length of the lens. In the case of the 50mm, one would calculate the depth of field based on a 50mm lens, and not a 25mm lens. This means that a 50mm anamorphic lens, although it covers the same horizontal angle than a 25mm spherical lens, only has half of the depth of field than that spherical 25mm lens. STOP DOWN THE LENS Almost all the problems, the distortions, chromatic abberations, shallow focus, tricky focus-pulling, can be minimized simply by shooting at a decent stop. Anamorphic lenses have what is known as a "curved field of focus" that works similarly to the curved movie screens in some large Cinerama theatres. This is one reason that one needs to expose these lenses at a deeper stop. If one doesn?t, the curved field will not be covered by depth of field and either the edges or centre of the frame will be soft. The other reason is contrast that translates into apparent sharpness. With more contrast, the image appears cleaner and sharper. Anamorphic lenses look best sharpness and contrast wise when stopped at least 2 stops down. T4 or T5.6 are great anamorphic stops. It is not a good idea to expose deeper than a T11 either. Optically, a lens' performance will deteriorate after that. CHECK THE MINIMUM FOCUS SETTING A lot of these lenses don't focus closer than 4 feet, some only to 7 feet, unless one can wrangle some closer-focusing lenses. It is a good idea to carry some diopters. THINK ABOUT WHEN TO RACK FOCUS The breathing is so prominent because of the change in compression, unless one is really stopped down, that one should think carefully about when to rack-focus and when to just hold focus -- don't ping-pong it during a two-shot dialogue scene. WATCH FOR LENS FLARES A little more of a problem than with spherical primes due to the anamorphic element at the front of the lens. On the other hand anamorphic flares can be very nice and be part of the look. TESTING Each anamorphic lens even of the same series (except the very latest ones) has different characteristics in color, contrast and sharpness. The quality of these older lenses does vary and one needs to test them find the best ones. What to look for in lenses is that they are flat (curved field of focus), contrasty and have as neutral a color as possible. Some are warmer or colder than others. Try to get as many similar millimetres as possible to compare to. Not only project the lenses at the rental house to evaluate these performance variables but shoot a lot of film on a focus chart that has targets all over the field of view. Shoot wide open and stopped down. Also shoot film outside at deep stops to make sure the shutter blades do not vignette the wide format. They shouldn't but the older lenses used to. CAMERA SYSTEMS Panavision used to have the edge over PL mount cameras (ARRIs and Moviecams), because their cameras were designed with anamorphic in mind. The viewfinders on their cameras are switcheable from spherical to anamorphical. ARRI kind of missed the boat on anamorphic in the nineties, because they geared their cameras more towards Super35 and 3 perf. However that problem has been solved with the new Arricams. They now come with an Universal Viewfinder which, just like on Panavision cameras, is switcheable between spherical and anamorphic. LENSES PANAVISION (PV MOUNT) They have the largest selection of anamorphic lenses available. The 4 main series are (from the oldest to the most recent) C-Series, Super (High) Speed, E-Series, Primos (regular and close-focus). It is important to keep in mind that while the Primos are all color matched and have identical characteristics (minimum focus, breathing, sharpness, contrast), all the other lenses are mostly one-offs and their characteristics (including minimum focus and weight) will vary from lens to lens. As said previously one needs to test to find the best lenses. Also the people at Panavision will have a good idea which lenses are good and which are to avoid. DOPs who shoot a lot of anamorphic often write down the serial numbers of the lenses that they like, so as to be able to request them again next time. Panavision's scope lenses feature the non-mumping system. The "hump" on auto-panatars is the gear system which orientates two anti-astigmatic lenses and eliminates ?anamorphic mumps? when shooting close-ups. This was Gottschalk's design. In a lot of people?s opinion, the "C" and "E" series seem to be the lenses of choice over the Primos. The C and E series are smaller and lighter than the Primos and are optically similar or even better in some cases. The Primos are fine lenses but are huge and heavy. It is very hard to do Steadicam with them. The 50mm Primo is over 7 kilos for instance. Hand holding would be very challenging with the Primos. The advantage of them is that they focus much closer than the other series. The suggestion of carrying diopters is a good one with the C's and E's. It has been said that when the older anamorphic lenses were build, Panavision Woodland Hills kept the best ones and send the other ones to London where again they tested the lenses, kept the better ones and send the other ones on. It looks like there is some truth in that, since a lot of American DOPs who shoot anamorphic abroad bring their lenses with them. All of Panavision?s lenses have the anamorphic element up front, which is why they are more prone to flares. C-SERIES Auto Panatar Lenses The C-series are bit lower in contrast than the E-Series and Primos. They are the lightest Panavision lenses available. Most people who shoot on Primos still carry C-Series for Steadicam. Their housings appear to be brass whereas the E-series seem to be aluminium. The glass inside the C40, C50, C75, and the C100 are Cooke. The C60 is Zeiss throughout (there are very few of this focal length). Minolta and Pentax did some of the glass on the wider lenses in the C series. Not sure who did the cylindrical element group though. If you go with the C-Series, get the E-Series version of the 180mm because the C180mm only focuses down to 7'. Recently Panavision have combined E-Series glass with C-Series mechanics. These lenses have better contrast and color rendition than regular C-Series, as well as better close-focus. The first films to use these lenses were ?The Island? and Terrence Malick?s ?The New World? which features stunning deep-focus cinematography that really show off the anamorphic format. Focal Length Stop Min. Focus Weight 20mm T2.8 3?6? 30mm T3.0 4' 3.5kg 35mm T2.3 2'9" 2.6kg 40mm T2.8 2'6" 1.6kg 50mm T2.3 2'6" 2.0kg 60mm T2.8 3'6" 75mm T2.5 4'6" 1.8kg 100mm T2.8 4'6" 2.17kg 150mm T3.5 5' 180mm T2.8 7' 360mm T4 5?6? 1000mm T5.6 22? SUPER (HIGH) SPEED Lenses The glass is by Nikon. The lenses are very fast (between T1.4 and T1.8). There is even a 50mm that is T1.1. These lenses were used for night scenes with available light on ?Heat? for instance (in conjunction with Primos). But they never shot the 50mm T1.1 wide open, they closed it down to T1.4, otherwise it would have looked too soft on the top and bottom of the frame. Focal Length Stop Min. Focus Weight 24mm T1.6 6' 35mm T1.4 4'6" 5.6kg 50mm T1.1 4' 3.6kg 50mm T1.4 4' 3.6kg 55mm T1.4 4' 3.6kg 75mm T1.8 4'6" 3.4kg 100mm T1.8 4?6?- 5' 3.85kg E-SERIES The E-series are Nikon. They are in general sharper than the C-Series and are better color matched. They are also faster but you give up the close minimum focus distance on the shorter focal lengths. The E135mm and especially the E180mm are great close-up lenses with the best minimum focus of any long Panavision anamorphic lenses. If you like to create horizontal flares, do tests, they will vary depending on the coating of the front element. The E180 will also slightly round off the top and bottom of the ovals when shooting wide open. Panavision have recently reglassed an E180 lens by adding a new set of relays to the system, effectively turning the lens into an E195, which is sharper and less milky than the initial E180. E-Series are Robert Richardson?s lenses of choice when he is shooting anamorphic (i.e. for ?Snow Falling on Cedars?). Focal length Stop Min. Focus Weight 28mm T2.3 5' 4.4kg 35mm T2.0 5' 3.8kg 40mm T2.0 5' 3.25kg 50mm T2.0 5' 3.25kg 75mm T2.0 5' 2.4kg 85mm T2.0 5' 2.5kg 100mm T2.3 5' 2.65kg 135mm T2.8 3'9" 3.35kg 180mm T2.8 4'6" 4.8kg . PRIMO The latest Panavision lenses. They are all color matched but also heavy. Their focal range is limited, it only goes up to 100mm. Most people who shoot on Primos fill out their set with longer lenses from a different series, The lenses of choice being the E135mm and E180mm. The first Primos introduced didn?t have great minimum focus which is why they developed the Close Focus Primos (CFP). Of all the anamorphic lenses available, the Primos are technically the most impressive. Compared to all other lenses they have the least distortion and chromatic abberation. But as has been said before, the ?look? of a lens is more important than it?s technical merits. Focal length Stop Min. Focus Weight 35mm T2.0 3'6" (2?9? CFP) 6.7kg 40mm T2.0 3'6" (2?9? CFP) 6.8kg 50mm T2.0 3'6" (2?9? CFP) 7.3kg 75mm T2.0 4'6" (2?6? CFP) 5.15kg 100mm T2.0 4'6" (2?6? CFP) 5.45kg SPECIAL PURPOSE PANAVISION LENSES The 40mm and 100mm Portrait lenses are C-Series, as are the 55mm and 150mm Macro. The 90mm Slant Focus is a 45mm spherical lens with an anamorphic element at the back of the lens. Focal length Stop Min. Focus Weight 25mm T2.5 5? (wide angle distortion) 90mm T4.3 17? (slant focus) 40mm (Portrait) T2.8 3?3? 100mm (Portrait) T2.8 4? 55mm (Macro) T2.5 10? 2.7kg 150mm (Macro) T3.2 17? 2.7kg 200mm (Macro) T3.2 18? 250mm (Macro) T3.2 29? 400mm (Nikon) T3.5 9? 400mm (Canon) T3 8? 600mm (Nikon) T4 13? 600mm (Canon) T4.5 27? 800mm (Canon) T5.6 15? 1200mm (Canon) T8 27? PANAVISION ZOOMS The 40-80mm is a purpose build wide-angle anamorphic zoom. It is light enough to be used for steadicam. It has an anamorphic front element just like prime lenses and designed to match with the E-Series. All the other zooms are adapted spherical lenses. They are turned into anamorphic zooms by adding a small anamorphic element at the back of the lens, doubling their focal length and losing approximately one stop. Therefore it is impossible to get the typical horizontal flare with them. But they have the advantage of not distorting on the wide end and of not breathing as much as anamorphic primes. The 11-1 Primo made into an anamorphic lens (48mm-550mm T4.5) does not work well at all. Only at the longest end of the lens does it begin to perform. You really have to test a number of them in order to find a really sharp one that maintains focus throughout the zoom range. The focus can shift from one millimetre to another making this lens a less than desirable one to use more than you have to. In addition to that, you shouldn't shoot less than 2 stops down from wide open as your widest stop to keep the 11:1 looking sharp. A better alternative is the anamorphic Angenieux 10-1 HR which works well at both ends. As an anamorphic zoom the HR is also a better choice than the more recent Angenieux Optimo 24-290mm. The Primo 3:1 zoom (270mm - 840mm) is a terrific lens. With a lens speed of a T4.5, you can shoot wide open with it and maintain good sharpness across the field of focus. Focal length Stop Min. Focus Weight 40mm-80mm T2.8 3?3? 48-550mm (Primo) T4.5 4?1? 9.0kg 270-840mm (Primo) T4.5 8?7? 40-200mm (Cooke) T4.5 2?6? 50-500mm (Cooke) T5.6 5?6? PL MOUNT LENSES There are more recent, purpose build anamorphic lenses (Hawks, Elite) as well as adapted spherical lenses (Cooke S3s, Zeiss Superspeeds). The 2 companies responsible for adapting most of these spherical lenses are Joe Dunton Company (JDC) in the UK and Technovision in France. These lenses were initially BNCR mount, but have been or are being changed into PL mount, making them compatible with modern cameras. JDCs lenses are made with a Japanese Shiga anamorphic element. It is interesting to note that Panavision UK owns several sets of these lenses as well. There are also still a lot of older anamorphic lenses around (Lomo, Arriscope, Kowa, Ultrascope), but their image quality is not up to modern lenses. HAWKS These lenses are designed and manufactured by Vantage Film in Germany. They are based on Russian design, but have since been independently developed further. Their main characteristic is that they have their anamorphic element in the middle of the lens (not up front like Panavision) which makes them more flare resistant. This design choice also means that if they do flare, one does not get the typical horizontal flares. C-Series (1996) The earlier (and lighter) version of the Hawks. Around 2 kilos, so ideal for steadicam and handheld. Their minimum focus isn?t as good (around 3?6? on the shorter focal lengths). They also flare easier, are less sharp and have more barrel distortion than the later Hawk lenses. Focal length Stop Min. Focus Weight 40mm T2.2 3?6? 2.2kg 50mm T2.2 3?6? 2.1kg 60mm T2.2 3?6? 2.1kg 75mm T2.2 3?6? 2.4kg 100mm T3 3?6? 2.7kg 55-165mm T4 3?6? 2.2kg V-Series (2001) & V-Plus Series (2007) These lenses are an improvement over the C-Series as far as sharpness, contrast, barrel-distortion and close-focus are concerned. This increased optical performance means a higher weight however (each lens is around 5 Kilos). The Vs may not be as sharp wide open as the Primos, but they have a more ?round?, organic look which looks especially pleasing on faces. Stopped down they become very sharp as well. There are 14 lenses in this series which goes from 25mm to 250mm. Recently (late 2006) Vantage Film have introduced the V-Plus Series which are a further development of the V-Series. These new lenses have increased optical performance, especially when it comes to flare handling. This new design is also tele-centric, so that the lenses can be used equally well on digital cameras. Compared to the Vs the weight of every lens has been reduced by up to 20% (around 1 kilo). The V-Plus Series also features 3 new lenses that were previously not available for the regular V-Series: a 65mm Macro, a 85mm and a 150mm, for a total of 14 primes. Focal length Stop Min. Focus Weight 25mm T2.2 3?6? 2.8kg 30mm T2.2 2?9? 5.6kg 35mm T2.2 2?6? 5.6kg 40mm T2.2 2?6? 6.2kg 50mm T2.2 2? 3.7kg 60mm T2.2 2? 4.0kg 65mm Macro T3 75mm T2.2 2? 4.6kg 85mm T2.2 2 100mm T2.2 3?6? 6.6kg 120mm Macro T3.5 1?5? 5.6kg 135mm T3 3?6? 6.3kg 150mm T3 3?6 180mm T3 6?6? 7.5kg 250mm T3 6?6? 7.8kg N.B. : 65mm, 85mm and 150mm only in V-Plus Series. The 46-230mm T4 Zoom is obviously not as good as the primes as far as sharpness and contrast are concerned, but it doesn?t have any distortion or breathing problems. But it needs to be stepped down at least 2 stops, wide-open it really lacks sharpness and good contrast. 46-230mm (Macro)T4 1?6? 7.4kg 300-900mm T4 9?9? 15.8kg ELITE These are newly built anamorphics from Russia from the optical designbureau of MKBK. Unlike some other conversion lenses, all the glass including the anamorphot cylinders are new. The lenses are very clean and sharp and have a nice, contrasty look. The wide angles have a bit of barrelling to them, but nothing too extreme. Because the cylindrical element is in the middle, they are very flare resistant, even wide open. The curving focus field flattens out nicely when closing down a couple of stops. And this helps the contrast and color saturation. On the other hand the housing designs of these lenses does not seem quite as well thought out as that of the Primos or the Hawks. For the longer lenses it appears that they simply extended the cylinder while keeping the same elements and with all that weight out front it necessitates lens supports for all but the widest lenses. Focal length Stop Min. Focus Weight 24.5mm T2.1 3?3? 2.5kg 32mm T2.1 3?3? 6.5kg 40mm T2.1 3?3? 5.2kg 50mm T2.1 3?3? 5.4kg 75mm T2.1 3?3? 4.9kg 100mm T2.1 3?3? 6.2kg 135mm T2.5 5? 5.6kg 180mm T2.8 5? 5.1kg 250mm T3 6? 5.5kg Elite have several zooms. The 50-160mm is lightweight for handheld/steadicam use. It has pincushion issues at the wide end and seriously suffers from the curved focus plane issue in anamorphic, plus it has some really oddball quirks like a zoom rate that is not consistent as you turn the ring (gets really slow near the telephoto). Focal length Stop Min. Focus Weight 50-160mm (lightweight) T4.9 50-500mm T4.5 240-1040mm T4 240-1020 T3 ANAMORPHIC COOKE LENSES Both Technovision and JDC have adapted Cooke S3s. These lenses are not too heavy, very good for steadicam and handheld. The JDC ones are actually lighter, faster and focus closer than the Technovision series due to a different mechanical design. Compared to modern lenses, these lenses are not quite as sharp and also a bit more prone to flares, due to older lens coatings. Like all Cooke lenses they have nice contrast and are great for close-ups. There are a lot of Dops who still prefer these lenses over more modern ones. Panavision UK have several series of the JDC lenses as well (under the name of Cooke Xtal Express). They actually claim that they compared their sets to JDCs on the projector and theirs came out better. Cooke Xtal Express / JDC Millenium Anamorphics Focal length Stop Min. Focus Weight 18mm T2.3 3? 25mm T2.3 3? 4.0kg 32mm T2.3 3? 3.0kg 40mm T2.3 3? 2.0kg 50mm T2.3 3? 2.2kg 75mm T2.3 3?/3?6? 2.3kg 100mm T2.8 3?6?/4? 2.45kg 150mm/152mm T3.2 5? 300mm T4 Technovision Cooke Focal length Stop Min. Focus Weight 32mm T2.3 3?5? 1.8kg 40mm T3 3? 2.6kg 50mm T2.5 3?6? 3.2kg 75mm T2.5 3?6? 3.5kg 100mm T2.8 2?10? 4.2kg ANAMORPHIC ZEISS LENSES Once again both JDC and Technovision have adapted Zeiss lenses. And Panavision UK own several sets of the JDC series as well. These lenses are a mix of Zeiss Superspeeds and Zeiss Standards. As all Zeiss lenses they are quite sharp with average contrast. Zeiss Xtal Express / JDC Speedstar Anamorphics Focal length Stop Min. Focus Weight 25mm T1.4 4? 35mm T1.4 3?3?/3?6? 40mm T1.4 3?6? 50mm T1.4 3?/3?6? 85mm T1.4 3?6? 100mm T2 4? 135mm T2 6? Technovision Zeiss Superspeed Anamorphics Focal length Stop Min. Focus Weight 20mm T1.4 3?6? 35mm T1.4 3? 3.8kg 40mm T1.4 3? 1.6kg 50mm T1.4 3? 1.8kg 85mm T1.4 3? 2.4kg Technovision Zeiss Standard Anamorphics Focal length Stop Min. Focus Weight 25mm T2 3?6? 5.2kg 32mm T2.1 4? 2.2kg 40mm T2.1 3?6? 1.6kg 50mm T2.1 3? 2.0kg 85mm T2.1 4? 2.4kg 100mm T2 3?6? 3.2kg 200mm T2.8 3? 1.0kg CANON ANAMORPHICS Panavision UK carry the Canon Xtal Express lenses in their rental catalogue, which leads to suspect that these are adapted by JDC as well. I have never heard of anyone using them, but they are priced identically to the Cooke Xtal Express (and more expensive than the Zeiss Xtal Express). They must be adapted from the Canon Ultra Speeds or Super Speeds which are lenses that are not really used anymore. Focal length Stop Min. Focus Weight 24mm T1.5 3? 35mm T1.3 3?6? 50mm T1.3 3? 85mm T1.3 3? 100mm T2 4? CLAIRMONT The Clairmont anamorphics aren't necessarily the sharpest lenses in the world, but they are small and light enough to make you think you were just shooting a spherical movie. Clairmont had them built really for steadicam and handheld work. Stopped down, they worked fairly well. Focal length Stop Min. Focus Weight 32mm T2.3 2?6? 2.2kg 40mm T2.3 3? 1.3kg 50mm T2.3 3? 1.3kg 75mm T2.8 3? 1.8kg 100mm T3.4 5? 2.0kg TODD-AO There are two generations of Todd-AO lenses. The first was designed by Dr. Richard Vetter for Todd-AO in the 1950s. They were manufactured in Japan by NAC, a division of Kowa for Todd-AO. Not many of them were build. They aren?t colormatched very well and have a warm tint. The second generation is faster (T1.4) and based on first generation Canon Highspeeds. They are essentially the same as the Canon Xtal Express lenses Focal length Stop Min. Focus Weight 28mm T3.9 5? 1.4kg 38mm T2.3 3? 2.2kg 50mm T2.3 3? 2.0kg 75mm T2.5 3? 2.2kg 100mm T3.4 3? 2.7kg 200mm (Macro) T4 1?6? 1.8kg 24mm T1.6 35mm T1.4 2?6? 3.6kg 55mm T1.4 2?3? 2.0kg 85mm T1.4 . LOMO These are Russian lenses. It's important to make a distinction between the old square Lomo's, and the newer round Lomo's. They're two completely different designs. The older ones had the anamorphic element in front of the spherical assembly, making them breathe and weave quite a bit. ?Andrei Rublev? among others was shot these lenses. The newer round ones have the anamorphic elements in between the spherical assemblies, making them breathe very little. They were manufactured in the 1980s and are very good lenses, although not quite comparable to modern anamorphics like the Hawks or Primos. They are a bit lower in contrast as well. The 100m and 150mm are the 75mm with an extender added at the back. Beware of the newer 35mm, it distorts too much, besides being big and heavy. In fact, it's the one occasion where the nimble old Square 35mm has a slight upper hand. Lomo Round Front Anamorphics Focal length Stop Min. Focus Weight 22mm T3.4 30mm T3.2 35mm T2.4 3?3? 50mm T2.4 3?3? 75mm T2.4 3?3? 100mm T3.2 150mm T3.4 Lomo Square Front Anamorphics Focal length Stop Min. Focus Weight 35mm T2.8 50mm T2.4 80mm T2.5 SOLIDS Based on the same design as the Elites. Solid Anamorphic Lenses Focal length Stop Min. Focus Weight 35mm T2.5 50mm T2.5 75mm T2.5 100mm T3.3 150mm T4.3 6?6? 300mm T4.8 9?9? High Speed Lenses Focal length Stop Min. Focus Weight 35mm T1.5 50mm T1.3 75mm T1.5 ARRISCOPE A collaboration between Arri and Isco-Optic in the early nineties. These lenses are very resistant to flares, but breathe a great amount and are also heavy. They were never used much. Arri Rental (Germany) does not rent them out anymore, but sold most of their sets to India. Focal length Stop Min. Focus Weight 40mm T2.3 3?3? 3.3kg 50mm T2.3 3?3? 3.5kg 75mm T2.3 3?9? 6.2kg 100mm T3.5 4? 6.3kg 135mm T3 4?6? 5kg CINEOVISION Japanese lenses that are no longer manufactured. The British film ?The Great Exctasy of Robert Carmichael? was shot on them. Focal length Stop Min. Focus Weight 24mm T1.4 32mm T1.4 40mm T1.4 50mm T1.4 100mm T2.6 POWERSCOPE Mike Valentine BSC used these lenses for among other things the underwater sequences in Star Wars Episode 1. They are older as well and not really used much anymore either. Focal length Stop Min. Focus Weight 22mm 30mm 35mm 50mm 75mm 100mm 150mm 40-200mm T5.1 ZEISS ULTRASCOPE These lenses were made for Arri by the Ultra Gesellschaft für Optik from the late 1950s to mid-sixties. They were alright for their time, except for their zoom. Focal length Stop Min. Focus Weight 40mm T2 50mm T2 85mm T2 135mm T4 KOWA Technovision have these lenses in their rental catalogue. They are the lightest anamorphic lenses available, but are not as sharp as modern optics. Eric Gautier used them on an Aaton 35-III for the ballroom sequence in the film ?Les Destinées Sentimentales?, which otherwise was shot on the Technovision Cookes. Focal length Stop Min. Focus Weight 40mm T2.3 3? 1.0kg 50mm T2.3 3? 1.0kg 75mm T2.8 3? 1.2kg 100mm T3.4 5? 1.0kg Thanks to: Christian Appelt, Tony Brown, Adam Frisch, Greg Irwin, Manfred Jahn, Martin Hart, Peter Martin, David Mullen, Charlie Todman, Leo A. Vale, François Reumont, Kevin Zanit 1 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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