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Max Jacoby

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On 4/4/2022 at 12:11 PM, Jon O'Brien said:

I’m even thinking for features. After all, I hear that Canon stills lenses were used on Alien (1979) and other films. Nikon lenses were used on one of the Indiana Jones movies, for special effects shots.

To be clear, Alien and all the Indiana Jones movies were primarily shot with Panavision C series anamorphics. 

The issues with using stills lenses on movies are usually nothing to do with the actual glass, but the mechanics. Accurate and repeatable focus pulling, accurate focus marks, no focus shift, no looseness in the mount, the ability to mount motors or a follow focus etc. When stills lenses are used in movies for anything more than stop motion or the odd special effects shot they tend to be re-housed.

Since this is a pinned thread for information on anamorphic lenses in general, perhaps a seperate thread on the Laowa anamorphic adapter could be started?

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Dom Jaeger. A very valid point. My hack for Nikons which was a personal project is highly unlikely to ever see a genuine production. The existing Laowa PL - PL adaptor is viable for the company's own zoom lens, some other zoom lenses, prime lenses and wide-angle lenses that an industry standard front adaptor would not suit. Interestingly, Laowa cine standard anamorphic lenses are to be marketed in the near future.

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For John Obrien, some supplemental info regarding Nikon lenses and a front anamorphic adaptor.

Recently I remade the barrel of a Laowa rear anamorphic adaptor to accept Nikon F-Mount stills lenses which I have been using via a EF-Mount adaptor ring. Whilst I had the lathe set up for fabricating a tractor part and a suitable short piece of metal stock was available, I decided to remake an adaptor for an old Century Optics 16:9 anamorphic lens which was part of a Sony PD150 kit.

I had roughed up an adaptor from pieces of PVC water pipe fittings years ago. It was never much good and I had intended to remake the part in metal once I had established the form which worked. I never got around to it and made do with the plastic piece for the few times I wanted to use the adaptor. When in use I was hoping and praying the blue plumber's glue would not let go.

Cutting fine 0.7mm pitch filter threads is a bit of a nightmare with my meagre skillset and the cheap chinese lathe. It can be done but lots of workarounds are needed to get the precision. The thread cutting is the very last operation. It is the most likely to go wrong and ruin all the work which came beforehand, like about five hour's worth.

The Century Optics anamorphic for the Sony PD150 has an exit pupil which is smaller than the Letus, rare Panasonic, rarer Optex and the newer SLR Magic anamorphic adaptors people use. The fitment to the PD150 was via a bayonet attachment which held the removable lens hood.

Rather than cut out the reliefs for the bayonet lugs in the new adaptor, it is easier to slack off the stop screw in the attachment ring, take it all the way off, offer into the rear of the anamorphic lens the flange of the new adaptor then screw the ring back on behind it and cinch it firm.

If it was to be used often and rapid lens changes were desirable, then several adaptors could be made complete with the bayonet reliefs and remain attached to lenses. As it will be infrequently used for script teasers, I won't be making more. The Century anamorphic lens has an adjustment so where the adaptor ends up when screwed into different lenses does not matter.

For professional cinema lenses it is not an option. For smaller stills lenses like the Nikon F-Mount lenses with 52mm filter fronts and small diameter front elements, it works fine. The sharpness and clarity are adequate but I would not say outstanding. The anamorphic lens was originally purposed for standard definition television quality.

The F-Mount lenses known to work with it with the URSA Mini 4.6K EF are the Sigma 28mm f1.8 (requires step-up ring), genuine Nikon 35mm f1.4, genuine Nikon 50mm f1.4, genuine older and newer Nikon 85mm f1.8. The front anamorphic increases the field-of-view the sensor sees through the lenses and you get a few flares and ricegrain bokeh on pinpoint highlights.

The adaptor is the skinny gold-coloured piece of bronze between the anamorphic lens and the Nikon lens.


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  • 8 months later...

Stacking anamorphics?

The Chinese company „Great Joy Lenses“ suggests to screw their 1.35x attachment into an anamorphic lens (1.33x + 1.35x = 1.8x or 1.5x + 1.35x = 2x). But does this make sense? Why do I want to invest into an anamorphic lens when later using an attachment? And what would be the effect on reflections/flares?


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  • 1 month later...

Joerg Polzfisz. 

It is about choice. If you invest in 2x anamorphic lenses or adaptors, then you are stuck with 2x. You can crop it at cost of resolution. Stacking anamorphic lenses or adaptors will give you both. A rear anamorphic adaptor like the Laowa 1.33 yields a clean image. If the view is expanded with a front anamorphic adaptor, you are more likely to get the ricegrain bokeh and flare artifacts some people want for pieces set in the past times. 

It is one of those "do it because I should" versus "do it because I can" conflicts. 

My personal preference would be to rent good 2x anamorphic lenses if a production called for 2x. 


Edited by Robert Hart
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