Now I have had this lens for a few years now and every now and then I will pull it out and rig it on a camera and shoot something with it.

But shooting with this lens, particularly Run ‘n’ Gun Styles is Hard.

Wait… Actually I might be going about this the wrong way round… Let me start over. This is an Anamorphic projector lens that used to be used in a theater to play back true CinemaScope movies that were shot using anamorphic lenses on 35mm film. In a nut shell an Anamorphic shooting lens would film the film ‘squishing the image to fit twice the horizontal frame onto a standard 4:3 35mm film frame so your image would look like this

Then after editing and the like you would project the film though an Anamorphic projector lens and “un-squish” the image for the audience.

Now true Anamorphic shooting lenses are really fucking expensive. Like sports car expensive so not readily an option for the average indie shooter :) but being that we don’t project 4:3 images though an Anamorphic lens for playback anymore these Projector lenses are fairly common to find on eBay.

The Drawbacks of shooting though a projector lens is they are not the complete shooting package. you essentially stick them in front of a ‘Taking Lens’ almost like a filter. the difficulty comes in that you need to focus both lenses to get a sharp image which is cumbersome to say the least. not something that is easy to do on a shoulder rig or a gimbal, so they tend to cramp my personal shooting style a little bit. Couple that with they have at least a meter minimum focus, they are stupid heavy and depending on your taking lens they can make you camera super long, to get cinema scope you need a camera that can shoot in a 4:3 mode which usually means cropping in on your sensor, and on super 35 you need to shoot 75mm or longer lenses (understanding that you do double your horizontal Field of view making that 75mm more like 37.5mm on the horizontal scale only) unless you want lots of vignetting .

So why do it? well the idea of Anamorphic is the look, whether that is in the Bokah or the vintage feel of the lens or because how it flares when you shoot into the sun. What ever the reason that you might want to shoot Anamorphic it is pretty safe to say that it is not about fitting more image onto a 4:3 film frame anymore.

So I have pulled this lens out a few times a year and I play with it on some small project and then it would go back in the cupboard.

A film Filmed with the Blackmagic Cinema Camera 2.5k and the Isco Star Anamorphic lens

For me this particular way to shoot Anamorphic on the cheap is all drawbacks with out any real tangible benefits. EG: It doesn’t have enough of a vintage feel to be worth for the overall look, this lens has coatings that really make it hard to get good lens flairs (I find my bare hood-less sigma art lenses can flair quite enough on it’s own)

it is to sharp to give a film feel but to soft to look like good glass. that bokah is great in those certain circumstances but i feel to combat the above issues you need to shoot a little more stopped down then I would normally so you loose the creamy Anamorphic bokah anyway.

All said and done I have sold this lens after having it since 2015ish and while it is a great lens I guess it is not really for me :)

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