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A special thanks to SIRUI for sponsoring this video
HI, I’m PhotoJoseph, and I’d like to introduce you to the new line-up of SIRUI anamorphic lenses for micro four thirds, the SIRUI MARS collection. This is a collection of four cine-style 1.33x squeeze anamorphic lenses including a 24mm T2.9, a 35mm T2, a 50mm T2 and a 75mm T2, now in cine-style housings with geared focus and aperture rings, and a new lens coating to ensure a consistent look across the lens lineup. Let’s get into it.
First — just in case you’re watching this wondering, “what’s an anamorphic lens?”, let me give you a very quick primer. Where a normal lens projects an optically accurate image onto the sensor, an anamorphic lens squeezes the image horizontally onto the sensor, which then has to be stretched back out, or “de-squeezed” in editing to restore a natural look. This gives you a wider aspect ratio than you get from a traditional 16:9 shot. This is what we usually see in cinema, arguably giving you a more “cinematic” look. Anamorphic lenses also give you the telltale cats-eye bokeh, and most noticeably, the wonderful anamorphic lens flare.
If you want to learn more about anamorphic in general, you absolutely should check out my friend Tito Ferradans’ channel, “Anamorphic on a Budget”. His channel is packed with anamorphic education and tips, and it’s definitely my go-to source for anamorphic info. A special thanks to Tito for helping me out with some technical details on this video.
So… what are these? These are the new SIRUI anamorphic lenses designed for filmmakers. Each has a similar weight, and geared focus and aperture control rings at identical positions across the line-up, which makes it fast to swap out lenses on a follow focus rig or in a camera cage without having to rebuild the rig, and even swap lenses on a gimbal with minimal rebalancing.
Each lens is a 1.33x squeeze, which means if you shoot in ultra HD in a standard 16:9 ratio, whether you choose to vertically compress or horizontally stretch your footage to restore the correct look, you’ll have footage in the Cinemascope 2.35:1 aspect ratio.
Or you can shoot in C4K at a 17:9 ratio, which gives you a final 2.52:1 aspect ratio, which is actually what I’m doing here. We’ll talk more about shooting resolution and aspect ratio options later in this video.
Each lens is constructed from aircraft grade aluminum and features copper focusing components, meaning the lens feels extremely good in the hand; heavy, but not too heavy, and very solid. The focus and stepless aperture are extremely smooth, with a long focus throw allowing for very steady and precise focus transitions.
The four lenses are designed to be used together, and the new lens coatings, created in SIRUI’s own factory, are designed to give all the lenses a very consistent look.
Here’s some technical specifications. If you’d like to study this chart, pause the video now or visit PhotoJoseph.com/SIRUI to see the chart, but to give you some technical highlights, the 24mm lens is a T2.9 while the 35, 50 and 75mm are all T2, each with a minimum aperture of T16. Closest focusing distance ranges from 2ft or about half a meter on the widest lens, to 4ft or one and a quarter meters on the longest lens. All four lenses share a common 67mm front filter thread, making it easy to move filters from one lens to another, and each lens weighs roughly the same, right around 1¾ pounds or between 790 and 850 grams.
When it comes to shooting anamorphic, you actually have a few different capture resolution options, which will depend on your camera system and your desired delivery. The simplest way to shoot with these SIRUI lenses, which again are a 1.33x squeeze, is to simply shoot in Ultra HD; that’s 3840x2160, like you probably usually do. Then when you edit it, you can either stretch it out horizontally 133% making it over 5,000 pixels wide, or for the best image quality, actually compress it vertically about 75%. Then your final output can be the same width as Ultra HD, but less height, giving you the cinemascope aspect ratio.
If you wanted more horizontal resolution to start with, you could shoot in C4K, which is 4096 by 2160 at a 17:9 aspect ratio. However, know that while you are capturing more horizontal pixels, you’re not getting any wider of a field of view, which means your vertical height at 2160 pixels is actually less footage — you’re cropping the vertical view of the scene, and actually shooting with less of the sensor. But, the final output could then be an even wider aspect ratio, if that’s what you’re looking for.
Next, depending on your camera, you could possibly shoot in dedicated 4K-Anamorphic or even 6K-Anamorphic modes. In the LUMIX world, you can shoot 4K Anamorphic with the GH5, GH5 Mark II, GH5S and BGH1. In 4K-Anamorphic mode, you’re shooting in a 4:3 aspect ratio, using the entire sensor, gaining a lot of vertical resolution and vertical image, but actually giving up horizontal resolution. Using the BGH1 as an example, the captured image will be 3328 wide instead of 3840, however the vertical resolution will be 2496 instead of 2160. To effectively use this mode, you really have to stretch horizontally to restore your aspect ratio, not compress vertically, otherwise your finished resolution would be less than ultra HD. But when you do stretch horizontally, you’ll end up with an image that’s both wider and taller than a 4K delivery, so you would have some room to pan and scan, and punch into.
If you ARE working with a GH5 or GH5 Mk II, then you have another option, and that’s 6K Anamorphic. This will give you a 4:3 image to start with that’s a whopping 4992 x 3744! Even if you vertically squish the image, you still have a shot that’s 4992 x 2815, considerably larger than ultra HD, giving you lots of room to reframe — or simply deliver in a higher resolution.
If you shoot with a GH5S or BGH1, because the sensor is lower resolution to start with (remember; these cameras are designed for 4K video, not for high resolution stills, but feature sensors with dual native ISO), you lose the option to do 6K anamorphic, but you gain RAW output. The BGH1 will output RAW to a Ninja V in C4K, at 4096 x 2160, or at 3.7K in a 4:3 aspect ratio, of 3680 x 2760.
Again how you shoot depends on your camera, your desired final output resolution, and if you’re willing to stretch your image horizontally to gain resolution, or prefer to compress vertically to maintain the best possible quality. It’s really up to you.
Now let’s take a look at a few rigging options. First of all, just because the lens has gears doesn’t mean you have to use a follow focus system. You can still do everything by hand, just like any normal lens. I actually quite like turning the geared ring by hand. They’re super smooth, and the gears make it easy to find the focus ring without looking.
Here you can see it set up with a LUMIX GH5 Mark II in a SmallRig cage and using a Nucleus Nano follow focus system. This is a wireless controller, so the control knob can be mounted anywhere, allowing remote focus control – or you can just attach it to the cage. This kind of system allows you to do shots like this, where you can accurately and repeatedly focus from one precise point to another.
Here I have it on a BGH1, mounted on the DJI Ronin RS2 gimbal, where the focus can be controlled by the DJI 3D Focus system, or with the command wheel. It’s really incredible adding auto focus to an anamorphic lens on a gimbal.
Now, let’s look at some footage. I’m actually working on another project for ATOMOS — I’ll talk about that more in a minute — and I’ve used the SIRUI anamorphic lenses on that project so I can bring that footage into this project. This is a “movie scene” that I set up and shot specifically for demo footage. I used all four of the lenses in this sequence, so let’s have a look, and then I’ll break it down.
Did you get it?
I got it, go!
Show it to me!
Alright, what did we just see? The cameras used here were the LUMIX BGH1 bodies with SIRUI anamorphic lenses, of course, shooting to ProRes RAW on the ATOMOS Ninja V recorders, all time code synced using the ATOMOS timecode system, and delivered in HDR. Next month I’ll be releasing a video all about that workflow, so, please subscribe, so you don’t miss that.
There’s a mix of riggings used in here. The opening shot had a BGH1 on a jib with the 24mm lens, and simultaneously was shot with a BGH1 on the DJI RS2 gimbal and the 35mm SIRUI lens.
This handheld shot featured the 50mm lens, this interior shot was from a BGH1 suction mounted to the rear window of the car, and had the widest lens, the 24mm, mounted to it.
Again I’ll be releasing a video about that workflow for ATOMOS next month, so be sure to subscribe to the channel now, so you don’t miss that when it comes out!
Next up, let’s talk about focal length and project settings. You might be wondering how to calculate focal length on these lenses. As a micro four thirds shooter, you know that a 35mm lens is a 70mm full frame equivalent. But these have a 1.33x squeeze, so you have to factor that in, too. You also might be wondering how to calculate your horizontal or vertical distortion, and what the final aspect ratio might actually be, for your editing timeline. There’s a bunch of math behind this, but to make it really easy, Tito of that “Anamorphic on a Budget” channel I told you about earlier has made free online calculators for both of these calculations. I’ve linked to them both below, but let me show just them to you here. With the Anamorphic Calculator, you can enter the focal length of the lens; I’ll put 35mm… the sensor type to calculate crop factor, the anamorphic squeeze ratio of your lens, and the aspect ratio that you’re using of the sensor — so if you’re shooting in C4K or 17:9, you’d enter that here; not the native aspect ratio of the sensor — enter the ratio that you’re using — then clicking the HFOV button will do the math to show us that we’ll get a 50mm equivalent and a 2.52:1 aspect ratio.
Then with the Aspect Ratio Calculator, we can learn how to set up the editing timeline. I want to deliver in a C4K width of 4096 pixels, and since I’ll get a 2.52:1 ratio with this combo I’ll enter 2.52 here — but I could change my ratio if I wanted to get a specific wider aspect ratio. Then my source footage will again be C4K, so that’s 4096 x 2160. This tells me to set my timeline to 4096 x 1624, and to vertically scale the footage to 75.2%.
Alright, let’s try something else. I’ll enter the numbers for 6K Anamorphic on the LUMIX GH5 Mark II, so that’s 4992 x 3744. But I’ll leave the final delivery at 4096 wide and a 2.52:1 aspect ratio. To use the whole width of what I shot, I’d scale the footage down 82.1% horizontally and 61.7% vertically — so this means that I’d have a lot of room to pan and scan, or reframe, and even push into the shot without losing any resolution.
By the way, here’s a quick tip for Final Cut Pro editors using Blackmagic interface for external monitoring. From Final Cut Pro, the Blackmagic output monitor devices like the DeckLink or Ultra Studio Mini Monitor will only handle common aspect ratios like 16:9 or 17:9. If you set your timeline to a 2.5:1 aspect ratio, the image will be distorted on the external monitor. This isn't a problem with Resolve, and I don’t know how it works in Premiere, sorry. But the solution in Final Cut is, unfortunately, to build your project at a standard 16:9 or 17:9 ratio, then add the Letterbox effect to cleanly mask out the top and bottom of the frame. One advantage of this though is that you’re already set up for a 16:9 or 17:9 delivery, with black bars burned in, if that’s what you need, but if you just want the clean edge-to-edge file, Compressor will automatically detect the black bars and crop accordingly. Unless Blackmagic changes something, this is how it has to be done.
One last thing I want to talk about and show you is focus breathing. If you’re not familiar, the concept of focus breathing is when you change focus from near to far, elements inside the lenses are of course moving, and many lenses will appear to zoom slightly while doing this. Most cheap lens are horrible at this, and in general the better the lens, the less focus breathing there is. However surprisingly when it comes to cinema lenses — even really fancy, really expensive cinema lenses, you’ll see some pretty pronounced focus breathing! Just watch for it next time you’re watching a Hollywood movie. You may be surprised at how often it shows up. Anyway, when it comes to the SIRUI lenses, as expected there is a little bit of breathing. Here’s all four lenses, focused on a subject at their closest possible focusing distance, then focus racking out to infinity, and back again. I’ll loop each sample twice; first watch the edges of the frame to see the actual change, but then watch from the center of the frame, to get an idea of of how it feels when you’re not actually looking for it.
These lenses will be sold only as a complete cine kit of all four lenses together, and will come in this protective carrying case. You can order it today using the affiliate links down below, and of course visit the SIRUI web site for more information. The price for the four lens kit is $3,999 US dollars.
Final thoughts? This is my first time shooting anamorphic and I’m really enjoying it. I love the whole look; the wide aspect ratio, the bokeh, the flares… I mean, who doesn’t love a good lens flare? But of course, anamorphic may not be for every situation, but it’s an awesome option to have, SIRUI has certainly made shooting anamorphic a lot more accessible and more affordable than it ever was before. I think we’ll be seeing a lot more anamorphic videos here on YouTube. Well that’s it for me. I hope you enjoyed this video, and as always, if you have any comments, please drop them down below, and I look forward to seeing you in the next video!