So I decided to document my work detailing how I produced my film shorts but then my full time day job, family, christmas, selling my GH4 (it was hard letting that go) got in the way and I basically slacked off writing any posts. Today is different because I’m excited to show all of you the final production version of the SLR Magic Anamorphot 2x with the +1.8 diopter courtesy of Andrew Chan and all the hard-working staff at SLR Magic in Hong Kong.
For those of you who don’t know about SLR Magic, their history and numerous products they have developed in such a short time, summed up within the first two minutes with Matthew Allard from dslrnewsshooter.com as he interviews Andrew Chan, SLR Magic Product Manager.
Now I have used quite a few SLR Magic lenses. My “Golden Spike Party” film short was shot mostly using the 35mm T1.4 and 12mm T1.6 lenses coupled with my old GH4.
My 25mm T0.95 was used for photographing family and pets:
I bought the SLR Magic Anamorphot 1.33x 50 heavily discounted from Caleb Pike (thank you again Caleb) and used it for two other film shorts:
So yeah, I like SLR Magic’s products and I especially like anamorphic lenses. My intense passion for anamorphic lenses was kindled originally by stumbling upon many film shorts shot with various anamorphic lenses from Sebastian Farges. Something about the look, the character and the lens flares of anamorphic lenses just looked magical and very cinematic. Not knowing much about anamorphic lenses, how they work, where to find them, what brands are out there, etc. I purchased the best guide in the world on the subject here from Andrew Reid. When I started looking into anamorphic lenses I was practically limited to what was available on eBay. All the adapters recommended by Andrew Reid were very rare and usually very expensive. I settled for a projector lens (even though Andrew Reid advises not to do that), then quickly moved on to a Bell and Howell 2x projector, to the Kowa Prominar 1.75x, then I spent a fortune on the Panasonic AG-LA7200, then the Century Optics 1.33x and finally the SLR Magic 1.33x 50.
First, the new lens cap is better built with the logo proudly displayed on the front. This new Anamorphot 2x adapter feels a lot more robust and rigid in hand compared to the Anamorphot 1.33x 50. The Near/Normal ring is solid, has no slack and does not make a rubbing sound when adjusting the ring like the older 1.33x 50. The new 2x is definitely heavier and a lot taller, which may not settle well for some mirrorless users that feel compact size is a priority. However, it’s still lighter than some of my earlier anamorphic projectors and is still plenty light enough for any DSLR or mirrorless camera mount without the use of rails or lens supports.
The strength of your lens is another story. I personally mount this 2x adapter to my Canon FD 50mm f/3.5 Macro and Sony/Zeiss FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA without lens supports without any issues but that may not be the best decision for everyone. Unless the front thread on your lens is made of metal or has a robust plastic thread I’d highly suggest purchasing a lens support kit. Manual focus or autofocus lenses that slightly project inward/outward when focusing might need some form of support to prevent damaging the internal autofocus motors, the lens barrel on a manual focus lens, or the front filter threads with prolonged use.
Say goodbye to thumb screws, because the new 2x adapter has a spring-loaded snap ring at the base, similar to the snap rings on the Tamron lenses or the Olympus M.Zuiko PRO zoom lenses. You simply pull the snap ring up towards the front lens element and this allows you to align the lens properly so you don’t have crooked lens flares. I was told by SLR Magic that the first round of 2x adapters had springs that deemed too robust and made pulling up on the snap ring very difficult. So the company commissioned another round of 2x adapters with “softer” springs but they ended feeling a tad bit flaccid in operation. Apparently finding the “Goldilocks” springs that are just right are not available. My copy definitely has the more robust springs and sometimes it seems easy to operate and other times it is a challenge.
If you already own the 1.33x 50 kit with the 49/52/58/62mm step down rings, +1.3 and +0.33 diopters, they are all compatible with the new 2x adapter and +1.8 diopter. You don’t need any further accessories since both rear lens mount threads are 62mm and both front filter threads are 77mm. This helps out from having to buy new accessories and schlep them around.
NEW SLR MAGIC ACHROMATIC DIOPTER:
SLR Magic developed a new achromatic +1.3 diopter that comes in a leather holding case lined with a soft non-abrasive material inside held by a magnetic top flap. Two achromatic diopters for the original 1.33x 50 kit reduce the minimum focus distance and the two diopters could be stacked as well. Stacking diopters on the new 2x adapter will cause some serious vignetting so the solution is a much stronger +1.8 achromatic diopter.
For those of you who don’t know what these diopters are and their function, I’ll touch on this subject briefly. A cursory definition from wikipedia defines diopter as a unit of measurement of the optical power of a lens or curved mirror, which is equal to the reciprocal of the focal length measured in meters. In other words, it’s a quantifiable unit of measuring very sophisticated lens corrections. Since all the diopters are achromatic, this means they also reduce chromatic aberration.
Now the 2x adapter has a built-in “diopter” of sorts just like the older 1.33x 50. This is the “Near/Normal” ring on the barrel of the 2x adapter. Turning the ring to “Near” allows you to focus up close to 1 meter. Add the new +1.8 diopter and close up focus to a very close 0.5 meter.
How would you know how close you may get using one of these three diopters? Simply divide 1 over the diopter’s numerical designation:
1 / +1.8 diopter = 0.5 meters at infinity
1 / +1.3 diopter = 0.7 meters at infinity
1 / +0.33 diopter = 3 meters at infinity
That’s it for the first look. I will hopefully be done posting the first video test by February 21, 2015.