SLR Magic Anamorphic 1.33x Anamorphic Adapter

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I had a chance to play with a near final version of the new SLR Magic 1.33x Anamorphic Adapter today with Andrew Chan.

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This adapter is a completely new design from other anamorphic adapters I’ve used. It has unique focusing abilities which give it the strengths of single focus designs like the Panasonic LA7200 with the added capabilities of what you’d find in dual focus anamorphic adapters like those from Bolex or Kowa.

In its normal focus mode, with the SLR Magic 35mm T1.4 CINE II lens, you get a picture that can focus from 2.8m to infinity.

The lens also has a NEAR mode that works as a variable built in diopter. This works by rotating the ring on the anamorphic adapter towards the “near” marker on the adapter barrel when an object is closer than 2m and it moves the rear element of the adapter changing the focus capabilities of the lens. It’s easy just to think of it as a macro mode, and something I’ll cover more in depth on video when we get a copy of our own.

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You might be wondering, how does this differ from an LA7200? It is a completely different type of adapter.

First, this lens is best pared with the SLR Magic 35mm T1.4 CINE II, which has been beefed up to not have lens slop while the anamorphic adapter is attached to the taking lens. Use the LA7200 enough and it will make even the most robust metal slr lens start to slop from all the weight hanging off the end of the filter threads.

Second, the LA7200 does not work at 35mm, not even close. You can fudge it with diopters, but the edges of the image will be an unfocused mess.

Lastly, this is a brand new lens with a warranty, not something you have to get lucky on an eBay auction. Every lens will work and look the same. If you have a problem, it will be simple enough to get actual support.

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Image Quality. I look forward to having more time to shoot with the SLR Magic anamorphic adapter in the upcoming months, but in the few hours I tested it I can give you some of my opinions. First of those being that this adapter is in no way a copy of any anamorphic adapter that has come before it. Testing the lens at infinity gives this away quickly as none of the other adapters can do 35mm without some degree of edge blurring.

When the lens enters it’s “NEAR” mode that works as a variable diopter, you can get some fantastically sharp images as well as exaggerated bokeh. The lens appeared to be out resolving my BMCC, which is something my LA7200 could never do, so I’d like to see what it does at even higher resolutions.

The closest new and available 1.33x option that you could compare would be a Hawk V-lite 35mm at somewhere over $40,000. For a fraction of the price I think SLR Magic adapter+SLR Magic 35mm T1.4 CINE II lens will be a steal.

Quick image sample on BMCC at f2.8 showing image edge sharpness, slight anamorphic curvature of focal plane, and a tiny bit of flare coming through the leaves.
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Let me just say that I love the way this lens flares now. I know it might change before the final version ships, but the coloring reminds me of the coating on our Isco 36 and Bolex Anamorphot 8/19. Blue is nice too, but those can be faked with VANTAGE Blue-VisionĀ® Flare Filters.

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Finally, I’d like to think this will be a great product that should serve as a new starting point for getting into anamorphic lenses. It should greatly decrease all the unhappiness that comes with spending hours searching and bidding on lenses on ebay just to find out an anamorphic lens is broken or out of alignment. When this releases you can focus your time on learning how to shoot with anamorphic lenses, rather than focusing on the mechanics of just trying to get the lens to work with a bunch of adapters and wasting hours on forums and searching vimeo and youtube for answers.

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The Last Great Hacked GH2 update

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Yesterday driftwood released what is probably the last and greatest update for hacked GH2 cameras.

Settings Here for Apocalypse Now

This group of settings is called Apocalypse Now and works to achieve a better and smoother color matrix that not only improves upon the native 4:2:0 h.264 of the camera, but also softens the natural sharpness of the Panasonic lenses when used in video mode.

If you have a higher-end monitor capable you should be able to see the subtle changes in color rendition to the blue channel in this still.

Quickly testing outside with the “soft” version settings, the difference on foliage is immediately noticeable in regards to sharpening. (14-140 @18mm LA7200)

These are just preliminary tests, but I would hazard to say that I would now recommend using Panasonic electronic lenses without fear of sharpening artifacts.

Anamorphic Options for the Blackmagic Cinema Camera

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One of the advantages of anamorphic lenses and adapters is a wider FOV. Since they are basically just horizontal-only wide angle adapters they certainly are a help for those looking for a wider field of view with EF Mount lenses. Here’s my experience with anamorphic lenses with the GH2 (1.85 crop), and how they should work on the Black Magic Cinema Camera.

1. Panasonic LA7200

1.33x adapter, focus-through
recommended taking lens
Tokina 11-16
Nikon 17-35 (Sigma 17-35 2.8-4 lower budget option)

Designed for the DVX100, this adapter works best on the GH2 at 17-20mm and can work down to 14-15mm depending on the lens.

I’ve found that placing a +.25 diopter between the taking lens and the adapter clears up Chromatic Abberation. On the BMC, the Tokina 11-16 should be the best option for this adapter. I estimate it should go nearly to 12mm wide and be in the excellent zone by 15-16mm. Also note: This lens has blue flares, but getting oblong bokeh requires the use of front diopters and very limited focus.

2. Bolex Moller 8/19/1,5x
1.5x Adapter designed for 8mm film. Dual focus – In macro, this lens will change to 1.33 an can focus as close as 0.5m.
recommended taking lens
Nikkor 28mm f2 or equivalent (f2-f4 without vignette)
Nikkor 35mm f2 or equivalent (should not vignette on BMC)
Manual focus prime lenses past 35mm should work without vignette, zoom lenses need to be tested.

These lenses are fairly rare, but show up on ebay from time to time. The adapter itself is very tiny, but has sharpness equal to an Iscorama 36. Because the rear element is only 24mm in diameter, wide angle lenses will vignette over f4. This lens is also dual focus, but can be used to rack focus in certain situations. (working on a tutorial for this)

3. Iscorama 36 (also other related 1.5x Iscoramas)

recommended taking lens (outside of what it comes with)
Any sharp manual Nikon or Canon prime lens down to 28mm, possibly 25mm, depending on lens design. You will also need a clamp from redstan.com. You should have no trouble adapting this lens to any prime up to 105mm. Redstan also sells a .4 72mm achromat diopter that is necessary for focus closer than 6ft. This achromat changes the ratio to 1.33. I’ve liked using the Nikkor 50mm 1.8, 1.4, The Nikkor 35mm f2 and a few other Nikon prime lenses.

This lens is really fantastic in build quality and image quality. Probably the closest to cinema anamorphic quality you can get in a cheap anamorphic, as well as being able to resolve over 4k resolution. The potential downsides are that it can be difficult to rack focus and is harder to adapt to taking lenses due to its triangular shaped rear element. When adapted extremly wide the edges of the frame can succumb to distortion which is normal for older anamorphics.

There are many other anamorphic lenses out there. Most are 2x adapters, which means you crop on a 16:9 sensor or you shoot in an extremely wide aspect ratio. Lomos are probably the most well known, but I have little experience with them. Be sure to add whatever experiences you’ve had to make this a better thread. When the camera ships I’ll post samples and information on workflow.

First RAW Blackmagic Cinema Camera Footage

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With the release of the first RAW footage of the Blackmagic Cinema Camera we can start to take a good look at footage that the camera will record natively. At first glance it looks like an Alexa with a 2.3 crop sensor. If you look closer, you will see it only has one flaw: A tiny bit of aliasing and moire. This is not as bad of a problem as it is on other cameras since we can fix this mostly in realtime with debayering settings and chroma blur.

Here’s an example:

Certainly for me the moire is a non issue, and since were dealing with raw footage, there will surely be better fixes to come along. All in all the RAW footage released yesterday shows that the BMC camera is unmatched by most cameras under 15k and provides and image quality that can be graded and changed with as much flexibility as a Red camera.

New cheaper electronic m4/3 to EOS adapter coming soon

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Kipon released an image of this today:

http://www.dl-kipon.com/en/articledetail.asp?id=56

This should be a cheaper alternative to run native EOS lenses on m4/3 cameras from Panasonic and Olympus without resorting to the adapters with the built in iris. While no pricing information has been released, other adapters from Kipon have been very competitive in comparison to other brands. Also you can count on numerous other manufactures in China replicating this adapter if its successful.

The New PlayStation (CECH-4000) Super Slim?

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The FCC whitepaper was released last week that showed a “vague” description of the new Playstation model. The model in the video is extruded out from that 2D render and made to be a combination of the PS2 Slim and the older PS3 model. We wont know for sure how the model will look until its released this fall, probably sometime around when the Wii-U launches.

What to expect form this model?
- Lower power consumption due to a die shrink
- New web technologies designed for the next generation of smart tvs

Bolex Anamorphot Compatibility Chart

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Bolex Anamorphot 8/19/1.5x Compatibility chart

Before we get into Bolex tutorials, here’s a chart showing basic compatibility with different cameras. Canon DSLRs will be similar to the Red Scarlet at 4k.

Optimal Prime Wide (widest with no vignette up to f22)
Panasonic GH2: 40mm
Black Magic Cinema: 31mm
Red Scarlet 4k: 46mm
Red Scarlet 3k: 37mm

Widest Prime with minimal circular bokeh
GH2: 35mm
BMC: 28mm
4k Red: 40mm
3k Red: 32mm

Absolute Widest – no vignette faster than f2
GH2: 28mm
BMC: 22mm
4k Red: 32mm
3k Red: 26mm

Plasma HDTV as a Computer Monitor – 16 month update

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16 months ago I posted a video showing the Panasonic 42″ GT25 being used as a main 3D Computer Monitor. Most people thought there would be issues like burn-in very quickly. As it turns out, there have been no issues except for temporary image retention that goes away after a few seconds at most. I have the display calibrated in THX mode with screen being driven in component mode. The pixel orbiter is set to 1 minute (I’ve never noticed it active) and set the Windows 7 taskbar to hide unless the mouse is over the bottom of the screen. No burn-in anywhere.

The only change has been an improvement in the display quality over the past few months. High Frequency noise in black areas has decreased, and the gamma shift related to shifting black levels has also greatly subsided, possibly even gone away. The monitor was a fantastic purchase at the time, and you’d be hard pressed to do better at the size. Pixel density may not be the greatest, but it’s as close to a large OLED screen that you will be able to purchase in the foreseeable future.

Makinon 28-80 f3.5 Video/Cinema Lens Review

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This is a lens design you don’t see often in older zooms. The focus is in the rear and the zoom ring is in the front.

Lens construction is completely metal, made in Japan, extremely durable with well dampened focus and zoom rings. The front element is a large 72mm, and the lens mount on this model is Konica AR. I’ve seen these offered in FD as well on ebay.




Here’s some basic specifications about the lens when it comes to film/video usage:



* Manual aperture ring: Yes
* Direct-coupled focus ring: Yes
* Focus ring rotation: Canon direction
* Non-rotating outer barrel: Yes
* Non-extending outer barrel: No
* Constant field of view: No
* Constant f-stop aperture: Yes
* Rotational zoom ring: Yes
* Varifocal
* Internal Zoom




The biggest advantage of the lens is the constant aperture. It does not vary even in the slightest from 28-80mm. The front element only extends slightly with focus, and it has an internal zoom so the lens stays a constant size while changing the FOV. Another nice advantage of this lens over many zooms of the 80′s is that the front element does not rotate with focus. It is a true dual touch design. Unfortunately, it is completely varifocal, which means you wont be zooming while recording with this lens. The varifocal nature of the lens carries over to the MFD which goes from .23 meters at 28mm to a few feet at 80mm.


Lens Performance:
Being an older lens, quality will very greatly from model to model. Fortunately, this lens looks like it was kept in a closet most of its life and has hardly any use. Stopped down past f5.6 the lens performs fantastically across the entire zoom range. While its large front element makes it susceptible to flare, I find lenses with little coating to be preferable in giving the option of the “flared” less contrast look – especially when combined with anamorphic adapters. At f3.5 the image quality is still nice. Much nicer than comparable sigma zooms of the day at the same aperture. There is a bit of organic glow that keeps the lens resolving around 2-4Mpx on this sample. I’ll make a video review later that will show more of the qualities of this lens.

Overall this lens would be perfect if it weren’t for the fact that it is Varifocal. But as a variable prime, it is a great lens for the price, comparable with Tokina in quality in fact. Just make sure you get the constant aperture version, as there is many 3.5-4.5 versions that go for the same price or more.
Quick Still Samples:



Working on new tutorial series

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I’ll post more information and links when its done, but right now I ‘m working on making a new series devoted to the Bolex Moller Anamorphot 1.5x anamorphic adapter. Here’s a sample of the lens combined with the Konica 40mm 1.8 taking lens

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