Recently acquired my first Anamorphic lens. I've always loved the iconic look that type of glass yields and have been playing around with a way to shoot anamorphic affordably with adapters and what not for the past couple years with limited success. However SLR Magic recently released three true anamorphic lenses which are actually some-what affordable. A 35mm, 50mm, and 75mm series that come in both PL and Micro Four Thirds mounts. Here's the 35mm T2.4 2x Anamorphot-CINE Lens in micro 4/3 mount version which I picked off eBay barely used for under $2000. Not bad for a technology that 10 years ago would have cost $200,000.
Here it is on the Panasonic GH4:
Here's the first two initial still images tests from the rig. The 2x yields an aspect ratio twice the width of the standard 16:9 sensor. Which is over 3.50 : 1.
My entire life I've never understood why the standard film back and now image sensor is 16:9, or about 1.77 : 1 aspect ratio. Not just for moving, but still images as well. Even worse are resources like Instagram which think it's acceptable to have the native aspect ratio of images be a square as some gross attempted throwback to the vintage 70's era. I'd nearly rather stab myself in the eyes than look at square images all day. Same thoughts with paintings in galleries that were painted on square or narrow width frames. For portraits sure, but landscapes and vistas to not be in very wide aspect ratio canvases has just never computed with me. Now that I've shot these tests, I already predict this will be a life-changing workflow for what I shoot and going back to flat glass will be tough. Even the 2.40 : 1 aspect ratio I usually work in now seems like it could be wider. I'm ultimately thinking the perfect sweet spot is 2.76 : 1 which the old Ultra Panavision 70 anamorphic formats from the 50's and 60's resulted in.
I've also long since been searching for a way to shoot street photography in a native, much wider aspect ratio. My street photography always tries to be as cinematic as possible and it seems like most street photographers are perfectly fine with not only ugly stark black and white but hardly anyone else seems to be shooting street on wider native formats. Since the lens ultimately requires it's own custom camera body and rig build, the next rig built using this lens will aim to accommodate both video and stills in the smallest and most discreet way possible. Stay tuned...