First off, welcome to our newly developed website for RENTaCAMERA.com! We have a bunch of new products and features added to make your production top-notch. We wanted to start off by introducing some new lenses, the Orion Anamorphic Lenses, that will be arriving to our inventory here this summer and what the difference between anamorphic and spherical lenses are.
Two classes of lenses are typically used in production: spherical and anamorphic. Spherical are more common and are the assumed lens type unless specified otherwise. Spherical lenses project images onto the sensor without affecting their aspect ratio. Anamorphic lenses, on the other hand, project a version of the image that is compressed along the longer dimension (usually by a factor of two). Anamorphic lenses, therefore, require subsequent stretching, in post-production or at the projector, in order to be properly displayed.
Motivation for anamorphic lenses
Anamorphic lenses were originally designed so that wide format imagery would fully utilize the film area of standard 35 mm frames. Otherwise, wide format imagery would have left the top and bottom of the frame unused, and required cropping these out using masks in the projector:
Anamorphic lenses typically serve a very different purpose with digital. Since most digital sensors have a higher aspect ratio than 35 mm film, spherical lenses often record sufficiently wide images with minimal to no cropping. Using an anamorphic lens often produces an unnecessarily high aspect ratio, in which case the sides of the image aren’t utilized and horizontal resolution is reduced.
Other Considerations when using anamorphic with digital
The main reason to use anamorphic with digital is for its other effects. Lens flare and out of focus backgrounds (“bokeh”) will appear elongated as opposed to circular (unless the lens has a specially-designed ovular iris). Flare may also appear as bluish horizontal or vertical streaks which span the entire frame. Vignetting may appear as an oval, although this unique shape can be emulated in post-production.
Depth of field is also affected. Although anamorphic and spherical lenses technically have the same depth of field, in practice you have to use a longer focal length with anamorphic in order to achieve the same angle of view. Therefore, at the same subject magnification, anamorphic lenses produce a shallower, more cinematic depth of field.
If you’d like to see some of the early test footage of these Orion lenses in action check it out on their website.
Information provided by RED.com where you can find more information and helpful tools in dealing with more anamorphic questions.
Here is a list of the compatible cameras that would work with the Orion Lenses:
- RED Epic-X Dragon
- RED Raven
- RED Epic-W Helium
- RED Epic-W Gemini
- ARRI Alexa Mini
- Blackmagic URSA
- Blackmagic URSA Mini
- Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro
- Panasonic GH5
- Panasonic GH5s
Be sure to follow us on Social Media for the anticipated arrival of these lenses!