After the Century Optics 1.33x Anamorphic / 16x9 Ratio Converter, I decided to try anamorphic glass with a higher squeeze / stretch factor: The Sankor 16F. This lens and similar sized lenses from other manufacturers are commonly found at eBay for reasonable prices.
In one of my previous blogposts I explained the basics of anamorphic optics. Click here to read about the basics of anamorphic optics.
In short, anamorphics turn lens flares into fully horizontal, colored anamorphic lens flares; anamorphics give a more shallow Depth Of Field; out of focus lights or bokeh turn oval and slight vignetting may occur depending on the taking lens.
The Sankor 16f is quite small for a 2x anamorphic. Its rear diameter is 42mm, the front diameter is 52mm. The rear has no filter thread, so a clamp should be used to mount this anamorphic to its taking lens. The front does have built in filter thread, but it's not clear what the exact filter thread size is. I managed to attach 52mm filters just tight enough for it to work. It could work without extra rails and lens support, although it's always recommended with longer anamorphic setups. The minimum focus distance is about 1.5 meters.
The 2x stretch factor is ideal for turning 4:3 images into 8:3, or 2.66:1. Most cinema cameras, and even some mirrorless cameras like the Panasonic GH5, feature anamorphic modes where video recording at 4:3 aspect ratio is possible. Besides video, a 2x anamorphic is great for photo - including timelapse photo - which is mostly a 4:3 aspect ratio. The currently 'standard' aspect ratio of 16:9 becomes 32:9, or 3.55:1, which is too wide for a nice viewing experience.
The Sankor 16f produced a cool looking blue horizontal anamorphic lens flare. The taking lens should have a focal length of ~50mm (Full Frame) or higher, otherwise vignetting occurs. During bright sunny days, or when the scene / subject is backlit, light bounces back into the lens creating a white vignette. It could really mess up the shot, but can be avoided by using barn doors or a hood. The Sankor 16f seems to suffer no chromatic aberration at all, even towards the edges and corners the image is sharp.
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