ShareGrid Brings The Production Community The Ultimate Anamorphic Lens Test
By: Marjorie Galas
ShareGrid has made the life of cinematographers a whole lot easier. In the company’s earliest days, they collaborated with Duclos Lenses and Old Fast Glass to put together a test of 40 vintage lenses, calling it “The Ultimate Vintage Lens Test.” Their results had just reached the ShareGrid audience when discussions began to take shape for their next massive undertaking.
“Ever since our last test, we knew we wanted to make another one, and we were pretty sure it would be anamorphic glass,” said Brent Barbano, co-founder of Sharegrid.
One hundred thirty 4K videos later, “The Ultimate Anamorphic Lens Test” is now available to the public. The test was co-produced by ShareGrid and Old Fast Glass along with key team members Barbano (executive producer), Mark LaFleur (director), Kyle Stryker (DP), Nick Ferreiro (post supervisor/editor) and Matthew Duclos (contributor/consultant). The lens test team recruited 29 crew members who worked over the lens tests’ three-day shoot. With utmost dedication and care, they gathered the results of 42 different lenses. Here are a few other stats to blow your mind: there were 518 tests conducted in total broken down over 131 main tests, 131 color chart tests, 131 focus tests, 47 distortion tests and 78 projection tests.
The thirteen brands were reviewed in the test. There were ten prime lens with varying focal lengths including Arri/Zeiss Master Anamorphic (35mm, 50mm, 75mm, 100mm), Atlas Lens Co. Orion Series Anamorphic (65mm), Cineovision Anamorphic (25mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm), Cooke Anamorphic / iSpecial Flare (32mm, 50mm, 75mm, 100mm), Elite Anamorphic (24.5mm, 40mm, 50mm, 75mm, 100mm) Hawk V-Life Vintage 74 Anamorphic (28mm, 55mm, 80mm, 110mm), Kowa Cine Prominar Anamorhic (32mm, 40mm, 50mm, 75mm, 100mm), Lomo Round-Front Anamorphic (35mm, 50mm, 75mm, 100mm), Panavision Auto-Panata Anamorphic (40mm, 50mm, 75mm) and Todd AO High-Speed Anamorphic (35mm, 55mm, 75mm). There were two zoom lens manufacturers: Angenieux Optimo 44-440mm T4.5 AS-2 Anamorphic Zoom (44mm, 50mm, 75mm, 100mm) and P+S Technik 35.70mm T3.2 Cinemascope Zoom (35mm, 50mm, 70mm). There was also one anamorphic Adapter manufacturer tested: the Iscorama pre-36 Anamorphic Lens Adapter with Nikon AI (50mm, 85mm, 105mm)
“Anamorphic is a very popular choice for DPs, but I still find that there are many cinematographers that aren’t aware of the choices and how widely different they are from one another,” said LaFleur. “Even more than spherical lenses, these lenses are radically different from set to set, lens to lens within a set and even T stop to T stop.”
In addition to the lens test videos, viewers may also find some education videos on the ShareGrid page. These include a page dedicated to learning the basics of anamorphic: https://learn.sharegrid.com/what-is-anamorphic and a flare chart video: https://learn.sharegrid.com/sharegrid-lens-test-flare-chart
To obtain The Ultimate Anamorphic Lens Test, please see the links below:
4x Video Comparison Player (200 videos)
Released Tuesday, August 29th, the test is already securing fans in the esteemed cinematography community. Greig Fraser, ASC, Oscar nominee and winner of the 2016 CameraImage Golden Frog and ASC’s Outstanding Cinematography in a Theatrical Release for “Lion” found the test a massive time saver. He felt the test captured “the bigger picture”, allowing him more time to finesse details.
“I’m about to shoot on film. I don’t have the luxury of seeing immediate high res digital results of the different T stops,” said Fraser. “When I do my own more refined tests, I can compare my results to the results (The Ultimate Anamorphic Lens Test) got shooting digitally.”