As Canon cameras are far and away the most popular cameras for both photographers and DSLR filming, we thought we’d put together a short guide on getting the best anamorphic results with Canon cameras.
The strength of Canon DSLRs
The first strength lies not in the body of the camera but in the glass. Canon L and FD glass is readily available and offer great modern prime lenses in the 50 and 85mm range for a low investment. In addition, the 58mm and 72mm front filter threads of those lenses are easily adaptable to almost all Isco anamorphic lenses.
Great lens options
If you really like anamorphic flaring, then Canon DSLR lenses are also a good option to pair with anamorphic. Canon L glass lenses often contain more lens elements and groupings than other glass, which results in more potency for anamorphic flares.
Probably the strongest and most exclusive strength of shooting anamorphic lenses with Canon is the option of shooting with the free Magic Lantern firmware. Magic Lantern is an extraordinarily powerful addition available for almost all Canon DSLRs. Features like 14-bit raw video, custom aspect ratios, and anamorphic monitor de-squeeze are tremendous features for shooting anamorphic on Canon.
Even more effectively, Magic Lantern also allows filmmakers to crop into the sensor by a factor of x3 or x10 and effectively turn Canon cameras into a crop mode Micro 4/3 or Super 8 sensor. This crop feature greatly combats the long-lens nature of anamorphic lenses and is an efficient balance for shooting anamorphic with Canon DSLRs.
The weakness of Canon
Because Canon sensor sizes tend to be larger- either full frame, APS-H, or APS-C, this requires the shooter to pair anamorphic lenses with longer primes on Canon DSLR. However, some lenses like the Isco Micro can perform well with full frame cameras.
Larger sensor = longer lenses
Keep in mind that when shooting with 2x anamorphic lenses, you are doubling your horizontal field of view. This effectively turns 100mm with an anamorphic lens into a 50mm. With such a large sensor, Canon DSLRs by default already have a pretty wide field of view. Due to their nature, anamorphic lenses will vignette at a point generally around 85mm on full frame sensors and 50mm on crop sensors.
If you’re OK with cropping out the sides for a 4:3 image (which translates to a pleasant 2.66:1 wide screen in post production), then this is less of a challenge. As previously mentioned, Magic Lantern allows you to combat these issues by not only shooting in custom aspect ratios like 1600×1200 for a 3200×1200 anamorphic edit.
If you’re looking to test out exactly what lenses will work for Canon DSLRs, head on over to our anamorphic lens calculator to test. Select the Canon’s sensor size, and if shooting Magic Lantern, your aspect ratio, and you will be informed and ready to shoot!
If you are interested adding anamorphic flares to your toolbox, please visit our anamorphic lens store for demos and examples. We have spent several years collecting, modifying, and testing anamorphic lenses to weed through the junk, make needed modifications, and assemble ready-to-shoot packages.
If you are interested in learning more on working with anamorphic lenses and DSLR, please check out our anamorphic tutorial blog for more anamorphic tips and tutorials!