If you’re a DSLR filmmaker looking to shoot with anamorphic lenses, the Panasonic GH5 (and GH4) are currently the best value cameras available today to work with. Almost any anamorphic lens can be adapted, 4:3 mode allows for a wider use of anamorphic lenses, and the (desqueezed) 6k 60p anamorphic mode for the GH5 puts this setup in a class of its own.
As of November 2017, the best anamorphic lenses for DSLR include the Schneider 2x Anamorphic, the Isco Micro single focus anamorphic, and our custom single focus anamorphic lens.
(The GH5 v2.0 firmware has been released and includes a number of great new features for anamorphic shooters! See our article on it here.)
Check out our first impressions of using anamorphic lenses on the Panasonic GH5 here.
How do I attach an anamorphic lens to a DSLR?
The process is the same for any DSLR. If you’re brand new to working with anamorphic lenses, check out our helpful anamorphic kit guide here.
An anamorphic setup transforms your existing prime lenses into anamorphic lenses with a 2x stretch factor. An anamorphic setup includes these components:
- The DSLR camera
- Taking (prime) lens
- An anamorphic clamp attached to the front filter thread of the taking lens
- The anamorphic lens
- Optional- a single focus anamorphic attachment or SuperScope
Some setups may include an additional attachment to the anamorphic lens to transform it from a dual focus anamorphic to a single focus anamorphic lens. We also developed the SuperScope to help capture wide angle anamorphic shots. These components are optional and not necessary to get started with shooting anamorphic on the GH5.
If you’d like to find out which anamorphic lens would be best for you, check out our anamorphic guide here.
Testing the the Isco Micro RED Cinemascope Lens on the GH5 in 4k 60p anamorphic mode:
The Isco Micro on Panasonic GH4 (50mm f/1.8)
The anamorphic strengths of the Panasonic GH lineup: what to consider?
Overall, the GH4 and GH5 are among the best value DSLR cameras available for shooting anything. Even without anamorphic, the GH4 and the GH5 provide a whole lot of features in a small package. Sharp 4k 10 bit capture, 3k 60fps (great for anamorphic shooting), 1080p 180fps, 10-bit HDMI output and internal recording, V-LOG, speedbooster compatibility, wider lens capability, IBIS, focus peaking, and many more features out of the box only available in cameras costing far more.
Smaller sensor size and insanely high video resolution
While smaller sensors are sometimes seen as a disadvantage for filmmaking with DSLR cameras, they are actually a strength to shooting with anamorphic lenses. We frequently get questions on whether or not to use a speedbooster when shooting anamorphic. Generally, the answer is no. Why? 2x anamorphic lenses, due to their strong anamorphic effect, generally require pairing with longer lenses to avoid vignetting. On full frame, this can be a challenge.
But on micro four-thirds cameras, this is an advantage. Effectively, your 2x anamorphic lens is “cancelling out” your 2x crop factor. Many more lenses can be used with smaller sensor cameras- check out our anamorphic lens calculator to see what will work for you.
50mm lens look becomes a full frame look with 2x anamorphic
IBIS (In Body Image Stabilization)- GH5 Only
As of the most heralded features of the GH5, IBIS takes the similar sensor stabilization technology previously available in Olympus and Sony cameras and combines it with the video capability of the Panasonic line. The v2 firmware of the GH5 further enhances the IBIS for anamorphic shooting to prevent skewing horizons. Check out this video testing the ultra-sharp Schneider Anamorphic Lens with IBIS
Combined with the rich 4k 60p mode on the GH5, this provides an opportunity for beautifully cinematic anamorphic filmmaking. Below is a quick test we shot on the Isco Micro anamorphic lens with GH5 and Zhiyun crane.
When adjusting your IBIS lens setting on the GH5- choose the prime lens focal length- not the resulting anamorphic field of view. Even though anamorphic lenses will double your field of view (and effective focal length)– the stabilization will calculate from the vertical field as well, so there is no need to adjust or calculate a different stabilization value for anamorphic lenses.
If you’re shooting anamorphic with a 50mm prime lens, set your IBIS to 50mm. Combined with a handheld gimbal, this setup packs a ton of cinematic potential into a compact package.
ETC mode- Built-in teleconverter
Although it is only available when shooting in 1080p, ETC/Tele mode on the GH4 and GH5 allow for even more flexibility in shooting anamorphic with wider taking lenses.
As ETC adds 2.6x of effective additional sensor crop, the option allows GH4/GH5 shooters to pair virtually any prime lens out there with one of our anamorphic lenses and experiment with the resulting image. Again, please check out our anamorphic lens calculator to see how ETC mode can affect the prime lenses you’d like to use.
4:3 mode, and 60p
Both the Panasonic GH4 and Panasonic GH5 feature the ability to capture video using a 4:3 ratio of the sensor. With GH4 Firmware Update v.2.2, and the GH5 by default, this feature unlocks two features for anamorphic shooters.
First, when shooting in 4:3, your un-stretched anamorphic image will result in a pleasing 2.66:1 aspect ratio. This is just slightly wider than 2.35:1, and not as wide as the traditional 3.55:1.
Second, in 4:3 mode you are shooting with additional vertical resolution and not wasting horizontal resolution. You will also be able to use more lenses.
|GH 4:3 mode||GH 4k 16:9|
|3328 x 2496||3840 x 2160|
|Min. focal length: 28mm||Min. focal length: 43mm|
4:3 mode: visual example
Honestly, almost any anamorphic lens will play nicely with the GH4 and GH5. Since the camera offers so much flexibility, we recommend using a single focus 2x anamorphic setup for easiest use. We recommend pairing this with the Russian Helios 44 (58mm f/2) prime lens for best effect pairing. The Jupiter 9 85mm f/2 is also an excellent choice. You will need a 49-58mm step up ring and a m42-m43 adapter for either lens.
For the most light-weight setup, our Isco Micro Anamorphic Lens is tack sharp and very light. Check out our full prime lens guide for details.
If you’re looking to test out exactly what lenses will work for GH4 and GH5 DSLRs, head on over to our anamorphic lens calculator to test. Select your sensor size, 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!