Ever since we started shooting with anamorphic lenses, we’ve always wanted to shoot with wide anamorphic 2x scope. This refers to the stretch factor of the anamorphic attachment. When attaching a 2x scope lens to the front of your DSLR prime lens, you will double your field of view. A 1920 x 1080 image desqueezes to 3840 x 1080 in post production.
Desirable anamorphic effects- compressed, oval bokeh, streaky flares, and barrel distortion all increase with the scope factor. A 1.3x scope will have minimal anamorphic effect compared to a 2x anamorphic. In fact, the 2x scope is the classic wide anamorphic look established by Hollywood filmmakers. Producers and filmmakers desired a way to draw audiences to a wider cinema format, yet still shoot on Super 35 film stock. The history of how anamorphics came to be are explained in further detail in our article here.
However, 2x anamorphic lenses come with their own set of challenges. Because the increase in field of view is so drastic, it can cause vignetting if paired with prime lenses that do not have long enough focal length.
Think of it this way- a 50mm prime lens paired with a 2x anamorphic scope will become a 25mm anamorphic. Portrait focal length is transformed into a borderline wide-angle.
The 2x wide anamorphic lens challenge
So for filmmakers using smaller sensors like the Panasonic GH5, Olympus OMD, Black Magic Ursa, or other micro 4/3 cameras, this isn’t an issue. The crop factors of the cameras increase the effective focal length and avoid vignetting when shooting wide anamorphic.
In fact, 2x anamorphic can be thought of as a kind of “focal reducer” for certain cameras, eliminating the 2x crop factor of micro 4/3 lenses.
But for full frame cameras like the Canon 5D or Sony A7s, longer and longer lenses must be used to avoid vignetting. Generally, this means 85mm and up. And 85mm primes and longer aren’t as easy to come by as the 35mm and 50mm primes that micro four thirds shooters can use- although there are a few inexpensive prime lenses that work well.
With these restrictions on 2x anamorphic, how do you shoot wide enough for establishing shots, landscapes, and more?
The Anamorphic SuperScope
We needed to find concave optics that could capture a wider field of view. But this effect has to be after the anamorphic stretch, otherwise we will introduce vignetting.
Our solution: the SuperScope– a series of 3 concave/convex high-quality single-coated elements that increase your field of view by an additional 1.5X!
Now, our focal length formula looks like this:
50mm prime lens / 2x anamorphic lens / 1.5x SuperScope
Our updated anamorphic calculator now includes SuperScope calculators. Check it out to see how it can work with your DSLR and prime lenses.
Means that we can show shoot at an amazing 16mm wide anamorphic lens with any affordable 50mm prime lens. 16mm is firmly extra-wide territory. Full frame shooters still need to adhere to minimum lens requirements- but aren’t stuck with such long anamorphic lens shots and can achieve wide establishing shots and shoot landscapes.
The SuperScope works with all of our anamorphic lens kits- both single focus and dual focus. The SuperScope can be attached to other anamorphic lenses outside of our store as well- but you will need a front filter clamp or front filter modification to be able to properly attach the SuperScope optics.
And in case for whatever reason the additional field of view is not needed for a particular shot, the SuperScope can be removed and the anamorphic lens will function identically as a 2x anamorphic scope!
Additional Anamorphic Resources
If you are interested adding anamorphic lenses to your cinematography 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!