SIRUI 50mm Anamorphic Lens Review and Sample Footage

December 13th, 2019

The new SIRUI 50mm anamorphic lens is promising to revolutionize a territory that, up until now, was out of reach for many. For $700 this lens sounds too good to be true, so I took it for a short spin and I’m happy to share my thoughts with you guys. 

SIRUI 50mm anamorphic lens on a FUJIFILM X-T3. Image credit: cinema5D

 

Earlier this year during IBC, we had the chance to talk to Sonny from SIRUI who was kind enough to share with us some details about their upcoming 50mm f/1.8 1.33x anamorphic lens, and while the idea of developing such lens was great, I was a bit skeptical in what the end product would look like or better said, how well it would perform optically-wise. Fast forward to the present time, and I have this lens on my desk. Now, before proceeding to talk about the lens, let me take a quick step back.

Filming With Anamorphic Lenses

Project-related, I’m a bit tired of filming and delivering in 16×9, but all in all, this standard aspect ratio is great for many TV productions. Now, if you are like me and many others who are looking for a more “cinematic picture aesthetic” in their productions, then obviously the way to go is to imitate what we see on the big silver screen. An aspect ratio that is a bit narrower and wider at the same time and on top, it aims to create a picture that has different characteristics, one that can distinguish it from what we get when filming with spherical lenses – I’m talking about signature looks like bokeh, lens flairs, and such.

Up until now, as independent filmmakers, our options were a bit limited or costly:

  • True anamorphic lenses cost a fortune and while renting is always a valid option, for some popular camera mounts those were not available.
  • Anamorphic lens adapters are fine but have their own limitations like alignment, sharpness and minimum recommended f stop to work with.
  • “Cropping the top and bottom of the image”. While this option will retain a certain desired look, it is not the preferred one for the following reasons: By cropping the image or adding black bars, we simply throw away some picture information. On top of that, most of the associated anamorphic lens characteristics won’t be presented.

SIRUI 50mm anamorphic lens. Image credit: cinema5D

SIRUI 50mm f/1.8 1.33x Anamorphic Lens

Here comes SIRUI doing the undoable (up until now). Offering us, the filmmakers community, a true fast anamorphic lens that costs a fraction of what we had to pay until now ($700 to be exact), and to even “sweeten the deal”, managing to offer that lens in 3 popular mounts: FUJIFILM X, Sony E and Micro 4/3.

Here is some additional information about the new lens: 

  • Lens structure: 11 elements in 8 groups
  • Aperture blades: 10
  • Suitable for: APS-C format camera
  • Minimum distance 0.85m
  • No electronic contacts (Manual focus only)
  • Rotating angle of  focus ring: 143.6 degrees
  • Front filter: 67mm
  • Weight: Approximately 580g /1.23lbs
  • This is a 1.33x anamorphic lens suitable to work best with 16×9 image sensors giving a 2.40:1 aspect ratio picture

SIRUI 50mm anamorphic lens – f1.8

SIRUI 50mm anamorphic lens – f2.8

SIRUI 50mm anamorphic lens – f4.0

In the Field

I’ve been running with the new lens for a few hours and I have to admit that all in all, I LOVE what I see! For the above video, I used my trusted FUJIFILM X-T3, (4K, 25p,  F-Log, 400 Mbps, All Intra, ISO 640 up to 6400). If you don’t recall, the FUJIFILM X-T3 was our camera of the year 2018 and it’s still doing (Very) well against the more recent competition. If I have to summarise, it is a very capable and flexible camera, especial for the price! In regards to the above footage, I chose to keep it simple by running to a few of the Viennese Christmas markets without triggering too much attention.

SIRUI 50mm – Flares on settled way (Image taken from the timeline)

Strengths:

The lens feels robust and well constructed! Focus breathing is kept to a minimum and when it comes to image,  it is very sharp (maybe even too sharp at times, but this can be dealt with putting the right filter in front of the lens). If you take a closer look at the above resolution chart stills extracted from the timeline, you will see how little sharpness the lens loses when completely open at f1.8 agains being on f2.8 and f4.0. Another thing to note is flares, as those are very much associated with anamorphic lenses. To my taste, flares in this lens are very well maintained. Nothing shouts “anamorphic”, but on the other hand, it is absolutely there in a settled way. Last but not least, this is an f1.8 lens, meaning, use it on a modern camera and you will never feel restricted when filming in lowlight situations.

SIRUI 50mm anamorphic Wide open aperture and still sharp (Image taken from the timeline)

Weaknesses: 

This is not really a weakness, but personally I would have preferred having a lens with a wider field of view. I hope that SIRUI will consider not waiting too much and jump on manufacturing one.

What’s should be taken into consideration, is the minimum focus distance (0.85m). This might be proved to be a limitation in some shooting scenarios.

Final thoughts

I’m extremely cautious when it comes to using the word “game-changing”, but somehow, I do feel very comfortable using this term in connection to this lens. Never before such a quality anamorphic lens in such price point was ever offered (but please, correct me if I’m wrong). SIRUI demonstrated “out of the box” thinking and I can only hope that this lens is the first in a family of anamorphic lenses to come, with different focal lengths and additional mounts – I would love to see an L-Mount option to accommodate our Panasonic S1, SIGMA fp and Leica SL2. Good job SIRUI. Keep inventing!

SIURI is currently running a successful Indiegogo campaign for their new lens where early bird customers can get it for $599 (€538). We are saying this at the end of every crowdfunding-related article: please be aware of the risks when baking a project on a crowdfunding platform. Please read Indiegogo’s terms of use. Keep in mind that there can be significant delays when delivering the product. Some products even don’t get delivered at all.

Music courtesy of MusicVine.com – Get 25% off any Pay-Per-Use license with code C5D25 (valid for one use per customer). Grade with Lutify.me

What do you think about the new anamorphic lens? Does it ignite your imagination? Share with us your thoughts in the comment section below. 

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 Sen Seii
Sen Seii
Member
December 16th, 2019

These people portray a false persona. They act as they are the purveyors of digital cinema. However, they are just beginning indie artists who has the privilege of showing new and unproven gadgets some manufacturers tend to test before their mainstream introductions.

Before he starts the discussion, he fucks it up by introducing his personal Fuji camera. NO ONE in professional film industry uses a digital cinema Fuji camera for ANY big screen (or ANY) serious cinema work. This dude is clearly focusing on patronizing amateur, YouTube or low-end indie market.

I’ve been watching these guys since they started and the conclusion is that they are throwing everything at you thinking something might get stuck.

Bottom-line, please do you own research, if you could, please rent and test equipment over-and-over before making a decision.

Good fucking luck

tony wilson
tony wilson
Guest
December 18th, 2019
Reply to  Sen Seii

hey sen?
are you working for slr magic anamorphot division?
you seem a little angry lol : )

andy corleone
andy corleone
Guest
December 15th, 2019

Anamorphic 1.33x is really boring 2x is the way to go. For those flares you better used a cheap screw adapter and you are pretty much with the same results.

Member
December 14th, 2019

This is a great new anamorphic lens at a finally, affordable price. Maybe technology will help us get the prices of such lenses much lower, so indies can finally own them, rather than renting them occasionally for shoots. However, the main problem of this lens is that it’s too long. On a BMCC 4k/GH5s, which are the biggest of the MFT sensors, it becomes a 73mm lens when we compute both the crop factor and desqueezing (full frame equivalent, granted, not S35, but it’s easier to compute). At that focal length, it’s kind of useless for narrative work. Such a focal length would only serves a few shots, but not the well known wide, Leone/Tarantino shots that we associate with the classic anamorphic look on action movies. I mean, if you’re shooting a drama, just shoot spherically and be done with it. But if you’re shooting action, you shoot anamorphically, and in that case, this specific lens is only useful for very few shots. It’s also the easiest to construct.

Lenny
Lenny
Member
December 13th, 2019

Call me when they are actually available for sale…

Member
December 13th, 2019

Hi Johnnie,

always love to watch your light and easy to digest video reviews.
May I possibly suggest a Sony 20mm Anamorphic lens situation for the a6500 for a mere 500.-$ to You?

It works like a charm!

Anamorphic a6500 :

Sony 20mm Lens 300.-
&
Anamorphic Moondoglabs 175.-
&
Adapterring 5.-
=============================
Total 480.-
=============================

here a few pics, how it looks like,…. sharp to the Edges, no vignetting at all

https://www.icloud.com/sharedalbum/#B0oGsRxDqGpLHDl

Have Fun!!

Akos (www.akosphoto.com)

Member
December 13th, 2019
Reply to  akos

I even made it work with the 16mm sony pancake on the a6500….

Member
December 13th, 2019
Reply to  Johnnie Behiri

Johnnie, your footage would be much better and nicer than anything I could do.

By the way, did I mention you can go real closeup with it as well ;)….

The Dude
Member
December 13th, 2019
Reply to  akos

35mm thead?

Member
December 13th, 2019
Reply to  The Dude

Moondoglablens with the 37mm thread:
https://moondoglabs.com/collections/lenses/products/1-33x-anamorphic-adapter-lens-37-mm-thread

for 20mm sony pancake:…and a 37mm to 49mm stepdown ring (not step-up)
https://www.amazon.de/dp/B073FDKQCB/ref=pe_3044161_185740101_TE_item

Sergio
Sergio
Guest
December 14th, 2019
Reply to  akos

With the right lens combination it works well (on m4/3 in my case). Moondog seems to do better with lenses at the wider end (on m4/3) and a small front element. Maybe APS-C gives better results I don’t know. Fun experiment.
Example;
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_y66QK1h_EA

 Jordan Wiens
Member
December 13th, 2019

could you out something like a 0.7x wide angle adapter on the front of the lens, making it slightly wider, defrading the image a bit and giving it some characteristic distortion?

 Jordan Wiens
Member
December 13th, 2019
Reply to  Jordan Wiens

also would be interesting to see the A7iii in full frame with clear image zoom how wide you can get.

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