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What is an Anamorphic Lens and Why Can It Create a Cinematic Feel?

Do you have this feeling, when you see a TV show suddenly adding black borders to the picture to create a wide picture, you know that the plot of the movie is coming. When we shoot some pictures by ourselves, we always fail to achieve some effects. At this time, we can use anamorphic lenses. Anamorphic lens is a lens that creates a richer film quality. So, what exactly is an anamorphic lens? Why do anamorphic lenses create a cinematic feel?


1. What is an anamorphic lens?


What is an anamorphic lens? At present, ordinary spherical lenses are mostly used by the public. When imaging, the objects will be scaled horizontally and vertically, and they can be displayed on most 16:9 camera screens without deformation. The anamorphic lens, due to the addition of a cylindrical lens at the front of the lens group, will change the horizontal field of view, so that more material can be shot horizontally without changing the vertical direction. Therefore, a wider ratio can be captured when shooting, and it can be compressed in a 16:9 screen without loss. Finally, the compressed video is compressed and restored to a 2.4:1 ratio through the post-processing software. What is an anamorphic lens? Compared with the method of cropping and adding black borders to achieve a wide frame, the anamorphic lens completely uses the camera's photosensitive element, so not only does the image quality have no loss, the composition is not damaged, and the material on the upper and lower edges is not wasted, but also the horizontal direction material increases.


2. Anamorphic lenses create a cinematic feel


Different from the circular bokeh produced by the ordinary spherical lens, due to the lateral compression of the anamorphic lens cylindrical lens, its horizontal and vertical focal lengths will be different, the background will be vertically stretched, and the bokeh will be stretched from a circle to a unique elliptical spot. In front of the point light source, horizontal stripes of light are also generated, which is the unique brushed glare of anamorphic lenses. These characteristics, caused by the optical defects of anamorphic lenses, are widely used in film production due to their unique visual effects, especially for blockbusters, resulting in a more immersive viewing experience. Therefore, the anamorphic lens has also become a sought-after film texture element.


Anamorphic lenses are much more difficult to design and develop than ordinary spherical lenses, and are generally preferred by professional teams or enthusiasts, such as Cook anamorphic lenses and ISCO anamorphic lenses. However, with the improvement of the technology level in the photography industry, good consumer-grade anamorphic lens brands have also emerged, breaking the traditional anamorphic lens pattern with a lighter and more cost-effective attitude, enabling the majority of photography enthusiasts to easily access anamorphic lenses. And it is a new beginning for civilian-grade anamorphic lenses.

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