I've got a director requesting anamorphics with the most about of breathing. He likes it for a stylistic choice matching the script.
We're interested in Kowa, but I thought I'd put feelers out there for others people have used? Specifically looking for anamorphics right now, but I'm open to spherical if someone can throw out a good idea...
What comes in mind is Lomo Anamorphics (I think squarefronts have a bit more of breathing, If I am correct), but both square and round fronts have enough of breathing, distortion and other artsy things. Just keep in mind that usually 35mm differs from the set (50 and 75 are best for me)
And about spherical, I don't want to say anything stupid, but I remember that Canon K-35 macro zoom lens (t2.8) had a lot of breathing. and vignetting.
All of those older anamorphic lenses breathe alot - Kowas, Lomos, Xtal Express, Ultrascopes. Roundfront Lomos breathe nearly as much as squarefronts, and even Hawks breathe a bit, sharing the Lomo design geneology. Panavision anamorphics are a bit different in that they only breathe vertically. Avoid the new Cooke and Zeiss anamorphics since they have very minimal breathing.
The wider the aperture, the more obvious the breathing is with anamorphic lenses.
I'm not sure about this, the aperture should have no impact on the geometry of the overall image. The depth of field will be different, but the relative magnification or distortion of the field of view should be the same at a particular focus distance setting regardless of the aperture.
Do you mean the perception of breathing might be different because the depth of field is deeper?
Anamorphic breathing is a little different than normal spherical lens breathing where the image appears to change focal length as you rack focus.
With anamorphic lenses, the amount of vertical stretching of the bokeh changes as the focus changes, so focus racks become more noticeable. As you rack focus from far to near, for example, the background gets skinnier-looking.
Since stopping down the lens reduces the amount of out of focus bokeh shapes, this type of breathing is less obvious when you have more depth of field. If you shoot with an anamorphic lens at f/11, for example, there is less visible vertical stretching in the background as you rack focus. Of course, anamorphic lenses also have some breathing issues like spherical lenses where the focal length appears to change. But that is less distinctive than the vertically stretched bokeh look.
I wouldn't consider the changing bokeh shape to be breathing, though. Technically, breathing is a change in the angle of view (or change in the magnification of the image in one or both axes), rather than the changing shape of individual elements within the frame. Maybe just semantics, but it's my understanding of that technical term.
But there's a difference between the background field of view stretching or squishing because of a focus rack and the Bokeh stretching or squishing as a point source defocusses. Otherwise we could equally call an expanding out-of-focus highlight caused by a focus pull in spherical cinematography breathing, even if there was no actual change in the field of view occurring.
I guess I'm coming from a lens technician's perspective, I often check lenses for distortion and breathing on a test projector where you can clearly see how much the image expands and contracts as you rack focus. Changing the aperture has no effect at all on the magnification or distortion of the image, it just sharpens or defocusses the individual elements.
Panavision anamorphics mainly breathe vertically, which makes the two effects of focus breathing and vertical defocus smearing seem interconnected, but they are seperate phenomena. With other anamorphics that mainly breathe horizontally the difference is more distinguishable.
This is an interesting example comparing Panavision C series with Hawk V-Plus lenses. Both lenses breathe, but in different directions:
Im just saying that when most people refer to anamorphic lens breathing, like in the original post, they arent talking about regular spherical lens breathing... if they were, there would be no point in specifically mentioning anamorphic lenses.
Now if you have the proper word for the unique effect in anamorphic when you rack focus, please tell me.
When you shoot with anamorphic lenses, the effect when you rack focus is as distracting as when a spherical lens breathes badly, enough to make you minimize how often you rack focus during a scene. And the effect is similar to regular breathing in that there is a change to the image during the rack, its just that rather than a slight zoom in and out, its a vertical stretch that comes and goes. The only difference compared to spherical lens breathing is that the effect is minimized the more you stop down because less of the image is out of focus. I brought this up originally because the poster wanted to maximize the effect.
Well we might have to disagree that anamorphic breathing is a different thing to spherical breathing. The change in image magnification can be more pronounced in one axis with anamorphic, rather than uniform, but it's the same phenomenon, caused by lens elements shifting position relative to one another.
When you shoot with anamorphic lenses .. the effect is similar to regular breathing in that there is a change to the image during the rack, its just that rather than a slight zoom in and out, its a vertical stretch that comes and goes. The only difference compared to spherical lens breathing is that the effect is minimized the more you stop down because less of the image is out of focus.
If you look at the posted tests of Lomos and Hawks above, you can see very noticeable horizontal breathing, much more distracting than any sense of vertical stretching caused by the Bokeh. From your description I suspect your experience is mainly with Panavision anamorphics, which breathe mainly in the vertical axis. However that "stretch" (or change in vertical field of view) will occur to the same degree regardless of aperture, the effect is not minimised by stopping down. The Bokeh and the breathing are two seperate things, but in the case of Panavision I can see how the vertically expanding individual elements of the Bokeh might seem part of the same effect, and draw more attention to the breathing.
Stopping down a spherical lens also makes a focus pull less obvious, since there is less change in the Bokeh, but that's also unrelated to breathing.
That's an interesting request in a lens! Not sure what kind of budget you're working on but if it's pretty small and want to go for something a bit...let expensive you could check out the SLR Magic Anamorphics. https://www.bhphotov..._cine_lens.html I was at NAB last year and checking one out on a GH5, it was interesting. I remember seeing a decent amount of breathing and barrel distortion.
Dom, I think you're technically correct and that I am conflating two separate issues which is the amount of distortion (breathing) that happens with anamorphic lenses to the background when you focus from far to near (the fact that anamorphic lenses start to compress more than 2X in the out of focus areas) and how visible that change is due to depth of field. The distortion doesn't change with f-stop but your eye notices it more when the image is very shallow in focus because of the way that the background is reduced to abstract shapes.
Spherical aberration, barrel distortion, even ghosting, sure, but I'm baffled how breathing could be a desirable trait in a lens! Nonetheless, vintage zooms will do this like crazy. Certainly every 60s or 70s zoom I've ever received from Panavision, spherical or anamorphic.
Edited by Jarin Blaschke, 25 January 2018 - 01:59 AM.
I just wrapped on a feature where we shot with Lomo round fronts and I can definitely vouch for their large "breath", especially on the 35mm. The round fronts certainly provide a beautiful image, but beware of their technical requirements. The focus rings move laterally forward and back as you focus, which necessitates a wide focus motor gear (12mm is a minimum for the 35mm) and can limit your mattebox selection.