It’s always exciting to take a closer look at new camera gear. The world of cinema lenses and cameras seems to have taken off like a rocket over the past few years. Even in the midst of a pandemic, there’s no sign of slowing down yet. In early July, Cinematographer Codey Dingfield approached us with the opportunity to examine one of the first complete Vazen Anamorphic Full Frame lenses.
Previously Codey had stopped by the shop with the Vazen Micro 4/3 Anamorphic 28mm and 40mm lenses. At first glance it was hard to miss just how small they were. MFT lenses in general are almost always smaller than those for S35 and FF cameras, but even still it was surprising to see such a tiny anamorphic lens. The 28mm is only 4.21 inches long and a mere 1.58 lbs. The 40mm is larger, but even more interesting was that the lenses performed well on the Panasonic LUMIX GH5 and created a really interesting compact pairing.
Below you can see some of the test shorts Codey and Coleman Films produced with just the 40mm MFT.
This was impressive stuff coming from a relatively affordably priced anamorphic. Needless to say, we were interested when we heard Vazen was taking it a step further and releasing a Full Frame line of lenses. As a newcomer to the world of Cine Lens manufacturing starting, Vazen is focusing exclusively on anamorphic lenses. Their goal is to make anamorphic shooting more accessible through quality products at affordable prices.
Vazen Anamorphic Full Frame 85mm
Vazen hopes to provide another option for filmmakers looking to shoot anamorphic. The 85mm we were provided, will be followed by a 55mm and 105mm set to arrive spring of 2021. The set features a 1.8x squeeze ratio, interchangeable PL or EF mounts and Full Frame coverage.
We tested the 85mm on several cameras including the Arri Alexa Mini LF, Sony FX9, Sony A7sII. There were no issues with sensor coverage. The lens is acceptably sharp wide open at f2.8 and improves while stopping down. Though not as small as the MFT series of lenses, the 85mm FF is still compact, measuring just 6.89 inches and weighing 3.28 lbs.
The Vazens check many of the boxes people are looking to get from shooting anamorphic: oval bokeh, and moderate barrel distortion, horizontal blue flares. The appeal of the combination and intensity of these characteristics is open to interpretation, but overall Vazen seems to have found a recipe that will fit many peoples taste given its competitive purchase price.
Take a look at the test video below and let us know what you think.