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Old January 21st, 2004, 12:26 PM   #1
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New Century Optics Anamorphic adapters

I'm trying to be patient and wait for the next generation of HDV cameras to supercede my DV camcorder, BUT Century Optics is tempting me by finally coming out with their full zoom-through -- and expensive -- 1.33 anamorphic adapter, model number DS-WS13-xx (depending on the mount).

http://www.centuryoptics.com/products/new/index.htm

I've been watching for a month or two and as yet still don't see any reviews anywhere on the internet. Has anyone actually gotten their hands on one of these? If so, what do you think?
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Old January 21st, 2004, 08:09 PM   #2
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Pete, I'm curious. How much does it go for? And, how good is it?

A few years ago DV Mag tested both the Century and Optex, and both were rated the same.
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Old January 21st, 2004, 08:49 PM   #3
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Pete is referring to the recently released full-zoom anamorphic adapter. The older ones that you read about, Century vs. Optex, weren't zoom through. In other words, they don't hold focus if you try to zoom in or out very far.
The old lenses go for around $700 or even less for a good used one. The newer, zoomable adapters are listed at $1500, but B&H sells them for $1250.
The older models have been around quite some time and have many good reviews. The full-zoom models, however, are very new and, like Pete, I haven't found any reviews or reference to quality, although Century Optics does have a strong reputation of delivering superior lenses.
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Old January 21st, 2004, 09:06 PM   #4
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I find the 1.33x factor interesting. This narrows the field of view, and I assume it was a compromise that was needed in the zoom through design. But it sounds like it would be quite a limitation. Or am I misinterpreting this spec?
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Old January 21st, 2004, 10:01 PM   #5
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Forgive me for asking...but what is an anamorphic adapter?
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Old January 21st, 2004, 10:16 PM   #6
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An anamorphic adapter optically "squeezes" the image coming through the camera lens (remember how the actors in old westerns always look tall and skinny?). Normally, in order to achieve a widescreen picture (16x9 ratio) on a fullscreen slide/frame/ccd (4x3 ratio), you would have to chop the top and bottom off of the image. That would provide the "letterboxed" look, but you would lose all the resolution of the area that was chopped off. Anamorphic adapters provide a horizontally squeezed image to be recorded on the slide/frame/ccd. Later, in post production, this image is "stretched out" to reserve the full vertical resolution (nothing was chopped off) while providing a widescreen frame.
Here's a link to Century Optic's widescreen adapter http://www.centuryoptics.com/products/dv/16x9/16x9.htm. At the upper right, you'll see a picture of a desert. If you drag your mouse over the image, you'll see the result if the top and bottom had been chopped off. Click on the image and you will see the result of the anamorphic adapter.
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Old January 22nd, 2004, 04:15 AM   #7
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Boyd,

Actually, the 1.33 widens the field of view. It is basically a "wide angle" lens in just the horizontal direction.

Century Optics labeled thier old anamorphic adapters simply "16:9" so when I saw the new glass listed on their web site as "1.33" I had to think it through. Turns out to be simple: DV (NTSC) uses 720x480 non-square pixels. 4:3 uses a pixel aspect ratio (PAR) of 0.9 and 16:9 uses 1.2. Turns out that 1.2 / 0.9 = 1.33333.....

So if your camera is shooting in 4:3 mode, but has a 1.33 anamorphic adapter slapped on the front, your image will have the same height as normal, but will have a 1.33 times wider view horizontally. Of course, it'll be recorded "squeezed" into 4:3 (720x480 at 0.9 PAR), which you then import to your editing software as a widescreen project, thus "unsqueezing" it to its full 720x480 at a PAR of 1.2.

Personally, I'm hoping that the next generation of prosumer HDV cameras appears before I lose patience and either buy this adapter or swap my GL2 out for a newer miniDV camera with better 16:9 -- either of which will be an expensive interim solution to my impatience!

Frank,

How good is it? That's the $1495 question! So far nobody has said they've gotten their hands on this beast to check it out. Century lists it at $1495 (OUCH!!!) and I see it on several commercial web sites, including B&H, for around $1250-1295, but always "out of stock" or "backordered." I'm going to order some other stuff from the good folks at Zotz in the next day or two, so will ask what they know about this big glass.
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Old January 22nd, 2004, 05:56 AM   #8
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Pete, I was hoping to read a review in DV Magazine, but so far I haven't seen it. In fact, I haven't even come across any decent user reviews.

I would strongly recommend for people to try the new Century before dishing out that kind of cash. Personally, I'd wait for new prosumer cams to have this feature built in. So far it's only been cams like the Optura Xi, GS100 and a few other high-end "consumer" cams which come with good 16:9. Perhaps NAB 2004 will share some light.
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Old January 22nd, 2004, 07:51 AM   #9
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Pete, are you sure this is correct? It's contrary to the way other adaptor lenses are described. This lens is listed as "1.33x". Normally when an adaptor lens has a value greater than 1 it's a telephoto and values less than 1 are wide angle. eg: a 2x lens magnifies by a factor of 2 while a .5x lens would provide twice as wide a field of view.

It's especially confusing since they list this lens on the same page with a .8x and .65x wide angle adaptor. Also, for their other anamorphic adaptors they mention that you get a 33% wider field of view, whereas there is no such mention for the 1.33x adaptor.

Curious inconsistencies...
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Old January 23rd, 2004, 06:05 PM   #10
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Seeing as the adapters squeeze the picture together, that's what you're looking at when you're shooting, which I would think makes composition difficult.
Either Century or Optex makes a viewer
for ~$250 that fits over the LCD screen to put
the image back how it's suppose to look.
Anyone ever used one of these "un-squishers"?
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Old January 23rd, 2004, 11:28 PM   #11
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Boyd,

No, I can't say that I'm sure. All the info any of us have so far is what is on the Century web site. (And I sure hoping that changes soon!) However, I reached that conclusion based on these observations:

- The new products page descibes the new converters and adapters in a very similar way as the pages for existing products and the old anamorphic adapter (1609-xx) specifically does widen the field of view per the web site and third party reviews.. Here's their GL1 / GL2 product page as an example:

http://www.centuryoptics.com/products/dv/camera/1.htm

- The picture of the adapter appears to show convex glass in one directon, not spherical. I'd presume this nets a wide angle view in the horizontal (but not the vertical, being that it is specifically an anamorphic adapter rather than a spherical wide angle converter.

- Just seems more than coincidence that 1.33 works out to be the exact ratio between narrow 4:3 and wide screen 16:9 widths.

Of course, one of us sticking the adapter on our camera and rolling tape is what we really need to answer our questions! Trying to find a hands-on review is really what prompted me to post.

Dave,

I have read posts where people mention the LCD screen adapter favorably, but beyond that I don't know anything about it. For myself, I doubt I'd spring for one of those...but I'm a novice so I get to change my mind later if I want! ;-)

Frank,

Agree totally regarding $$$! For me, it'll probably come down to a race between next-gen cameras and the quality+availability of this lens. I otherwise love my GL2, but will be doing a lot of shooting on travel this spring and summer and am not really satisfied with 16:9. Whatever it takes to get the best 16:9 setup for another $1000 or 2 by late April is going to be my winner. (I'd "cash in" the GL2 toward the cost of a similarly featured HDV cam in a heartbeat). I really hope HDV wins, but it is up to the manufacterers.
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Old January 24th, 2004, 11:05 AM   #12
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More irresponsible speculation

I gotta go with Boyd. It says 1.33 x, meaning you multiply the number times the focal length. I have one of Century's older anamorphic adapters by the way, and it's fantastic. It has completely replaced the WD-58 for me, and now never comes off the camcorder.
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Old January 24th, 2004, 12:00 PM   #13
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With cinema anamorphic lenses, the 1.33x refers to the aspect ratio (http://www.widescreenmuseum.com/wide...erscope-01.htm) that is "compressed" onto the 35mm frame. I'm sure this is the same reference, only we already have a 1.33x (4:3) lens on the camera and are multiplying that by another 1.33 with an added adaptor in order to achieve the 1.78x (16x9) ratio.

A cylindrical convex lens compresses the image along only one axis. Like Pete said, this will yield a wide angle horizonally, but not effect the verticle axis.
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Old January 24th, 2004, 01:56 PM   #14
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Could someone explain to me what is suppose to be the advantage of this new anamorphic over the previous one?
And Marco, how do you deal with the issue of
the image being squished on your LCD? And
isn't there suppose to be some vignetting
at some points along the zoom range?
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Old January 24th, 2004, 01:59 PM   #15
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ave,

I think that with the previous one, you can't zoom through wihout loosing focus. That's the biggest difference IMO (beside the price .. )
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