Anamorphic plus achromatic -- it works at DVinfo.net

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Old August 26th, 2004, 11:26 PM   #1
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Anamorphic plus achromatic -- it works

We shot a short over the summer with a Century Optics 16:9 adapter, and for the most part the limited zoom range didn't really bother me, but for over-the-shoulder shots and close ups I wished I had a little more range. So bought a set of Schneider Series 9 achromatic diopters from Century's filter sale to see if that would help. The tech at Century was positive it wouldn't work, but I tried it anyway and was shocked to find that they GREATLY expand the zoom range on the anamorphic. Normally, I don't like to zoom more than 25 percent of the range, but with the achromatic I've found you can zoom about 70 percent of the range. I have a GL1, so that's pretty far. There's a catch though -- you can only focus at a set distance from the subject. Also, the more you zoom, and the higher the diopter, the more critical that distance is. In fact, at maximum possible zoom with the plus 3 diopter you have to be within a quarter of an inch or the whole thing shifts out of focus, so obviously this has limited use. With the plus 1 diopter you have about six inches of leeway, maybe more on wider shots. It also vignettes on full wide, but since you would only do this if you planned on zooming in, I don't think that's too much of an issue. In fact, the vignetting disappears at about the point you would lose focus without the achromatic anyway.

It's definitely a pain to use, but for those shots that frustrated me over the summer I'm certain I could have made it work with an achromatic. This may be old news to some people, but it sure was a surprise to me. The hardest part was finding an adapter to mount the achromatic to the anamorphic. It's a Tiffen 75sslr-9 adapter ring and it has been discontinued, but I finally found one. Some people will say this is too much glass, and I guess it is, but in most situations it's definitely an improvement over digital 16:9, at least on my camcorder. With more camcorders coming out with native 16:9 chips, and Panasonic having released a genuine zoom-through adapter, I suppose this technique may not be that helpful to most people, but I thought I'd throw it out there, if only as a curiousity. I have a series of screen shots demonstrating how good it looks if anybody is interested. Just e-mail me at marcoleavitt@yahoo.com and I'll send them on. Keep in mind that I did all of my focusing with the flip out LCD (the digital 16:9 samples were shot on auto), and with a real monitor I think I could improve the results significantly. Even so, it looks pretty good to me.
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Old August 27th, 2004, 08:17 AM   #2
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Sounds great. Thanks for the information.
Any chance of posting a few before & after stills?
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Old August 27th, 2004, 08:29 AM   #3
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Well, I just registered at tripod.net, and plan to post some pics there, but I'm kind of a newbie at that stuff. That's why I offered to e-mail pics to anybody who wanted them immediatly. It could take me a while to figure out tripod.
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Old August 27th, 2004, 12:29 PM   #4
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If you like, I could host the images for you on my webspace.
That way you won't run into an bandwidth, popup ad, or reference linking issues that sometimes turn up with tripod.

My email address is in the email link under my posts if you're interested. Even if you don't want to use me for hosting, I'd be interested in seeing the images.

Have fun.
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