Anamorphic Lenses?

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Jonny K, Nov 17, 2003.

  1. Jonny K

    Jonny K Second Unit

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    Tell me if I'm correct. An anamorphic lens goes on the lense of a projector and stretches the image in width. This way, you can set the projector to project a squished 4:3 image (using all the projector's avaliable pixels) and then stretch it into the proper 16:9 format using the lense. This will give you a better picture quality over standard 16:9 format because in 16:9 format not all pixels are being used in displaying the image.

    Is this correct? I remember having a professor who was talking about this, but I don't remember much. I haven't read much discussion about animorphic lenses in the forum either. Are these only used on high end home theater setups? What do these things cost? I know I found a website selling anamorphic lenses, but the costs were enormous (20 grand US to something like 80 grand US), so I assume those must be professional grade lenses. If my goofy prof can have a lense on his projector then I assume they must be more affordable that that. Are they even worthwhile?

    Thanks,


    Jonny K. [​IMG]
     
  2. Jonny K

    Jonny K Second Unit

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    Ok, I found some prices. It looks like it'll cost me 1,000 US dollars for an anamorphic lense. Since I'd probably be getting an X1 projector, that price is actually more than the projector. So maybe I won't get one. [​IMG]


    Jonny K.
     
  3. BrianMagog

    BrianMagog Stunt Coordinator

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  4. Jonny K

    Jonny K Second Unit

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    Wow, it's curious to me that here in the home theater forum, where all the enthusiasts hang out, there isn't more interest (or knowledge) about anamorphic lenses! Wild.

    Hmmm...build my own huh? That looks like the most viable option at this point. Oh wait...maybe the most viable option is to buy a projector first. Yes, that's it. THEN I'll make an anamorphic lense!


    Jonny K. [​IMG]
     
  5. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    Real Name:
    Nick So
    AVSForum.com has a much more technical forum (I tend to find HTF is more film and software oriented), you can try there and ask for help
     
  6. Kenneth R

    Kenneth R Auditioning

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    I think you are mostly correct in your assumptions about the anamorphic lenses except that you set your DVD player on 16X9 so that it sends a tall skinny image to the projector. The projector is set to 4X3 as you mentioned. Then the anamorphic lens either squishes it down to a 16X9 image in the case of the Panamorph lens, or it stretches it out wider to a 16X9 image in the case of the ISCO II lens. I am not sure which it is, but one of these lenses is supposed to be better for short throw projector setups and one of the lenses is supposed to be better at least theoretically for long throw projector setups. I think the consensus is tilted slightly in the direction of the ISCO II having better optics, but either lens accomplishes the same thing i.e. letting you use all of the available pixels on 4X3 projector thereby obtaining increased resolution on 16X9 material. It also results in some increase in brightness. If you look around you will occasionally see these lenses for sale used e.g. videogon auction or e-bay.
    I have both and I prefer the ISCO II. The Panamorph comes with a set of rails that can be mounted to the ceiling in front of the projector so that it can be slid in and out of position easily supposedly for watching 3X4 material. The ISCO II has very sturdy construction and is mounted on a stand that sits in front of the projector. In my case it sits on a shelf projecting from the front of a hushbox that contains the JVC G-15 D-ILA. The picture on the D-ILA was already good, but the addition of the anamorphic lens really does make a significant difference. The picture is stunning on HDTV and almost as good with DVDs.
    Larry Raulston
     
  7. alan halvorson

    alan halvorson Cinematographer

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    But, yikes, what a price for the ISCOII! $1950, plus $200 for the stand. The older model is still available (according to the ISCO site, for $1050 with stand. How much better is the new model over the older one, I wonder?

    Anyway, Panamorph makes a lense specifically for my projector, the JVC SX21, and I'll probably be getting one of those sometime soon (I'm hoping I can find one or the other used for a really good price).
     
  8. Kenneth R

    Kenneth R Auditioning

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    I think I paid 950 for the ISCOII during a "power buy" at AVS. I bought the Panamorph sort of early on during the development phase of the lens for a reduced price,and when it looked almost like the Panamorph would not make it to market I became impatient and jumped at the chance to get the ISCOII on the powerbuy. That's how I happened to have both. The Panamorph is actually liquid filled, and some of the early ones including mine have a slow leak. I think they are now solid so that they don't have that problem. I also think they now have models that couple directly to the projector so that they don't have to be mounted to the ceiling on rails or sit on a shelf in front of the projector. I'm not sure if there is one for the SX-21, but if there is I would get the panamorph if I were you for that reason. It is a lot of money, but I have to say that it is worth it if you're into this hobby as much as I am.
    Maybe you could save for it or find a used one. Good luck.
    Larry
     

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