We met with Laowa over at NAB 2023, where they showed us two new Nanomorph lenses: a 65mm T2.4 and an 80mm T2.4. Those lenses join an already existing set of 27mm T2.8, 35mm T2.4, and 50mm T2.4.
Those lenses caught my attention because they have some unique features on top of some of the other anamorphic lenses in the market. If you are out for a Super 35 anamorphic lens set, they are definitely worth your attention.
Lowa already has a set of three focal lengths for their Nanomorphic series: 27mm T2.8, 35mm T2.4, and 50mm T2.4 (see here). But at this NAB they are joined with what would make this a more robust set, a 65mm T2.4, and an 80mm T2.4.
Why Laowa Nanomorph?
Anamorphic lenses are always Huge and Heavy. This revolutionary “NANO-sized” lens weighs less than 0.7 lbs (320g) and is only 3.54″ (9cm) long, making it very handy for every set-up e.g. handheld, on a gimbal, on a slider, through tight space, even on a drone, etc. It makes a lot of formerly impossible shots possible.
All of Laowa’s Nanomorph series share some design aspects which make them easy on set:
- Unified gear position – The unified gear position allows users to switch lenses quickly and without readjustment on the focus gear
- 55mm filter thread – 55mm filters can be attached directly to the lens. It makes it easy when you are using those lenses on a drone or on a DJI Ronin 4D at Super 35.
- 0.8 Mod Gear – all Nanomorphs come with a 0.8 pitch gear for both the Iris and the focus
Laowa Nanomorph with three flare options
There are three flares options on the Nanomorph series: Blue, Amber, and a recently added, more neutral silver. Anamorphic lenses with blue flares are what would get you that JJ Abrams look that is common in sci-fi. However, they do not necessarily go well with human skin tones. The amber flare option delivers a warmer and more passionate vibe which is suitable for narrative and day/night shots. Lastly, the silver flare is more neutral and can go slightly either way in post.
Rear Anamorphic Blocks
For cheaper anamorphic lenses, anamorphic mumps render the lens unusable at closer distances (e.g. a 1.8x lens will become 1.62x when focused at 0.7m). You could only get professional designs to solve that, but those are bulky and cost a fortune. Laowa patented anamorphic design guarantees a uniform squeeze ratio.
The anamorphic blocks are put behind the spherical elements and the focusing groups. These two groups compress the image, and hence the smaller anamorphic blocks can be used, which makes the lens tinier. Moreover, the image is formed and focused before the anamorphic blocks, which maintains a constant squeeze ratio no matter if the focus changes.
Interchangeable mounts + kits
You can get the Nanomorph series for all common mounts: ARRI PL & Canon EF, Canon RF, DJI DL, Fuji X, Leica L, Micro Four Thirds, Nikon Z, Sony E.
If you carry multiple systems, usually, your best bet would be to go with an ARRI PL, and then add adapters. Sadly, this is also the most expensive option for this set: $3,999.00 for three lenses (not including the adapters) But…
Laowa also offers the option to replace the mount with a kit, which they sell for $50, per lens, per mount. So you could get, say, a Sony mount kit ($2,699) and add three mounts for an extra $150, which would come down at a significantly more affordable price.
Right now, you can already buy a kit. It will come with three lenses in a case (27mm T2.8, 35mm T2.4, and 50mm T2.4). And the case will have two more slots in it for the 65mm T2.4 and 80mm T2.4.
On-camera Flange adjustment
If you are planning to switch between systems, you know that you always need to adjust the flange distance. This is usually done with shims that you mount between the lens and the body. The typical process is:
- Assemble shim
- Mount the lens and test
- Go to 1
This is quite a tedious process.
The Nanomorph series features a feature that will put a wide smile on your face. You can calibrate the back focus with the lens mounted on the camera. You do this with a small adjustment hex key. Since the camera is running with the lens, you can make all your adjustments and preview them live.
Price and availbitliy
The first three Nanomorphic lense are already available, with the two new focal lengths planned for the summer. Price-wise, you are looking at about $1,000 per lens and a bit less for an entire kit.