Laowa launches their new Proteus 2x Anamorphic T2 Super 35mm lens series

Jan 17, 2023

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Laowa launches their new Proteus 2x Anamorphic T2 Super 35mm lens series

Jan 17, 2023

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Looks like Sony’s not the only one announcing new lenses today. Venus optics has announced their new Proteus line of 2x Anamorphic lenses in 35mm, 45mm, 60mm and 85mm focal lengths. The new lenses provide a constant 2x squeeze ratio for Super 35mm sensors. All lenses offer a maximum T2 aperture for shallow depth of field with smooth elliptical bokeh and that signature anamorphic lens flare.

These aren’t cheap lenses, by any means, coming out at around $5,000 each, with some discounts for buying kits containing either the 35mm & 60mm or 45mm and 85mm lenses. But Laowa promises outstanding sharpness, an ultra-wide 2x squeeze with pleasant oval bokeh, low focus breathing and a high-end user-friendly cine housing. They can also cover full-frame systems with a 1.4x expander.

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The new lenses, Laowa says, incorporated a patented anamorphic design, which offers “a robust optical composition”. They say it delivers the image sharpness we’ve come ot expect from modern lenses while maintaining the vintage anamorphic characteristics such as elliptical bokeh and “signature flares” – flares which you can get in either the standard blue, amber or even silver options depending on your own personal preference.

They feature a constant 2x squeeze ratio, ensuring that you get the same look throughout the lens lineup and the focus range of each lens. It works with either 4:3 or 6:5 sensors to deliver a 2.66:1 or 2.4:1 image after desqueezing. Filmmakers then have the option of using the footage in its entirety or cropping it down to the more standard 2.39:1 with a minimal loss of resolution.

The iris opens all the way up to T2 for a shallower depth of field and all the way down to T22 at its minimum aperture. The optical performance, Laowa says, has been fine-tuned to deliver excellent colour rendition and contrast, even when shooting wide open. They also say that the chromatic aberration is well-controlled. Minimum focusing distances range from 1.8ft for the 35mm and 45mm focal lengths up to 2.7ft for the 85mm lens. The 60mm lens sits in the middle with a 2.3ft minimum focus distance.

All of the lenses have a 105mm filter thread and a 114mm outer diameter. They all use standard 0.8 MOD gears for focus and aperture and have a unified gear position, allowing you to quickly and easily swap lenses without having to adjust your follow-focus units and focus motors each time you change lenses. All four lenses also feature a large 300° focus throw and a 60° aperture throw.

The Laowa Proteus 2x Anamorphic lenses cost $4,999 each in PL mount (an interchangeable EF bayonet is included, along with a hard case), $9,499 for a set of two (either the 35mm & 60mm lenses or the 45mm and 85mm lenses) or $18,998 for the set of all four. The lenses are available to pre-order now from the Laowa Cine website, and shipping is expected to begin in May. The 1.4x Full-Frame PL-PL expander is an extra $599.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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