Try one of these seven weird and unusual lenses to shoot your next documentary

Dec 9, 2021

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.

Try one of these seven weird and unusual lenses to shoot your next documentary

Dec 9, 2021

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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The king of weird lenses, Mathieu Stern set himself a challenge with a documentary short film he shot recently. The challenge was to use only anamorphic and swirly bokeh lenses. But he wasn’t just getting off-the-shelf ready-to-go lenses you can pick up online (although he did use a couple). He ended up using seven different lenses to film his documentary, along with various adapters and doohickies to tell his anamorphic story.

The short film itself, which follows the journey of Louis-Thibaud Chambon, AKA The Waterfall Hunter, is quite interesting in itself but visually it’s also very appealing indeed. The footage itself was shot using the Sony A7III camera and Mathieu wanted to use lenses that not only gave the film a cinematic look but also presented it in an almost magical way. And this wonderful array of lenses and adapters certainly did that!

Kowa 16h 2x Anamorphic Adapter & Primoplan 75mm

Kipronar 120mm f/1.8

Sirui 24mm Anamorphic 1.33x

Great Joy 60mm 1.33x Anamorphic

Great Joy 60mm T2.9 1.33x Anamorphic & 1.35x Adapter

Helios 40 85mm f/1.5

Helios 40 85mm f/1.5 & Great Joy 1.35x Adapter

It’s definitely an interesting lineup of lenses and anamorphic adapters, not to mention the custom 3D printed parts to tie things together that were never meant to be mounted to cameras – like the Kipronar projector lens. Particularly interesting, though is the Great Joy 1.35x adapter launched just a couple of months ago through Kickstarter. I think once these become generally available, I might have to add one of these to the collection!

Do you use anamorphic lenses for your video work?

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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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