Faking the Anamorphic Look With a $35 Vintage Lens

The anamorphic look is attractive and loved by many videographers and filmmakers. The problem is, it costs a lot to achieve, and prices itself out of reach for most videographers. But what if you could effectively fake it?

My love for vintage lenses is well documented at this point. There is a veritable feast of glass, and at the cost of some modern comforts, you can experiment until your heart’s content, and on a budget. This video focuses on a range of Helios lenses that are famous in the vintage lens loving community. However, vintage lenses for videography has seen a rise over the last few years as innovative gear folk have found ways to mod the lenses for more practical purposes. This includes a sort of fake anamorphic look.

The mod is simple enough: you, in essence, limit the direction and amount of light that travels through the rear element using an oval filter. It’s easy enough that it can be done yourself, and without extensive knowledge of lenses or camera maintenance. Even the mod itself is just a piece of plastic that has been crudely colored in, so this really is attainable. It can’t quite replicate the real thing, but as you could be shooting oval bokeh for under $40, I’d say it’s a cheap way to experiment.

Have you ever modded a vintage lens? Share your experiences in the comment section below.


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