SIRUI 50MM F1.8 ANAMORPHIC | Olympus OM-D E-M1x | Cinematic Stills & Footage



A few days ago I had the opportunity to try out the new Sirui 50mm f/1.8 1.33x Anamorphic Lens. I was super keen to see how it would perform when attached to my Olympus OM-D EM1x.




The lens is designed for Sony E-mount, Fuji, and Micro 4/3 camera bodies. It can be somewhat challenging to work out for those who, like me, had no experience using such a niche piece of kit.


This blog isn't designed to be a comprehensive review—just some sample shots and thoughts on the lens from my brief little test run.


One of the biggest hurdles I encountered with using the lens was that, by design, the anamorphic aspect ratio puts the focal length at 75mm on a Micro 4/3 body. Yes, you do get a wider image once it is de-squeezed in post-production, but you will need to work within the spatial conforms like you would when using a 75mm lens. For videographers, this is quite tight and limits the chances of this lens being a one-sized fits all, run-and-gun creator.


That being said, when using this lens outdoors, it produced some incredibly fresh and cinematic style images and footage. The below info is based on my findings when using the EM1x.


Considerations Before Purchasing

  • The lens is fully manual, meaning there is no auto-focus

  • The image requires de-squeezing in post-production.

  • Focal length on M4/3 = 75mm Equiv

  • When using on an Olympus body, there will be no auto-de-squeeze preview

  • No EXIF data stored. You will need to manually make a note of your aperture and shutter speed if you need a reference to it later. Only ISO is registered as this is set by the camera itself.

  • Not weathered sealed (but you can't have everything)

  • For accurate focus and de-squeezed preview, you really should use an external monitor

  • When filming in Cinema 4k on the Olympus, you will lose a small amount of the image on the top and bottom. This is minimal compared to filming with a regular lens and switching between Cinema 4k and UHD 4k


Stills


There is no denying that the 50mm f1.8's primary purpose is to film cinematic style video footage; however, there is seriously no reason why this beauty couldn't be a part of your stills photography kit. Especially if you are a portrait or commercial photographer, looking to separate yourself from the crowd.


The de-squeezed images are actually near perfect for cover photos on various social media sites and look fabulous as commercial banners.


Camera Setup: Stills

  • Focus peaking set to high-sensitivity

  • 4:3 ratio

  • S-IS Auto

  • RAW

  • Matrix Metering

  • Histogram turned on

  • Gridlines turned on

Post Production: Stills

  • Inported to Lightroom Classic > Right Click Image> Edit In > Adobe Photoshop

  • In the top menu > Image > Image Size > Long side = 583.75 (Long side x 1.33) > Press enter > File > Save

  • Close Photoshop > Image instantly appears de-squeezed in Lightroom

  • Either delete the de-squeezed image or leave it there. It doesn't really matter

  • Begin colour grading

I highly recommend that you don't colour grade or edit your image until it is de-squeezed. Otherwise, the colours will vary from scene to scene, due to higher numbers of colours squished together in the squeezed image.


De-squeezed Image
Original Image

De-squeezed Image
Original Image




De-squeezed Image
Original Image


















De-squeezed Image
Original Image







Video



Camera Setup: Video

  • Focus peaking turned on and set to high-sensitivity

  • Image Stabilization: M-IS2

  • 4k 25p

  • WB: Cloudy + Incandescent

  • Matrix Metering

  • 16:9

  • OM-LOG400 with BT.709 Live view preview activated


Post Production: Video (Final Cut Pro X)

  • Created new project in Final Cut Pro X > Custom dimensions (5076 x 2160, 25p) > Import anamorphic video files > Change x-scale to 133 = Footage de-squeezed

  • Colour graded: Cinema Grade



Verdict


Having zero experience using an anamorphic lens, I found it a little tricky to handle at first. Not because of design faults, but more so operating a fully manual lens. After a good hour or so of playing around with it, I could safely say I was having a rad time.


Considering the price point relative to the production quality of this lens, I couldn't recommend it more highly to any aspiring filmmaker or photographer looking to add a cinematic flair to their work. The glass is small enough to compliment the size of my Micro 4/3 system perfectly, and the build quality is incredible for a lens at this price range.


The majority of professional filmmakers out there shoot with completely manual lenses, so the lack of autofocus will likely not be a deal-breaker. For those beginners out there, it could take a little more time to master, but once you do, you'll be smiling from ear to ear.


Is this the ideal single lens, run and gun set-up? Well.. yes and no. If you can deal with a 75mm equivalent focal length and are looking for that beautiful portrait style compression, this is the lens for you. For those of you who prefer something a little wider like a genuine 50mm or even better, 35mm equivalent (crop factor accounted for), then perhaps you might like to wait a few more months and see what is on the horizon ;).




Pros

  • Highly affordable

  • Super light

  • Solid construction and beautifully made

  • Wonderfully fun to use

  • Possibility to get a big-budget look for a small cost

  • De-clicked aperture ring. Smooth turning here baby

  • Incredibly beautiful flares

  • Lovely soft oval bokeh

  • Great depth of field for portrait and tight shots

  • Even with the image squeezed on the camera screen, it is quite easy to compose a scene

  • Fantastic sharpness considering the price point

Cons

  • Even with focus-peaking turned on, at apertures <f3.6 focus was incredibly tricky to nail

  • 75mm Equiv. is quite tight to use as a single lens kit

  • Horizontal flares on stills images do not appear as smooth as when filming

  • No Autofocus

  • No stabilisation

  • Niche lens. Aspect ratio not ideal for all filming purposes


If you are like me and love quirky, well-priced pieces of photography gear that can really elevate your production value then, you can purchase this lens for any system mount HERE through my store. You'll even snag a 5% discount code by entering: SIRUI50REVIEW5 at checkout

Final Word


All images edited using my Portrait Presets - Vol.1 which work perfectly for cinematic scenes such as these.



*While I am an Official Sirui Australia Ambassador, all views and findings in this blog are entirely my own. I was not paid for this review.



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+61 422 408 411

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