An affordable anamorphic setup is tricky. Still, here you have an example of a super affordable (yet professional) setup for beautiful anamorphic footage. This combo of GREAT JOY plus BMPCC 6K can work wonders. Watch it below.
We’ll start at the end. The YouTube channel “From two lands” is an excellent educational resource for independent filmmakers. You really should check it out. This time they reviewed the new anamorphic lens from a company called GREAT JOY. We wrote about their first piece of glass which was the 60mm. This time the guys from “Of Two Lands” explored the GREAT JOY 50mm T2.9 1.8x full frame anamorphic lens on their 6K BMPCC (Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera). Long story short, the results are pretty decent, especially considering this affordable setup. Note that the lens only costs US$1,500, which is pretty amazing on its own.
This is how GREAT JOY describes itself: “Born in China, the GREAT JOY team is a promising company of senior professionals and engineers from diverse backgrounds. We are committed to providing affordable, good quality lenses and connecting creativity and future technologies for moving image and professional productions worldwide with exceptional quality, exceptional value and exceptional accessibility.” GREAT JOY launched their anamorphic lens on Indiegogo. “Our first 1.8x anamorphic ensemble campaign was incredibly successful and was selected as a Project We Love on Kickstarter. To this day, we continue to receive positive feedback from backers,” says the As for the 50mm T2.9 1.8x Full-Frame Anamorphic, it has achieved nearly $600,000 supported by more than 445 contributors.
The terms anamorphic lens and affordability don’t come together much. For a long time, true anamorphic glass cost a fortune. However, Atlas began to disrupt the industry. If we are not mistaken, Atlas was the first company to offer TRUE anamorphic glass for under $8,000. Nevertheless, with the release of the wide Orions (25 mma and 21 mm) which cost around $15,000, Atlas can barely live up to its early slogan “Anamorphic for All”. Fortunately, the Chinese intervened. And there are plenty of them, including in anamorphic space. For example, GREAT JOY offered their Anamorphic X1.8 FF for just $15,000. But how does it work?
GREAT JOY states that their anamorphic lenses provide a “true anamorphic look and a more cinematic feel”. The company offers 6 mounting options for different camera models: EF, PL, E, RF, L, and MFT mounts. Other mirrorless cameras can also use the GREAT JOY T2.9 1.8x anamorphic lens with EF or PL mount adapter. The lens is solidly constructed from aluminum alloy and has a relatively light weight of 1040g/2.2lbs. The lens offers 270° focus rotation with a minimum focusing distance of 0.7m. The lens housing features a standard focus of 0.8 MOD and the lens comes with M5 to 1/4″-20 UNC mounting screws. Additionally, the focus ring of the GREAT JOY 1.8x 50mm lens features a progressive aperture design, providing smooth and consistent aperture control from T2.9 to T22. With a 33×24mm image circle, the GREAT JOY 50mm T2.9 1.8x Anamorphic Lens supports shooting in 3:2, 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios and the side crop in 2.35:1 aspect ratio. If you shoot in 4:3 full aspect ratio, you can get a 2.4:1 image without any vignette.
One of the most notable characteristics of an anamorphic lens is lens flare. Many anamorphic lens manufacturers tend to exaggerate and increase lens flare, causing it to take over the image. More flaring does not equal more cinematics. The flare should be sleek and…sophisticated. Well, GREAT JOY almost made it. Why almost? Because the flare is barely noticeable. As Of Two Lands said, “I liked the picture. I loved the soft edges, the sharpness in the center, the bokeh when shooting wide aperture, and I also liked that the flares weren’t too crazy and looked somewhat natural”. Also, Of Two Lands mentioned something interesting: “It made me shoot differently. Anamorphic shooting is so unique and refreshing. I slowed down, but in a good way.” Indeed, shooting in anamorphosis requires more cinematic calculations. Hence, it can turn you into a better filmmaker in many ways. Watch the test footage – shot with the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K (do yourself a favor and watch it in full resolution (4K)!
We wrote this article to review footage from “Of Two Lands” which was shot on a very affordable anamorphic setup. However, we found ourselves talking about the disruption of the anamorphic lens industry, started by Atlas, Xelmus joined (an exceptional piece of anamorphic glass BTW), SIRUI, and now GREAT JOY. We think everyone can confirm that Atlas and Xelmus are in a different league than SIRUI and GREAT JOY. And there are huge differences between SIRUI (hard rocket) and GREAT JOY (delicate rocket). Nevertheless, we have a choice and that’s good (Joy?)….It brings us to reflect on the purpose of this strange name…GREAT JOY…