Using an Anamorphic Lens for Portrait Photography

How does the Moment Anamorphic Lens Adapter perform for photographers? Steven Schultz, a professional photographer and cinematographer, tests the waters.

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1.33x Anamorphic Lens Adapter

Moment

Introducing Moment Anamorphic Adapter We’re introducing our first (of many) big camera lenses. This new Moment 1.33x Anamorphic Adapter changes your current lenses, whether vintage or modern, into a c...

Add for $1300
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Studio Photography

The first batch of test images was taken at the neighborhood studio with my good pals at Creative Club Chicago (psst — hear more from them in a recent film stock article we all created together!).

I backlit each person with a warmly lit tungsten bulb and filled the room with Atmosphere Aerosol to douse each frame with a haze, my favorite method of adding texture without dragging out a fog machine. The adapter flared beautifully with the tungsten bulb, leaving gorgeous warm streaks across the images, purely natural and free from post-processing.

Note: All images were captured with the Canon R5 with the Canon EF 85mm 1.2 L + the Moment Anamorphic Adapter.

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Broad Daylight

The classic film-noir anamorphic style is often expressed among moody, dark scenes — but what about broad daylight?

My wife Lora and I took this exact setup (Canon R5 with the Canon EF 85mm 1.2 L + the Moment Anamorphic Adapter) for a spin during a walk around our neighborhood at golden hour. Similar to the studio portraits, I found that the adapter flared beautifully when hit directly with sunlight. Instead of dominating the image, the flares added subtle and captivating textures that elevated the countenance of the photograph.

The adapter formulated nicely into the Canon EF 85mm 1.2 L flares, as well — this lens is full of character. I love that the Moment Anamorphic Adapter allows a lens's personality to shine effortlessly.

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Drawbacks & Cons

As previously mentioned, Moment designed this adapter with filmmakers in mind. Still, while its image quality is fantastic, there are a few tech and ergonomic quirks to be aware of for still photography. While these caveats are not deal breakers, it's essential to understand what you're getting into if you buy this adapter for photography's sake.

  1. Full-frame 2x3 sensors are more significant than this adapter can cover; a 50mm, for example, will produce noticeable vignetting on the corners. To mitigate that effect, I prefer an 85mm lens that reduces dark corners to achieve edge-to-edge clarity.
  2. Its heavy weight can be tricky. I have it on the Canon 85mm 1.2 on my Canon R5. I'm simultaneously manually focusing the adapter, balancing the body of the lens with my palm, and adjusting settings on the fly — which isn't the most straightforward creative workflow.

How To De-Squeeze Anamorphic Images

You might notice your final images or footage with any anamorphic lens have a "squeezed" look. Due to its technical functions so that a broader range of aspect ratios could fit within a standard film frame, the anamorphic lens squeezes the image (and the bokeh) into an oval shape. To restore the bokeh to its original form, it is necessary to "de-squeeze" the frame. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to do this in Lightroom:

Step One: In Lightroom, edit your squeezed images with your preferred profile or preset.

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Step Two: Then, crop your image to a 16x9 aspect ratio.

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Step Three: Next, right-click your photo, click "edit in," and select Photoshop.

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Step Four: Once you're in Photoshop, de-squeeze your image is simple. Go up to your toolbar and select "image size."

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Step Five: Now, multiply the width of your image by 1.33, which is the squeeze factor of the Moment Anamorphic Adapter.

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Step Six: This image was taken on my Canon R5, so I'll take that width of 8,192, multiply it by 1.33, and get 10,895.

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Step Seven: Click OK, watch your image de-squeeze, and now, you'll never want to take portraits any other way.

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