Magnification Factor + Serious Width
Try wrapping your head around this—not only does an anamorphic lens capture a wider field-of-view, it also magnifies the center of the frame by 1.33x. The vertical “squeeze” and horizontal expansion is a key part of the cinematic look that makes big-time movies look the way they do. Not quite distorted or surreal like a fisheye lens, but somehow capable of capturing more depth and width than our eyes. That means you get a wider field-of-view and more depth-of-field (in this case, 1.33 times more), yielding a bit more subject-background separation without the tight frame of a long lens or the distorted faces of a wide lens.
The best way to understand what exactly an anamorphic lens does is to watch any number of videos shot on the Moment Anamorphic. There’s something about the way the center of the frame looks sharper and closer than “real life” while the sides of the frame bring a lot more width than our own eyes are capable of that really immerses you in the world on the screen. Instead of being a window to the world like most great photos are, footage captured on anamorphic is like experiencing the world in widescreen hyper-reality. The optics create a surreal perspective and dreamy focus falloff that envelop you in the shot.