Following their popular 1.5x Nanomoprh Anamorphics, Laowa is offering a full 2x scope lenses for indie filmmakers.
Continuing its trend of "lenses that look much better than they have any right to at that price point," Venus Optics has launched a lineup of full-on 2x squeeze anamorphic lenses under its Laowa name, with a price point around $5000 each, or $20,000 for a full set of lenses.
The Laowa Proteus 2x Anamorphic cinema lenses are robust, offer a T2 aperture across the boards, and cover a Super 35-sized frame. While these lenses are currently out of budget for many users at their current price, it is wildly affordable by the standards of 2x squeeze glass, and early test footage looks pretty impressive for that price point.
Leveling Up The Brand
Beyond the price point, the new 2x glass offers several impressive features, including 55cm close focus distance (under 2 feet) on wider lenses and 80cm (around 3ft) on the longer 85mm. There's a T2 aperture throughout the lineup and a native PL mount that can be swapped to EF. They are available in 35mm, 45mm, 60mm, and 85mm, which should give you a nice range of coverage.
If you are wondering why the 35mm and 45mm are closer together than the 60mm and 85mm, that decision makes sense to us. In many of the 2x jobs, the widest lens (the 35mm) can be a bit too much, either in distortion or just breadth. Something around 45mm becomes your normal "wide" lens.
One of the signature features of the Laowa anamorphic lenses is also present here—you can choose your flare. With "silver," "amber," and "blue" options available, creatives have a bit more options than what the other brands have on offer.
These are built into the lens, so you can't swap these later. Instead, you need to buy your set in one of those configurations. However, it's great to have that level of choice and control over your glass, and subsequent image. The Proteus also has a built-in back-focus adjustment, which isn't something you often see in cinema lenses. This is more of a broadcast lens feature but was appreciated having to avoid shimming the lens when working with a variety of sensor setups.
The full-frame shooter will have to crop down to use this set, as the Proteus line is only for Super 35-sized sensors, which is just fine for the vast majority of uses. Venus Optics is calling it Super 35 Plus, since it covers a bit more than the normal Super 35 and will cover any sensor up to 21.6mm tall, which means that some of the smaller "full frame" cinema sensors will have full coverage, likely including cameras like the RED Monstro.
But keep in mind, the image circle is only 25.92mm wide so it won't cover the width of the RED Monstro at 40mm, but since you often crop the edges of 16 x 9 sensors when shooting 2x scope, it'll work well for a lot of applications. On top of that, you can always work with the Laowa full-frame expander to cover any FF sensor out there.
Hot, Hot Competition
It's good to have more competition in the anamorphic space, and it's interesting to see Venus Optics move in on this space some more. The Proteus set is the only type available via the Laowa cine website, so you'll have to poke around there to get in early on the action.
Anamorphic glass is evolving into something wonderful, with so many manufacturers offering a solution that won't break the bank. While this set will be an investment, we can't wait to see projects hitting the market shot on these lenses.
Visit the Laowa site for more info, or let us know what you think about this new lens series in the comments!