We’ve been a fan of the Atlas Anamorphic and Atlas Lens Co. for a while now. They’re a small independently owned lens company that has brought true 2K anamorphic lenses to the masses with their Orion series lenses. The Atlas company released their first lens set in 2017, and they’ve been in-demand with cinematographers ever since. The Film Jams team finally got a hold of the Atlas Lenses “A set” (40mm, 65mm, 100mm), and took it out for a spin. Stay tuned for more videos and photos in our Atlas Orion Anamorphic Lenses Review!
ANAMORPHIC LENSES: BENEFITS
Some of the most iconic films have been shot on Anamorphic lenses. Some filmmakers might say that it’s in the DNA of what makes a film cinematic. Films like Bladerunner (the original), Star Wars, Pulp Fiction, Alien, Inception, Boogie Nights, and Inglourious Basterds, and many more were all shot on anamorphic lenses. Alien and Bladerunner created a very distinct imagery with lens flares and neon lights (in the latter), that shaped the future look for many sci-fi movies in years to come. Today many filmmakers want to achieve that look, and the Atlas Lenses offer a way to do that.
Another benefit of the Atlas lenses is that they are T/2 across all lenses. This lets in a good amount of light for low light scenarios, however they can be a bit soft wide open. We filmed the review video (above) at a T/2.8 and T/4 split, which to us had the best ratio of sharpness to shallow depth.
The Atlas Orion Lens set is also built exceptionally well. They are heavy, and offer pro build quality that feel as if they will handle the rigors of being on set for months at a time. This can be a big factor with Anamorphic, as many of the older vintage lenses can be more fragile or prone to needing service more often.
Lens flares and oval bokeh may be the most iconic attributes of Anamorphic lenses, and the Atlas Anamorphics create a really epic blue flare that we liked a lot. You can see sample of each lens and how it flares in this video:
ATLAS ORION ANAMORPHIC LENSES: COST
These lenses aren’t cheap at $8,999 a pop, or $26,995 for the 3 lens set. Until now though, there really have not been many modern solutions for 2x anamorphic lenses. Just as a comparison, the Cooke SF Anamorphic lenses are $29,900 per lens! So relatively, the Atlas Lenses are more accessible to filmmakers wanting to film with Anamorphic lenses today. Another choice is using vintage anamorphic lenses. Vintage lenses can be a great option, but purchasing a set in good condition can also be very prohibitive because of cost. They can be difficult to find as well.
LENS FOCAL LENGTHS
The Atlas Lenses are sold either in the A set: 40mm, 65mm, and 100mm, or the B set: 32mm, 50mm, 80mm. The also have a 25mm wide angle lens prototype in the works that the Film Jams team caught at NAB in 2019. (See picture below). You’re also able to purchase individual lenses. The wait times for the lenses however can range from 6 months to 1 year. Our set took almost 9 months to arrive from the day we placed our deposit. We’d definitely recommend testing out the focal lengths you want before buying, as it’s not something you’ll be able to easily swap out after receiving them. Our favorite focal length was the 65mm, and we filmed the entire video (see above) on this lens.
ATLAS ANAMORPHIC LENSES REVIEW: FINAL THOUGHTS
If you’re in the market for a set of anamorphic lenses, I think the Atlas Anamorphics are one of the best, if not the best options for purchasing a brand new set of lenses. You can do some research and hunt to find a unique vintage set as well. But having the peace-of-mind to buy from a company that stands behind their product, and will be around to support it, may give some owner/operators (like us) peace of mind when investing a good chunk of their money.
If you’d like to see some more footage of the Alexa Mini in action, check out our ARRI Alexa Mini Slow Motion 200 fps and 60p video.
Let us know what you think about our Atlas Orion Anamorphic Lenses Review in the comments below!
LOOKING FOR ATLAS LENS RENTALS?
If you’re looking to Rent a set of Atlas Anamorphic Lenses, check out Litewave Media in Tampa, FL for a full A set and accessories for your next film project.
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