I have been looking for a good deal on the Panasonic AG LA7200 for… 5 years? 6 years? I lost track. I remember when they were going for $300ish on Craigslist. This was before the Canon T2i existed. Then DSLRs got popular for video, and the anamorphic adapter prices went crazy. Recently I was looking up anamorphic prices and I was shocked to see how much the Panasonic AG LA7200 had dropped on Ebay. The LA7200 routinely would go for over $1,100 during the peak of the anamorphic craze (about two years ago). Old projector lenses would go for $350+ back in those days! I even once saw a Kowa Bell and Howell go for $1,000+. That’s a 2x lens that cannot focus through… It looks pretty though.
Here is a screen shot of the Panasonic LA7200 price drop:
All the lenses I looked up on Ebay were functioning optically. This is crazy, and as SLR Magic’s Anamorphot 1.33x hits the market I suspect the LA7200 prices will continue to drop. I am very happy about this because I have always dreamed of picking up an LA7200. It is not the sharpest lens, and it is bulky, but it is cheap and it can go very wide. The other day I saw a video where a Tokina 11-16 was used as the taking lens with the LA7200. Assuming they were using the Tokina at about ~15mm, that’s an equivalent to a Full Frame horizontal focal length of 18mm. Here is my math: 15mm x (1.6 crop factor) / (1.33) = 18mm. Stop the lens down, throw on a cheap diopter and the image quality should not be awful.
For now the SLR Magic Anamorphot 1.33x 50 is too expensive (for me). It doesn’t have much character (neither does the LA7200). The lens flares are uglier than those of the LA7200 (pure personal opinion). I assume the price will eventually be about twice that of the Panasonic (the Anamorphot 1.33x is priced at $900). It cannot take wide angle lenses (40mm+ on a FF). It has the same stinking 1.33x squeeze. The 1.33x squeeze gives you an industry standard anamorphic aspect ratio, so SLR Magic’s decision of 1.33x is an obvious one. But as an individual film “hobbyist” who exclusively films personal projects a 1.5x squeeze is much more appealing.
I think the Panasonic AG LA7200 is very attractive under $400 for indie filmmakers. Lets face it, if you are an indie filmmaker you care more about story and cinematography than lens sharpness. If I was a semi professional, or if I had an extra $500, I would obviously opt for the SLR Magic Anamorphot; it’s much sharper and easier to handle.
SLR Magic Anamorphot 1.33x 50 vs Panasonic AG LA7200
|Name||Anamorphot 1.33x||Panasonic AG LA7200|
|Thread Size (Front)||77mm||None|
|Thread Size (Rear)||62mm||72mm|
|Widest Taking Lens (FF)||~40mm||~26mm|
|Lens Flare Character||Poor||Very Good|
|Minimum Recommended F Ratio||~f/3.5 – f/4||~f/4 – f/5.6|
|Price (USD)||~$900 (New)||~$450-$650 (Used)|
To learn more about the SLR Magic Anamorphot, visit their website and be sure to scroll to the bottom of the page and read the official PDF that discusses the Anamorphot 1.33x in detail. And as always, be sure to go on Vimeo and watch test footage of the lenses.