After experimenting with the Sankor 16F 2x anamorphic adapter, I found the next step would be finding a proper single focus solution to eliminate the double focus needed on most anamorphics. There's a couple of solutions out there, but they can be quite expensive and hard to find. Early this year, Rapido Technologies released a new Single Focus Solution: the FVD-16A. It's a front variable diopter, meaning its two diopters in a moving element to be used in front of anamorphic setups. I bought one and tested it with the Helios 44-2, the Möller 32x2 anamorphic on the KineMini 4K, in 3K anamorphic mode.
New to anamorphics? In one of my previous blogposts I explained the basics of anamorphic optics. Click here to read about the basics of anamorphic optics.
In short, anamorphics turn lens flares into fully horizontal, colored anamorphic lens flares; anamorphics give a more shallow Depth Of Field; out of focus lights or bokeh turn oval and slight vignetting may occur depending on the taking lens.
The FVD-16A has solid build quality, the diopters are housed in metal parts. The geared focus ring has markings in both meters and feet. Focusing is extremely smooth, it doesn't seem to offer any resistance at all which even makes it feel a little cheap. The FVD16-A features 82mm front filter thread for attaching additional filters like a variable ND.
The FVD-16A connects to the Full Metal Jacket anamorphic lens housing. The complete Full Metal Jacket consists of three parts. 1: A rear part housing the taking lens (either the Helios 44-2 58mm, or the Contax Zeiss 50mm). 2: An aluminium housing for a wide variety of anamorphic optics. This part is tailored for the specific anamorphic setup you plan on using. 3: The FVD16-A Front Variable Diopter as single focus solution.
The complete Full Metal Jacket setup is a clever design, as it tackles multiple problems commonly found in anamorphic setups. I don't even know where to begin. First of all, it turns the mostly nerdy, DIY looking anamorphic setups into an actual professional looking cinema lens setup. Secondly, it eliminates the double focus issue found in most anamorphic lens setups. Thirdly, it makes swapping anamorphic or taking lenses super easy, as the setup and its housing is split in three parts. The seperate parts for taking lens and anamorphic lens also make it easy to re-align the anamorphic lens.
This single focus solution is more affordable than others in the market and its performance is impressive and overall sharpness of the image is good. The whole 'Full Metal Jacket' perfectly houses the various parts of anamorphic setups, adding stability and the ability to perfectly align the anamorphics.
The Full Metal Jacket housing has male, 76mm front filter threads - the FVD-16A has female rear threads. I tried adapting the FVD-16A to another lens setup without the Full Metal Jacket housing and disovered the female rear threads of the FVD-16A were not compatible with female front filter threads commonly found on most lenses. I couldn't find any inverter rings (male - male) for the 76mm filter threads.