Laowa Proteus Flex 2X Anamorphic Series: A New Way to Change Flare Colors

Laowa, a Chinese lens manufacturer, has recently announced its new Proteus Flex 2X Anamorphic Series, which allows users to change the flare colors of their anamorphic lenses by swapping the rear optical blocks. This is a unique feature that has not been seen before in the anamorphic lens market.

What is an anamorphic lens and why does it matter?

An anamorphic lens is a type of lens that squeezes the image horizontally to create a wider aspect ratio and a more cinematic look. Anamorphic lenses also produce distinctive optical effects, such as oval-shaped bokeh, horizontal lens flares, and curved distortion. These effects are often desired by filmmakers who want to emulate the style of classic Hollywood movies or create a more immersive visual experience.

Laowa Proteus Flex 2X Anamorphic Series: A New Way to Change Flare Colors
Laowa Proteus Flex 2X Anamorphic Series: A New Way to Change Flare Colors

However, anamorphic lenses are usually expensive and have limited compatibility with different cameras and sensors. Moreover, the flare colors of anamorphic lenses are usually fixed and depend on the coating and design of the lens elements. This means that filmmakers have to choose the flare color that suits their creative vision before buying or renting an anamorphic lens.

How does the Proteus Flex system work?

The Proteus Flex system is a patented innovation by Laowa that allows users to change the flare colors of their anamorphic lenses by swapping the rear optical blocks. The rear optical block is the part of the lens that attaches to the camera mount and contains some of the lens elements. By changing this part, users can alter the optical characteristics of the lens, including the flare color.

The Proteus Flex system is compatible with the Laowa Proteus 2X Anamorphic Series, which consists of eight focal lengths: 20mm, 28mm, 35mm, 45mm, 60mm, 85mm, 100mm, and 135mm. All of these lenses have a constant T2 aperture and a 2X squeeze ratio, which means they can create a 2.66:1 or 2.4:1 aspect ratio when used with a 4:3 or 6:5 sensor. The lenses also have a universal PL mount and come with an interchangeable EF bayonet.

The Proteus Flex system offers three flare color options: amber, blue, and silver. Users can choose the flare color that matches their mood, theme, or genre of their film. For example, amber flares can create a warm and nostalgic atmosphere, while blue flares can create a cool and futuristic vibe. Silver flares can create a neutral and realistic tone.

The Proteus Flex system does not require any shimming or calibration when swapping the rear optical blocks. Users can easily change the flare color by themselves in about 5 to 10 minutes. This saves time and money for filmmakers who want to experiment with different flare colors without buying or renting multiple sets of lenses.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of the Proteus Flex system?

The Proteus Flex system is a novel and innovative solution that gives filmmakers more creative freedom and flexibility when using anamorphic lenses. It also makes anamorphic lenses more accessible and affordable for indie filmmakers who want to achieve a cinematic look with their films.

However, the Proteus Flex system also has some limitations and drawbacks. First of all, it only works with the Laowa Proteus 2X Anamorphic Series, which means users have to invest in these lenses if they want to use the system. Secondly, the system only changes the flare color, not other optical effects such as bokeh shape or distortion. Thirdly, the system may introduce some optical aberrations or inconsistencies when changing the rear optical blocks. Lastly, the system may not be compatible with some camera accessories such as matte boxes or follow focus systems.

How much does the Proteus Flex system cost and when will it be available?

The Proteus Flex system has not been officially released yet, but Laowa has showcased it at IBC 2023 in Amsterdam from September 15 to 18. The price of the system has not been announced either, but it is expected to be cheaper than buying multiple sets of lenses with different flare colors.

The Laowa Proteus 2X Anamorphic Series lenses are already available for pre-order on Laowa’s website. A single lens costs $4,999 USD and a two-lens set costs $9,499 USD. The four existing focal lengths (35mm, 45mm, 60mm, and 85mm) are ready to order, while the four new focal lengths (20mm, 28mm, 100mm, and 135mm) are due to be released in late 2023.

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