Blazar Unveils New Cato Anamorphic Set and Remus Lenses

Blazar Unveils Cato 2x Anamorphic Set and More Remus 1.5x Lenses

Despite the massive growth in the anamorphic lenses category over the past few years, most filmmakers still find themselves having to choose between lower-budget choices with imaging compromises or pricey picks that give a true widescreen feel. Blazar, previously known as Great Joy, continues to bridge that gap with reasonably priced anamorphics that can go toe-to-toe optically with higher-priced competition. Case in point, the new Cato series featuring a 2x squeeze factor and large format sensor coverage. Blazar also expanded its popular 1.5x Remus line with new 33mm and 35mm lenses, both T1.6, but with different sensor coverage. 

Let’s start with the Cato 2x series, a surprising and exciting addition. 2x squeeze factors are preferred by many anamorphic users, but it’s incredibly difficult to achieve with lower priced offerings, often resulting in inconsistent squeeze and pincushion distortion. In Blazar we trust, as they promise the Cato’s will feature the same retro characteristics and modern reliability of the Remus line, while upping that sweet squeeze. The Cato’s will come in PL or EF mounts and weigh under 2.2 lbs each, with a neutral silver flare that can match the color of most light sources. Getting a 2x squeeze at a lower cost must come with some sacrifices, thus the inconsistent T-stops across the line and some variance in their image circle. The 85 and 125mm are 36x24mm, while the image circles on the wider 40 and 50mm are only 24x20mm and 28.8x24mm respectively. That should be more than enough for traditional full frame cameras, but if you’re dealing with special large format bodies, it’s good to double check the requirements of the sensor.

The original three lenses in the 1.5x Remus line – the 45mm, 65mm, and 100mm – all feature that same 36x24mm image circle as the longer Cato’s, as well as similarly manageable sizes and weights. Fans of the lenses praise their vintage look, beautiful flares, and oval bokeh, and were hoping the fourth slot in the set’s included hard case was destined for a wider focal length. Blazar has granted their wish, with some caveats. The new Remus 33mm T1.6 has a 32x24mm image circle, enough to cover 16x9 full frame sensors, but it also has a protruding front element that blocks any filters. The 35mm T1.6 can take front filters, but the image circle is only 25x17mm, too small for full frame or large format cameras. If you’re shooting Super35 it’s no big deal, just keep in mind that the S35 crop factor gives the 35mm a field of view closer to a full frame 45mm. To get great anamorphics at an affordable price, compromises are necessary, but this is definitely an unusual way to build out a line of lenses marketed at full frame users.

So which set is right for you? If you’re making content that could end up on movie screens and other widescreen settings, the 2x squeeze on the Cato’s is worth the investment. If you find yourself often cropping anamorphic footage for online and social use, the 1.5x squeeze on the Remus should be more than enough, and the 33mm promises to be the widest Blazar lens thus far. Either way, expect the warm, nostalgic look, impressively close focus, reliable squeeze factor, and compact build that Blazar has built their reputation on.

To learn more about Blazar’s newest lenses, including additional features, specs, and highlights, be sure to check out the detailed product pages for the Cato 2x set, as well as the new Remus 33mm and 35mm. What kind of projects do you want to use Blazar anamorphics for? Drop us a line below, and we’ll do our best to reply to your comments and questions.