Elite 24.5mm Anamorphic Lens


The Elite 24.5mm T2.1 is the most modern of my anamorphic lens set. It is also the widest focal length of the bunch. Before I pulled the trigger on it, I was briefly torn between the Elite and the Cineovision 24mm. But the soft optics and heavy flaring of the Cineovision were far too extreme for what might be the most important lens in the set. The Elite had sharpness, a fast aperture, good contrast, and the perfect amount of flare control that I was looking for.

The 24.5mm was built by JSC Optica-Elite, a lens manufacturer based out of St.Petersburg, Russia. They have discontinued the line of anamorphic lenses this one came from - opting to slim the design down, much like the Kowa Prominar's, I assume. (As of this writing, the new design has not been released yet.)

The 24.5 is a squat piece of glass that weighs in at over 6 pounds. The front diameter is an enormous 142mm. The construction is superb, with very little breathing and an approximate 300 degree rotation of the focus barrel. The maximum aperture is T2.1, and the minimum focus is 3'4". Just like the rest of my set, the crop factor is 2X.

Is this the most important lens in the set? You can almost always walk a 100mm in closer if you need to tighten up; but if you have to get wider, there's no option except the right piece of glass. The widest end of anamorphic focal lengths, in my humble opinion, need to be clear and sharp above all else. If I am photographing things that end up appearing very small in the frame, I can't afford to have soft optics and contrast reduction affecting the image and making the subjects a muddy mess. It sounds obvious, but when assembling a set of vintage lenses, the inclination might be to match them all up by brand. It was a personal choice not to do that. But do not be dismayed - this lens is not without immense character.





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