A picture is worth a thousand words, but a high-quality anamorphic camera lens is worth a lot more than that. A typical anamorphic lens can cost thousands of dollars, and some reach well into five-figure territory.
For those unfamiliar with anamorphic lenses, these unique pieces of equipment provide wide, cinematic shots and dramatic lens flares by squeezing the image by 1.33x or more, then unsqueezing it during post-production. SIRUI has already revolutionized the market with their 50mm and 35mm anamorphic lenses in the last two years, and SIRUI’s new 24mm lens packs similar specs into an even more compact unit.
We recently caught up with the SIRUI team to hear about how they’re transforming the anamorphic lens game as well as their goal to transform how we think about photography and cinematography. Here’s what we found out.
What’s your founding story? How did it all begin?
Here at SIRUI, we have a long history, with over 20 years of experience in the photography industry. Producing products of superior quality at a reasonable price has always been the mission of SIRUI, and it’s also the guiding light behind our slogan, “SIRUI, capturing your imagination.”
We founded SIRUI because high-end and high-quality camera equipment, especially for video, is often expensive, deterring both professionals and amateurs from owning their own kit. To help photographers bring their projects to life, SIRUI has focused on technical innovation to work through engineering barriers. This is how we’ve gained our reputation as “game-changers” in the industry.
And crowdfunding has been a central part of this. In just two years, we’ve launched four projects, which has allowed us to reach more photographers and provide them with groundbreaking technology at a fraction of the cost of more conventional designs.
How did you decide on anamorphic lenses?
Before the introduction of our 50mm anamorphic lens, we had talked about developing an anamorphic lens, but high R&D costs were a roadblock to further development. Then in an internal brainstorming meeting, we had a major breakthrough. Jie Li, our chairman and founder, asked the team a simple question: “If money were no object, what kind of lens would you want the most?” The entire team brainstormed and expressed their opinions. In the end, it was the anamorphic lens that captured the hearts of everyone. A Hollywood-quality lens that costs $20,000 to $30,000 dollars is what everyone dreamed of having.
After learning the manufacturing principle of the anamorphic lens, Jie realized that with a few tweaks, the lenses could be made affordably and for broader appeal. SIRUI’s goal is to make it affordable and no longer out of reach for the general public. And after two years of development, we unveiled SIRUI’s 50mm anamorphic at the IFA exhibition in Germany to great fanfare.
The SIRUI team poses for a group photo at their headquarters in Verona, New Jersey.
What’s your latest project?
With the success of our 50mm lens, and then our 35mm lens after that, the 24mm lens was next up. Obviously, 2020 was an unprecedented year. The pandemic made it impossible for the team to promote our 24mm design at exhibitions. But we still knew we had something special and wanted to share it with the world. Thanks to the Indiegogo platform, we’ve been able to offer our 24mm lenses to consumers despite the difficult circumstances of the past year.
What makes the SIRUI 24mm lens special?
Compared with our 50mm and 35mm lenses, the 24mm lens is more challenging in terms of product design and more expensive in terms of production costs. Indiegogo gave us a platform to carefully gather the feedback from users to help us determine the specs and effects. We ended up with a 24mm lens that meets the demands of amateur and professional photographers alike, including the maximum aperture, optional mounts, color of the coating, lens flare, and oval bokeh. Every anamorphic lens has to undergo rigorous tests before being delivered to the consumer. The serial number of each product gives life to each lens and ensures the quality to each user.
What does the future hold for SIRUI?
In the future, SIRUI will keep up with the pace of social technological innovation, stay true to its mission and continue marching forward.
We would like to thank the nearly 10,000 backers who have supported us on IGG, taking us further down the road. SIRUI will stay true to our mission, humbly leveraging experience to continue providing consumers with products of high-quality at affordable price point.
Want to support SIRUI? Check out their campaign page to back their campaign today!