Sirui 35mm f1.8 Anamorphic Lens Review | for M43

Sirui 35mm f1.8 Anamorphic Lens Review for Micro Four Thirds (M43)

Welcome to my review of the Sirui 35mm f1.8 Anamorphic lens for Micro Four Thirds.

One thing I hadn’t experienced until recently was shooting with an anamorphic lens.  Pairing this Sirui lens with my GH5II and GH6 has been an educational, creative, and fun experience.  To say that shooting anamorphic for the first time was flawless would be a stretch of the truth, but it’s the most fun I’ve had shooting Micro Four Thirds in a long time. Check my full list of lens and camera reviews on my website when you are finished with this review.

Ethics Disclaimer:

Before we go any further, a huge thanks to Sirui for sending out this 35mm F1.8 Anamorphic lens for review; I appreciate it.  This has been a pleasure to use, and rather than just reviewing the image quality, I wanted to focus on who this lens is for and the overall real-world shooting experience.  So if you’ve been thinking of getting into Anamorphic filmmaking and you shoot Micro Four Thirds, keep watching. I’ll post some links in the description box so you can check out this lens in your part of the world.

Sirui 35mm f1.8 Anamorphic Lens Review Video

Get the best prices globally using the affiliate links below. 

🛒 Sirui Global  (coupon geeky5 for a discount) | 🛒 B&H | 🛒 Amazon AU🛒 Amazon UK🛒 Amazon Canada🛒 Amazon De 


Who is this Lens For?

This is the Sirui 35mm F1.8 Anamorphic Lens for Micro Four Thirds.  This anamorphic lens with a 1.33x squeeze is designed to capture a super-wide cinematic aspect ratio and beautiful blue anamorphic flares. When light hits the lens just right, you get a more unique look than a standard prime.  I’ve been using this lens for about three weeks and have loads of sample clips and tips to share with what I’ve learned along the way.  If you’re interested in this lens, you might be new to shooting anamorphic like me – so this video is for you.

Sirui 35mm f1.8 Anamorphic Lens for Micro Four Thirds
Sirui 35mm f1.8 Anamorphic Lens for Micro Four Thirds


Anamorphic vs. Standard Hybrid Lenses

Anamorphic lenses are a creative choice for filmmakers wanting to escape the traditional mirrorless look.  These lenses produce a different look over standard zooms or prime lenses typical for hybrid shooting.  The Sirui lens also offers exceptional background compression, unique lens flaring and bokeh, and a fully manual focus workflow that will appeal to folks who might find the autofocus experience boring or unchallenging.  Even though this is a 35mm lens, you’ll get a wider field of view once de-squeezed than your standard prime lens. I wanted to showcase that there’s more to this lens than just beautiful blue flaring.


What’s in the Box?

Before we cover the shooting experience, let’s cover everything we get in the box.  Inside the box is a user manual, a QR code card that gives us access to the Sirui website, two follow focus and aperture ring accessories, and the lens.  The lens came shrink-wrapped inside a bag with a silica gel packet.  For those using a follow-focus motor

Sirui 35mm f1.8 what's in the box?
Sirui 35mm f1.8, what’s in the box?


Build Quality

In your hand, this lens feels fantastic.  The Sirui 35mm lens is all metal – from the focus and aperture ring to the rear lens element.  This high-quality lens feels more robust than my 10-25mm Panasonic Leica lens.  Weighing in at 580 grams, it’s not light, but the shooting experience and results made it worth it.  At around $500, the build quality is excellent.   

Sirui 35mm Anamorphic Lens Build Quality is Excellent
Sirui 35mm Anamorphic Lens Build Quality is Excellent.


Focus and Aperture Ring

The Focus ring feels fluid under the fingers, and the aperture ring is smooth and well-controlled.  Since this lens is 100% manual and not a focus-by-wire setup, you can pull focus reliably once you get a feel for it.  Focusing from minimum focus to infinity looks around the 185o mark – slightly over half of a turn.

Speaking of focusing – the minimum focusing distance is rated at 90cm, which is not very close.  While this lens shines for establishing shots, talking headshots, or anything run and gun-filmmaking – the minimum focusing distance will make it too restrictive for tight shots or closeups.  I found a small hack with this.  My GH5II and GH6 have pixel-to-pixel mode, which crops in on the sensor, giving you the illusion of a closer focusing distance.  This is a workaround if your camera has this digital crop mode option in the menu.  Except for the minimum focusing distance, the lens is a pleasure to use – but its limitation needs to be noted.



After shooting with the GH5II and GH6, this lens feels better balanced with the larger GH6 thanks to the extended grip and fatter body.  I found it too front-heavy with the GH5II, but this is not a deal-breaker considering the price. Whether you have a GH5, GH5S, GH5II, or GH6, this lens is fully compatible with the in-camera de-squeeze feature.


Setting up your camera

Diving into the menu of the GH5II or GH6, you will need to set the de-squeeze to 1.33x and shoot in one of the standard wide-screen aspect ratios.  Another benefit of shooting with the cameras mentioned earlier is that you can preview your footage de-squeezed on playback, which is wild.  These cameras allow you to shoot in real-time, seeing the final result.

Setting up a GH6/GH5II for Anamorphic Filmmaking
Setting up a GH6/GH5II for Anamorphic Filmmaking (see video above for full guide)


Once you drop your footage into your editor, you can de-squeeze it to fit your project. The sample clips were produced using a 5107×2160 aspect ratio.  This 1.33x anamorphic is perfect on cameras with a 16:9 sensor to produce a standard wide-screen 2.4:1 aspect ratio. 

Final Cut Project for Sirui 35mm Anamorphic Lens
Final Cut Project for Sirui 35mm Anamorphic Lens


Don’t feel bad if you don’t know what most of this means; don’t stress – I also had to do quite a bit of research before filming for the first time. Also, shooting anamorphic throws many new numbers at you, even if you’ve shot a lot with regular 16×9.


First Experience Shooting Anamorphic

Next, I wanted to talk about my experience shooting anamorphic for the first time.  I had a lot of shots out of focus on my first few attempts, even with the focus peaking on the GH5II and GH6. I missed focus quite a lot.  I recommend using an external monitor when shooting anamorphic to nail critical focus.

Static shots were generally fine, but trying to nail focus on a moving subject was another story.  A larger external monitor will make a world of difference until you get used to the feel of the lens. Also, some external monitors have much more robust focus peaking than you’ll find on mirrorless cameras, so keep that in mind if you plan on shooting many moving subjects handheld.

Sirui 35mm f1.8 video cinematic video lens
Sirui 35mm f1.8 video cinematic video lens


Follow Focus Motor

Using a follow-focus motor will also improve the entire experience for anything where the focus will be pulled manually.  Can you get away with this handheld? Absolutely.  All the samples on screen were shot handheld using the Sirui 35mm F1.8.  If you want cinematic shots, a gimbal and follow focus motor will be a great pairing for this lens.  Sadly, my follow focus motor for my gimbal can’t lift the load of this combination, so I was out of luck.

My favorite results came from pairing the Sirui lens with the GH6.  Even shooting with the natural picture profile, the results looked beautiful.  The colors and details looked great. Here are some examples of the footage shooting with the GH6. Again, the colors, background separation, and visual look are impressive, even if I missed focus here and there.


Low Light Performance

Thanks to the fast f1.8 Aperture, low-light performance is solid was solid. The GH6 gave me the cleanest results when shooting in VLOG or the Natural Picture Profile. 

Low Light Performance with the Lumix GH5II and Sirui 35mm f1.8
Low Light Performance with the Lumix GH5II and Sirui 35mm f1.8


Lens Flaring and Bokeh

Lens flaring is beautiful when light hits the front element. The great news is the lens will only flare with direct light and not always, making this extremely usable and creative when you want to see the flaring effect.  The bokeh balls have a cat-eye look, which is another nice attribute of the look of Anamorphic. You can see some great blue flares in this shot, and I think it looks great. You’ll either like this effect or you won’t, as it’s completely subjective – but I dig it.

Lens Flaring and Background Blur Bokeh
Lens Flaring and Background Blur Bokeh


Chromatic Aberration

I noticed some chromatic aberration when shooting in high-contrast situations, but I expected this to be true.  Anamorphic cinematic lenses have “Character,” which is part of the appeal.  I don’t think the Chromatic Aberration will be a deal-breaker for most shooters, and if you’re looking for a non-technically perfect lens, you’ll get a kick out of it.

Flaring and Chromatic Aberration
Flaring and Chromatic Aberration


Final Review

This anamorphic Lens is an affordable way to get into cinematic filmmaking.  The results can look fantastic when you nail focus. There’s plenty of background blur and subject separation. The compression of this lens on Micro Four Thirds looks great. This Sirui lens will appeal to filmmakers who don’t want to spend thousands on an alternative option.

The shooting experience with Anamorphic has been challenging and fun for a beginner. Check out this lens if you love a hands-on approach to shooting manually and love the anamorphic look. I’ll link it down in the description box below.  Thanks to Sirui for sending this anamorphic lens for review; I appreciate it – this has been the most fun I’ve had shooting Micro Four Thirds in a while.  Let me know what you think of Anamorphic lenses in the comments, and thanks for watching!

Get the best prices globally using the affiliate links below. 

🛒 Sirui Global  (coupon geeky5 for a discount) | 🛒 B&H | 🛒 Amazon AU🛒 Amazon UK🛒 Amazon Canada🛒 Amazon De