Originally Posted by sipester
I'm curious why it wasn't designed that way? Historically one of the biggest costs for an anamorphic lens set-up was the sliding mechanism. Since this was intended to be a budget piece, it seems like it would have been a great selling point to indicate that for under $1,500 you get an anamorphic lens AND a manual sliding mechanism. Otherwise, if you don't move it out of the way, then it seems that this will have a big (and frankly, unnecessary) impact on 16:9 content.
Engineering a full blown manual sliding mechanism would have increased the production and R&D costs enough that we would not have been able to even come close to hitting the $1500 price point, which we felt important. However, as I mentioned above, you can move the lens out of the way if you like, but sooner or later you will need to tighten the mount screws as the motion will eventually loosen them. As you say, this is a budget lens, so for us it makes no sense to add high end features to a budget piece.
As far as the impact on 16:9 content, the impact is actually pretty modest. Your vertical resolution is still 1080, and it is in the vertical that the human eye is the most sensitive to detail. Our take on this subject (from our "How It Works" brochure):
If you are a True Widescreen fan of major motion pictures, a 2.40:1 screen and anamorphic lens are the obvious solution for max performance. The next question is how important smaller format movies and other content are to you. The most common reaction to contemplating a fixed lens solution is that smaller formats like 1.85:1 and 16:9 are shown with a lower number of pixels (1440x1080). It is instantly obvious that with a moveable lens you get it all - full 1920x1080 performance for 16:9 AND 2.35:1/2:40:1. For some people this is the holy grail and there is no need to think of other options. On the other hand, you can save both money and complexity of setup by never having to move the lens. There are several other advantages to choosing a fixed lens:
1. Brightness and resolution per unit area is the same for ALL content.
2. Calibration never changes.
3. Vertical resolution is the same for all formats - just like having a moveable lens (all content has 1080 vertical pixels). With a moveable lens you are getting 33% more pixels in the horizontal direction for 16:9 sources (1920x1080 moveable vs. 1440x1080 fixed). While this seems dramatic, it turns out that vertical pixel count is the most important parameter in determining perceived resolution (for a number of reasons). Consequently, a change in horizontal resolution is more difficult to see. Is such a change real? Absolutely. Is it noticeable? Remember that in a constant height imaging system your 16:9 image is, by definition, narrower than your 2.35:1 image. So while you get more horizontal pixels in that 16:9 space by moving the lens out of the way and not using Mode II scaling, those increased pixels are still in the same smaller area relative to the 2.35:1 image. There’s a point in your field of view where you can’t even see an increase in pixels for the same image size. Consequently, the disadvantages of a fixed lens may not be as significant as you might think.