CAMERA Lenses Uncategorized


To be honest, I didn’t have high expectations for these lenses. I was wrong…

I first came across these lenses in an Instagram post when the Mercury series Atlas lenses were released. Whenever I encounter an ad for gear that claims to do too much for too little, I tend to become suspicious about its abilities and quality. Or maybe that’s just me? Nevertheless, I found myself quite curious about these lenses and wanted to learn more. It’s typically challenging to find affordable lens options to rent and test, but I was fortunate that a boutique rental house nearby had a set available. Obviously, everything below is my own opinion and may not be the same for you and your interests. As long as this post gets you interested in experimenting with everything and trying new options and combos to make your images interesting and unique, then it was all worth it!


Front of Blazer 45mm lens

The company behind the lenses is Great Joy of China. They’ve been producing budget-friendly optics and adapters for a while now. The rebranding to “Blazar” seems to coincide with their serious commitment to rolling out new lenses this year (including a newly announced 2x anamorphic option at NAB 2024!).

Firstly, they are very small, akin to Zeiss Superspeeds! In fact, they sport an 80mm front—just like the classic Superspeeds—yet their build is robust enough to support a clip-on matte box. We frequently used them with a +1 diopter throughout the shoot! Secondly, they feel solid. I typically expect inexpensive lenses and gear, in general, to feel lightweight and hollow, as if something’s missing, but not these!


  • The lenses feature a 1.5x squeeze that covers a 3:2 Full-Frame gate (36x24mm).
  • They boast a fast aperture of T2.0 – T2.8.
  • With a 16-blade iris.
  • They offer a 150º focus rotation.
  • Mounting options include PL or EF swapability.
  • They support a 77mm front thread filter.
  • Close focus is 2.23′.
  • Currently available lengths: 45/65/100mm

For context, we shot with the Panasonic S5IIX on this project. I used a cheap Fotodiox L-PL adapter to attach them to the body, and from there, we built it out to be as compact as possible.

Despite the unconventional mounting on a DSLR, it remained relatively compact. We shot in 5.8k 17×9 mode (Full Frame) with a 1.5x anamorphic squeeze, framed at 2.39:1 (side crop), in Prores 422HQ.


I have to admit I wasn’t expecting to see characteristics that align with what I’d call classic anamorphic, but they do, in fact, impart a raw and flawed feel, brimming with distortion, blur, chromatic aberration, and peculiar refraction that I quite appreciate. If you’ve read one of my lens reviews before, you’d know I adore the aesthetic of vintage glass. Both the sharpness and edge quality feel very natural and manageable, and the breathing pattern isn’t unusual or distracting. Over the years, I’ve shot a lot of anamorphic, and to me, the resulting imagery from these lenses feels like a blend of the Kowa Prominars and the Hawk-V series lenses from 2000. The image exhibits all the delightful light reactions, flare, and aberrations of the hefty V-series but with the smeary and distorted qualities reminiscent of Kowas. Like the Kowas, these lenses seem to perform admirably even when wide open. I liken them to a V-series Hawk due to the expressive fractured flair they produce and their ability to deliver clean, sharp contrast.

45mm @ T5.6
65mm @ T8
45mm @ T4

In short, I found this set produced a smooth and controllable look that embodies classic anamorphic characteristics. The 1.5x squeeze anamorphic may feel slightly less dimensional than what you’re accustomed to with normal 2x glass, but it also offers the flexibility for other shooting ratios that we’re only now beginning to explore in cinema and streaming, such as 2:1 and 2.20:1 aspect ratios, and even vertical anamorphic options like 4×3 and 9×16 crops.