Atlas Lens Co. Mercury Full Frame 1.5x Anamorphic Lenses

Atlas Mercury Lifestyle02

Atlas Lens Co. has officially announced its new Mercury Full Frame 1.5x Front Anamorphic Lenses.

The new Mercury Series feature full-frame coverage, a 1.5x squeeze ratio with enhanced bokeh, a significant reduction in physical size and weight, a more dynamic geometric optical personality, and warmer vintage tones than the Atlas Orion Series. They also provide the same modern, mechanical conveniences that cinematographers expect.

Atlas Mercury Lifestyle03

The lenses will cover an imaging area of 36.7mm x 25.54mm as well as 16:9 / 3:2 / 4:3 sensors, with easy delivery to 2:1 / 2.25:1 / 2.66:1 / 2.4:1.

Atlas Mercury Series 3 4 view 36 42 72

The Mercury series all feature either a T2.2 or T2.3 aperture and the series will consist of the following focal lengths:

  • 36mm T2.2
  • 42mm T2.2
  • 54mm
  • 72mm T2.3
  • 95mm

At launch only the 36mm, 42mm and 72mm will be available. Another telephoto focal length will be added in 2023. I don’t have the T stop for the 54mm and 95mm.

Above you can see quite a few short videos where the new lenses were used.

I did a 20-minute-long interview with Atlas Lens Co. founders Dan Kanes, CEO, and Forrest Schultz, President and lead designer about their new Mercury series which you can listen to above. This interview provides some fascinating insight into why they chose to go with 1.5x instead of 1.8x or 2x, and the complexities of lens design.

Screenshot 2022 09 01 at 10 02 33 PM

Key features

  • Full-frame sensor coverage with 1.5x anamorphic coefficient
  • Aperture of T2.2 – T2.3 for Mercury Series
  • 78° horizontal field-of-view
  • 2.0ft / 0.56m close focus
  • Exceptional optical performance with vintage geometric personality
  • Golden streak flares, pleasing barrel distortion, near-zero chromatic aberration
  • Lightweight and compact: Half the size and weight of most pro anamorphic lenses
  • Arri PL mount for use on professional cinema cameras and mirrorless cameras via pl adapter
  • Standardized gears and diameters with 95mm front diameter
  • Focal lengths: Initially offering 42mm, 36mm, and 72mm. 54mm, 95mm, and one additional telephoto focal length to be announced in 2023
Screenshot 2022 09 02 at 7 56 47 AM

Atlas Lens Co. really wanted to push the boundaries of the Mercury Series in optical and product design, by balancing vintage character with modern sensor performance. The image Mercury produces provides classic anamorphic barrel distortion, smooth bokeh transitions, and a pleasant separation of foreground and background objects.

Why 1.5x?

Atlas Mercury 02 blk

Some readers may be asking why 1.5x? Well, I reached out to Atlas Lens Co. to ask them why they chose to make the new Mercury lenses with a 1.5x squeeze and not 1.8x or 2x. Here is what they told me:

The biggest reason for the 1.5x is that it provides two major things:

(1) It easily supports multiple delivery aspects

(2) It preserves many classic 2x anamorphic characteristics (oblong oval bokeh, barrel distortion, shallow depth of field) while allowing us to design a lens that is half the size and weight of most pro anamorphic lenses.

A 1.5x squeeze design allows manufacturers to balance the anamorphic characters as well as the resolution of the image. The 1.5x squeeze can produce a cinematic widescreen 2.39:1 aspect when paired up with 4:3 sensors. When paired up with 16:9 sensors, much less data (than 2X anamorphic lens) is needed to be cropped away to create the desired 2.39:1 ratio.

In a lot of ways, the decision to go with a 1.5x anamorphic makes a lot more sense than going with a 2x. 1.5x is more versatile and it allows the lens to be used on more cameras. Making a 1.5x anamorphic is also a lot easier than creating a 1.8x or 2x anamorphic.

It is interesting to see how many anamorphic lenses are now coming out with 1.5x and 1.8x squeeze and not a traditional 2x.

Size & Weight

The Mercury Full Frame 1.5x Anamorphic Lenses are reasonably lightweight and compact and you can see below the individual weight and dimensions for each lens.

36mm T2.22.7 lbs / 1.2 kg4.9″ / 12.6cm
42mm T2.22.3 lbs / 1.1 kg4.4″ / 11.2cm
72mm T2.33.6 lbs / 1.6 kg6.3″ / 16.2cm

Minimum Focusing Distance

36mm T2.21.5 ft / 46cm
42mm T2.22.0 ft / 56cm
54mm TBD
72mm T2.33.0 ft / 91cm
95mm TBD

Above you can see what the minimum focusing distance is for the various lenses in the series.

Other Features

Atlas Mercury Series Side View 36 42 72

The lenses were designed to be versatile and easy to use. They feature a robust, reliable mechanical design and they all come standard with an Arri PL mount. This allows them to be used on professional cinema cameras as well as any mirrorless prosumer camera via a PL adapter.

Screenshot 2022 09 02 at 7 55 46 AM

The Mercury series feature a 14 blade iris, and all elements are glass (no plastics are used). The lens body is coated in scratch-resistant anodized aluminum.

All the lenses in the series feature a unified focus and iris position and industry standard 0.8 pitch gears. They also all share a 95mm outer diameter which allows for native use with various matte boxes and filters.

The introduction of the Mercury Series is a welcome addition to the Atlas Lens Co. family of anamorphic cinema lenses. The Orion Series 2x anamorphic lenses were first introduced back in 2017 and their Orion 21mm, still holds the title of the world’s widest front anamorphic cinema lens.

Price & availability

Atlas Mercury Lifestyle01

The Atlas Lens Co. Mercury Full Frame 1.5x Anamorphic Lenses will retail for $5995 USD. There is also a 3-lens set that includes the 36mm, 42mm, and 72mm that will be available for $17,985 USD.

Screenshot 2022 09 01 at 6 58 16 PM

Discounted preorder pricing will be available for early adopters at $4,995 USD for one lens and $14,595 for a 3-lens set. Preorder deposits open at $995 USD for a single lens and $2,495 USD for a 3-lens set through December 31, 2022. There will be incremental preorder deposit increases through September 2023, which will signal the end of the Mercury preorder window. For more information about preorders, pricing, deposits, and
order windows, please visit https://atlaslensco.com/mercury-series/ or contact [email protected].

Atlas Mercury 72mm

The Mercury Series will also be available for in-person demos at the IBC 2022 Show in Amsterdam (booth 12.C44) September 9-12, 2022, or
by appointment at the Atlas Lens Co. headquarters in Glendale, CA. For questions about preordering the Mercury Series or to book a live demo, you can contact [email protected].

Screenshot 2022 08 19 at 10 39 35 AM


Screenshot 2022 08 19 at 2 46 29 PM

Direct competition comes from the P+S TECHNIK TECHNOVISION 1.5X primes. These are available in the following focal lengths:

  • 40mm T2.2
  • 50mm T2.2
  • 75mm T2.2
  • 100mm T2.5
  • 135mm T2.5
  • 150mm T2.5
  • 200mm T3.2

These lenses cover Full Format (36 x 24mm), and all the lenses except the 40mm will also the 65/70 scope format. The TECHNOVISION 1.5X series also consists of the AproXima primes and two zooms.

The Atlas Lens Co. Mercury series has the advantage of being smaller, lighter, and more affordable, but P+S TECHNIK offers far more focal lengths and two zooms.

Subscribe to our newsletter