A little while back I was loaned a Triad PL to E-Mount adapter for review. E-Mount is the Sony mount used on the NEX-FS100, NEX-FS700 as well as The VG10, VG20 and NEX stills cameras. While more and more E-Mount lenses are becoming available from Sony and other DSLR lens manufacturers there will be many times when something more suitable for video work might be needed. One of the big issues with DSLR lenses is the very small amount of rotation on the focus ring to go from near to far, often only 45 degrees which makes accurate focus tricky. A good PL mount lens will have over 180 degrees of rotation. PL has been the industry standard for movie cameras for years and most rental companies have large ranges of PL lenses to choose from. So the ability to be able to use a PL lens on any super 35mm camcorder is always welcome. While I use DSLR lenses on my cameras for my day to day shoots, if I am doing a high end production such as a commercial then I will hire in the appropriate PL lenses for the job. Sony’s soon to be released FS700 is a camera that will, I’m sure end up getting used for many commercials as slow motion is a technique widely used to show off new products or ideas. As a result there will be many time in the future where I will need a PL adapter.
The Triad adapter is very solidly made, machined from high grade alloy with stainless steel and chrome plated steel inserts. One of the very nice features is that the adapter has a built in adjustment for the back focus distance. A locking outer ring on the adapter can be rotated to alter the physical distance between the PL receptor and the E-Mount bayonet. This will allow the user to calibrate the back focus or flange back distance so that the focus witness marks on any PL lenses will be 100% accurate. It will also ensure that PL zooms will track focus correctly through the entire zoom range. As the FS100 and FS700 don’t have built in back focus adjustments this really is a vital thing to have. The Sony E-mount was only designed to support the weight of light weight DSLR type lenses so the Triad adapter has a support post that can be attached to 15mm or 19mm rails (via a suitable bracket) to help carry the weight of heavy PL lenses without over-stressing the cameras E-Mount. One note from Triad is that the Sony PL lenses supplied with the kit that comes with the PMW-F3 do not fit this adapter. There are quite a few PL mounts that don’t accept the Sony PL lenses without shaving a bit of metal from the Sony lenses mount. So this isn’t a flaw with the Triad adapter, it’s a non standard quirk of the Sony PL lenses.
There’s really not much more to say about this mount. It’s well made and does what it designed to do.
This is a new lens announced today by Fujinon. It’s a 19-90mm T2.9 PL mount zoom lens, which in itself isn’t particularly interesting, there are plenty of similar lenses on the market. What is very interesting is that this lens has a removable hand grip that contains motors for the zoom and iris. So this lens bridges the gap between a traditional 2/3″ ENG style lens and a PL cine lens. If you don’t need the servo functions you can remove the hand grip. The lens has standard 0.8mod gears on the focus, zoom and iris rings so conventional follow focus motors can be used. In addition the lens is very lightweight for a PL zoom. Clearly this lens is in response to the growing use of Super 35mm camcorders in documentaries, news and other similar applications.
I’ve been asked a couple of times for some frame grabs shot with one of the MTF B4 to super 35MM adapters that I designed. Well, here they are. Shot on a Canon C300 fitted with the adapter and an old standard definition Canon J16 zoom lens. It was late in the day when I shot this so it’s not showing the adapter in its best light and of course an HD lens would be even better.
Click on the thumbnails to view a larger image or the full resolution image. I love the fact that even when using a super35mm sensor you can still have this great par-focal zoom range. Put a 20x ENG zoom and you can get both wider and closer!
So here it is. The first one off the CNC machine with many more to follow in the next few days. There will be an additional lens support bracket on it by the time they ship and of course they will be completely anodised. It requires the use of a 2/3″ lens with a 2x extender. Optical performance depends on that of the lens, so an HD lens is highly recommended, however if you have an old SD lens kicking around it may be useable. When using the adapter you use the 2x extender. The total magnification is 2.5x so a 7.6mm to 152mm 20x ENG lens becomes a 19mm to 380mm lens. There is also a 2.5 stop light loss so a f1.8 lens becomes a f6 lens. The adapter will come as a kit for the PMW-F3 or FS100 for £1150. If you wish to use it on a Canon DSLR with an APS-C sized sensor (7D, 550d, T2i etc) the price is £950.
So, I might be a little late on this announcement as I’m currently working in Taiwan, but yesterday Canon released information on two new video cameras and 4 new zooms plus 3 cinematography prime lenses. The press information from Canon is below. Reading between the lines and picking out some of the key points this is a very significant announcement. The cameras have a new 8.29 mega pixel sensor recording to compact flash cards at 1920 x 1080, 4:2:2 at 50Mb/s. The sensor uses a bayer type pattern, but due to the very large pixel count it has a Red and Blue pixel for each sample in the 1920×1080 frame as well as two Green pixels. This should lead to very good colorimetry, but is a little odd considering that the camera only has a single HDSDi output, which I assume would just be 1.5G 4:2:2, so much of the 4:4:4 data derived from the sensor goes to waste unless it can output 4:4:4 10 bit over HDMI. The higher pixel count and thus smaller pixels than F3/Alexa could have an impact on dynamic range sensitivity and noise, but until I see some raw footage or get my grubby hands on one, who knows? The Laforet video “Mobius” http://vimeo.com/30215350 has quite a “video” look to it, but that might just be the online compression. The camera has a built in Log Curve that is said to offer improved dynamic range. Clearly Canon have some of the F3 market in their sights.
There are HDMI and HDSDi outputs so recording to an external device to improve image quality should not be an issue, 8 bit, 4:2:2 is a bit of a shame on a camera with a sensor spec like this, at least it’s an improvement over the Sony F3′s 8 bit 4:2:0 at 35MB/s. If your going to use the Log curve then you defiantly want to record to a higher quality, preferably 10 bit codec (I am assuming the HDSDi output is 10 bit). UPDATE: I am reading many reports of the HDSDI out only being 8 bit. I hope this is not the case!!!
It does tick many professional feature boxes with XLR audio in, Genlock and even a sync output. This would make it well suited to 3D applications. It looks kind of like a DSLR and has a removable handgrip, a rear mounted EVF as well as a removable smallish LCD panel. One mistake I think Canon have made is that you have to choose between the EOS lens mount and PL mount versions of the camera. Why could they have not made a camera body with a removable mount that would allow you to choose between PL or DSLR glass without having to change the entire camera body, or use an EOS to PL lens adapter with it’s extra optical elements?
Still I do like the thought of a stripped down EOS mount version (C300) with a nice L series zoom on it for shooting on the road or covert filming. However even the use of the EOS mount is a little strange as there is no provision for Auto Focus or Auto Iris, something that you would have thought would be easy to implement. This is a fully manual camera. I’d really like auto iris you know, if only for tricky time-lapse sequences. Iris control is on the camera body. According to Andy Shipsides of Abel Cine the iris steps slightly as you adjust it when using EOS lenses, what a shame. Makes PL sound like a better option for serious productions.
Having a s35mm sized sensor and the 50Mb/s 4:2:2 codec does meant that it ticks all of the BBC’s approval boxes, so you should be able to use it on most broadcast projects. But it is a strange beast on paper. A DSLR-ish form factor, EOS lens mount without focus or iris control, a 4:4:4 ready sensor but only 4:2:2 recording. Hmmm, you know what, I have to wonder if that sensor isn’t going to appear in another camera with RGB or Dual Link recording. Camera price is approx $20k USD, available in January.
As an F3 owner the new Canon PL mount lenses look ver interesting indeed. The 30-300mm T2.9 – T3.7 would be a great lens for shooting music concerts and other similar events, while the 14.5-60mm T2.5 would be a fantastic all round zoom covering the most commonly used focal lengths that I use.
Canon Press Release:
Lights! Camera! Action! Canon Launches Cinema EOS System
All-New Cinema Lens Line-up & Digital Video Camcorders to Leave No Story Untold
Canon today announced its full-fledged entry into the motion picture production industry with the launch of the Cinema EOS System. Canon’s new professional digital cinematography system spans the lens, digital video camcorder and digital SLR camera product categories.
The Cinema EOS System targets a new area of imaging and builds on a 74-year history of innovation and expertise in the field of optical and imaging technology.
The new Cinema EOS System, offers compatibility with Canon’s wide array of high-performance EF lenses, provides cinematographers with a range of unprecedented creative possibilities to ensure that no story is left untold.
With the debut of the Cinema EOS System, Canon today introduced seven new 4K EF Cinema Lenses, four zoom lenses and three single-focal-length models, which complement the current diverse line-up of interchangeable EF lenses for EOS SLR cameras.
4K EF Cinema Lens Line up
The seven new 4K EF Cinema Lens models include four zoom lenses covering a wide zoom range from 14.5 mm to 300 mm, two models each for EF and PL lens mounts, and three single-focal-length lenses for EF mounts. All seven new lenses deliver exceptional 4K (4096 x 2160 pixels) optical performance and offer compatibility with Super 35 mm-equivalent sensors.
EOS C300/C300 PL Interchangeable-Lens Digital Video Camcorder
The Canon EOS C300/C300 PL is an all new digital video camcorder available in two models: the EOS C300, equipped with an EF lens mount which is compatibility with the wide array of Canon EF interchangeable lenses; and the EOS C300 PL, offering a PL lens mount for use with industry-standard PL lenses. The camcorder features a Super 35 mm, 8.29-megapixel CMOS sensor ideally suited for digital cinematography.
Cinema EOS System: Product Overview
7 New EF Cinema lenses:
CN-E14.5–60mm T2.6 L S – (EF Mount)
CN-E14.5–60mm T2.6 L SP – (PL Mount)
CN-E30–300mm T2.95–3.7 L S – (EF Mount)
CN-E30–300mm T2.95–3.7 L SP – (PL Mount)
CN-E24mm T1.5 L F – (EF Mount)
CN-E50mm T1.3 L F – (EF Mount)
CN-E85mm T1.3 L F – (EF Mount)
2 New Digital Video Camcorders:
EOS C300 – (EF Mount)
EOSC300 PL – (PL Mount)
Just a quick note on a rather obscure subject. I do a lot of 3D work. Buying pairs of PL mount lenses for my F3′s is beyond my budget right now, so I hire in lenses when I need them. However for my own projects I use DSLR lenses, mainly Nikkors and Tokina’s. One thing that i have discovered is that many of the older manual Nikkors have a tendency to shift the image left and right when you focus. This then miss-aligns the rig. The more modern internal focussing lenses are much, much better in this respect with little or no shift at all. The only problem with the more modern IF lenses is that they often don’t have iris rings (so iris is adjusted with a MTF adapter) and the focus control often has a slipping clutch making repeatable focussing a little harder. So neither is perfect. For 3D applications I think the more modern IF lenses are preferable.
I was sent a couple of Adaptimax lens mount adapters to test on my PMW-F3. I have used some of their EX3 adapters in the past and these worked very well. The new PMW-F3 adapters are finished with a very nice hard black anodised finish and look very smart indeed. I had 3 adapters to try, one F3 to Canon and two F3 to Nikon adapters. The Canon adapter is a “dumb” adapter, so there is no way to control the lenses iris. If your using Canon lenses this means using a DSLR body to set the iris before using the lens on the F3. Obviously this is not ideal, but you do have to consider that there is a massive range of lenses that can be used with this Canon adapter via a secondary adapter ring.
Canon’s flange back distance (the sensor to lens distance) is the shortest in the DSLR world. So this means that there is space to adapt to other lens mounts with longer flange back distances such as M42, Nikon, Pentax, Pentacon etc. This opens up a whole world of possibilities as now you can use those nice M42 Zeiss lenses that can be picked up cheap on ebay by adding a cheap M42 to Canon adapter.
If you have already invested in Nikon fit glass then you can use a Nikon to Canon adapter or you can use one of Adaptimax’s purpose built F3 to Nikon adapters.
There are two varieties, the original Adaptimax and the Adaptimax Plus. The Plus version includes a long screw that pushes the iris pin on the rear of the lens to give you iris control even when the lens does not have an iris ring. While this is not as elegant as MTF Services rotating adapter barrel, it works fine and the simplicity of the design means the adapter is a little cheaper. The standard version has no iris control, so you need to ensure your lens has a proper iris ring. Priced at £255 for the standard adapters and £265 for the plus versions these are good value for money.
OK folks. I wanted to see just how well a 2/3″ broadcast lens would work on an F3, but don’t have $5.5k to fork out on one of the Abel adapters. So with a bit of head scratching, a few, lowish cost lens purchases and a few hours in the workshop I cobbled together my own adapter. At first I tried a 2x magnifier but this didn’t quite give me full sensor coverage and was soft out in the corners. With a little more work I took the magnification up to 2.5x and I have clean corners. I’m really pleased with the performance, although one lens element needs changing for a higher quality element to combat some softness when the iris is fully open.
My old Canon J16x8 f1.8 becomes a 24 to 320mm f4(ish) par-focal lens which is actually quite handy. Next step is to make up a power cable for the lens so I can use the zoom servo.
I’m considering trying to find a manufacturer that can make these up for me properly, the converter should cost a lot less than $5.5k
UPDATED: SEE UPDATE AT END!
I won this lens on ebay for the grand total of £44.00. Now for that kind of money you don’t normally expect to get a great deal, but this time I got quite a lot. I certainly got a lot of weight and bulk, this is a big lens. It was designed to work with a Pentacon or Kiev medium format camera with a 6″x6″ frame size. The front element is about 3″ (80mm) in diameter, it’s over a foot long and weighs about 5lbs (2.5kg). One of the things that attracted me to it is the iris which has 19 blades giving a very round aperture, so the bokeh is very pleasant looking. The rear of the lens has a Pentacon to M42 mount onto which I screw a M42 to Nikon adapter ring. Due to it’s length and weight it is vital that the lens is supported. The lens comes with a 3/8″ mounting ring with a 3/8″ to 1/4″ insert.
For the moment I’m using the bracket from a Genus DSLR shoulder rig to support the lens until my new Genus lens support bracket arrives.
So… what are the pictures like? Well at F4 it’s a little soft, but stop it down to f5.6 and it sharpens up nicely. I also tried it with a 1.5x and 2x extender as these will soon show up any lens issues. With both the lens performed respectfully well with the iris at f5.6. Stop down to f8 and the lens really performs very well. Of course with the very small s35 sensor compared to the 6″x6″ that the lens was designed for you are only using the center part of the frame, which always tends to be the sharpest part. While it may not perform as well as the latest state of the art long focal length Canon’s or Nikons, this lens does do a pretty good job and if you only occasionally need a long lens, for the money it’s hard to beat.
UPDATE: To get this lens to work on the F3 I was using a M42 to Nikon adapter. This has a corrective lens in it to enable infinity focus. After playing with this adapter on some other M42 lenses I found it’s performance to be less than satisfactory at large apertures. So I tried the Pentacon 4 again, but this time with a M42 to Canon adapter and one of Steve Shovlar’s new Adaptimax Canon to F3 adapters. The performance improvement was quite noticeable and now I can use the Pentacon fully open at f4 with great results. This really is a rather nice lens.
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