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Mini Adapter w/ Nikon Lenses


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#1 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 28 December 2005 - 02:47 PM

What kind of luck has anyone had w/ the DVX-100 + the mini-adapter + Nikon 35mm still lenses? This setup is one of the possibilities we're going to look at for a short narrative film. My gut reaction is that it's the wrong way to go: I love my Nikon Still lenses, but they won't work w/ a follow-focus. Furthermore, we'll have to sort out a Nikon to Arri-Pl adapter. Another knock is the light loss w/ the mini-adapter, which would obligate me to actually pump some light into our practical location, w/ little hope of having a genny or tie-in. My guess is to spend the mini-adapter rental on an SDX-900 and shoot the thing on one cine-style zoom. Any thoughts?
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#2 Trevor Greenfield

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Posted 28 December 2005 - 03:10 PM

I dont know what anyone can tell you that would change your opinion. In anything but daylight you will probably have to pump some light to it. If you are looking for natural light for something low lux, then probably the 35 adapter is not the way to go. There is no way to change physics.
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#3 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 12:11 AM

It's not that I don't want to light; I think the expense of the personel and equipment is going to obliterate whatever savings might be had from using a free dvx-100 (w/ the rented mini-adapter.) W/ the SDX-900, I figure I can take away light here and there, and end up w/ a pleasing image.
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#4 rook

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 03:40 PM

Hi there,

I've been using a 35 adapter with nikon SLR glass. It really depends on the adapter but they all cut some light. The best I've seen (guerilla35) only seem to cut about one stop. Mine, on the other hand, cuts about three stops and is a lighting nightmare for inside shots.

As far a follow focus' are concerned. There isn't a lot of options yet, but they are coming. The folks over at indifocus.com have promised a version of their FF that will work with an adapter and nikon lenses. and the Cimtech crew also have one in the works.

And as a general note on these adapters...they are essential. I can't shoot without them anymore.

-rook
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#5 Brian Wells

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 03:58 PM

And as a general note on these adapters...they are essential. I can't shoot without them anymore.

Rook-

I think J-Ro's point was that by using the SDX900 with its 2/3" CCD's he can get the same depth of field of 35mm lenses @ f/4 by shooting wide open on the SDX900 -- and instead of lighting everything to f/11 with a Mini35/DVX combo, he only has to light to, say, f2. That's a huge difference that makes the SDX900 a significantly better value for the money considering that the Mini35/DVX requires a truckload of lighting gear that ultimately would cost more than just renting the SDX900.

Shooting in daylight would obviously minimize the expense of using the Mini35/DVX.
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#6 rook

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 08:29 PM

Brian, good points. The problem is with the choice of adapter. It might be worth looking into this...

http://www.dandiacon.../newweb/mug.htm

Dan's adapter (or so he says) cuts very little light and he also makes a FF add on that'll work.

His footage at http://www.holyzoo.com/content/mpic/ looks convincing.

But all said and done...man, if the SDX is on the table there is no choice. The image it delivers is far superior.

-rook
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#7 Trevor Greenfield

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 09:02 PM

I think that this counter point is important. In a worst case scenario I dont think you're going to cut the stops by more than 2 or 3. Of course in a location with natural light and only 30-50 lux the difference between f1.8 and f4 is huge. Enormous. But the better adapters are only 1 stop or 2 off. In either case, there is more to it than simply the DOF issue, with 35mm optics, light plays with the lens differently than a video lens. Setup a shot with a SDX and then a cheap SLR and you'll see what I'm talking about.

I too would never again shoot a cinematic piece on straight video, ever, unless I needed that video look. The 35 adapter is just too good of a look to give up.
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#8 Brian Wells

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 09:16 PM

In a worst case scenario I dont think you're going to cut the stops by more than 2 or 3.

Try five.

DVX: Must be set to 45mm @ f/2.8 to focus on the GG
GG Loss: 1 stop to 2 stop, depending on material/manufacturer.
Objective Lens: Varies, 1 stop to 3 stops.

It's hard to see even a best case scenario with less than a 4 stop loss. More loss if the objective is stopped down. This is a tired old discussion.
I used an adapter on a project 1.5 years ago. It was cool look, but everything ended up wayyyy dark!

Inevitably the camera will need a lot of Gain, perhaps aiding the "film look" who knows?
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#9 Trevor Greenfield

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 10:02 PM

Try five.

DVX: Must be set to 45mm @ f/2.8 to focus on the GG
GG Loss: 1 stop to 2 stop, depending on material/manufacturer.
Objective Lens: Varies, 1 stop to 3 stops


I have not used one on a DVX So I can't say for sure on that but I made one and used it on a VX1000 and I didn't lose more than two stops total.

It's hard to see even a best case scenario with less than a 4 stop loss. More loss if the objective is stopped down.


I'm not a mathematician or anything but best case scenario you posted above would be 2 stops.

Also, don't stop down the 35 lens, stop down the video camera. The 35 lens needs to be left wide open for maximum light, shallowest DOF, and most of all to prevent vignetting and hotspotting.

Further, this is from Redrock Micro's website:

"I hear you lose light when using the micro35?

This is true of the micro35 and any other 35mm lens adapter. Typically you lose 1.5 to 2 f-stops of light. You can compensate for this by opening up your aperture (both on your camera and on the 35mm lens), increasing the lighting in the scene, or adjusting the gain on your camera."

And from the Letus website:

"We use vibrating ground glass instead of rotating diffused plastic to eliminate light loss to the minimum. With the Canon FD 1.4 lens on the adapter, it lose only one stop of light. "

This is a tired old discussion.


Obviously its not as more and more indies are using the mini35, and now more choices for the adapter are available and affordable than ever before. This thread is about a gentleman who is basically saying "I really want to use the 35 but I can't light it on some locations!", so I think this is a legitamite question, yet, as I said there is simply no way to change physics. Either you add light somehow or it will be underexposed with a 35. An SDX will probably have native ability to capture this scene.

I used an adapter on a project 1.5 years ago. It was cool look, but everything ended up wayyyy dark!


There are many out there that are not experiencing this problem, like myself. For interior shots, its amazing what a little light does to brighten the image.

Also, I have been following the creation of these alternative adapters to the P+S since it was basically born from the movie "Marla" over 2 years ago. There is another forum that has been a constant source of research and development since then, and spawning from that has been several users who have made it a business to create these adapters, moving or static. So I would say that if you made your adapter 1.5 years ago it may not have been using the most up to date pieces that have come about. Myself, I have discovered a GG that loses only about 1 stop of light, slightly more than a Nikon D or Beattie intenscreen. So you may want to check out one of these newer adapters.

Anyway my point was, 2 stops is a lot when you are shooting low lux in a natural light situation, even 1 stop can be a lot.

Inevitably the camera will need a lot of Gain, perhaps aiding the "film look" who knows?


IMO video gain/noise never looks good.

Edited by Trevor Greenfield, 30 December 2005 - 10:05 PM.

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#10 rook

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 09:38 PM

I think it's worth checking out the test shots using these adapters. There are plenty online. All the speculating and math aside, an image doesn't lie.

Each adapter delivers differently and much of this argment can be just a matter of taste.

As an aside, some of the new adapter's are not too dark. Look up some footage, some of it is impressive.

-rook
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#11 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 19 January 2006 - 04:09 PM

Check out the P+S technic Adapter, it's brilliant and looks marvelous.

All I've heard about using the Nikon lenses is that they breathe like crazy.
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#12 Riku Naskali

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 02:12 PM

Check out the P+S technic Adapter, it's brilliant and looks marvelous.

Of course it is brilliant, it costs at least 20 times more than some of the mentioned products... But of course it loses light, too.
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#13 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 11:25 PM

I'm surprised my thread has managed to live on ...

So, I shot the short on the SDX 900, and that seems to have been a good decision. The quality of the image is very high, and on the longer focal lengths, there's even some usefull shallowness of field. The school gave us 2 4X4' kino's, to which we added 2 2x2' kinos. 90% of the film takes place in a hospital room, so I rigged the kinos in a very shallow u along the one window wall, and just fiddled w/ which bulbs were on to get my ratios. W/ the egg-crates in place, they gave me just enough stop to satisfy the SDX at zero gain in cine-gamma 2 (which was a bit of a surprise to me). If the kinos didn't reach far enough, I brought in a soft-silver bounce, or our one diva light. With this system we clocked about 45 shots in two 12 hour days.

I don't know, is there any point to renting the mini-adapter and lenses for the DVX-100??? Sure, I've heard people rave about it. But, it seems like a wash. I'll still take 4:2:2 color, less compression, more pixels. The SDX was about $600/day. (Of course, there is that extra deck rental issue.) Able has the mini-adapter for $350, but then you've got to rent either 3 primes or one zoom, and a 35mm zoom is physically huge. Maybe the SDX hasn't had as much press as the mini-adapters, but I've done two films w/ it and I've been very impressed each time.
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