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35mm DOF adapter on a 16mm camera body?


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#1 Javier Calderon

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 11:16 PM

Well, I guess the topic title says it all (or at least enough). I just started doing some research into this technology, and have to say that I'm impressed with how well it makes some of the video footage look. What happens if you slap one of these suckers on a 16mm body? I mean, I understand one might have to do some modifications to the camera to make it accept such an adapter, but has anyone tried this? Is this even possible? I mean I'm sure it is . . . but I just figured if it made video footage look this much better, imagine what it could potentially do to 16mm footage.

Any thoughts, ideas, suggestions, or pointers on this topic would be greatly apprecaited.

Javier Calderon
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#2 Michael Nash

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 11:31 PM

It depends what you mean by "better." These adapters allow 1/3" chip video cameras to have the shallow depth of field their native focal lengths don't allow. That's it. They do so at the expense of resolution, contrast, and light transmission. With 16mm film you're usually fighting for all the sharpness and resolution you can get, using the sharpest, most contrasty glass and the slowest ASA film practical. I wouldn't say an Ultracon 5 filter plus ND.6 would make my 16mm footage look better, no matter how "crazy-shallow" the depth of field.

16mm film also has an image area close to that of a 2/3" chip video camera, which can get significantly shallower depth of field at the same field of view compared to 1/3" video.

1/3" prosumer video cameras also have a limited dynamic range and steep gamma compared to film, and a contrast-lowering groundglass can help mitigate that harsh contrast by flattening out the gamma response a little. With 16mm film you don't need that because it's... film.
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#3 Javier Calderon

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 09:35 PM

Ahhh, Michael. Thanks for the response. Many things I didn't think about/consider.
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#4 Mark Williams

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 09:44 AM

They do so at the expense of resolution, contrast, and light transmission. With 16mm film you're usually fighting for all the sharpness and resolution you can get, using the sharpest, most contrasty glass and the slowest ASA film practical. I wouldn't say an Ultracon 5 filter plus ND.6 would make my 16mm footage look better, no matter how "crazy-shallow" the depth of field.

16mm film also has an image area close to that of a 2/3" chip video camera, which can get significantly shallower depth of field at the same field of view compared to 1/3" video.

1/3" prosumer video cameras also have a limited dynamic range and steep gamma compared to film, and a contrast-lowering groundglass can help mitigate that harsh contrast by flattening out the gamma response a little. With 16mm film you don't need that because it's... film.


Well the Letus extreme loses very little light. Losing sharpness? Does it? I'd be interested to know if anyone has done this?
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#5 Michael Nash

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 02:50 PM

Well the Letus extreme loses very little light. Losing sharpness? Does it? I'd be interested to know if anyone has done this?


Any groundglass adapter will cost you a little sharpness. Some are better than others.
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