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microscopic cinematography and using diopters


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#1 craig forster

craig forster
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Posted 10 September 2009 - 03:26 PM

Hi, I am hoping to pick the brains of anyone who has experience in the field of microscopic cinematography.
I have a pilot coming up which requires a lot of close up photography, macro work and possibly microscopic work ( imagine a flake of skin or drop of saliva being examined in a forensics lab )

The project will be shot in HD, most probably on a Sony PDW-700 camera which has a B4 mount.
My first instinct for close up / close focus work would be to use a 100mm Macro Master Prime, but these dont come with b4 mount. I could use a pro35 to make this feasible.

My other options would be to use zeiss digi-primes (b4 mount) along with arri/zeiss master diopters.
Does anybody have any ideas I havent thought of here?

If I were to use the diopters on a digi-zoom, would I be able to zoom through the diopters without a focus shift?

As for the microscopic cinematography, a lot of work on the project will be CGI, but some material will need to be live-action. Searching on here has drawn a blank, although google found a site with adapters for domestic HD camcorders that attach to the eyepiece of a microscope.

Would be great to hear from anyone who has come across this before, as its a first for me!..

Thanks in advance.

Craig
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#2 Phil Savoie

Phil Savoie
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Posted 15 September 2009 - 12:45 AM

I'd suggest a B4 to Nikon mount. I have used them for both HD and film work. Nikon makes excellent macros: a 200mm 4 that offers a very useful working distance for lighting, 105 2.8, and the razor sharp 55 2.8 that for years was used on many an Oxberry printer. The B4 to Nikon mounts are around but scarce. If you have a good cine machinist he can make you one or you'll need to do some digging for a used one.

Diopters are not the way to go for this type of magnification. For micro work Zeiss Luminars are the considered by most macro/micro shooters as the best. They are out of manufacture for well over ten years which is sad as they are optical gems. These are the only lenses that I am aware of that are optimized for up to 40 times life size. A few years ago when speaking to the Zeiss factory in Oberkohen I queried if they would ever make them again and was told if they did they would cost about 4K (US) each. You could try calling Helmut Beiurke and ask him if he has any used ones laying about. And you do see them pop up on ebay every so often but they are often quite old examples and lacking the more modern multi coatings. Now and then you do see the later issues and as luck would have it there appears to be a clean set on the block minus the 100mm:

http://cgi.ebay.com/...6#ht_500wt_1182

Another option would be to go for some Leica Photars: 12.5mm, 25mm, 50mm, 80 and 130mm as they are still in manufacture and cost around 2.6K (US) each.

Both Luminar and Photar terminate in RMS mounts. This is an odd fine reverse thread known as the Royal Microscope Society mount or the 'Royal Screw'. This affectionate moniker is applied when you need to find the taps to have a machinist make you a mount for Cine/HD work!

Oh yeah another thing - these lenses don't focus. You focus by racking them in and out with a focus stage. This is jolly good fun when your DOF is measured in microns. Throw in a tilt wedge and a set of wheels to keep the other hand busy and your away. Try operating on some nervous ants someday! The little rascals will put your operating skills to the test.

Check out the micro database http://www.macrolenses.de/ - a great resource to bring up up to speed on these special lenses.

If I'm not mistaken Denny Clairmont rents a PL Luminar set. Maybe he can do you one in B4. He also has a InfinFX K2 macro, never used it but it looks like fun. Give him a call and tell him I said hi.

Good luck with your work.
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