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Monday, December 16, 2013

ENG Lens On Your S35 Size Sensor Camera ? Maybe

If you have ever shot with a real ENG full size camera and lens, the entire DSLR thing has so far mostly left you empty handed, or perhaps empty gripped. Sure Fujion has some crazy expensive  lenses for this range, but they are of limited zoom ranges compared to what you used to get in 2/3" mount with 12, 16 and even 22X range glass. Some very where very wide angle. Wouldn't it be great if you could take your HD ENG lens and put it on your big sensor Sony FS, F3, F5, AF100, Canon C series or dslr camera ? While M 4/3 mount adapters have been around, the often required that you engage the 2X extender to cover the image. The problem - 2 stops of light loss and some image sharpness. So here enters this adapter by the most respected AbleCine. Is it any good ? does it work ? yes and no.

This video below was shot with the HDx35 Mark II B4/PL Optical Adapter. It works, it powers the lens up for zoom control but its clearly got sharpness on the edges problems. Now its hard to say if it was this lens, or particular adapter or both or just lack of giving it a good smack to make it work right. It does basically work, and for news type shooting this may be perfectly fine. To Quote AbleCine's website on this item 

The HDx35 mk II is an optical adapter that enables B4-mount 2/3” HD video lenses to work with most Super-35 format large sensor cameras. The Mark II system has increased coverage to work with more cameras, and now includes the Universal Mount System (UMS).

Broadcast lenses are available in high zoom ratios with wide apertures in a relatively compact size, making them a desired option for many large-sensor camera users. Designed and built by IB/E Optics for AbelCine, HDx Optical Adapters mount between a B4-mount 2/3” lens and a large sensor camera, expanding the projected light to cover the image area.

HDx Optical Adapters increase the focal length of the attached video lens so that the expected field-of-view of the lens is maintained on the larger format sensor. The depth of field of the image will be closer to that of the larger format.

All HDx Optical Adapters optically correct for the different spectral alignments between three-chip prism block sensors, for which the B4-mount lenses were designed, and the single sensor of the large sensor cameras. HDx Optical Adapters are highly telecentric in design, delivering a bright, sharp image across the entire frame, with excellent color and contrast.

The HDx35 mk II adapts from B4 to a Universal Mount System, which allows the HDx35 mk II to be mounted on a wide variety of large-sensor cameras without shop service. It ships standard in ARRI PL, with available adapter mount options including Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony E, and Micro Four-Thirds. The Mark II includes a 3/8-16 threaded hole and two posts for lens support.

The HDx35 Mark II expands a B4-mount lens image by approximately 2.7 times, covering:

Vision Research Phantom:
Flex, v642, v641, v341 (up to 2560x1440)
HD Gold (up to 2048x1112)

C500, C300, C100

ALEXA (16x9 & 4x3)

F65, F55, F35, F5, F3, SRW-9000PL, FS700, FS100

Scarlet & Epic (up to 5K 16x9)

Effective aperture is lowered by approximately 2.5 stops.

So what it seems this is a 2.25X extender with the right mounts on both ends and some compensation for the RGB focusing of ENG lenses onto single sensor glass. Not a small task to do right and most certainly credit to these guys for trying this out. Certainly cameras like the canon C series can take 2 stops of gain outside from say 320 to 1250 and you'd never know. Even 850->3200 wouldn't really be noticable. However other cameras that are more light gready might not play so nice. As with anything else it might be worth a rental to see if your ENG lens will play on your own big sensor camera before plunking down $5800 MSRP. This might make sense if you have $20K into a real HD ENG lens. However many folks have quietly found that their SD glass works nearly as well.... they just won't jump and say so. Of course I've had some SD glass that was expensive and not so good, so course YMMV depending on lens and how its been treated. Even still its a much cheaper option than a cabrio lens.