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Old July 19th, 2002, 01:20 PM   #1
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PS Technik adapter for 35mm lens Report

Hey XL1ers,

When I was out at show biz expo a few weeks ago, I got my first real look at the PS Technik adapter for film 35mm lens. I was really impressed
with it, but you may know how trade shows go. Everything is
impressive . . . until you get it home.

Anyway, we had a film shoot the other day in our UofM video studio
with the Dean of the medical school. A *real pro crew* made up of
IASTE 812 members. They brought in an Arri SR 16mm camera AND
an XL1S outfitted with the PS Technik adapter and a wild (I think it
was Zeiss) film lens.

This lens was really crazy because it allows for
different parts of the image to be in and out of focus. So, for this talking
head shoot, you could defocus the top and bottom of the image, and tweak
away to your heart's content.
Personally, I didn't care for that feature as it appeared the lens had been wacked or something. If I want to defocus a part of an image, I'll use commotion or some other software app. in post.

Anyway, the images that the XL1S produced with this combo and frame mode were FANTASTIC! Absolutely marvelous. You wouldn't think a cheap DV video (yes, compared to the arri, an XL1S is CHEAP!) camera could produce these kind of images. A picture is worth a thousand words, so I can't begin
to describe the results, but IF I had a budget, I'd go out and buy it.
Of course, a nice set of primes is about $100,000.00, so if you own them
already, $12K for the Canon and adapter is reasonable.

The camera rental company that supplied the cameras has three of these,
and they have been booked with solid rentals. I can see why, as the Dean's
interview was constantly being interupted by the film camera's 10 minute run time. The cost of the film? Thousands compared to an hour DV tape @ $5!!!!!

Man, what a time to be in this business!
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Old July 19th, 2002, 10:28 PM   #2
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Jacques, from what you described it sounds like they had a Swing + Tilt lens on the front of the Canon. These are found on most large format film cameras (still). I personally loooove these lenses. =)

But thank you for the report on the PS!

The one thing that strikes me is just what you said, for the price of a good set of primes and the adapter itself you need to have a pretty fat budget...and if you have a pretty fat budget, would DV really be your format of choice? =) granted there are plenty of exceptions...but it just seems a little odd to sink all that money into the front end of a camera, but only shell out 3-4k on the back end.
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Old July 20th, 2002, 12:55 AM   #3
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Casey

You don't *need* to have a fat budget if all you're doing is renting the adapter and a lens for a day or two. That doesn't have to cost much at all.
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Old July 20th, 2002, 05:00 AM   #4
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hehe that is one of the exceptions i had in mind. typically you dont need a fat budget to rent *anything* for a day or two! I was talking more about people who are in it for the long haul, buying accessories for their own cameras.
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Old July 20th, 2002, 06:52 AM   #5
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I still wonder if you get that good results with the PS-adapter and a 35mm still lens? If that is the case, then I would go with that. Then it wouldn't cost more than 1000$.


you think it works good?




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Old July 20th, 2002, 02:16 PM   #6
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EriK:

Assuming that most users of the Mini-35 are shooting narrative-style (aka "film-style"), it would be cumbersome to use still camera lenses due to their inability to work with other film accessories such as follow-focus etc., and their inadequately marked barrels. Film lenses have distances marked off in much finer increments and with engraved lines so you know exactly where, say 6' is on the lens, whereas a still lens is designed to be focused through the lens. Also due to their smaller size, it would be very difficult to attempt to do an iris pull at the same time as a focus pull etc, and they do not incorporate geared teeth to allow them to mesh with external drives like a follow focus.

The cost of renting a basic setup would be about $200 for the Mini 35, $225 for a prime lens set (5 lenses), $225 for a 10-1 zoom, plus about $150 more for mattebox/follow focus/other support. Factor in a heavy-duty tripod/head to accomodate the additional weight, and don't forget you will need a skilled camera assistant to pull focus.
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Old July 20th, 2002, 02:38 PM   #7
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Thanks a lot Charles. I thought that their focus was marked basicly the same way. And about that "iris pull thing", - Had no clue that it's used on "take".

Ofcourse real Cine lenses is the best thing, but just the fact that there is a mount for the PS-adapter to allow 35mm ef-lenses, makes me wonder how it looks. If you compare 35mm still and 35mm motion lenses just optically, aren't they basicly the same were as it goes for depth of field, quality, and angle of view?



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Old July 20th, 2002, 03:08 PM   #8
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Erik:

They are roughly similar, but in fact the image area of a 35mm still vs a 35mm motion picture frame is different. This is because film moves vertically through a motion picture camera and horizontally through a still camera. Thus the height (short side) of a still image is the same size as the width (long side) of a motion picture image.

However, in terms of the discussion here, they are essentially the same in terms of field of view and depth of field. Quality is another question. Considering that cine lenses cost 10 times as much, one would assume they have higher resolution, better flare dispersion etc...but then again...?

Iris pulls do happen on the odd occasion, generally on exteriors where the shot moves sun to shade or involves a 90 degree or more pan where the subject goes from frontlit to side or backlight. They are carefully hidden in camera moves whenever possible. Or there is always the possibility of doing a pull for special effect (POV of a character passing out, where the image brightens and darkens).
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Old July 20th, 2002, 05:14 PM   #9
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>and if you have a pretty fat budget, would
>DVreally be your format of choice? =)

For this moment in time? Sure. The images this combo produced are wonderful. No regular viewer
would ever have a problem watching my productions
and if the content is good, really liking it.
Snobs *may* be able to tell, but in a blind test,
I'd bet most would go home embarressed.

Now, when we finally lose interlace NTSC, then my answer will change in a nano second.
However, just like digital sound, when HD comes in,
we producers are going to have to deal with small details that are now unnoticed. Skin complexion,
dirt, stains, etc. will all stick out like sore
thumbs. HD is going to be a pain in the ass,
but if we didn't like to be spanked, we wouldn't
be in this business ;)

>granted there are plenty of exceptions...but it >
>just seems a little odd to sink all that money
>into the front end of a camera, but only shell out
>3-4k on the back end.

Yes, it is odd. The back end is almost throw away now. Look at it this way, computers, camcorders,
projectors are all following this wonderful path
of better, faster, cheaper.
Good glass? I don't see it getting any cheaper to produce soon, but maybe when China can turn out a prime as good as zeiss or cooke we'll see that turn too.
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Old July 21st, 2002, 05:47 AM   #10
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There is a Russian lens made in spherical and scope called Lomo (and LomoScope) that you can get on a bargain with the right contact. The Lomo glass is used in the Hawk series of anamorphics. Hawks were used on lots of big budget Hollywood movies. I think Ronin and Star Wars Episode I used them.

The problem with Russian equipment is that the quality from each lens set varys. You have to buy them from someone who knows what they are selling.
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Old July 21st, 2002, 12:02 PM   #11
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Howdy from Texas,

<< The back end is almost throw away now. >>

What I've heard at the shows, especially ShowBiz Expo in Los Angeles, is that the adapter is getting a lot of interest for this very reason that Jacques points out.

These camera operators and DP's can buy a new XL1S body for less than the cost of one year's worth of regular maintenance on an Arri 35mm BL. So yes, from their point of view it is a throw-away back end.

Mr. Mersereau, as always it was great to see you at DV Expo, sorry we couldn't get together for that well-deserved pitcher of beer but there's always next time. See you at the next one,
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Old July 21st, 2002, 03:11 PM   #12
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You know, I hadn't even thought about russian glass, so that's a very good point. The Slaves should be able to do a "china" to lens makers like zeiss and cooke, but I would be very worried about getting a set of lemons instead of diamonds if the quality of russian work goes from great to poor.Too worried to want to risk buying from them.

I wouldn't have the slightest idea as to whom one would try and deal with in russia that's honest. My perception is that country is run by criminals and thieves . . . well, so our's but that's besides the point <G>

What is really interesting is the next step.
Yes, we all know DV isn't digital betacam.
It's full of jaggies, color sampling could be better, etc. NTSC's interlace line twitter compression system sucks too, so . . . maybe we all hunger for HD, but not at the current price point.

I would love to shoot in HD NOW, so that all the wonderful images I am now acquiring will be "future proof." That said, if one were to buy today, you'd better be sure that you have the clients to pay the purchase off in a year's time. (I don't have GM or Ford Motor as my clients, so forget that necessity.)

The reason one must pay it off quick is that IMO HD will be about the price of a DSR-500WS in three years time . . . or maybe much sooner. Check out this link:
http://www.olympus.co.jp/Special/Info/n020522aE.html

Since multi mega pixel still cameras now abound,
and are relatively inexpensive, when will some intelligent business come up with a camcorder version for CHEAP? (Ummm, hello Canon?!)

They will, but the light is still passing through glass and good glass matters. Still, I can't pay $30-75K for an HD lens on top of the camera cost even if it is $5-10K.

The next version of the XL1 *could/should be* a major jump in not only resolution, but frame rate (60fps please (at least)) too. Screw that puppy onto the back of a zeiss prime/PS Technik adapter and LOOK OUT.

Film, while always wonderful, will most likely go the way of the horse has as a method of transportation. (There will always be artists that work in that wonderful medium, just as their will alway be horse owners.)
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Old July 22nd, 2002, 01:22 AM   #13
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I will be getting my Mini35 adapter next week to use with my Nikon lenses. ZGC (the distributor) mentioned that there are a couple of caveats with using still photo lenses with the adapter:

1) Breathing - image shift during focus. This is usually not a concern for still photos since you usually don't take a picture during a focus pull like you do in movies.

2) Zoom shift - image and focus shift during zoom. Again, not as big a concern for stills as for motion pictures.

Also, with both still and movie lenses, there is a 2 stop drop with using the adapter.

Just thought I'd mention these since no one else has.

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Old July 22nd, 2002, 01:26 AM   #14
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I should also add to what Jacques talks about when he says that film will go the way of the horse as a mode of transportation...here's a relevant quote from Speilberg:

"Now the thing I'm most saddened by is the constant
talk about the photochemical process becoming a thing
of Thomas Edison's past. There's a magic about chem-
istry and film. Sure, a digital shot is steady. It
doesn't have to ride through the gate of a projector.
And, sure, it's as clean as the OR in a major hospital.
That's exactly what's wrong with it. Film has a
molecular structure called grain; even a still of just a
flower in a vase has life because of the grain, because
of the molecules in the film. Especially if you sit in
the first five rows of any movie theater, you know what
I'm talking about. The screen is alive. The screen is
always alive with chaos and excitement, and that will
certainly be gone when we convert to a digital camera
and a digital projector. I was one of the first people
to use digital technology to enhance my films, but I'm
going to be the last person to use digital technology
to shoot my movies."

The full article can be found at http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/10.06/spielberg.html

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Old July 22nd, 2002, 02:06 AM   #15
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Mr Spielberg will probably be the last guy sooner than he expected. If grain is so important - why is everyone fighting to keep it to a minimum or none. People even shoot 65mm to get rid of it. Of all the films in my home collection Spielbergs are often the least grainy. I still enjoy them.
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