Real World Differences between Mini35 and Alternatives at DVinfo.net

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Old February 7th, 2006, 12:47 PM   #1
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Real World Differences between Mini35 and Alternatives

Chris,
I asked this question before and you moved it to alternative imaging forum. I would appreciate it if you would keep it here because I feel it is a reasonable topic to discuss here and all the feedback I get in the alternative imaging section is slanted and from DIYs who are not objective. I am a mini35 owner.

What are the real world differences between the P+S Technik Mini35 and the lower priced G35 M2 etc. In terms of image quality, construction of adapter, and other factors. Has anyone tested both systems and if so please give me your thoughts on both systems.
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Old February 9th, 2006, 08:00 AM   #2
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Dan I don't think asking the same question here is really going to offer the objectivity you're after... after all we're mostly mini35 owners here.

But fine I'll try and play along :)

Price aside, if I was in the market for a brand new 35mm contraption what would likely matter most to me is the system with the best ground glass producing the most noise free (ground glass free) image for HD resolution. There should be no question that 35mm cine lens are always going to resolve enough lines for our CCD's, but I wonder about the glass and how it will impact the HD image. Most everyone has reported a softer look when using these devices, it'd be nice to not have that softness as one of the attributes. In this sense, I'd like to know what other adapters offer and how they compare to P+S mini35.

Construction of the unit is something else I might consider, the mini35 adds a lot of weight - does it matter? Probably not always, but something lighter overall would definitely be appreciated in certain shooting environments. The mini35 however does flip your image for you so you don't have to in post.

Light loss is most certainly something I think the mini35 is a clear loser in. I dread most mini35 indie productions because directors are like "what do you mean you need 2500 watts of lighting for this scene". Those directors however also believe that shooting DV under normal lighting conditions offer enough cinematic appeal to begin with.

What are some other differences? How about "sorry we're not accepting orders at this time due to filled orders". Give me a break, it sounds like everyone is trying to jump on the 35mm adapter wagon and make some money. P+S Technik has been around for years - this is what they do, they will always have units for sale.

Unfortunately for people like you and me finding out the real answer is only going to come from testing it yourself, not watching clips on the web which may have been altered, graded, cc'd, resized, noise reductioned, etc.. etc.. etc..

I like my mini35, it's worked very well for me and surely I'd be UNABLE to pull off the same level of cinematic appeal shooting without the added DOF. I'd just like to see a few improvments in some of the areas I've mentioned.

Last edited by Dennis Hingsberg; February 9th, 2006 at 08:40 AM.
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Old February 9th, 2006, 08:07 AM   #3
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Good Point! However it seems the Mini35 users are more likely to be professional with their answers providing real evidence, stats etc., than the typical answers from alternative imaging crowd.
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Old February 9th, 2006, 08:29 AM   #4
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I have recently ordered an M2, but have used a mini35

I found a major advantage of the Mini35 to be that the image is registered right-side-up resulting in easier shooting and less post production. But there is the draw back of more light being soaked up in the process.

I really can't say which I liked using more. I honestly don't think the Mini is worth it's price point, at 12,000 for an XL2 setup compared to $1000 for an M2 and $400 for an SG35, it seems like a bit of a watse of money.

It all comes down to how much you want to spend and if you want that big P+S logo on your stuff.

My 2c
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Old February 9th, 2006, 08:31 AM   #5
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By the way, I too am going to start up my own business selling 35mm adapters and am taking preorders for the low price of $99. Finally the whole world can now afford a 35mm adapter device for their home cameras. One size fits all!

Here is the prototype...

http://www.starcentral.ca/dvinfo/newmini35.jpg
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Old February 9th, 2006, 08:54 AM   #6
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Looks good! Is that $99CAN or U.S?

Does the camera come with it, or is it extra?
Is it available in black?

Sorry, couldn't help myself.
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Old February 9th, 2006, 09:55 AM   #7
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Hopefully that Kleenex willl be available for P+S users when they see footage from my $99.99 adapter.
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Old February 9th, 2006, 05:25 PM   #8
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im happy with my footage from my letus35.. only paid $300 and it works great with my xl1s. I would also like to know what you guys are getting after spending that much more money.
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Old February 9th, 2006, 11:54 PM   #9
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Andrew.


I think the keywords would be along the lines of :-

Predictability, reliability, interchangeability, consistency and most importantly, product support.

It is a serious product made in relatively low volumes, hence the high cost.

I haven't got one, do not make enough product to sustain the cost of buying or hiring one, but given the opps or the need, would buy in or hire one.

I suspect you are not likely to be able to buy lost time insurance for equipment breakdowns if you declare you are using anything else.

So far, it seems most of the alternatives have quality/reliability issues or attributes which affect high volume workflow which has to meet deadlines.

As good as my gadget may be for my purposes, if I was hiring a cast and crew for a serious commercial project within a fixed timeframe, I would not put this all on the line for the sake of an appliance which might fail when the hire cost for the MINI35 would be a relatively small part of a larger budget.

What our home-mades enable is customisation to personal preferences. In my case, I want images more consistent with video so the adaptor footage and direct to camera footage is more easily integrated. So the finish of my gg has been adjusted accordingly. That flexibility (and lower cost) over reliabilty is the current trade-off for me.
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Old February 10th, 2006, 08:44 AM   #10
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For me it's a few things, the mini35 is extremely rugid. The camera actually gets mounted to it, rather then the adapter getting mounted to the camera. This makes for a big difference which I think is often overlooked in comparisons, the mini35 is definitely a device that will withstand the rigors of a film set. The mini35 comes with and supports industry standard 15mm extension bars which means industry standard matte boxes and follow focus units can be added (not all DIY 35mm adapters do this, if any).

Image flipping. For professional film production this is just not acceptable. I understand there are a lot of work arounds to this whether it be sticking magnets on LCD flip screen sensors, flipping in camera or in post.. but the bottom line is what happens when you want to run feed to an external monitor - which is what you expect to see if there is a separate camera man, DOP and director.

A wide variety of cine primes can be used with the mini35 depending on what lens kit you own/rent. This means you're getting the full advantage of shooting with high speed cookes, etc.. which I won't get completely into the advantages of but will quickly add that better glass = better image and of course means no breathing of lenses and once again support for industry add on systems.

Friends that won't laugh. Okay this point is completely senseless I agree. But let's face it, show up with a mini35 and suddenly everyone is your friend. It just looks kick ass.

At the end of the day is the mini35 expensive? YES. Can most afford it? NO. Is it a rip off? DEPENDS WHERE YOU'RE SITTING. The truth is when I'm not shooting my own films I'm renting out the mini35 and optional camera package so these points are all very important for me. I know many guys who shoot on film all the time who are in the industry and occassionally when they're looking to work on a small and independent project they love the mini35 because it emulates their world so perfectly. If I offered use of a letus, micro, kleenex box 35 (see above picture) or any other device for FREE they'd probably say no thanks. There are just too many limitations and perhaps constrictions from a professional standpoint.


So perhaps the real difference is between the users of the technology, not the technology itself. I'm Jerry Springer, thank you and good night.
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Old February 10th, 2006, 11:06 AM   #11
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I find the majority of home grown solutions tend to be a tad long in length and you need arm extensions to operate the focus also they do not lend well to hand held operation.

On sharpness I was discontent with all the solutions and have built my own, see a clip here

http://s31.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=2...P03M7UHQEHU300

best watched on a CRT (f=70mm F=3.5)


I suppose the main advantage of a home grown is that it can be optimised, I doubt very much whether Mini35 owners would have the balls to take one apart for tweaking purposes for risk of trashing a $10K gizmo.

Another advantage with a homegrown is you can shoot Vista Vision 16:9 as in the example above instead of Academy gate size
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Old February 10th, 2006, 11:24 AM   #12
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Dennis.

There are a few of the home-mades which do actually erect the image before the camera as does the Mini35, my own included.

In a production environment as you correctly point out, the Mini35 is rugged and is not going to develop a fit of the shakes like a home-made when a disk runs out of true balance.

I have shot 5 student workshop scenes, 3 with my device and 2 without.

The two without the device worked better even if the images were not always as pretty, for one reason - less distraction through not having to closely shepherd my added low rent technology.
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Old February 10th, 2006, 01:40 PM   #13
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You could get a call from Barry Levinson if you own the Mini35:

http://www.dvinfo.net/canon/articles/article84.php
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Old February 10th, 2006, 10:38 PM   #14
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I had a chance to check out the two main competitors to the Mini35 with Taylor Wigton as he was using one of my mini35 for comparisons he'll point out in the second part of his Showreel article.

I have NOT tried out any of the one-of-a-kind homemade versions.

That being said, my opinion is much like the others - fit, finish, support, reliability and overall quality.

I wanted to consider the others to purchase for my rental fleet, but I decided not to. In my opinion, the Mini35 is the ultimate, no-trade-off option available. You pay a premium for it, but as a rental house, for most of my customers it becomes a negligable cost in comparison to the remainder of the production.

Even when it is a large portion of the cost, they know that when they pick it up, it's mounted, cleaned, tested and supported and the premium they pay offers assurance that they have the best they can get of that type of equipment when they're on set.

If you shoot with these one weekend a month or less, financially it usually makes sense to rent. If, however, your shooting style is to use an adapter once a week or more, buying makes sense - then it should basically be a budget decision for you. I'd suggest either saving money and going Micro35, or getting a more rugged, quality image and fit out of the Mini35 if you can and want to afford it.
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Old February 12th, 2006, 09:43 AM   #15
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if my letus breaks i fix it myself.. its a simple design that i can find easy replacements for. i refitted it with new parts yesterday.. a trip to the craft store and hardware store and i had all i needed. the flip function is now available with the letus but i really dont have a need for it.. i shoot with the xl1s viewfinder reversed on the right hand side and the image is flipped for easier framing.. and in post its not a hard thing to do. The issue between the homemade adapters and the mini comes down to what you can afford. if i had the money id be using the mini with some cine primes.. but then again id probably be shooting film if i had the money too.
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