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Old January 10th, 2007, 03:13 PM   #1
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BEST 35mm adapter for shooting weddings?

I've been making my own 35mm adapter for HOPEFULLY shooting weddings.
However I am beginning to have my doubts. The adatpers take considerable amount of set up time and carrying around extra lenses for different scenarios would be perhaps very awkward. 35mm 1.4, 50mm 1.2 and 85mm 1.8 lenses are fine, but some of the specialized lenses I have like 200mm f/2 and 300mm 2.8 lenses would just have to be used soley for the ceremony cause they are too bulky to lug around.

So does anyone have any tips for using this gear at weddings? What the best system is for portability?

Peace, Rolland
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Old January 10th, 2007, 03:15 PM   #2
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This is a really bad idea. Have you shot with one of these things? Not going to work for events.
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Old January 10th, 2007, 04:34 PM   #3
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You need a crew, that's how....
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Old January 10th, 2007, 07:32 PM   #4
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No body likes me everybody hates me guess I'll go eat some worms.

While I apprecaite the doom and gloom warnings, I'm going to try it anyways.

Brides are tired of the "too perfect" results and want something artsy in my opinion.

Most of the key events at weddings are staged at a fixed distance, it's really not that hard of a concept to do. And I'd think the stuff that is NOT staged would benefit from the fuzzy artsy look of a manually focused lens.

I watch hollywood movies all the time and see scenes that are not tack sharp. Sometimes the feel of a film is more important than technical perfection.

Peace, Rolland
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Old January 10th, 2007, 07:38 PM   #5
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I think its possible with planning, which you would do at a wedding anyway, here is a shot taken with the older version of the SG35 and FX1:

http://www.pcenginefx.com/SGpro/wedding_800pix.jpg

Maybe only limit it to a few select scenes. This is an important occasion and you have to get things right first time, an adapter will only add to your list of things to do on the day.
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Old January 10th, 2007, 07:41 PM   #6
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I think what people are telling you is you need to deal with a lot more than setting up a tripod. First there is lighting because of inherent light loss. Then double focus requirements. Then the flipped scene (unless you use magnet trick on LCD, assuming you camera works that way. LCD focus is not best way to go, so you should have a large monitor for that. Of course you could get an adapter that flips image, but that has more light loss. Still leaves you with focusing issues.

Then there is noise from adapter (some). Likely to need off camera microphone with separate sound guy....

Run and gun isn't a 35mm adapter high point..... But, I got a hand it to you for wanting to give it a shot..
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Old January 10th, 2007, 08:27 PM   #7
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You can do it! Just shoot lots of scenes the best you can and edit in post. You will probably get a few mins shots for say half a DV tapes, but thats ok.
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Old January 10th, 2007, 09:24 PM   #8
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Adaptors and "run and gun" or "agile portable" operation are not amiable friends.

That said, I have tried and you can make it work under limited circumstances.

Forget about an adaptor which doesn't flip the image. You are simply not going to be instinctual enough with it. Weddings also tend to use up a lot of camera tape and that is a lot of footage to render upright.

To be assured of some degree of sharp focus on your subject, you need to be able to hang around the f3.5 f4 area of aperture setting. This is starting to get into the hostile zone of adaptors lightwise and your options are starting to drift away to cameras like the PD150/170 which manage low light.

Outdoors wedding ceremonies are fine on a bright day and adaptor images are going to look better than direct-to-camera in direct sunblight and all the contrast and shadow baggage that brings. Overcast brings light and colour saturation problems.

Churches and chapels are generally not the best places for lighting indoors so you are going to have some serious problems to work around with a normal camera, let alone with an adaptor.

The best role for the adaptor camera would be as a second camera to pick off the close-ups and mood shots where lighting permits and for you to concentrate on getting coverage with a normal camera. Thus you will need two cameras to avoid setup times.

Better to get identical coverage with the normal camera because no one is going to embrace you with gratitude if you miss the money shot because you stuffed it up with the adaptor camera.

Zoom lenses are preferable for agile-portable work and these do not mix well with adaptors and low light. Short throw zooms with a f2.8 aperture can be had.

You will take a resolution hit and your adaptor's SLR lens to groundglass backfocus had better be spot on. So again your adaptor is probably going to be best kept aside for special shots.

Unless your camera/adaptor combination sets up like a shoulder-hold ENG camera, you will have some problems, fatigue being one of them.

I made a close-coupled flip version of an AGUS35 and used it hand-held with a FX1 shooting shadow footage on a film set. It was light enough but un-natural postures required to handhold the combination kill your back and elbow joints unless you are particularly fit.

I found it helpful to use a set of close-up spectacles, shoulder-hold the FX1/adaptor combination and use the now much too close LCD viewfinder ENG style. This brought other problems like being able to see sharply with the other eye.

A combination like a CanonXL or JVC HD100 style camera and Letus35 flip adaptor is a lot more user friendly in the "run-and-gun" environment. The Letus however has its own problems in low light environments. So do the Canon and the JVC HD100, even before you fit an adaptor.

I don't recommend against using an adaptor on a wedding shoot. Go for it because there are some nice shots to be had. Don't rely on single camera coverage with an adaptor camera.

Be prepared for frustration and disappointments and keep them to yourself on the day. Weddings are supposed to be joyous occasions and a miserable cameraman is going to cast a pall on the proceedings.
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Old January 10th, 2007, 09:28 PM   #9
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I would think the biggest problem is changing lenses. Are you seriously going to waste your time with changing from that 28mm you used to grab the wide of the chapel from the back, to the 135mm you're using to get the expressions on the bride's face? Use a zoom you say? Good luck finding the patience to learn pulling focus on that behemoth, let alone run and gun that thing. Not to mention the black hole where all the light seems to go when you put on a zoom lens. "fast zoom lens"...now there's an oxymoron.

I could see filming a wedding with my Brevis, I'd just crank up the gain and put on my best normal lens...but I'd sure as hell hope I have a buddy with a regular cam grabbing backup footage and B roll stuff right behind me.
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Old January 11th, 2007, 02:53 AM   #10
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As far as I know Rolland is an experienced photog so he must have the eye for focusing and changing lenses wouldn`t be a problem too. And if you ask me there are some quite good f2.8 zoom lenses out there that will hold focus through the whole range.

Back to the topic. I would advise the small form factor of the Brevis along with it`s quick setup time. You should be able to use your camcorder viewfinder like a view camera so no need for a flipped viewfinder

Sure it would be nice to have a 35mm production quality in wedding video but it will be challenging.
In my opinion the adaptor footage from real time event will look like old time home wideo from 16mm camera and this is something fersh in the field.

T
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Old January 11th, 2007, 10:04 AM   #11
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Thanks for the suggestions

I will deffintely have backup footage cameras when I go to do this project.

My own DIY 35mm DOF adapter will probably be BAYONET mounted to a Sony vx2100 so removing it will be relatively quick and paineless if my videographers want to. I have a bayonet mounted Canon Gl2 adapter and use monopods constantly so fatigue shouldn't be that bad. I should of just started out creating an adapter for the sony VX2100, but hindsight is 20/20.

Having the extremely shallow depth of field during the cermeony taping I would think would be great and a very unique look. Flipping so much footage would be a pain though. Perhaps I'll just create a bracket and flip the entire camera upside down?

Also using a full frame fisheye and extreme wide angles like 14mm lenses at the receptioin would also be refreshing IMHO.

Peace, Rolland
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Old January 11th, 2007, 10:06 AM   #12
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When you flip the camera upsidedown - is the horizontal still backwards too?
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Old January 11th, 2007, 12:49 PM   #13
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Dennis.

When you invert the camera, the image is correct in all ways. Trouble is, the LCD screen image is still wrong to work with.

Except for dust and junk falling into the tape from accummulations inside the camera, it is a working solution. You can mount the camera upsidedown on one side of a bar across the tripod head with a monitor mounted on the other side. Looks weird and is not best method.


Rolland

The VX2100 should do it for you. I think it is marginally better in lowlight than the PD150.

Ride the video gain as close to 0db as you can keep it to keep video noise down. - On full gain, you may get a grain noise artifact and lose some res otherwise even with MiniDV codec, - pixel compression blocks of up to 16 of them, usually 4.

It is not all bad. The grain artifact is quite artful in the right circumstance and may show up in the light bokeh areas as well.

Shutter on 1/50th or 1/60th sec. Manual whitebalance. You may find a gray card works better than a white card or paper. Steadyshot off.

If there are any candles lit in foreground, do a focus pull off the flame onto subject, looks nice. There's an example of this on Youtube posted by agus35monk, the Kill Devil Hills clips "Boneyard Rider" and "Nasty Business" were shot in typical gloomy church level lighting in a nightclub environment.

The roving camera was a PD150 with an AGUS35 on front with Nikon 85mm f1.4 lens, almost uncontrollable when handholding in a crowd.

"Boneyard River" has a focal pull off candles like I described in the beginning where the guy plays the intro on a metal flute. "Boneyard Rider" is not titled as such, only as "Kill Devil Hills".

Another candidate for this shot is the signing, where if you are lucky, you can set up to go off the pen hand onto the bride's face, the groom leaning in from behind. A 35mm or 50mm might be better for you on that one.

On Youtube posted by agus35monk there are also outdoors tests with a Peleng f3.5 8mm fisheye which covers the 35mm motion picture frame but vignettes on the 35mm still-image frame. Choose the one which refers to the Z1P as the camera.

The Peleng has good contrast and sharpness. The Zenitar 16mm has an extra stop but tends to be flary and of lower sharpness and contrast compared to the Peleng which is claimed by some operators to be a sharp as the 8mm Nikon.

The Peleng despite its f3.5 aperture seems to do quite well in lower light, maybe because it gathers such a huge image, but I think you will be pushing it trying to use one of these in a church. A fisheye add-on accessory for the camera direct may be the way to go with that.

The 14mm lenses for Nikon from Nikon, Sigma and possibly Tokina are usually f2.8. The Sigma goes a bit soft at f2.8 but shots moving through a crowd look great with it.

However you will likely be better off using a wide accessory lens on the camera direct than going the wide-angle route with an adaptor.

On the PD150, I use the bayonet to mount the adaptor but use the filter thread to support the acromatic dioptre lens.

This method keeps the optical alignment better but try to avoid handling the casework of the adaptor as the picture will tend to move about due to flex in the adaptor-camera junction at the bayonet fitting.

The motorised AF lenses with their light movement are easier to use inthis circumstance than the friction dampened fully manual lenses which tend to move the adaptor about due to the force you have to apply adjust focus.

Flex also occurs in the camcorder lens support structure which will also move your picture about a little. If your bayonet fitting is a bit tight or sticky, hold the camera body as close to the bayonet fitting as you can when trying to remove it.

Enjoy. It is a bit of a challenge but you can get some good stuff and if you've got other coverage, then why not.
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Old January 11th, 2007, 01:02 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Hart
Dennis.

When you invert the camera, the image is correct in all ways. Trouble is, the LCD screen image is still wrong to work with.
Thanks Bob. Does anyone know how the hell I can mount an HVX upside down? I would rather flip the CCD inside the HVX and have been honestly considering doing that.
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Old January 11th, 2007, 01:22 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toenis Liivamaegi
...he must have the eye for focusing
maybe even more than one eye:) But that won't help much.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toenis Liivamaegi
You should be able to use your camcorder viewfinder like a view camera so no need for a flipped viewfinder
The more i have practice with such adapters the more i'm sure to not recommend to shoot without EFV and no less than 7". You find spoiled most of Your footage later seeing it in bigger display. Especially if You have to be worried thousands of other subjects like usually guerilla-filmakers have.
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