Mini DIY 35mm Adaptor info and resulting test footage. at

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Old March 26th, 2008, 05:42 PM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Manhattan
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Mini DIY 35mm Adaptor info and resulting test footage.

Hello. Im putting this up for some constructive feedback and info for those who are interested in making their own DIY 35 adaptor.

Last weekend I shot some test footage with my 'DIY' 35mm adaptor and my HV20. I purchased a kit from Daniel Schweinert, the VH57 and his Achromat + Step up ring and assembled the adaptor following his <a href="">tutorial</a>.

For those of you who are interested in making your own adaptor, I highly recommend it, however I feel that Daniels tutorial left a few gaps that made my assembly a little rougher than it could be.

1st) - Dont purchase any extension tubes from name brands. I did not know this going into the assembly stage, and purchased some more expensive tubes from B/H and Adorama, only to find out these A/F enabled tubes do not have enough internal room to fit his adaptor. You are going to have to ebay 'no name' brand manual extension tubes with no internal electronics/couplers. These tubes have enough room, and are *much cheaper* than A/F EOS extension tubes. You can find them on <a href="">ebay</a>

2nd) - Focusing screen. I initially purchased an EE-S 5D focusing screen for use with my adaptor. I was really unhappy with the resulting image. It was quite dark. As I dont own fast lenses, and the EE-S is darker than the EE-A screen this provided a losing combo. So unless you have fast lenses I might suggest starting out with the EE-A. I was quite happy when I switched.

3rd) - Hot glueing the focusing screen to the vibrating adaptor is a real pain. I was fortunate enough to meet Winston Vargas from Adorama here in NYC who gave me some pointers on installation and general setup which proved priceless.

It cant be stressed enough, handle the ground glass focusing screen with CARE. DO NOT TOUCH IT. I dont have a strong (read - any) photography background, so just how sensitive these damn things are did not register. Use the supplied tool to pick the ground glass up and place it on the vibrating mount, dont even attempt to handle it with your hands. Then cut out a piece of paper about the size of the focusing screen and place it over the focusing screen to act as a shield when glueing. This will help save you from madness when have finished your adaptor and turn it on, only to notice small strands of hot glue and or scratches on your screen.

When you are glueing, do not use much glue, and i found it un-necessary to glue in the four corners of the mount, and only glued on the bottom tab. This seems sufficient to me. Wait till the glue is dry and then remove the glue gun and any small strands of glue that will inevitably fall on the paper, or, on the screen itself.

Dont move the gun until the glue is dry, since this is what causes the small strands, and you will have a hell of a timing cleaning all of them up and making sure none fell onto the screen itself. Be patient and careful, otherwise you get to do all of this again with a brand new screen. 3rd time was the charm for me. The mounting of the focusing screen was by far the hardest step for me.

Also be aware that these macro extension tubes are cheap, and you will most likely have small black paint chips that will land on the screen or filter when you screw and unscrew the tubes, and of course when you drill the hole for the cabling to power the vibrating motor. So be prepared to clean it out a few times until most of the paint has been stripped (or you stop dicking with it).

As for the footage, once I had the EE-A screen installed without a hitch, I was VERY happy with the footage. Im really impressed with this little camera, and cant wait to get some better lenses and refine my shooting technique.

The following was shot mid March in NYC, with my HV20, cine mode at 24p, no color correcting in post: (I wont embed, since vimeo will show you the 720p24 downconvert made from compressor). I put some audio on it since I cant stand the sound of my voice.

Id love some feedback on the footage. I had some difficulty with my initial shoot: I used a manfrotto telephoto lens holder for support, and it proved awkward to shoot hand held. I have not applied the LCD preview flip hack yet, so adjusting for dyslexia was not easy (thus the weird movements), and I did not zoom in enough on the focusing screen so I have a small black border on the right hand. I used a cheapie Nikon 35-70mm 3.5 lens to shoot this mid afternoon on a fairly clear and bright day, but I think I mis-judged the exposure in the preview screen. All in all Im really pleased with this combination.

Thanks, and look forward to any insightful remarks. What lenses are most common to use with this type of setup?
Anton Marini is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 27th, 2008, 01:50 AM   #2
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Cary, NC
Posts: 132
Congrats on building your own adapter!

It's nice looking footage for sure - and i know the feeling you get when you first see your little hv20 producing footage with that much DOF.

I've dealt with Daniel before - good guy.

You already said it, but you should zoom in a little further next time around, to avoid the black border.

Also, there was a fair amount of vignetting, which personally i don't care for. I like to be able to add that myself. There are some post effects you can apply to help get rid of some of it, but its always best to start with the cleanest footage possible.

These are small issues though.

The main thing i saw though, was the spherical aberration, or the warping bokeh (the out of focus part). About a year ago i was heavily messing around with building my own 35mm adapter.. and found the best way to get around this is to use a larger achromat. Daniels is pretty small, not quite sure the dimensions anymore, but Cinevate sells their achromat i think. It's 72mm, and it is very very good. Kinda pricey, but worth it.

Very nice!
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Old March 27th, 2008, 01:21 PM   #3
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Elk Grove CA
Posts: 6,838
I bought Daniel' vibrating screen part and installed a self made wax ground glass per his tutorial. In process of installing into tubes. I managed to break the springs that attached to the ground glass. It is useless now. Frankly, the average all thumbs klutz will probably damage the thing before they get it in. I ended up creating a Letus type vibating screen set up from the salvage.

The self made wax ground glass actually is pretty good, and compares fine with my Letus35a. I do have to make a new one, because I contaminated one edge with the tape I used to create the space between the two slide plates. I also have the EE-a winging its way for comparison, to arrive soon from BH Photo.

I have the Cinevate achromat, and actually have to use it with the HV20 and the Letus 35a, to get adequate zoom. This softens image, but does provide ability to zoom more and avoid vignetting. However, with the extension tube version I just made, I use the $ 7.00 achromat Daniel referenced in his articles. I am pleasantly surprised how well it works.

Thanks for your input on this.
Chris J. Barcellos
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Old April 10th, 2008, 09:21 AM   #4
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Canberra, Australia
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Originally Posted by Anton Marini View Post
I purchased a kit from Daniel Schweinert, the VH57 and his Achromat + Step up ring and assembled the adaptor following his <a href="">tutorial</a>.
I am curious how much you paid in total for everything - kit, tube, etc(+/- lense).

Can you please give a price break down?

Slava Barouline is offline   Reply

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