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Old November 16th, 2008, 07:43 PM   #1
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HD200 and Primes - Help Me Understand, please.

Ok, so I now own 2 HD200U's and I'm just now starting to consider using them for things other than documentary style stuff (the meat and potatoes of my business). I've done my search at DVi and still haven't found exactly what I'm looking for:

- I'd like to use prime lenses on my 200. If I understand correctly, I have 2 options: PL mount lenses or 35mm SLR lenses. Further, if I use 35mm lenses, I incur the ~7x lens factor introduced by differing imager sizes, correct?

So, what are my options if I don't want to try and track down 16mm lenses (harder to do here in the centre of Canada)? And feel free to point me back to the DVi forums, I just haven't found a Prime Lenses for Dummies.

I'm a little overwhelmed by the discussion of COPLA, RedRock, MTF et al. A simple explanation and some jumping off points would be VERY much appreciated.
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Old November 17th, 2008, 02:23 AM   #2
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Hi Shaun. If you want to mount cine or 35mm lenses on a video camera, you are getting into the realm of the 35mm adapter. It's a big subject, and there are many posts around on this. You might want to start here-

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/alternati...y-reading.html

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Old November 17th, 2008, 06:05 AM   #3
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Shaun,

You've basically got 3 options.

1: P+S Technik image converters. Broadcast industry standard tool, with price and quality to match.

http://www.pstechnik.de/en/digitalfi...35-compact.php

2: JVC HZ-CA13U ProHD PL film lens adapter which will give you a 16mm DOF but the ability to use 35mm and PL prime lenses. No adapter needed, direct mount to JVC body.

http://pro.jvc.com/prof/attributes/f...l_id=MDL101683

3: Low budget 35mm DOF adapters. Be careful here if you want a 35mm adapter for money earning work. There are many firms out there (Brevis, Redrock, Letus and SGPro to name a few) who offer a very cost effective adapter. Take a look at the Letus forum on this site for example and you'll read threads from a lot of disgruntled customers complaining about build and image quality etc.

You have to remember. Small companies charging small prices are never going to be able to offer you broadcast optical engineering and build quality at budget prices. So bear this in mind if you require an adapter for money earning projects.

However, that said, many people do obtain excellent images using low budget adapters.

From our own personal experience we found that the JVC is not really suited to a 35mm adapter which has no direct lens relay (everything except the P+S) mainly because you are always having to stick the adapter on the end of the stock JVC lens, which means losing light and fighting for focus. We also had other expensive disasters with a particular low budget lens adapter and have learned our lesson the hard way.

Ask yourself why you need it. if it's a product you offer on a commercial basis, don't stint and go low budget. It's just not worth the potential grief. We gave up on trying to get away with these adapters and now just hire P+S Technik whenever a client calls for this 'look'.

Hope that helps.

Last edited by Stuart Campbell; November 17th, 2008 at 06:25 AM. Reason: added links
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Old November 17th, 2008, 08:40 AM   #4
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Shaun,

Here's the basic info on lens adapters, DoF and JVC's PL adapter.
Lenses, Adapters & Depth of Field

This segment can also be found on my DVD.

If you are interested in the JVC PL adapter HVS has a slightly used one for $3000 CDN. I can vouch for it as being in perfect condition.

Tim
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Old November 17th, 2008, 11:54 AM   #5
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Shaun, I've used both P&S Mini35-400 and JVC adapters. P&S for fiction, JVC for docu-style. Lenses were Zeiss or Arri 35mm primes and Leica 24x36mm primes.
Both do their job very well. drawbacks are t-stop-loss, weight and additional battery for the P&S; drawbacks for the JVC are 16mm/Digibeta-type image and, unless you have a perfectly matched set of primes (which are hard to find/rent outside main film locations) adjusting the white shading in the menu every time you change lenses (see cam manual p. 53), meaning lots lots lots of time lost on a film shoot. otherwise the JVC is an engineering wonder.
I haven't used the P&S Compact yet, and have not tried any other adapters.
The Movietube could be an interesting concept but it's not available for our JVC cameras and looks really bulky and odd for anything else but heavy 35mm equipment.

The other aspect of these adapters is focus pulling. with the P&S rack focussing is near imposible without a focus puller. the JVC with its 16mm-characteristics is a bit more forgiving but still... again, good camera assistants/focus pullers are not easy to find outside movie towns. this additional crew drives up the cost and organization considerably.

My guess is that the minimum camera support you need with the P&S is a steadycam (+the operator), as shoulder work is nearly impossible with anything above 25 mm. with the JVC's 16mm characteristics your shooting method is more flexible.

also, you need light just like on a 35mm /16mm set, even more of it because you don't have sensitivities/grain like Vision 250 or 500 film stock on our cameras

What this is meant to say is that many other criteria besides dof and lenses come into play, and while the mini-35 is a +/- 10'000 item, the total cost of using it is much much higher in set time = cast/crew cost and equipment rental. because you need no film stock and processing, filming in 35mm is still a lot cheaper with the JVC, but crew and rentals are the same.
For images see http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/jvc-pro-h...style-set.html another thread on this forum.
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Old November 17th, 2008, 11:56 AM   #6
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The "Gabriel" method

I sometimes wonder if the way Shane Abbess went on Gabriel (maybe with better Fuji glass or the JVC adapter and a good 16mm zoom) isn't a more adequate way of filming with our cameras. (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0857376/)

It's been previously discussed in this forum.

Last edited by Claude Mangold; November 17th, 2008 at 11:57 AM. Reason: film imdb url added
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Old November 17th, 2008, 12:10 PM   #7
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Thanks everyone. I don't mind doing the reading, I just wasn't sure where to begin.

Tim, where in Canada is a reasonable place to start looking for PL primes? I know you brought your Kinor in and had it modified. I'd LIKE to get a SMALL number of useful focal length primes to toss into my "yet to be bought" kit. HVS sent me an e-mail this morning about the JVC. Thanks. I'll get to him this aft.
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Old November 17th, 2008, 12:37 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Shaun Roemich View Post
Tim, where in Canada is a reasonable place to start looking for PL primes?
Good question. Personally I always rent because in Toronto there are plenty of rental houses for film gear. I prefer renting because the available variety and the fact that they are well-maintained by lens techs. I'm not sure what you have available in Winnipeg so I understand why you are interested in buying.

I would start by keeping an eye on the rental houses (PS, Panavision, Complete, Clairmont, etc.) They sometimes sell old rental lenses.
For example Clairmont keeps an equipment for sale list on their website.
Also, check the classifieds on the CSC website. The ASC also has a classifieds section.
There are also some film gear liquidator sites on the web that ship worldwide.
If you are looking for reasonably priced but decent new lenses then RED has some interesting offerings.
Lastly you can search the websites of some Eastern European camera shops with PL conversions of various lenses.
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Old November 17th, 2008, 04:45 PM   #9
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Thanks Tim. We DO have PS here. Might be time to introduce myself again.
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Old November 17th, 2008, 06:46 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Claude Mangold View Post
I sometimes wonder if the way Shane Abbess went on Gabriel (maybe with better Fuji glass or the JVC adapter and a good 16mm zoom) isn't a more adequate way of filming with our cameras. (Gabriel (2007))

It's been previously discussed in this forum.
that's what I was thinking while reading actually. That and maybe pick up a MTF adapter to go with my Nikon & Nikor lenses for some nature doc telework. I like my camera and all, but at a certain point I question dumping too much money into a platform. I mean a 16mm or even 35mm Panaflex just doesn't rent to for too much money per day, (about half of what our JVC cameras do typically) it's just the film and processing that's expensive. I think of our JVC's as an inexpensive alternative to 16mm. It's not 35mm, it's not even 16mm, but it's a lot of bang for the buck, and it's the least expensive manual camera with removable lens out there. So I dig it, it's just the thought of a 18x lens or $6,000 35mm adapter seems odd to me still unless you are a working full time in broadcast network or local channel. I'm interested in docs, demos, indie pilots etc to get me work later using rentals of cinealta or RED or 16mm or 35mm . The JVC ProHD line is just as expensive as 1 semester at SDSU film department Masters in TV & FILM Production. Since i've got several BA's and SAG union card and 3-4 years full time Film/TV production in front of and behind the camera, I think it's a reasonable choice to do a JVC over the first semester of a Masters in film school.

That being said, I'm probably going to the bay area this weekened or next to look at a brevius (spelling?) adapter to totaly discount everything I just said. Just in case anyone was keeping track. Of course a used 17x or 13x would be sweet in a few months too. Sorry for getting way off subject on this post. I just think the trap for many of us is to keep getting accessories, when at a certain point, if you NEED a certain type of image, get a different platform from a rental house for the weekend.
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Old November 17th, 2008, 08:52 PM   #11
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I just think the trap for many of us is to keep getting accessories, when at a certain point, if you NEED a certain type of image, get a different platform from a rental house for the weekend.
I don't disagree Alex, I DO earn a living doing this so sometimes I have an extra couple of shekels to rub together to buy something for the business that has questionable value but makes me happy. As well, you mentioned the camera costing as much as a semester of film school. To me, that's EXACTLY the point: a new "toy" gives me a tangible return on investment and inspires me to do new things.

I'm not sure going to primes (PL or 35mm) makes sense from a cost recovery business model, but if it adds something cool to my arsenal and brings in new work because I have something my competition doesn't AND I have a blast at the same time, works for me.

Great way of breaking it down, though. I know that sooner or later I need to draw the line on how much I spend on what I always intended to be an interim step in my HD migration. XDCam HD 422 is still 2 years away for me so I need SOMETHING to keep me out of trouble...
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Old November 18th, 2008, 04:53 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Alex Humphrey View Post
that's what I was thinking while reading actually. That and maybe pick up a MTF adapter to go with my Nikon & Nikor lenses for some nature doc telework. I like my camera and all, but at a certain point I question dumping too much money into a platform. I mean a 16mm or even 35mm Panaflex just doesn't rent to for too much money per day, (about half of what our JVC cameras do typically) it's just the film and processing that's expensive. I think of our JVC's as an inexpensive alternative to 16mm. It's not 35mm, it's not even 16mm, but it's a lot of bang for the buck, and it's the least expensive manual camera with removable lens out there. So I dig it, it's just the thought of a 18x lens or $6,000 35mm adapter seems odd to me still unless you are a working full time in broadcast network or local channel. I'm interested in docs, demos, indie pilots etc to get me work later using rentals of cinealta or RED or 16mm or 35mm . The JVC ProHD line is just as expensive as 1 semester at SDSU film department Masters in TV & FILM Production. Since i've got several BA's and SAG union card and 3-4 years full time Film/TV production in front of and behind the camera, I think it's a reasonable choice to do a JVC over the first semester of a Masters in film school.

That being said, I'm probably going to the bay area this weekened or next to look at a brevius (spelling?) adapter to totaly discount everything I just said. Just in case anyone was keeping track. Of course a used 17x or 13x would be sweet in a few months too. Sorry for getting way off subject on this post. I just think the trap for many of us is to keep getting accessories, when at a certain point, if you NEED a certain type of image, get a different platform from a rental house for the weekend.
Please let us know how you get on with the Brevis Alex.

Really interesting thread Shaun. A little bit frightening due to the many tried and test options (and each with a multitude of subjective reviews). I've been ruminating over a 35mm adaptor for some time - I won't have much money to throw at it (and the extras such as focus puller, and a steadicam if it were the P&S as Claude mentions, might have to wait) but still, especially for more documentary/film style work (either commercial or more likely personal projects) I'd love to shoot with that look however.
But given the costs of these accessories against money being earned using them, then I have a bit more to think about.
I expect that renting a P & S (if you can get hold of these in the UK) is pretty expensive (and if I have to add up the costs of a focus puller and steadicam into the mix, it gets a little prohibitive).
Mind boggling :( !
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Old November 19th, 2008, 04:58 PM   #13
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I think this shallow depth of field issue is beyond frustrating. I've just spent three or four days reading about 35mm adapter and am more confused than ever. I had been thinking about purchasing a RedRock adapter for the JVC 200u, but after reading everything, and the complaints, I'm a bit frightened to actually use it. I fear it would fail at a really in oportune time.

So, I checked out Letus. More expensive, but people still have complaints. So I looked at renting them, to try it out, and it costs over 40 percent of the purchase price to rent.

Arrrggghhh!!!! I just want shallow depth of field!

Hmm.

Can some sage, wise, know everything person just give a declarative answer on what is best! And be right, of course. Is that too much to ask?

And I'm only partly joking.
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Old November 26th, 2008, 02:33 PM   #14
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So, as an update, my new JVC PL mount adaptor will be on it's way to me next week.
Thanks for all the help, folks! Especially Tim.
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Old November 27th, 2008, 05:02 AM   #15
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Jason,

You sound desperate to have a 35mm dof. Why?

If this is to earn you money don't bother with the cheaper alternatives.

If it's for tinkering and hobby work then they are great.
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