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Old February 27th, 2011, 02:17 PM   #1
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Attaching mattebox to GH2 with pancake lens

Anyone try to use the GH2 with a mattebox with the short Lumix pancake lens? I have the Redrock mattebox system, and the lens barely can be utilized due to the extreme short length. Does anyone have a suggestion to attach a mattebox to a very short lens?
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Old February 27th, 2011, 08:59 PM   #2
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Re: Attaching mattebox to GH2 with pancake lens

I don't think it's possible. I don't believe any follow focus will fit on there, either. Now try both, lol. That's why I ordered a Voigtlander 25mm.
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Old February 28th, 2011, 04:01 PM   #3
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Re: Attaching mattebox to GH2 with pancake lens

Why would you want to? The mattebox will weigh more than the camera and lens combined - a recipe for disaster unless you support the lens and mattebox and it stays on a tripod.

I do not see the reason for a mattebox on any DSLR's. A lens hood is far better and good enough for the worlds top photographers. I do have a mattebox and occasionally it goes on my EX-3 but even then it makes balancing more difficult.

Maybe a small lightwight mattebox - carbon fiber, but any large 4 x 5 glass filters will again add heavy weight.
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Old March 1st, 2011, 06:37 AM   #4
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Re: Attaching mattebox to GH2 with pancake lens

I've had to. I was shooting outside in bright sunlight, and I wanted the DoF of the 1.7 f-stop from the pancake lens but needed to add some ND filters via the mattebox, as the GH2 doesn't have internal ND filters like the AF100. Obviously it required rails and a tripod, but keeping the short lens attached to the mattebox to prevent light getting in was difficult. I'm going to research to see if there is some sort of adapter that can be jury-rigged for this dilemma.
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Old March 1st, 2011, 07:03 AM   #5
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Re: Attaching mattebox to GH2 with pancake lens

Well for about $130 you can buy a variable ND filter and a lens hood and shoot outside all you want. And, your set up will be easy to balance both on a tripod and hand held. More importantly for me is a fast set up time.

Sorry but I rail against these silly rigs I see with everything but the kitchen sink attached to a dwarfed DSLR body .... with no thought to a balanced smooth motion hand-held or correctly balanced on a fluid head. I estimate 90% of matte boxes are attached for no reason except to impress clients, not improve a shot - I am not saying this in your case.
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Old March 1st, 2011, 07:35 AM   #6
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Re: Attaching mattebox to GH2 with pancake lens

Serious professional shooters use matte boxes. On the other hand, an ND filter and a matte box have different purposes, they are not interchangeable. I will agree that for ME, a lens hood will suffice. A matte box would be nice, but I do run and gun shooting, and a matte box is not in my plans.

ND filter can help offset a bit of the issues with not having a matte box, but an ND filter cannot makeup for lack of a lens hood or matte box on a bright sunny day.

I'm going to seek out a lens hood for my 20mm; while not a matte box, it should suffice for what I do.
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Old March 1st, 2011, 04:40 PM   #7
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Re: Attaching mattebox to GH2 with pancake lens

Actually there are pro's who do not use a mattebox - and they are shooting on Reds and Arri's - I know a few who dislike them. And for DSLRs it is a waste of time and causes more problems than it fixes.
No one really wants that kind of weight on the end of a lens - exactly the place to avoid weight. So you need to support it. On a DSLR that is very problematic - so now you have to build enormous carefully balanced rigs with rails to basically do what a $20 lens hood will do and a $100 screw on filter.

Yes they look cool. But we are talking DSLR's here ... get a cokin filter holder or a small light 16:9 style hood but to use a heavy ENG type mattebox that outweighs the camera in some cases is wrong to me. If I wanted to shoot with a rig that weighs 20Ibs or more, I would not be using my GH2 or 7D anyway - I would pick up my EX3.
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Old March 4th, 2011, 06:25 AM   #8
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Re: Attaching mattebox to GH2 with pancake lens

I disagree with the opinion that "pimping" out the GH2 with a mattebox is a bad idea. I have a set of rails with a Marshall monitor and several other add-ons, and I've used the mattebox for the ND filters as mentioned above. But I view the whole setup also as a sales pitch. I've done projects where I come in with an HV20 in the past or just a DSLR, and the customer looks at you as if you're kidding them. Why do awesome car commercials also have the beautiful model if the car can sell itself? Why does a star football player meet with a prospective team in a tailored suit? Why does Sony show up promoting their new F3 camera with a lens on it worth many times more than the camera? It's the whole package. If I'm getting good money from someone who wants me to come in looking like a professional, I don't want to come in looking like I have a child's toy, even if I know that the GH2 can capture professional looking footage. I've come in with the pimped out GH2, and right away, the customer is impressed. Then they see the footage, and they're very satisfied all the way around. For repeat customers, this may not be an issue. But for new customers, first impressions are very important.
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Old March 4th, 2011, 06:36 AM   #9
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Re: Attaching mattebox to GH2 with pancake lens

Actually, this it true, sometimes it is all in the presentation. Walking around with a GH2 does make you look like an amateur. If your client knows you, all is well, but you can actually get jobs by impressing potential clients with an impressive looking rig.

I personally don't attempt to win clients this way, I don't have the energy to direct my thinking along these lines, too distracting.

But I do know competitors who do, and they attract a different type of clientele, sometimes higher end. It works for them.
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Old March 5th, 2011, 10:35 AM   #10
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Re: Attaching mattebox to GH2 with pancake lens

I suggest that if you have clients that need impressing with gear, you change them. In the long haul it will serve your career much better and save you money on gear you do not need.

Only one thing matters. Your ability and your work. I started a very important feature length doc in November in China and turned up only with a 7D. They look concerned until I showed them my work on my MacBook. I also always hire assistants and act very professional with enough confidence that it passes on to everyone around me.

Adding anything not absolutely necessary to making your shot better is irresponsible. And if it actually inhibits smooth well controlled motion and the ability to use a rig all day without being tired, then its plain dumb. I look at all this stuff for sale that has sprung up on "DSLR must have gear websites" and I laugh.

Also, I shoot mostly in remote locations abroad and this has helped me decide what equipment I can leave behind ... and its a lot!
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Old March 7th, 2011, 11:49 AM   #11
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Re: Attaching mattebox to GH2 with pancake lens

Jon, I'd personally love to hear what equipment you CAN'T leave behind...
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Old March 8th, 2011, 11:47 AM   #12
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Re: Attaching mattebox to GH2 with pancake lens

This depends on the camera I take. My last film was shot around the Himalayas with a large kit based on EX-3s ... not easy. The movie was just released.
I leave in 10 days for Beijing and will be shooting on two DSLRs so this is what I will be taking:
Canon 7D and a GH2. Five lenses (so far ... probably six).
8 batteries and two chargers.
Miller Solo tripod with DS20 head and a Gitzo mountaineer tripod with another fluid head (not sure which head to take). Carbon monopod and carbon boompole (may have to leave the boompole behind)
Lightweight shoulder rig or Zacuto DSLR rig - not sure which yet. Small 36inch glidetrack if possible.
3 or 4 mics - including Videomic pro, Sennheiser G3 lavs, NT-3, AT4035, etc. Extra lav mic. Headphones.
Tascam DR-100 and maybe my field mixer if I have space.
The rest is fader NDs, 2 screw filters, step down rings, Follow focus, LCD viewfinder, cables, windmuffs, and small stuff. I do take 4 or 5 QR plates which are attached to everything. I may take my marshall monitor.
I do not take matte boxes and filters, my studio tripod or spreaders, my dolliy (I wish) or crane... etc Just too dam heavy!

I do have an assistant with me. Even so, I shoot docs and set up time is important especially going from hand-held to tripod. You simply cannot switch lenses and matte boxes during shooting with large rigs.
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