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Old August 21st, 2006, 01:55 PM   #1
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Please help a noob

After prowling around the dv boards for the past couple of months I've finally decided on the hvx-200. I'm pretty new to videography in general but have been reading up on it as much as I can. I'm planning on getting this camera as well as the M2 adapter.

There have been plenty of posts in which people discuss the lenses they're using with the adapter, as well as sample clips with the lens types noted. Here's where I'm getting confused...some of the lens types mentioned around here don't seem to match up with the lens names listed with manufacturers or retailers.

For example, someone might mention a "Nikon 105MM/F2.5" lens, but when I go to Nikons website or a camera retailer, nothing matches up. This holds true for most of the lenses I've seen mentioned. This leads me to beleive that I'm a complete noob who is getting in way over his head, lol, but I'd like to go ahead and learn on as good of a setup as I can afford.

Can anyone explain to me what I need to know to understand what specific lenses people are talking about or point me to anything that would clear up my confusion?

While I'm at it, I might as well ask...I'm wanting to get a good versatile set of 3 lenses for various DOFs(preferably the same brand so they'll fit the same M2 adapter ring). If you have a good recommendation, can you please be specific about it so that my noobish arse can figure out what to add to my shopping cart? :)

(There was an earlier post about lenses to use with the M2 in general but there weren't a whole lot of responses and I couldn't determine which specific lenses were being mentioned.)

Thanks!!!
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Old August 21st, 2006, 03:19 PM   #2
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Chuck,

You've got a lot of information gathering ahead of you, not to mention testing but it will be a fun venture.

It won't help you now, but in October my Photos in a Flash DVD series will be launched and Volume One will have several sections dedicated to the various lens types, their effect on images and how best to use each type. Keep an eye on this site: http://www.photosinaflash.com , when it's released I'll put you on the freebie list and have a copy sent to you.

The lens you're referring to the Nikon 105mm f/2 (never seen an f/2.5) is a current lens in the Nikon lineup: http://nikonusa.com/template.php?cat...productNr=1932 . There is also a manual focus version which you'd have to find at places like KEH.com.

As far as learning everything you'd need to know about lenses, there's no way to do that on a web-forum. You need to pick up some books (or wait for my DVD to be released) and start getting familiar with lens technology and terms and see some examples of how images look from various lenses. One book I'd recommend as it contains tons of info for any photo-newbie is, John Hedgecoe's "The New Manual of Photography". Great place to start.

I think before I'd recommend any lenses that you gather some basic lens info first; if I gave you a list of "good" lenses now it might not make sense for your purposes, and I'd hate for you to spend money on something you don't really need.

Keep in mind, that whether it's video or stills all images are a combination of three things: Light, exposure and composition. And with respect to hardware, no single element has more control over quality or the "look and feel" of an image than the lens - it's the single most important part - other than your own creativity - in the chain of visual hardware that you'll use.
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Old August 21st, 2006, 04:11 PM   #3
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thanks

Thanks for the leads Robert - and the dvd offer (awesome!). I know I'm totally getting ahead of myself by ordering equipment before understanding it, the problem is...we have some projects coming up very soon and I've basically been tasked with learning everything I possibly can about filming in the fastest possible amount of time - IN ADDITION to procuring the best equipment we can afford, lol.

We're looking for a rig that will offer a good set of recording modes (hvx-200) as well as the ability to acheive some varying depth of field (M2 + various lenses). Learning the ins and outs of this stuff is going to be such an ordeal that in my opinion it makes more sense for me to ask you guys advice on a basic setup of lenses to start out with. I'm obviously going to need to bust my arse to learn everything I can before I'm anywhere near ready to start actual production and I think deferring to experts on a decision such as this one will make things a little easier.

The quicker I have a rig, the quicker I'll learn to use it and the less likely I'll look like a complete jackass when it's time to produce :) Is there anything you guys would recommend for a starter set of film lenses that would give a good or standard variety in terms of varying depths of field? I realize I'm trying to get a jump start on something that requires a great deal of knowledge and experience, but I'm in a bit of a tight spot. I'll definitely check out the stuff mentioned by Robert.
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Old August 21st, 2006, 05:14 PM   #4
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I'm going to guess that some of the Nikkor lenses mentioned may be (like mine) older ones. I have a Nikkor 105mm f2.5, but it's a pre-AI Nikkor and the current equivalent may be something like a 100mm or a 110mm, and it may be an f1.4 instead of 2.5, etc.
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Old August 21st, 2006, 05:39 PM   #5
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Chuck,

If you need to get your rig together ASAP, then you might want to look into this as an alternative to the M2 system, called the Brevis: http://www.cinevate.com/index.php?page=products .

I've heard and seen good things about this adapter and although I can't prove it myself it seems that it *might* have less light loss than the M2, and certainly be much more compact and lighter than the M2. One thing for certain, you wouldn't have to wait a month or longer to get a Brevis as you would if you ordered an M2.
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Old August 22nd, 2006, 08:14 AM   #6
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cool

Thanks Bill - I kinda wondered if that may be the case (old models vs. new ones, etc.) I appreciate it.

Also, thanks Robert - checking out that adapter now...

One last noob question for now. I'm assuming the film lenses I need to get should be MANUAL focus. Is that correct or does it matter?
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Old August 22nd, 2006, 09:04 AM   #7
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I believe it does matter and you do need manual focus lenses. If you live where there's a good used camera store (the are getting rare around here), you can find older Nikkor lenses pretty cheap. If you get your adapter with a Nikon lens mount, you can use any lens that has a Nikon mount--there are lots of them, like Vivitar and others. Some are good, some not so good.

Nikon used to make two different lenses in several focal lengths--a slow lens and a fast one. I always bought the slow ones because they were sharper. But for your purpose the faster ones might be better, since the adapter is going to eat some light. I can't remember off the top of my head ,but I think, for example, that my 24mm is an f3.5, while the faster one is probably an f2 or 2.8. A 24mm is a pretty nice wide angle in the 35mm world, but more expensive than the 28mm. Most people consider a 50mm to be "normal" and there are zillions of them out there. I used a 35mm for my "normal" lens because I always liked wider angles. A 25mm, a 35mm and a 105mm can get you through most things you probably need to shoot.
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Old August 22nd, 2006, 09:32 AM   #8
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thanks

Bill, thanks a ton - that clears alot of things up for me.
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Old August 22nd, 2006, 10:09 AM   #9
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Actually, the info from Bill isn't quite correct (sorry, Bill).

You don't need manual focus lenses for any lens adapter system, especially Nikon. Since none of the adapters have an electrical connection to the lens that means the lens, regardless if it's manual or autofocus, has to always be operated manually as there is no way to have any of it's auto features working, so both focus and aperture adjustment are always done by hand on the lens, not by the adapter and certainly not by the host video camera.

The caveat here is the Canon EOS lenses, which without power to the lens have no control over aperture at all and the aperture is always in the full-open position as a result. And, there are certain lenses such as the EOS 85mm f/1.2 L that you cannot even focus without power to the lens, rendering it useless for any lens adapter.

With respect to lenses, for any adapter system you'd want to use the brightest lens in any focal length that you can afford. Bill is correct in that for many lenses there are sometimes more than one version: an ultra-bright (large maximum aperture) version such as f/2.8 to f/1.4 and the "darker" versions where the max aperture may not be more than f/4 to 5.6.

While these darker lenses may appear to be sharper because of the smaller aperture (things tend to get sharper when you close down the aperture opening in th lens) the truth is it's the larger aperture/brighter lenses that have much better glass, sharper images and usually better color as well since they use glass with terms like ED, Low Dispersion or APO (apochromatic).

Those terms mentioned above say a lot about a lens capabilities and there's a lot of info about lenses that you should read up on. The book I recommended is a quick read and will get you started on the right path.
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Old August 22nd, 2006, 12:39 PM   #10
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Chuck, just make sure the lenses you choose are not for APS sized sensors. Nikon or Canon FD type lenses will give the most choices for adapters out there. The FD mount is, in my opinion, the best of the SLR bayonet types due to it's locking ring. You're pretty much assured of a perfectly solid mount. We are just working on PL mounts for the Brevis, and depending on your budget, a set of these from ebay would be perfect for adapters that support the mount. The PL mount is much more robust (and #$%# expensive) than any SLR type.

I really like using a 28-70 f2.8 zoom, although optically it's not as good as a set of primes. My pick would be 28, 50 and 135 mm primes in the fastest speeds you can find. A 50mm f1.4 is the perfect lens to start with.
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Old August 22nd, 2006, 03:30 PM   #11
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Dennis brings up an important point:

Nikon makes the "DX" series of lenses which are digital specific and are designed for the smaller, APS sized image sensors. These lenses do not project a "full frame" 35mm image back to the focal plane and as such will cause serious imaging problems with any lens adapter system.

Canon also, has released "digital specific" lenses and all the current Olympus lenses are 100% made for their "four thirds" digital bodies which has an imaging sensor even smaller than APS.

So while using a manual focus lens isn't a requirement, it's a recommendation since you won't ever run into any digital-specific lenses and the older manual focus lenses are plentiful and easier to afford.
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