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Old January 14th, 2009, 04:02 PM   #1
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Shallow Depth of Field without adapter?

I asked a similar question in the HVR-Z7U section, however, as I am still trying to figure out what camera I want to get, so I had a similar question for the EX1 and EX3.

When it came to the Sony HVR-Z7U, I am told you still needed a Letus35 Extreme to get the depth of field effect. Does this also hold true to the EX1 and EX3? I ask because these cameras have bigger CMOS chips than the HVR-Z7U. Since the EX3 has interchangable lens capability (like the Z7U) but as it does have bigger CMOS chips, is the Letus35 Extreme really required or can you just use a regular adapter to connect a DSLR lens and get the depth of field effect?

Thanks.
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Old January 14th, 2009, 04:17 PM   #2
 
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DOF is related to something called the Circle of Confusion. Without getting really technical, the image size at the focal plane is critically important. With a 1/2 inch sensor, the DOF of the EX1/EX3 is noticeably shallower than the 1/3 inch sensor of more conventional CCD's, but, not as shallow as a 35mm focal plane. Unfortunately, use of a 35mm lens will not decrease the DOF unless the image size at the focal plane is also increased. In other words, no, you can't get the same DOF with a 35mm lens without the use of a Letus-like adapter on the EX1/EX3.
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Old January 14th, 2009, 04:31 PM   #3
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Excellent, thank you. I guess I'll have to budget in another $1500 for a Letus35/Brevis35 adapter then, haha.

Just to take the topic in a different path. Why get the EX3 when you can use an EX1 and just use Letus35/Brevis35 adapter and as you explained get even better results?
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Old January 14th, 2009, 06:03 PM   #4
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You can reduce depth of field on practically any camera, by moving the camera away and zooming back in. Lighting and aperture can also be utilsed to increase the effect. The "amount" of shallowness will not be as dramatic as with an Adapter such as Letus, but the basic EX1 with its 1/2" sensors can achieve it quite strongly.

Personally I like to use the effect very sparingly. So many feature movies overdo it - I have watched one or two recently where I was sitting there silently screaming "I want to see the background, not a constant blur!"
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Old January 14th, 2009, 06:58 PM   #5
 
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As far as I'm concerned, the difference between a studio movie and an indie is the aesthetic content. There is no question that skill is a very big part of the esoteric beauty, the ability to make the moving images seamless, such that the viewer is one with the images. One of the most subtle ways the DP/Director can manipulate the audience without interrupting the zen of the moment, is thru selective focus, aka pull focus. It is not a minor effect. In fact, in skilled hands, it's the single most important variable, in close competition with proper lighting. The single biggest failing of anything less than super 16mm is DOF. The EX1/EX3 both have a 1/2 inch sensor. Leaps and bounds better than a 1/3 inch sensor, but, still not super 16.
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Old January 15th, 2009, 12:21 AM   #6
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Actually I've seen some incredibly poorly shot studio movies that would contradict that aesthetic argument. Studio movies generally have the stars and the budget for locations- that what sets them apart more than anything. Spend some time flying commercial long-haul flights that show movies and you'll see the sort of studio dreck I'm referring to. Aesthetics alone are just a part.

But anyways- to get back to the original question yeah you need an adapter. :)

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Old January 15th, 2009, 12:49 AM   #7
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Cinevate Brevis

Why get the EX3 when you can use an EX1 and just use Letus35/Brevis35 adapter and as you explained get even better results?

Well the viewfinder is amazing on the EX3 and Cinevate has my attention right now as they have dealt with the stock EX lens with a custom CINEFUSE to help with the edge to edge focus issue that all the other adapter companies are struggling with, and they will be marketing a rely lens for the EX3 in the spring that works with the existing Brevis MP35 adapter. By the time you get all of the pieces to this rig it will be about $2500 and it is money well spent that has a strong resell value right now.

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Old January 15th, 2009, 05:54 AM   #8
 
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Personally I like to use the effect very sparingly. So many feature movies overdo it - I have watched one or two recently where I was sitting there silently screaming "I want to see the background, not a constant blur!"
Peter, I couldn't agree with you more. Whatever happened to "moderation in all things"?

I came into cinematography back in the early 70s. I can't tell you how many cinematographers broke their backs to achieve deep focus or a deeper depth of field. They and the directer wanted the audience to see deeper into the frame!

I think a lot of this can be blamed on the zoom lens. Back in the day, before I came into the business, they were, by and large, using prime lenses. Seldom was a zoom or telephoto lens used in a motion picture. As I reacall the zooms really came into being back in the 60s. And, as with most things, it was over used, especially in TV shows. The excuse being it was quicker to zoom than set up a dolly and track. In my opinion, the trucking shot (dolly in) is far more elegant than a zoom--it's a whole different animal!

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying zoom shots are bad. They have their place, in moderation, as with most things.
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Old January 15th, 2009, 06:40 AM   #9
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The original question has been answered correctly, but you certainly CAN achieve shallow focus without an adapter. There are plenty of sample videos online (I have posted a few) that show the range of focus you can get without an adapter. I use adapters sometimes, and while they are nice, they have some limited functionality and can be fussy. I think the EX-1/3 take beautiful pictures without any accouterments and as new camera makers start to introduce bigger chips in their cameras, the 35mm adapter will be a thing of the past. But yes, to achieve 35mm DOF (given same camera position, field of view, etc.) you will need an adapter, but just be aware of their limitations (like the ability to achieve deeper focus which becomes a real pain sometimes when shooting scenes with groups of people).

BE
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Old January 15th, 2009, 10:22 AM   #10
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Thanks for all the answers. Speaking of adapters. Anyone familiar with the Redrock Micro adapters? Any thoughts on quality and compatability with the EX1?
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Old January 15th, 2009, 11:13 AM   #11
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I purchased the M-2 Red Rock Micro complete system at NAB 2008 and it was terrible, the image quality was horrible and I found out later that the person selling me this thing knew it didn't work with the stock EX lens and he knew about the issues. I worked with him for over 2 months and he ended up blowing me off and I told him I wouldn't hesitate to tell anyone about this ordeal. I won't recommend this product to anyone. And at the time they had very little support.

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Old January 15th, 2009, 01:06 PM   #12
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That's good to know cause I was thinking of getting it for my Sony A1 for now and then using it for the EX1 when I get that later this year. When you say it doesn't work, it just looks bad or doesn't work at all. Do they have some sort of fix for it or adapter now?
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Old January 15th, 2009, 02:14 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Pasha Hanover View Post
Thanks for all the answers. Speaking of adapters. Anyone familiar with the Redrock Micro adapters? Any thoughts on quality and compatability with the EX1?

Redrock Micro: Create the Cinema Experience
I shot a short film with this combo and it worked fine, except for a bit of vignetting on certain shots which I was able to correct out.

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Old January 15th, 2009, 03:58 PM   #14
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That brings some hope back to this adapter, haha. So we have one thumbs up and one thumbs down. Anyone else have comments about the Redrock micro?
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Old January 15th, 2009, 04:05 PM   #15
 
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Phil Bloom did a review of several adapters, including the Letus, Redrock Micro, and Brevis. His conclusion was that the Letus was the best of those he reviewed. I, also, own the Letus Extreme. While it works as advertised, it has many shortcomings, not the least of which is weight. All adapters are cumbersome and unwieldly. Letus improved their design with the Ultimate.
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