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Old March 3rd, 2009, 12:13 PM   #1
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35mm adaptor or nikon adaptor for EX-3

I hope this doesn't sound too stupid. I would love to achieve that nice shallow depth of field but after watching many videos and reading many threads, I'm still slightly confused. What is the difference if I use something like a Brevis or Letus 35mm adaptor vs getting one of those nikon adaptors to use with the EX3? They can both use Nikon lenses. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Old March 3rd, 2009, 02:09 PM   #2
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A 35mm adapter changes depth of field by introducing a focus screen as the imager.

Look at it this way: The smaller the imager, the deeper the depth field. Your EX3 has a 1/2 inch imager. A 35mm adapter has a much larger image area. Because of that, a lense with the same angle of view for the 35mm size will have, by optical properties, the much shallower depth of field that we are all chasing. The 35mm adapter uses the ground glass as the imager, which is in turn videoed by the camera.

Just adding the lens without the ground glass only acts to increases effective telephoto lenght for the camera. I don't know exact multiplier, but using a 50mm on the 1/2 inch chip camera might equate to about 250-300mm or so.
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Old March 3rd, 2009, 02:51 PM   #3
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I don't know exact multiplier, but using a 50mm on the 1/2 inch chip camera might equate to about 250-300mm or so.
Great guess, Chris. I've read that it is 5.4x - a 50mm would be 270mm.
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Old March 3rd, 2009, 04:29 PM   #4
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Chris is right, and confirmed by Ted. They are different tools. We all know what a 35mm adaptor can do, so why use an adaptor and a Nikon directly onto the EX3? Well the main reason is macro and telephoto. Someone who got one today and tested it, said he used a 35-70 macro and filled a frame with 15mm x 27mm at minimum focus.

Now, if you stick a 200mm on it, you are getting 1080mm telephoto. With a 35mm adaptor like the Letus you will get 200mm.

Put a 300mm lens on the Nikon adaptor and get super telephoto 1620mm. You will be able to see the eyelashes on that deer at the other end of the field.

Whilst you can get a very shallow depth of field with a 35mm adaptor like the Brevis, Letus, Redrock, SGBlade etc, you can get similar looking depth of field depending on the lens used, the distance you are from the subject and the way the shot is set up.
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Old March 3rd, 2009, 06:13 PM   #5
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Get both. The adaptor Steve sells isn't that expensive. I haven't bought one yet, but come spring time (when it starts getting green around here) I just might.
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Old March 4th, 2009, 12:47 AM   #6
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Thanks guys, that is roughly what I thought, just needed some verification. I think both adaptors will be upcoming purchases.
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Old March 5th, 2009, 01:27 AM   #7
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Brian, no question is stupid. Although some answers are. It's good of you to be so open about not quite understanding the differences. Sometimes technical answers get my head to the verge of exploding. Other answers can be misleading. So just in case you're still not 100%, maybe this can help. 35mm adapters like the Brevis and Letus are designed and built with one thing in mind - to give you the shallow depth of field which it sounds like you are after. It's kind of complicated how they do it when you're just reading about them for the first six hundred times. I know. So just accept for a bit, if you don't quite get it, that the only reasonable way to get great shallow depth of field (DOF) is to use these adapters - the Brevis, the Letus, etc.

As for the other 35mm adapters, the ones with no glass inside them, which simply allow you to mount your 35mm stills lens to your video camera, there is one great challenge which they do not address - the difference in the size of your EX3's sensor. Your EX has a 1/2" sensor which is TINY in comparison to the "sensor" (film) that your 35mm lenses are designed to project an image onto. This difference presents what is called the "Crop factor". Some mistakenly call it the "magnification factor". That is a bad word to use here because it is misleading. After all there is no glass in a 35mm Nikon to EX adapter - so nothing is getting magnified. Instead, it is being "cropped".

Basically what happens is you take a full frame dslr still camera with your 85mm lens mounted to it and shoot your girlfriend half naked from about eleven feet away. Beautiful eyes, beautiful torso, nice a$$ - it's almost a full body shot. Now you take that same lens and mount it to your EX3, stand eleven feet away and shoot her in the exact same way.... All your EX sees is her chin nose and one eye - because your EX's 1/2" sensor is "cropping" just one tiny portion of the image that that your 85mm SLR lens is projecting back to the EX3. All the rest of your girl's body just goes to waste somewhere in that black hole surrounding the sensor area. Your great 85mm portrait lens is now effectively a telescope - because your EX just cropped about 82% of the image and threw it in the garbage. All you actually see in your view finder is the 18% of the image that your EX's sensor sees. So 18% times 5.4 equals about 100% of the original image that your 35mm SLR lens and still camera see.

That's why some misleadingly call this brain twister a "magnification factor". Because basically you end up recording on your video camera, an image that would have taken a still camera five and a half times as much telephoto to see. IE: your 85mm stills lens now becomes a 549mm telephoto lens. And this is true with any 35mm still lens that you use. Get a great, very expensive, 10mm Nikon fisheye lens and mount it to your EX3 - forget the fisheye, it's a 54mm lens now that your EX3 is only seeing through the very center of it.



So really Brian, there are two VERY MAJOR differences between a Brevis 35mm DOF adapter, and an MTF 35mm Nikon to EX3 adapter. When you use a Brevis, or a Letus on your EX3, you end up recording an image that's about the same field of view as you would see on your DSLR. So in this case, a 10mm fisheye would again be a 10mm fisheye. But even more importantly, your girl would again be half naked.

As far as using a simple 35mm Nikon lens adapter on your EX3 to achieve a shallow DOF, don't even try it. Pure waste of money. Why? Because unless you are shooting a movie about toy army men invading the floor of your laundry room, you are going to have to move so far away from your subjects that you will lose that great shallow dof.

Trust me, I've been shooting footage with Nikon still lenses and Mike Tapa's MTF adapters for three years now. They are phenomenally well built and designed. But even Mike will tell you himself, because he's a very honest and helpful straight shooter - 35mm lenses are designed for 35mm cameras. Put them on an EX3 and they work really well, but they are all telephoto lenses now. Great for wildlife, great for sports, great for macro. And great for shooting toy soldiers in your laundry room. But shallow DOF in average distance shots? Don't fall victim to false claims. Believe me Dennis Wood doesn't pull his hair out designing and re-designing ground glass adapters just because he feels like it. You really do need them in order to get that great shallow DOF look when you are using video cameras with small sensors - like the EX3.

Here Brian, I am attaching an image that I created for DVinfo users two years ago. This was shot at Mavericks with a JVC HD200, which uses a 1/3" sensor (even smaller than the EX3). Study the image closely. Look around the frame. I used a Nikon 300mm telephoto lens mounted to the HD200 VIA a Zoerk 35mm adapter. (I used Zoerk adapters before I learned about the better designed MTF adapters.)

The next image is shot using a Brevis adapter and a Nikon 50mm lens on the HD200. So you see, if it weren't for the Brevis being between the camera and the 50mm lens, we would probably only my wife's left toe.
Attached Thumbnails
35mm adaptor or nikon adaptor for EX-3-cliffdetails.jpg   35mm adaptor or nikon adaptor for EX-3-picture-3.jpg  

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Old March 5th, 2009, 03:16 AM   #8
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A good technical post Eric.

I should have a 300mm Nikon in the next week so will go out and play with it locally and get some footage up online. Should be very interesting to compare the stock lens at full zoom, with the 200mm and the 300mm.

Now, if only I could get my hands on a 600mm for a couple of hours!!

Last edited by Steve Shovlar; March 5th, 2009 at 06:37 AM.
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Old March 6th, 2009, 12:58 PM   #9
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Thanks

Thanks Eric for taking the time. This could be the very best explanation that I've seen. I don't do a lot of wildlife or sports photography so I think I will look into a Letus. Now the question is, can I get by with a Letus Elite or should I go for the Ultimate. If there is anyone in the Vancouver area that knows where to rent one, that would be great, I'd like to try it out. I also wanted to try it at NAB next month but I hear that Letus won't be there.


Cheers,
Brian
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Old March 7th, 2009, 02:47 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Brian Chow View Post
Thanks Eric for taking the time. This could be the very best explanation that I've seen. I don't do a lot of wildlife or sports photography so I think I will look into a Letus. Now the question is, can I get by with a Letus Elite or should I go for the Ultimate. If there is anyone in the Vancouver area that knows where to rent one, that would be great, I'd like to try it out. I also wanted to try it at NAB next month but I hear that Letus won't be there.


Cheers,
Brian
HI Brian, I have owned the Extreme and its a nice bit of it but you can't stop down on it at all. If you do the EX3 sensor sees the vibrating ground glass and you get a patternation on the image.

With the Ultimate you don't have this problem as the glass spins rather than rotates. The problems I had with the extreme caused me to sell it after a couple of months. If you can stretch to the Ultimate I would say go for it.

As for my Adaptimax adaptor, its a totally different beast to the Letus adaptors or other 35mm adaptors. There's no lens or moving parts so no grain. So the clarity of the image captured is not compromised at all. The Adaptimax and a 35mm adaptor would compliment each other rather than compete.
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Old March 7th, 2009, 02:15 PM   #11
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Now, if only I could get my hands on a 600mm for a couple of hours!!

I have a 500mm Reflex Nikkor, it is very difficult to use unless you set your tripod in concrete. Try aiming this at a distant bird (feathered or none feathered type) and you will have problems trying to keep it in the frame.

If you are ever in the London area then you are more than welcome to try it out Steve. I also have 20, 24, 35, 50, 55mm micro, 85, 105, 135, 200, 300, 500, 35 -70, 35 - 105, 24 - 120, 80 -200 and 18 -105 Nikkor lenses (at last count).
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Old March 7th, 2009, 03:18 PM   #12
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It's much clearer than mud now. Has anyone tried the Red Rock M2 Encore, as it has a spinning glass. Also their matte box looks pretty good for the price. Too many options out there, its so hard to decide as you don't want to regret your purchase.

Brian
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Old March 7th, 2009, 04:51 PM   #13
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You're welcome Brian. I'm really glad it helped. I for one took a while in wrapping my brain around this subject too.

Next word, of caution - not because I don't think you need one, but instead because as it turned out for me, I actually did NOT need one. Pay close attention to your reasons for buying a piece of gear like this before you actually buy it. I was sure I needed that Brevis. Like my ears were smoking I needed it so bad. So I studied them all, read every post I could find for months. I compared bokeh and lost light and ease of use and batteries and noise and you name it, I was an expert. When it showed up I mounted the whole deal to my HD200 and suddenly my rig looked like a freight train. I swear it was 36" long if it was a foot. At least it looked and felt that way.

I've used it twice in two years.
Turns out my story, or lack thereof, ended up being much more important than my shallow DOF.
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Old March 7th, 2009, 09:41 PM   #14
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I've got a cool clip of a bobcat I shot with a Tamron SP 200-500mm at 500mm. The cat was about 1/4 mile away, but the shot worked out quite nicely using Mike Tapa's MTF adapter. I have tried several times to attach it but even though it does not exceed the file size for a .mov file, I get a "413 Request Entity Too Large" whatever the heck that is. If someone can tell me how to get this attached, you can see an EX clip at an effective focal range of 2700mm!
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Old March 8th, 2009, 06:25 AM   #15
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I have a 500mm Reflex Nikkor, it is very difficult to use unless you set your tripod in concrete. Try aiming this at a distant bird (feathered or none feathered type) and you will have problems trying to keep it in the frame.

If you are ever in the London area then you are more than welcome to try it out Steve. I also have 20, 24, 35, 50, 55mm micro, 85, 105, 135, 200, 300, 500, 35 -70, 35 - 105, 24 - 120, 80 -200 and 18 -105 Nikkor lenses (at last count).
Thanks for the offer Vincent but I am hoping to have the Nikon 80-400mm VR ED Zoom Lens in my hands shortly. Then I can really put The Adaptimax through its paces. My guess is a 500mm lens would have to be on a heavy Sachtler tripod on a calm windless day. Just press record and don't touch a thing!
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