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Old April 6th, 2012, 01:15 AM   #1
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EX1R and arri mmb-1 or oconnor obox matte boxes

Yes, another matte box and rods question regarding the EX1R camera.

I shoot outdoors over water therefore working with uncontrolled light and a lot of reflected light. My interest in the matte box is to have a 138mm circular polarizer in the rotatable bellows and a graduated ND filter in a rotating and height-adjustable stage to reduce blowing out the sky. It looks like both of these matte boxes have these features. This would leave a non-rotating stage for one additional filter, something of a plus from my perspective.

I'm looking specifically at the Arri MMB-1 top load matte box as a fit for the ex1r, and am interested in the Oconnor Obox. I'm not concerned about the price, this is about performance - if the matte box works then that's the one I want.

My understanding, based on photographs, is the arri mmb-1 top load (143mm back) with a 138mm rear bellows will work on the ex1r, as the bellows pushes the matte box forward slightly and therefore the rear filter stage clears the camera's built-in microphone. This matte box supports 4x5.65 filters which look like they would cover the built-in lens. Does anyone have experience with this matte box and the Schneider .6 wide angle adapter lens? It would be great if the matte box would cover that as well.

The mmb-1 does have a accessory 5.65 x 5.65 filter frame, which I could put in the rear stage and then have a greater height-adjustment for an ND grad. Has anyone tried this out?

Does anyone have experience with the Oconnor Obox (which receives great reviews) and the EX1R camera? If so, I'd love to hear what you found out.

I will be attending NAB 2012 with the goal of checking out these two matte boxes and the Oconnor universal baseplate - which looks like it will have enough vertical movement to have the necessary 85mm offset from the camera's optical axis despite my camera being on a 10mm thick JuiceDesigns baseplate - such that both matte boxes will fit ok on that baseplate. Has anyone tried their ex1 on the oconnor baseplate that would like to provide some feedback? I'd love to hear about how it went.

Lastly - has anyone have a suggestion for a lens support for the Schneider 2.0x teleconverter for the EX1R? I own the 1.6x teleconverter and it doesn't seem to require lens support. I'm looking to purchase the 2.0x tele from Schneider and apparently this lens add-on does need support. The OConnor baseplate would give me rails, and then I need a lens support to go with it. Any suggestions on 15mm lightweight rod lens support (without screwing a 1/4x20 screw in the lens) that works well?

Any suggestions/ideas much appreciated.

- rob
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Old April 6th, 2012, 10:22 AM   #2
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Re: EX1R and arri mmb-1 or oconnor obox matte boxes

PM sent, Rob. Too detailed to go through all the steps here.
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Old April 6th, 2012, 11:26 AM   #3
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Re: EX1R and arri mmb-1 or oconnor obox matte boxes

Thanks Dave - I've sent a PM back.

- rob
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Old May 16th, 2012, 09:55 AM   #4
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Re: EX1R and arri mmb-1 or oconnor obox matte boxes

to follow-up on my original post, here's what I've purchased for the camera...

I went to NAB 2012 to check out matte boxes, and looked at all the matte boxes on the floor, then went to Los Angeles to visit AbelCine and fitted three different matte boxes to my EX1R camera. I wanted specifically to have at least one rotating/vertically adjustable filter (for graduated ND), a second rotating filter (for circular polarizer). A third vertically adjustable filter would be a big plus. The filters would be used on the EX1R built-in lens, and the larger diameter Schneider Optics add-on lenses. To support the box I wanted 15mm LWS rods and a baseplate to hold the rods.

The OConnor Universal Baseplate works well as the baseplate/rod support when the rod clamps are inverted. My camera has a JuiceDesigns 10mm thick after-market base - this strengthens the camera's attachment to the tripod or baseplate, and makes the camera lens a non-standard height above the base. The OConnor unit can be made thin enough (e.g., the rod center raised to within 10mm of the camera mounting surface) to set the matte box center at 85mm from lens center. It was pretty funny running around NAB with my 150mm steel rule measuring various bits of equipment to check for clearance issues.

For a matte box, at AbelCine I fitted the MMB-1 top load box which sets in very close to the front element of the camera's lens. As Mitch (AbelCine) had told me at NAB, there really isn't sufficient vertical space beneath the microphone to have much vertical adjustment or rotation of the rear 4x5.65 filter. The front filter is still a side-load only, with no vertical travel - no good for graduated ND filters. The 138mm rear bellows is perfect for holding a circular polarizer filter.

I also fitted the Chrosziel 450W matte box - which Chrosziel says is the one I should use for the EX1, and the one that looked the most promisng at NAB. This box does not have an available rear filter ring/bellows. However, Arri does make such a filter ring/bellows that should fit the 450W rear clamp. Unfortunately, the Arri bellows has a metal flange that strikes the 450W's metal rod clamp bracket - so that was a no go.

Ron at Schneider Optics had also sent over to AbelCine a Chrosziel 415-02F matte box which has a 138mm rear bellows/filter ring, and does not vignette on the lens as it's a 'compact wide angle' matte box - in Ron's opinion this was the best box to use for the EX1R. In base configuration the rear filter stage does strike the camera's built-in microphone. Conveniently, when the 450-20 Flexi-Ring is screwed into the rear of the bellows, the 3mm thickness of the ring pushes the matte box forward 3mm, at which point the rear filter does clear the microphone (by about 0.5mm). And there's no vignette on the camera's built-in lens.

All 3 matte boxes work just fine on the Schneider Optics add-on telephone lenses, as those lenses push the matte box forward and clear of the camera's microphone. The 415 uses a hard metal insert ring as a lightblocker for the 105mm OD Schneider add-on lenses.

Liz (AbelCine) and Ron (Schneider Optics) went out of their way to explain things to me both at NAB 2012, and gave me the time at AbelCine (four hours playing with the setup) to work through how the various boxes fit to my camera setup. If you're in the market for a matte box and are in Los Angeles, I would highly recommend talking with Liz at AbelCine. If you're specfically interested in Chrosziel gear, talk with Ron at Schneider Optics.

In the end I purchased the OConnor Universal Baseplate with 15" metal rods, Chrosziel 415-02F matte box, flexi-ring, metal insert ring, a Schneider circular 138mm polarizer, and the matte box side wings. I'm quite looking forward to having the gear arrive!

Next up for me is to rent some filters locally to learn which filters work best for me, and add those to my kit.

- rob
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