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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
Sony PMW-300, PXW-X200, PXW-X180 (back to EX3 & EX1) recording to SxS flash memory.


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Old May 3rd, 2013, 05:53 AM   #1
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Lens adapter for EX3 and FD lenses

I was looking for a replacement rubber eyepiece for my EX3 on eBay and stumbled on a simple mechanical adapter that enables the use of FD lenses on the EX3. Has anyone ever used these adapters with FD lenses? This thing introduces a 5.4 crop factor- should be interesting with my 200mm lens... (fortunately there's a lot of wildlife here in Amsterdam... ;-)
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Old May 3rd, 2013, 11:08 AM   #2
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Re: Lens adapter for EX3 and FD lenses

I don't know what brand you are looking at, but I can personally vouch for the Adaptimax Nikon adapter.
It worked so well for extreme telephoto work that I even featured it in my EX3 training DVD.
MASTERING THE SONY PMW-EX3

Some people mistakenly think it will give them shallow depth-of-field like a Letus or RedRock adapter, but it can't help with that. It is designed only for extreme telephoto with Nikon-mount lenses over 85mm. There's no glass in it, so no loss of light or optical quality.
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Old May 3rd, 2013, 11:45 AM   #3
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Re: Lens adapter for EX3 and FD lenses

Thanks, Doug. I have your 'Mastering the Sony EX1' and I can honestly say there's a lot of great information on these DVD's. They're really well organized tutorials and very generous in their subjectmatter. In other words, I didn't have any questions left after I watched Mastering the Sony EX1'. Before that I owned a Sony Z1 and had a copy of 'Mastering the Sony Z1' which was my bible at the time.
As far as the adapter goes, I was looking at a Polish seller on the internet. Apparently there are some great craftsmen in Poland because my best Micro 4/3 to FD adapter (I have 4) comes from Poland. (it was recommended to me by a heavy duty lens-addict...)
But Doug, have you really used this adapter with its 5.4 x cropfactor- how can you keep focus on a moving subject without getting extreme jitters on such focal lengths? (I can't imagine what my 200mm lens will be able to pull off...) Do you have any examples online how you've used the adapter?
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Old May 3rd, 2013, 03:11 PM   #4
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Re: Lens adapter for EX3 and FD lenses

When using long lenses with an adapter I'd recommend using a support system for the lens to minimize potential play in the mount. If you need to pull focus I'd also recommend using a good follow focus system. The pressure of a hand pulling focus directly on the lens may be enough to make the image shift slightly. Of course as with any focus pulling, whatever system you use, practice your pull and camera moves at real speed a number of times before you actually are recording the shot!
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Old May 4th, 2013, 06:52 AM   #5
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Re: Lens adapter for EX3 and FD lenses

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeroen Wolf View Post
Thanks, Doug. I have your 'Mastering the Sony EX1' and I can honestly say there's a lot of great information on these DVD's. They're really well organized tutorials and very generous in their subjectmatter. In other words, I didn't have any questions left after I watched Mastering the Sony EX1'. Before that I owned a Sony Z1 and had a copy of 'Mastering the Sony Z1' which was my bible at the time.
As far as the adapter goes, I was looking at a Polish seller on the internet. Apparently there are some great craftsmen in Poland because my best Micro 4/3 to FD adapter (I have 4) comes from Poland. (it was recommended to me by a heavy duty lens-addict...)
But Doug, have you really used this adapter with its 5.4 x cropfactor- how can you keep focus on a moving subject without getting extreme jitters on such focal lengths? (I can't imagine what my 200mm lens will be able to pull off...) Do you have any examples online how you've used the adapter?
Hi Jeroen,

Thank you for the nice comments about my training DVDs. I really appreciate the feedback and I'm glad to hear that they were helpful.

If the Polish adapter seems like a good deal, buy it. Since there's no glass involved, one adapter is just as good as the next assuming they are manufactured to the correct tolerances and can be easily put on and taken off the camera.

I don't have any video online for you to look at that shows the adatper in use, but I used it on several wildlife shoots and having the ability to use my Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8 and a 300mm f/4 lenses made the difference between getting some shots -- or not get anything at all. If you've got good professional lenses you should be happy with the results. But if you've got some crappy plastic cheap consumer lenses than you might be sorry you wasted your time with the adapter.

Dave and I usually agree on most things, but I have to part ways with him on his advice about needing a support system and follow-focus. The SLR lenses that I own weigh less than the Fujinon 18x5.5 ENG lens I normally used on my EX3 and the camera can very easily handle the weight with no flexing or stress issues. At least that's the way it was with my Adaptimax adapter, other brands of adapters may have issues.

And even though I have both an O'Connor CFF-1 follow focus system and a RedRock system, I found that neither one gave me as much precision as just turning the barrel of the lens manually. The problem with SLR lenses is that there isn't much turning radius in the focus and a very slight movement can make all the difference in sharpness at those extreme telephoto ranges. There is just no substitute for handling the lens directly.

However, a good tripod and head is mandatory. I use an O'Connor 1030B and even with it I have to have a very steady hand and concentrate on being steady. If you've got a lightweight tripod and head, then using SLR lenses is going to be really tricky.

So, save your money on a follow-focus and support system, but make sure you have a decent tripod -- which is well worth the investment anyway!!
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Old May 5th, 2013, 10:26 AM   #6
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Re: Lens adapter for EX3 and FD lenses

Hi Doug,
I do agree that having a solid tripod head and heavy sticks (or solid dolly) are absolutely mandatory for any truly long lens shooting.
My feeling about wanting to add the FF/support is based on personal experience with a variety of Nikon lens adapters (and goes back as far as using them on my old 16mm cameras.) I've found at times that there may be the slightest bit of play on the nikon mount side of the adapter. While a good, firm hold on the lens can essentially add a degree of stability, I found that - particularly when working with an assistant pulling focus - the follow focus system (in my case a Crosziel dual-knob system) produced better results than trying to have the assistant handle the lens directly. Of course since I already had the gear it wasn't an extra cost issue, but using the FF (with an appropriate gear ratio) gave my assistant a better chance than going straight off the lens..
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Old May 11th, 2013, 04:38 AM   #7
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Re: Lens adapter for EX3 and FD lenses

Here is a short movie clip I made using a variety of Nikon lenses on the EX3 - since making this video I have invested on a better tripod, maybe I will put together another short video. The rowing boat sequence was shot at 3/4 mile distance using a 500mm Nikon mirror lens, the equivalent focal length would be 2700mm. Interesting to see how much variation there is in colour between all the Nikkor lenses. No grading was applied. The 85mm lens is about the same as the Sony stock lens at full zoom.

I was tempted to sell all my Nikkor lenses when Auto Focus and digital cameras became the standard, but I was offered so little for them that I decided to keep them, now of course I can use all of them on my EX3. One word of caution, wide angle lenses do not work at all (anything shorter than 85mm, although the 55mm Micro Nikkor does have its use), there is severe light loss at the corners and plenty of chromatic aberrations with wide lenses.

One of the big advantages in using the older style lenses is that you have full manual focusing and aperture selection. Take a look on e-bay or your local camera store and pick up a bargain.

Sony EX3 Nikon mount
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Old May 11th, 2013, 08:55 AM   #8
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Re: Lens adapter for EX3 and FD lenses

Dave, I agree on the use of a lens support. I use a single tube lens support with my homemade Nikon adapter when using a 300 mm f4 as the Nikon mount relies on 4 off 1.8 mm screws only 2 of which do anything when the optical axis is horizontal. The single support tube is set to one side and doubles as a useful sighting guide for locating the subject.

Vincent, I am puzzled about your comments on wide angle lenses i.e. less than 85 mm, I have a 20mm f4 Nikkor that gives me pleasing results. I usually use it with a Canon 250D (4 diopter) close-up lens.
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Old May 11th, 2013, 09:27 AM   #9
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Re: Lens adapter for EX3 and FD lenses

Alastair,

The results were unusable last time I tried it. Putting a diopter lens on the front may change things, I haven't tried that. Maybe I will have another go and publish some stills with the wide lenses, I am not that hopefull.
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Old May 11th, 2013, 02:07 PM   #10
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Re: Lens adapter for EX3 and FD lenses

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alastair Traill View Post
Vincent, I am puzzled about your comments on wide angle lenses i.e. less than 85 mm,
That is becaue the EX3's stock lens already has a zoom that ranges from 5.8 to 81.2 mm, so using an SLR lens that falls within that same focal length range provides no benefit at all. In fact, the SLR lens will actually have some disadvantages because it probably won't be as fast (the stock lens is f/1.9), it won't have a servo zoom, or auto-focus, or a hand grip, or SteadyShot. An exception would if you are using specialized SLR lens, such as a macro, tilt-shift, etc.. then an SLR lens under 85mm might make sense, but otherwise, you're wasting your effort.

The best use of the SLR adapters is for super-telephoto using any SLR lens over 85mm. I found my Nikon 300mm f/4 to be perfect on the EX3.

BTW, I'm selling a brand new, never used, Nikon Adaptimax, for about 1/2 the price they normally sell for. Vortex Media Used Gear for Sale
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Old May 11th, 2013, 06:52 PM   #11
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Re: Lens adapter for EX3 and FD lenses

Doug I agree the stock EX3 lens can be set to 20 mm. I have an interest in what goes on in leaf litter and like to work close. With my 20 mm Nikkor and a Canon 250D close up lens I have a working distance of ~ 7’’- this is something I cannot do with the stock lens. I also use the 60 mm Micro Nikkor. I appreciate the relatively small sizes of the 20 and 60mm lenses for this ground level use.

I have 2 Nikon ‘superzooms’ (18-200mm and 28-300mm) for my D300. These usually give acceptable stills but find them woeful for video.
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