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Old November 23rd, 2021, 05:22 PM   #1
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Using ENG/"pro video"-style lens on a FX9?

For over 10 years I had been using a PMW-320 (with the Fujinon kit lens) & EX1r, and relied heavily on the functionality of those lens (ability for manual snap zooms, f/2.0-ish aperture, parfocal, mechanical focus, etc). Last year I decided to finally upgrade to 4K, and it seemed like an FX9 (w/ FE PZ 28-135mm f/4 G OSS kit lens) was the best option given that I couldn't afford another ENG-style camera like the PXW-Z450.

Long story short, I hate this lens and would love to find/use something that is more akin to an ENG lens. The only option that seems plausible is using a B4 to e-mount adapter with a Canon/Fuji zoom lens, but I can only find minimal information of people doing that with the FS7. Also, the Fujinon MK50-135mm T2.9 lens seemed like a good candidate to try, but it's "not compatible" (at all??) with Full Frame sensors and I can't find info on anyone trying it on an FX9.

Ideally, I'd love it if Sony would release a new/faster "pro zoom" e-mount lens, but that doesn't seem very realistic given the target market for the FX9. Anyone else here have a similar issue and possible solution?
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Old November 24th, 2021, 06:59 AM   #2
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Re: Using ENG/"pro video"-style lens on a FX9?

We are all looking for an answer to your quandary Rob as many of us have gone down the same road

If you are looking for an 18-22 x type of ENG servo type zoom lens to suit the FF of an FX9 I guess you either have to be loaded or have just robbed a bank. Even then those lenses are thin on the ground. If you use your FX9 in S35 mode then you can look at true ENG type S35 lenses like the Canon 25-250mm T2.95 CINE-SERVO Zoom Lens CN10x25 (PL Mount) starting at around the $30K mark. And that's for a 10 x lens! Canon's S35 20 x Canon CINE-SERVO 50-1000mm T5.0-8.9 with (PL Mount) is a mere $70K and a slow and very heavy lens.

Full frame servo zooms for the likes of the FX9 are like rocking horse manure. Angenieux's EZ Zoom ENG Kit 1-Axis kit comprises two lenses with servo and between them will get you from 15mm to 90mm. All of a 6x zoom between two lenses! This kit comprises the EZ-1 EZ-2 15-40mm and the 30-90mm PL mount zoom lenses. This kit is yours in a nice Pelican case and can be had for a mere $30K. All jokes aside that is one of the best FF kits available for a half-decent price.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1544299-REG/angenieux_ez_zoom_eng_kit.html/specs/BI/2855/KBID/3801

The Fujinon MK series is the manual lens akin to an ENG lens. Constant aperture, parfocal and have true back-focus adjustability like your 2/3" B4 ENG lenses. But again can only be used in S35 mode on your FX9. There is a zoom servo kit available for those lenses from Chroziel. Just beware of the earlier versions of these kits as there were some issues with them burning out the Lanc port on a number of cameras. I believe this has been fixed on the current kits available. The servo is controlled via the Lanc control port on the Sony cameras. The same port that you use for the control of the Sony 28-135mm and the Sony 18-110mm servo zooms.

Failing all of the above if you want to use true ENG 2/3" B4 style lenses you are restricted to the HD Super 16 crop mode using either Sony's own B4 to S16 adapter or one of the other adapters from Abakus, the B4-S16 132 model, or the MTF B4-S16 adapter or the HDx1.4-IBE. The latter is available from AbleCine. The others can be obtained through BH and a number of other sources. These adapters lose between 0.7 to 1 stop light loss.

There is one last option that comes to mind. That's the HDx35 Mark III from IBE. Again only usable in S35 mode. This has a 2.5 light stop loss. Your F/1.8 ENG lens now becomes an F/5 lens. Slower than your Sony 28-135mm lens. But it does offer the capability of using longer higher magnification ENG B4 lenses with the ability to shoot in 4K. Available from AbelCine for around $4.3K. It has swappable mounts so can be used on a number of different S35 4K cameras.

https://www.abelcine.com/buy/lenses-...ptical-adapter

Basically, I have gone down the following route for financial and practicality reasons. Like yourself, I have the 28-135mm. In addition, I have the S35 version, the 18-110mm and for long-range HD work, I use an MTF B4-S16 adapter with either an 18x or 22x B4 lens. BTW the Sony 18-110mm has a true mechanically connected zoom where you can do manual crash zooms, just like a B4 ENG lens. It's a much nicer lens to use than the 28-135mm. The servo zoom is also about twice as fast. Nothing like a Canon or Fujinon B4 HD lens though. Very little comes close to the functionality of an ENG/EFP lens. The other thing you have to be mindful of is that none of the above options couples with the ALAC lens correction circuits in the FX9 so distortion, fall off and CA problems can rear their heads. The only servo zoom 'cine' type lenses that will 'communicate' with the FX9 camera are the two Sony ones.

In passing you may be interested to check these out:

https://www.newsshooter.com/2017/04/...hind-the-lens/

https://www.abelcine.com/search?quer...logs-knowledge

BTW. I still keep a three-chip B4 XDCam for just that. A true ENG type camera which for certain jobs is the only way to go I find.

Chris Young
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Old November 24th, 2021, 08:28 AM   #3
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Re: Using ENG/"pro video"-style lens on a FX9?

Chris, that's an excellent round up of the best options available.

I can summarize this dilemma in two sentences: "If someone wants the flexibility of shooting with a traditional ENG lens, then the FX9, FX6, and any other Full-frame camera is absolutely going to be a terrible choice. Rather than choosing the right lens to fit their camera, people need to flip the decision 180 degrees and choose the right camera for their lens."

The main reason for getting an FX9 is the full-frame sensor -- otherwise you might as well get a FS7 for a fraction of the price. The FX9 is essentially a full-frame FS7m2 with just a few other extras. So if someone regularly uses anything other than a FF capable lens on their FX9, then they have wasted their money and will probably never be happy.

It's like asking what is the best way to haul gravel in a sports car that you just bought. Well, the answer is, you should have bought a truck if you wanted to haul gravel.

Sorry to be so blunt, but that is the brutal facts. There is no good answer to the OP's question.
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Old November 24th, 2021, 10:40 AM   #4
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Re: Using ENG/"pro video"-style lens on a FX9?

I notice these type of questions are trending... how do adapt a cinema style camera for another purpose it wasn't intended for. This probably is because the biggest technological advances, the majority of camera releases and coverage/reviews are of these cameras. There is pressure of not wanting to be left behind if you don't get one. The camera companies aren't helping because eng/camcorder style cameras haven't advance much for the last few years.
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Old November 24th, 2021, 11:18 AM   #5
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Re: Using ENG/"pro video"-style lens on a FX9?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Cofrancesco View Post
The camera companies aren't helping because eng/camcorder style cameras haven't advance much for the last few years.
I disagree. Sony ENG cameras have advanced quite with 4K, LOG, 10-bit, 4 channels of audio, etc. Everything that the cinema cameras offer except a bigger sensor -- which is not what is wanted on an ENG camera. Plus the ENG cameras have things the cinema cameras don't offer, such as better ergonomics, better viewfinders, more external controls, slot-in audio receivers, etc.

So what advancements do you think are missing?
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Old November 24th, 2021, 11:33 AM   #6
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Re: Using ENG/"pro video"-style lens on a FX9?

2/3" B4 cams are still evolving P.C. Though they fly pretty much under most peoples radar due to the investment required. Sony's current PXW-Z750 is a beast of a camera. Three chips, global shutter, 4K, 60p, HDR-HLG, Sony S-Log 3. Price north of $40K by the time it's ready to go. Now add a 4K 2/3" B4 lens like a Fujinon UA23X7.6 for around another $38K and off you go with one hell of a camera. Sure, not a shallow DOF thing but one almighty capable piece of kit.

The thing is three chippers with their incredibly high precision RGB beam splitters are not cheap to make. But the results are outstanding. No Debayering here. Full 4K RGB in all three channels. True resolution. Not something conjured up by an algorithm, as good as modern algorithms are. That said what you get today for just under $100K absolutely leaves the old Sony HDW-F900R look quite antiquated and that was a $100K pus HD camera.

If I could justify investing in one of those I would. But in today's environment, it's totally out of the question for me. DJ can chime in here as he has uploaded vision from these cameras and has actually used one. An experience I haven't had sadly.

Chris Young

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...2855/KBID/3801

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...2855/KBID/3801
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Old November 24th, 2021, 12:07 PM   #7
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Re: Using ENG/"pro video"-style lens on a FX9?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Jensen View Post
I disagree. Sony ENG cameras have advanced quite with 4K, LOG, 10-bit, 4 channels of audio, etc. Everything that the cinema cameras offer except a bigger sensor -- which is not what is wanted on an ENG camera. Plus the ENG cameras have things the cinema cameras don't offer, such as better ergonomics, better viewfinders, more external controls, slot-in audio receivers, etc.

So what advancements do you think are missing?
I'm saying relative to mirrorless camera improvements eng have lagged behind. What you get for $2,500 and under Sony A7III or IV or Blackmagic 6k pro.

As far as my needs I'd like an upgrade to backlight sensor and better AF system similar to mirrorless cameras. I paid $1,700 for Panasonic UX90 5 years ago. Would it kill them to update the sensor and focus system and sell it for a similar price? They offer the better sensor in CX350 but that's 2 thousand more. It doesn't make financial sense to pay double the price of my camera just to get a little better sensor with an AF system that is just as bad.
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Old November 24th, 2021, 01:48 PM   #8
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Re: Using ENG/"pro video"-style lens on a FX9?

I've suggested to Sony, more times that I can count, that they build a shoulder-mount version of the Z280. No new features, just the exact same camera in a different body for about the same price. Just as the EX3 was the same as the EX1 but in a different shape. That camera would sell like crazy because there is nothing else like it.

There could be two versions:
1) Shoulder-mount camera with the same 17x non-removable lens as is on the Z280.
2) Shoulder-mount camera (similar to the X320) sold without a lens, but equipped with a 1/2" bayonet mount so that a lens like this one could be mounted:

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/840703-REG/Fujinon_XS20SX6_3BRM_K2_XS20Sx6_3BRM_K2_HDTV_HANDHELD_ZOOM.html/BI/2855/KBID/3801

I call it the Z380 and I think both versions would really fill a gap. We don't need more mirrorless cameras and cinema box cameras. We need a inexpensive but very good ENG camera. And the Z280 is a very good ENG camera -- just in the wrong shape for a lot of uses. The Z280 with a real Fujinon ENG lens would be killer.
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Old November 24th, 2021, 01:55 PM   #9
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Re: Using ENG/"pro video"-style lens on a FX9?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Christopher Young View Post
DJ can chime in here as he has uploaded vision from these cameras and has actually used one. An experience I haven't had sadly.
I not only have a lot of experience with the Z450 and Z750, I own a Z750 with a Fujinon 24x7.8 lens and I literally wrote the book on both cameras.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...2855/KBID/3801

Yes, their Achilles heal is that they are expensive. You have be working at a certain level to justify the investment. But if can, they are wonderful machines and just as sophisticated as most cinema cameras.

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Old November 24th, 2021, 05:13 PM   #10
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Re: Using ENG/"pro video"-style lens on a FX9?

I think there is an artificial price barrier that they want to maintain with ENG cameras. IE tv stations or corporate customers have deep pockets and they would rather sell to those customers where markup is high. Introducing better tech to lower end models only competes against their higher end. In the hybrid full frame camera there is more competition and dual selling benefits. The same camera can be sold both to photographers and filmmaker. Even film dedicated cameras such as FX6 and FX9 are same insides of mirror hybrid cameras put into a cinema body. It also gives them more platforms to sell their photo lenses which have a high markup.
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Old November 24th, 2021, 10:36 PM   #11
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Re: Using ENG/"pro video"-style lens on a FX9?

Artificial price barrier? What does that even mean? Every company prices their products so they will obtain the maximum profit from their efforts. You and I are no different with our own businesses. You could go out and work all day for $100 if you want to, but I bet you don't. I'm sure you charge what your time is worth, and even more when you can get it. There's nothing artificial about product pricing. It's just business. And if some other company thinks there is an opportunity to sell better cameras at a lower price, they are more than welcome to do it. And I hope they do.

If Panasonic, Canon, JVC, Blackmagic, Arri or anyone else could build a 3-chip, 4K, global shutter, B4, 10-bit, 4:2:2, 2/3" camera for less than Sony charges for theirs, then why don't they do it? Because they can't. Sure, they might be able to assemble it once it is designed, but who's going to cover the cost of R&D and designing the camera? The market for this type of camera is not that big, no matter what the price is. So fewer cameras naturally equals a higher price tag because there are fewer units to spread the fixed costs over. It's not a conspiracy. It is just business 101.

If a camera meets your needs and you accept the price, buy it. If not, move on and choose another that may fit your budget but not your need so well. It is silly to act like the manufacturer is price gouging just because the price doesn't fit your budget. I've had my Z750 for about 18 months and it paid for itself long ago because I have the work to justify it.
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Old November 25th, 2021, 06:36 AM   #12
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Re: Using ENG/"pro video"-style lens on a FX9?

Here you go. v3 firmware for the FX9. Includes new lensing options.

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Old November 30th, 2021, 05:19 PM   #13
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Re: Using ENG/"pro video"-style lens on a FX9?

Chris, thank you very much for the initial response - you included a lot of options/info I hadn't come across yet. I didn't realize the 18-110mm Sony lens had mechanical zoom so that looks like what I should try, regardless of it basically resulting in me using my FX9 as an FS7. It's cool that the new firmware supports in-camera S16 crop mode, but yeah... kinda defeats the purpose of owning a full-frame 4K camera if you can only create an HD end product.

As a general conclusion though, yes... I understand the FX9 wasn't the best choice to make given what I wanted out of a new camera. To be honest I hadn't been ardently keeping up with camera technology for a long while and just assumed going with a full-frame camera was what I "should be doing", especially when taking into consideration the costs of ENG 4k cameras. At the very least I'm comforted to know this whole issue has been a thorn in many others' sides, so thanks for all the comments in general.

Doug, your "Z380" idea would be amazing and I would probably sell/trade my FX9 for it... unless I manage to completely change my videography style/needs by that point, haha.
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