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Make Waves – Hire a lens adapter

By Colin Coomber – Shift 4’s Technical Director & DoP

July 2015

A great lens can have more effect on the image you capture than a great camera. So it’s always a smart move to hire the best lens you can afford, rather than the most expensive camera.

Cameras come with certain lens mounts integral to their structure meaning only the type of lens compatible with that mount can be used. Adding a lens adapter changes your camera’s lens mount to another, meaning it’s possible to use almost any lens on almost any camera giving the ultimate in versatility of style as well as cost.

So what lens mounts and adapters are available?

PL (Positive Lock)
Implemented by ARRI, PL has become the standard mount for high end cine style lenses. PL mount lenses have standardised and fully manual focus, zoom and iris rings and are generally the highest in optical quality for moving images.

Available adapters:
The Vocas E Mount > PL Mount adapter is for putting PL mount lenses on Sony cameras (which have E mounts) such as the PXW-FS7 or A7S.Vocas E Mount > PL Mount Lens Adapter

Canon EF and Sony E Mount
EF and E are stills lens mounts – EF being Canon and E being Sony. The biggest advantage of these is that stills lenses are greatly cheaper than cine lenses but are capable of giving a similar quality of image, especially when it comes to shallow depth of field. The trade up is that stills lenses, as the name suggests, are designed for stills which can make them less practical for shooting video – for example when using any digital still lenses, iris control will be on the camera body potentially making operation slower.

Available adapters:
The Optitek ProLock MK II allows mounting and controlling of Canon EF lenses on the FZ mount of Sony PMW-F5 or PMW-F55.Optitek ProLock MK IIThe ARRI EF mount adapter changes the AMIRA’s standard PL lens mount to EF. To use it, it’s necessary to totally remove the camera’s integral PL mount before clicking it into place but this only takes a matter of seconds.ARRI EF mount adapter

The Metabones EF > E-mount adapter is for mounting and controlling EF lenses on Sony’s PXW-FS7 and A7S. Also available is the Metabones Speed Booster which is an EF > E mount adapter for the PXW-FS7 which additionally uses the full frame coverage of the EF mount and increases the f stop of the chosen lens as well as providing an even narrower depth of field.Metabones EF > E-mount adapterMetabones Speed Booster

B4 Bayonet Mount
ENG style lenses designed for 2/3” sensors have a B4 mount. These lenses are ideal for shooting actuality as their large depth of field makes focussing easier (due to the lens only covering a small sensor area) and their much longer zoom range.

In addition these lenses usually have a doubler, which instantly doubles their zoom range, and have built in macro focusing, providing options for almost any shooting situation.

Available adapters:
The IB/E Optics HDx35 allows the mounting of B4 lenses on any PL or EF mount camera. A big plus point is that this adapter can be mounted and removed quickly and easily meaning it’s possible to combine the use of different lenses on the same shoot day with little hassle. For example, a Canon HJ14 for actuality shooting can be switched to an EF or PL mount lens for composed sit down interviews or GVs with filmic shallow depths of fields.IB/E HDx35 Mark II PL to B4

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

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