THE DEATH OF THE 35MM ADAPTER

  

    HD camcorders gave us the freedom to shoot without the expense of film and development cost. The drawback was the inability to achieve shallow depth of field. With a fixed lens HD camcorder, everything is in focus down to the smallest detail. In the late 90s, filmmakers using HD video, were forced to use tricks such as lighting in layers with the subject lit the brightest.

   Without these creative but limited solutions, the audience can become distracted by a pretty extra in background or billboard that is part of the set. The result: your scene loses its impact due to lack of control over the image. The advent of the DOF or 35mm adapter gave us the ability to achieve a shallow depth of field giving you more artistic control of the image. For those who don’t know, the device works like a telecine using the macro focus of the camcorder to capture the image on a ground glass screen. The glass is spun using a miniature motor.

   The shear weight of these devices and their components can be in excess of 20 pounds. This paved the way for an entire industry of camera support systems to redistribute the weight of the device, the lens, the follow focus and the HD monitor, which is critical to ensure clear, sharp focus.

   Enter the 1080P Full Frame DSLR The Canon 5D and now the 7D have only been on the scene for a short while, and now video shooters everywhere are ditching their EX1s, HVX200s and even their XHA1s for the affordable full frame DSLR. Indeed, many fortunes have been made by those manufacturers of the 35mm adapter, but I’m afraid it’s all over now. Prices are falling, and it’s no secret why.

   You can buy a Sony EX1 for $6.5k with a Letus Ultimate for $4k, totaling more than $10k without support railings, lenses or an HD monitor. Those accessories could easily jack up the price another $10k depending what you get.

   However, I can buy a 5D Mark II and a good lens with an ikan monitor for under $5k. If you’re still convinced you have to have a traditional video camera with a 35mm adapter, but your on a budget, you can buy the Panasonic DVX100 for $2.7k and get a Redrock Micro M2 Encore DOP Adapter and support system for $2k bringing you in just under $5k with no lens or monitor.

   On the other hand, you can go to B&H and get a 7D with a lens for under $2k. That leaves some extra cash to get the V5600 from ikan for $630, and then you’re ready to shoot for under $3k. Final Analysis The Canon 5D Mark II ushered in a new era of video production that has left Sony, Panasonic, JVC and even Canon’s Video division standing on the sidelines to make way for the multitudes who are literally grabbing them from stores before they can be shelved.

   In the meantime, the DOF Adapters are not moving, and the prices are dropping. Some are 50% cheaper then they were just six months ago. How low will the prices go in the coming months? Who knows. One thing is certain; the full frame DSLR revolution has rendered the 35mm adapter irrelevant and obsolete. The question isn’t, “Will they stop manufacturing,” but “When.”

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LABOR DAY WEEKEND AND THE 5D MARK II

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I’m spending this weekend with Jake, kitty and the 5D Mark II.  So far it’s been totally amazing, and I can totally see what all the fuss is about.  Trust me when I say, if you enjoy taking pictures, you’re in for a great ride.  Video, which is the primary reason I wanted to play with the 5D takes some finesse to get right.  Initially, I shot video in full auto mode.  Expect some grain when doing this.  In manual,  got much better results.  Check out some of the better images below, and video will follow in the coming days.

One big gripe here though, and pardon my negativity.  My gripe is with the City of Houston, specifically Metro Transit Authority.  All this consistent hype about how shooting in Houston is permit free, blah, blah, blah!  Don’t believe it.  We were on the dock waiting for the light rail just around Texas street.  An angry homeless guy came up to us and starts harassing us for change.  I look to my right and there was a Metro Police Car, and I waved at him hoping he would keep this guy moving who was now becoming belligerent.  I’m usually not so nervous in these situations, however, I did have $2500.00 worth of camera strapped around my neck.

The cop yelled out something, but we couldn’t hear over the homeless guy screaming that all he wanted was to talk, and he didn’t want any money, yea right.  Finally the homeless guy splits, and we could understand what the cop was saying:  “NO VIDEO OF THE TRAIN!”  I’m like…what the hell..?

It seems harassing pedestrians is fine, but if you intend to take a picture of the Metro Light Rail, well you’ll be dealing with the long arm of law.  I’m not sure if it’s because they thought I was some sort of photo terrorist or if they don’t want any potentially damaging images of a fatality, (they don’t call it the DEATH RAIL for nothin).  Whatever the reason, they just don’t allow no picture takin of the Metro Light Rail in Houston…  H-Town — and the H is for Hater!   So no video of the train in the permit free city of Houston.   Whatever, I got some video of the train, and now I’m on a mission to get more…POWER TO THE PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!