While I see many people switching over to the Panasonic GH4 and Sony A7 series cameras (like the A7sII/A7RII), there's one product that I wanted to remind people about - the FotoDiox ND Throttle. When shooting with Sony cameras, especially in SLOG, the minimum ISO could be anywhere from 1600-3200. SLOG is such a great option to have, but means you really have to deal with ND Filters to keep a wide aperture and proper shutter speed.
The easiest and most simple solution that I know of is the FotoDiox ND Throttle. The FotoDiox ND Throttle is a variable ND Filter built right into a lens adapter, and allows you to dial in your exposure without changing your ISO, Shutter, and Aperture. Of course this only works if you are adapting a Full Frame lens to the Sony or Panasonic, and not using a native lens.
It doesn't matter if you're working with a Canon EF autofocus lens, a manual Rokinon Lens, or even high end Cinema Prime Lenses like the XEEN, Canon CN-E, Zeiss CP.2, etc. The FotoDiox ND Throttle is one simple adapter that I highly suggest all Sony A7 series or GH4 shooters look into and find the time to try it out. Even if you're not using it all the time, I think you'll find it's worth keeping in the gear bag.
So while I think Canon L lenses offer great image quality, you can get a (4) piece Rokinon Cine DS Lens Bundle Set for about the price of one Canon L Lens. The DS line from Rokinon are designed to be color matched, same exposure ranges, common focus and iris gear positions, a de-clicked aperture, etc. For me personally I feel they are better for video than standard Autofocus Photo Lenses (image quality aside). If you're looking into a set of Rokinon Cine lenses, I highly suggest starting with the 'Cine DS' line for the reasons stated above.
The image quality is great, and I think you'll really appreciate the longer focus (pull) throw, and de-clicked aperture which lets you set F-stops in smaller increments than you can with auto focus lenses. The built in gear ring is great for follow focuses, and the standard positions make it easier to swap lenses without moving your FF around each time.
Now if you really want to step it up a bit, the Rokinon XEEN Cinema Prime lenses have a standard physical size, lens diameter, better optics, less breathing, etc. To date they are probably the most affordable Cinema Prime Lenses that cover a full frame sensor. They have a 114mm Diameter which is exactly the same as a Canon CN-E Prime, or Zeiss CP.2. You can find great deals on XEEN Lens Sets via eBay (click here).
The DEC allows you to use a Canon EF or EF-S Autofocus lens and adapt it to a MFT (micro four-thirds) or Sony E-Mount camera. Although the camera itself can't communicate with the lens, a wireless remote will allow you to change iris (aperture) and drive focus.
This is extremely useful when working with Gimbal stabilizers when you can't physically pull focus on the lens by hand. Just clamp the wireless remote to the handle of your gimbal. The exciting news demonstrated for us at NAB 2015 is that they will have a 'DEC PRO' version which will include a 'Focal Reducer' a.k.a 'Speedbooster' optical element offering up a wider field of view and an extra stop.
The DEC PRO version will hopefully be out later this year and will be a huge asset to small sensor cameras like the BlackMagic Pocket Cinema or Micro Cinema cameras. For cameras like the the Sony A7s which already offers a full frame the speedbooster is not required.
With lens adapters, being able to change the iris on EF autofocus lenses are key. For a price even cheaper than Metabones smart adapters, there's a lot of functionality in the Aputure DEC and you can already purchase the original DEC Lens Adapter for Canon EF/EF-s to MFT or Sony E-Mount following the links below.
So yesterday I spent a little time testing the Aputure DEC Remote Wireless Follow Focus Canon EF Lens Adapter. Keep in mind that all of the units that other reviewers have (including mine) are just prototypes. So everything that you see could change when they go to final production.
As mentioned in my earlier article, the prototypes available today can attach a Canon EF (autofocus) Lens to a Sony E-Mount or Micro Four Thirds (MFT) Camera and allow you to change aperture values and remotely change focus via a wireless remote. Here's a little video showing the Sony E-Mount DEC Adapter in use.
Since the Aputure DEC Lens Adapter relies on the internal motors of the lens being used, each lens may provide a slightly different experience. Some lenses may offer a smoother transition, while others may have a more prominent stepping motion moving from one focus point to the next. During slower focus movements some lenses will have a louder 'stepping' type noise, while other lenses may be a bit more silent. This is all based on the lens, and at this time not a lot of testing has been done.
In the 'current user manual' it lists several Canon EF L Series lenses, but I decided to try a few different ones such as the Sigma, the Canon 40mm STM, and a 50mm F/1.8. All of the lenses worked flawlessly to adjust iris and I could control focus. I was a bit worried the system would be buggy using random lenses, but so far it's taken everything i've thrown at it.
So while this is still a prototype, so far I think the Aputure DEC is an awesome product for anyone who needs to adjust focus on an adapted Canon EF Lens in situations where you can't normally reach the focus ring. For example when mounted on a Jib/Crane, Steadicam, or even a Gimbal.
Typically on any of my stabilizers i'm settled in with a very wide lens with the aperture stopped down and everything in focus. With the Aputure DEC I would be able to use a Gimbal with a Shallow DOF and focus from an object in the foreground to possibly a distant subject in the background. The focus changes can be quick, or they can be slow.
Will this replace all Follow Focus systems? Obviously not as it only works with Canon EF (autofocus) Lenses, and not manual focus Cine Lenses. The DEC (prototype) also uses a stepping motion which dependent upon the lens may or may not be smooth. There are still a few things that I think still need to be refined and changed on the DEC prototypes, which i'll be sharing with the Aputure company. One suggestion is having a more traditional wireless follow focus remote as the current one could be tricky tracking a subject back and forth if they move quickly.
Sony a7s Aputure DEC Sigma 18-35mm Atomos Shogun
Once a product like this becomes available on the market, I really think this will really impact how many consider changing focus remotely on Canon EF lenses today. It certainly opens up 'options' in the industry that were never available before. Maybe not so much Hollywood, but consider the large market of event, wedding, news, or other video shooters that don't need the precision of a high end WFF system and are shooting with Sony E-Mount and MFT cameras. Compared to other Wireless Follow Focus systems, the Aputure DEC is incredibly simple to use while offering the smallest and lightest possible footprint.
NAB2014 Aputure Announced DEC Lens Adapter Remote Follow Focus
I'm going to continue testing these DEC adapters and hopefully more focusing examples. The next one i'll set up is the MFT Mount which can Start/Stop video on cameras with a LANC connection. If you have any questions so far, leave them in the comments.
Last year NAB 2014 Aputure showed off an entirely new and innovative Wireless Remote Follow Focus system. It looks like a basic lens adapter to add a Canon EF (autofocus lens) to a Micro Four Thirds or Sony E-Mount camera, but this lens adapter has enough communication with the EF Lens that it can drive it's focus motors, change aperture, and also send back the focal distance to the wireless remote.
NAB 2014 Video
The Aputure DEC Remote can also Start / Stop video on certain cameras, and A/B focus points can be set to rack from one focus point to another. If you're familiar with traditional Wireless Follow Focus systems it typically requires a set of 15mm Rods, a Focus Motor, Lens Gears, Battery Pack, and Wireless Receiver. The Aputure DEC eliminates all of that extra gear into just a simple lens adapter which makes it perfect for small camera systems on small stabilizers (steadicams) and Gimbal Stabilizers.
It's been a year since it's been introduced, and what I thought was a lost idea is actually becoming reality. The product is still not available to purchase, but right now I have in possession a couple of prototypes to test out. I'm super excited about this, comments?
It's no secret that the Sony NEX has an adapter to mount the large Alpha lenses. I guess it was just a matter of (very short) time before other adapters were available to support other lenses. The Sony NEX is very new, and it's great to see manufacturers adapting for it. Actually after a bit of research, this seems to be a one off custom job. The seller is responding to questions stating they can make an adapter for any type of lens to Sony NEX. I'm also not finding any other manufacturers of such adapters to the Sony NEX. Very cool! This Canon EF lens adapter for the Sony NEX changes alot of things for people like me who are well invested into Canon Lenses.
Just a note that someone pointed out. With adapters, they can't control the aperture on EF lenses. Your lens will default to a certain aperture and you can't easily adjust this. This seller also has a Canon FD lens adapter available too, which will give you the ability to use the FD manual lens to adjust to any aperture. The best bet is to just stick with the FD adapter and grab some FD lenses for full manual AV control.
click image for Canon FD adapter to Sony NEX
Traveling with a lightweight camera that does both photos and videos (and awesome panoramics) that can accept some very decent lenses that I already own makes this camera much more affordable for the long run. The adapter also has a built in tripod mount, since we can't rely on that Sony NEX body to carry the weight of the big lenses. Now that's thinking smart... Check out the Canon EF Lens to Sony NEX adapter.