ChungMedia

New MTF Services lens adapters: Electronic EOS to Sony F3/FS100/Panasonic and B4 to EOS/Sony F3/FS100

By Dan Chung

I’ve been using Mike Tapa’s adapters for 35mm lenses for several years now. I first came across them when trying to mount Nikon long lenses onto my Sony EX3 – a long time before the advent of HDSLRs. Since then his company MTF Services has expanded its range of products to include lens adapters for many popular large sensor cameras such as the Panasonic AF100, Sony F3 and FS100. I took the opportunity of meeting Mike and visiting his London workshop over Christmas.

A Canon B4 mount broadcast lens fitted on the Canon EOS60D using a MTF adapter

His latest two adapters are a B4 broadcast lens to EOS / Sony F3 / FS100 adapter and an electronic EOS to Sony F3 / FS100 / Micro 4/3 lens adapter which offers full aperture control and image stabilising with appropriately equipped lenses.

The B4 lens adapter has been the dream of many DSLR and large sensor camcorder users who might occasionally want the flexibility of a long all-in-one zoom and ENG style lens operation – without the expense or bulk of a proper 2/3 ENG camera. Developed by Mike with cameraman Alistair Chapman (of XDCAM user fame) it physically adapts a 2/3 inch broadcast lens to a Canon EOS mount. At the same time it optically expands the image so that it is large enough to cover a Super35mm sensor size. To do this requires the user to engage the 2x range extender built into many broadcast lenses, which is then combined with extra magnification from the MTF adapter.

This does result in approximately 2.5 stops of light loss, but given the high sensitivity of new cameras this is less of a problem. The depth of field characteristics will remain the same as if you were using the lens on a regular 2/3 inch camcorder – don’t expect super shallow depth of field when using it. The adapter does not power the electric functions of an ENG lens so there is no servo zoom or VTR trigger sadly. If you do want to enable the zoom servo motor there is a possible solution to power it using an adapter cable from Ebay.

Please note that it does not cover the full frame sensor of the Canon 5D mkII or 1D X, but does work with the 7D, 60D, 600D/T3i, 550D/T2i (and should work with the C300 too). The adapter can also be used in combination with a EOS to Sony F3 or Sony NEX adapter to allow the B4 lenses to be used on these cameras. Price is not yet confirmed but should be in the £800 – £900 + tax range.

As you can see from the video above I’ve been testing the B4 adapter on a Sony F3 and also a Canon 60D and so far the results are pretty good, even though I only have access to older standard definition 2/3 lenses at the moment. My old Fujinon A15x8 broadcast lens does show some chromatic aberration and softness at the edges of the image but this is to be expected on a lens that can be bought for less than £500 these days. I would expect much better performance from a newer HD lens. Hopefully I’ll get to try one of those with the adapter soon. The only competing adapter I have seen so far is the HDx35 B4/PL Optical Adapter from Abelcine and costs $5800 US. I have not been able to compare the two.

The MTF EOS electronic lens adapter is the first to actually be available to order for the Sony F3 and NEX. It also works with Micro 4/3 cameras like the Panasonic AF100 where it joins the already available Redrockmicro livelens adapter in offering aperture control, but adds the benefit of image stabilisation. American company Birger Engineering have also been working on a similar adapter for some time now and have even shown it working at the NAB show, but it is still not available to buy.

The MTF adapter consists of two parts – a control box and an interchangeable lens mount in either Sony F3, Sony NEX or Micro 4/3 fit. If you change or add cameras you can simply add another mount part and use the same controller box.

A Canon 17-55 f2.8 IS lens with the MTF EOS adapter on a Sony F3

The control box is metal and powered by 4 AA batteries. It has an illuminated LCD that shows aperture value, focal length and whether stabilisation is on or off. Aperture can be adjusted in 1/8th stop increments using the control dial.

I’ve been testing a pre-production unit and found the aperture control to be quite reliable. A word of warning though – don’t spin the aperture dial too fast or the lens will have trouble keeping up, although the lens will eventually correct itself.

Mike tells me that pretty much all EF lenses work, apart from those few that use fly-by-wire manual focussing. The main lens of this type that doesn’t currently work is the 85mm f1.2L USM lens. Mike says he’s trying to fix this.

In use the adapter does pretty much what it is supposed to and I’m rather happy with it. The only downside is that the control box is a bit on the large side and adds bulk to the camera. The production version of the box has 1/4 20 mounting holes to allow positioning of the adapter on a rig or camera. That said I would rather have a smaller control box without AA batteries inside, running instead from a power tap cable. Maybe we’ll get this in a future version?

The image stabilisation seems to work well on a Sony F3, although I need to do more testing.

The control box is priced at £645 + tax and the matching lens adapters are £350 + tax each. More details soon on the MTF website.

640x100-5

Posted on January 2nd, 2012 by admin | Category: Canon 550D / T2i, Canon 600D / T3i, Canon C300, Canon EOS-1D Mk IV, Canon Eos500D/EosT1i, Canon Eos60D, Canon Eos7D, DSLR video news, Panasonic AF100, Panasonic GH2, Sony F3, Sony NEX |

9 responses to "New MTF Services lens adapters: Electronic EOS to Sony F3/FS100/Panasonic and B4 to EOS/Sony F3/FS100"

  1. Frank@Coffs Says:
    January 2nd, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    Hi Dan, thanks for the great write up.

    One of the cameras I’m running is a Hacked GH2 running the Driftwood hack (AVCHD all I frames at 70 Meg Per Sec)
    I’m keen to try the M 4/3 adapter and a 2/3″ HD lens.

    I find this little camera (The GH2) can produce quite amazing vision and the 50p 720 or 1080 50i and has worked well for ENG work while shooting stills.

    For instance check out the 7 & Ch TEN stories this week about the double fatal pedestrian deaths at Wauchope and the Daily Telegraph coverage – all vision & stills taken on GH2 in a hurry with no time to spare, the Police grab taken via a Sennheiser ENG3 kit with Rode NTG2 mic.

    I have been keen to try a long zoom broadcast lens rather than SLR lenses because of the design of a broadcast lens, eg, the focus holds while zooming, iris control, focus control etc.

    Do you think I could use a 2/3″ broadcast lens with the new adapter as my every day lens and more to the point, what are these lenses like for wide angle, would all of this gear (depending on the lens choice) give me in 35mm terms anything like 28-500?

    Sorry If I’m not asking the right questions, I’m still fairly new but keen to learn.

  2. fauxtographer Says:
    January 2nd, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    I have also been keen on this 2/3″ ENG lens…

    If I were to purchase a used one.. how much would I want to pay? I’m a student so money is tight… but I would pay up to $200? Or is that too little?

  3. Matthew Allard Says:
    January 3rd, 2012 at 3:34 am

    Hi fauxtographer,

    Unfortunately even the cheapest of second hand 2/3″ broadcast lenses will be a lot more than $200. Like any lens there are good and bad broadcast versions. What you also have to factor in is the cost of the adaptors and the weight of a broadcast lens. Broadcast lenses are quite heavy and if you plan on using it on a smaller camera you will need lens support which means rails as well as a quite sturdy tripod.

    A lot of cheaper broadcast lenses are terribly soft when used with the 2x extender in (this is required to use the MTF adaptor). It is a cheaper way to get a lens with a decent range but you do sacrifice quite a lot of light.

  4. Matthew Allard Says:
    January 3rd, 2012 at 3:39 am

    Hi Frank,

    To use a broadcast 2/3″ lens on a GH2 would require quite a big shoulder rig, rails, lens support as well as power to control the zoom function via the servo.

    I’m not sure what range you would get as it would depend on the type of 2/3″ lens you use.

  5. gilberto vasco Says:
    January 3rd, 2012 at 5:23 am

    Very interesting this solution from MTF. I’ve just been using one of this MTF adapters – the B4 2/3” to 1/3” – but on a Panasonic HPX301. I also sadly noticed some chromatic aberration which was a bit of a surprise since the lens used – Canon HDGC kj20x8.5B KRSD (aprox. 5.000,00 €) – wasn’t supposed to behave that way. There is also some loss of sharpness.
    We are making some more tests to see if the aperture has any influence in this behavior.

  6. Justin Williamson Says:
    January 5th, 2012 at 8:26 am

    Great post Dan,

    The main question I have is with the doubler engaged, the large sensor, and the adapter what happens to the zoom range. Can you still get as wide as the lens is intended or zoom as far, or does the range fall somewhere in between?

    I have been wanting to use my Fujinon lenses since the beginning of the DSLR revolution. Now I’ll be adapting it to the FS100. Thanks!

  7. movmedia@rof.net Says:
    April 6th, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    Please keep us updated on progress on this front.
    Meanwhile, I have 2 2/3″ B4 mount lenses that I would like to sell.
    I thought about building an adapter for a Go Pro sensor, but this sound like a better solution…

  8. martin Says:
    April 17th, 2012 at 12:55 am

    @gilberto: 2/3″ ENG lenses are optically designed for 3-chip ccd cameras. Theses cameras do have an prism inside to split the three colors R-G-B to the three single sensors. That´s why they produce color aberrations on single chip cameras without correction. If you need a solution for 2/3″ ENG lenses and maximum quality at single chip super-35 cameras have a look to our HDx35 optical adapter (ibe-optics.com). It allows the use of ENG lenses without using the lens internal doubler and it corrects the chromatic and other aberrations to get max. performance. Available at AbelCine (USA), BandPro (Europe) and directly at IB/E.

    Thanks!

    Martin

  9. Christineskinner Says:
    May 5th, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    That kind of hacks work in some situations, but one for the true values of DSLR’s is still portability….

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Website by Kevin Woo Designs