Duclos Nikon 70-200 f2.8 lens conversion is perfect for run and gun – at a cost

I wouldn’t normally highlight a Cine style lens here on dslrnewsshooter as I don’t think they necessarily the best solution for run and gun style shooting. The long focus ring rotations of often nearly 360 degrees are specifically designed for accurate pulling of focus in a film environment with a follow focus and camera assistant. For lone shooter real world environments I feel that the shorter focus ring travel of something like a Zeiss ZE, ZF or Canon Tilt Shift lens is more desirable, these usually have shorter rotations of between 1/3 and 1/2 a turn, a lot more like a broadcast lens on an ENG camera.

Duclos Nikon 70-200 f2.8 conversion from Dan Chung on Vimeo.

This latest PL conversion by lens expert Matt Duclos is a little different. The lens starts life as a regular Nikon 70-200 f2.8 VR II lens but improves it by adding a smooth manual aperture ring. He then alters the short throw focus gearing of the stock lens to a super smooth cine style one – but with only about a half turn rather than a 360 degree one, this makes it really very practical for run and gun shooting. He also reverses the focus direction to match a Canon or Cine lens and changes the Nikon mount to a special universal one that will fit Canon EOS, Cine style PL and others. Obviously with these modifications you loose any autofocus but the result is something quite spectacular. The image this lens creates is as good as the best I’ve seen from a tele zoom.

The only reason I won’t be running out to get one of these right away is the cost – estimated by Matt to be a mere $10000 US. That said I think this lens would be a worthwhile investment as its pretty future proof with the interchangable mounts and way more usable for video than the stock Nikon version.

Duclos 70-200 prototype testing. from Matthew Duclos on Vimeo.

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