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Giuseppe Vitellaro

Micro Four Thirds ENG servo zoom

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Posted (edited)

When Blackmagic released the Studio Camera (back in 2014, if I'm not mistaken), I felt it was a terrible decision to use a Micro Four Thirds lens mount, because the lens selection was terrible for the application. There were and are no MFT servo zooms, which basically knocks the Studio Camera out of the running. I've only ever seen a single unit out in the wild. Sure, you could use a B4 adapter and hope the lens has a doubler, but that's less than ideal from an optical standpoint.

Five years later, there are still no MFT servo zooms. In the meantime, Blackmagic has released the Studio Camera 2 in HD and 4K, two models of Micro Studio Camera, and the Pocket Cinema Camera 4K (which is now being advertised as an ideal unit for multi-cam in coordination with the ATEM Mini), all of which have a MFT mount. Consider also the Z Cam lineup and the fifty billion other MFT cameras that do video.

There are a number of Super 35 zooms, so it seems to be possible. Canon has the cine-servo lineup. The Fujinon MK lenses are available in MFT, but they lack a first-party motor and are designed for S35.

Am I crazy? Or is this actually a legitimate product category that has yet to be addressed? I just want to be able to take a GH5 or E2 and work as fast as I do with a 2/3" ENG cam.

Edited by Giuseppe Vitellaro
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Hey Guiseppe,

The lens adapter company MTF made an adapter so you can use B4 lenses on the Super16 sensor of the Studio Camera without using the extender: MTF B4 2/3" to Super16 Micro 4/3 Adaptor

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If you would like to use Super35 zooms (with EF mount) on the Pocket 4K look into this Metabones adapter: Metabones Canon EF Lens to BMPCC4K T CINE Speed Booster® ULTRA 0.71x It allows you to use S35/APS-C lenses on the MTF sensor of the Pocket4K.

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True, there are the adapters, and they work alright. But that's not really what I'm looking for. I want Fuji or Canon to release a servo zoom with a native 4/3" image circle. Obviously if you want a large zoom range, you have to either have a huge lens or a small image circle; that's one big reason why ENG still relies so heavily on 2/3" cameras/lenses.

To me, Micro Four Thirds seems like the perfect "large" format for ENG:

  • The dimensions make for an easy conversion from 2/3" to 4/3" using a lens's built-in doubler
  • Short flange distance adds flexibility in adapting from other lens mounts
  • Still fairly easy to pull focus on; definitely easier than full frame/super 35

Obviously there are additional concerns to be addressed. But I think the concept is solid and that there would be an audience for such a thing.

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Honestly, I don't see it happening.  The market for a true MFT ENG lens like a 2/3" ENG lens is too small for Canon or Fuji to be bothered with it.  And even though there may be a lot of MFT cameras in the wild, there aren't enough customers with those types of cameras willing to spend the money.  Most people that want/need that performance are either using actual 2/3" cameras or s35 cameras.  I understand MFT has a loyal and devoted following, but it's kind of a bastard professional format.

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