Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews › Forums › Technique › Production Gear › 35mm Adapter
July 8, 2007 at 4:46 PM #43561
I’m not really sure if this is the right spot on the forum, as this is a DIY project, but it is gear… (if it’s not the right place, please move it to the correct place!)
I’m sure a lot of you have heard of a device for DV cameras called the 35mm adapter. There are some professional versions out there like the Red Rock, Brevis, Letus, and some others. All of the professional ones out there are easily 300 or more dollars.
But what I’m interested in is building one myself, because there are tons of tutorials and directions on how to build them out there on the web.
My thought is I could use a macro extension tube from a SLR camera to use as the body of the adapter. If it will work the way I hope it will, then it will give me a pre-attached lens mount as well as a standard (and hopefully quality) tube that I can keep everything at 58mm: the thread size for my camera. My question is, do these tubes screw together with each other, in such a way that I could take something like a UV filter (converted to a grounding glass) and screw it inbetween (well, I’d be using a bit more sophisticated grounding glass, but it would have threads just like a UV filter for the camera).
My second question contains to a polarizing filter. It must spin to be effective. Now, I’m inexperienced with PL filters; does the threads on one side also spin? What I mean is, if you screwed on another filter to the end of the PL or a lens on the end of it (not sure why you would want to do that), will it spin with the filter? My idea is, if this is true, if I can get a really cheap PL filter, then I can use this as a way to make sure my grounding glass (If I use a rectangular grounding glass) is properly aligned.
Not really sure if any of this makes sense? Let me know if you need more information, and I’m loosely basing this on the ‘Home Depot 35mm adapter’.
July 9, 2007 at 11:49 PM #182694
July 10, 2007 at 6:18 AM #182695AnonymousInactive
With most Polarizing filters, the thread that connects to the lens is fixed and the other side spins, and will spin anything threaded onto it. Some are fashioned to prevent the next filter down from spinning, but not many. Also note that if you put too many filters on, you may begin vignetting.
July 10, 2007 at 10:10 AM #182696AnonymousInactive
Good topic for the forum. We’ll try to gather some links for you.
…I’m sure a lot of you have heard of a device for DV cameras called the 35mm adapter…"
For the videographers who haven’t heard of a "35mm adapter", it’s a device that allows us to use our 35mm still camera lenses on our camcorders. The result is greater manual focusing and exposure abilities, as well as a shallow depth-of-field similar to what we see in movies.
"…But what I’m interested in is building one myself, because there are tons of tutorials and directions on how to build them out there on the web…"
I’ve built a few, and can tell you that it’s cost almost as much as the $300 asking price of some manufacturers. Three hundred is really, really cheap for this product.
The early 35mm adapters cost over $10,000 (P+S Technic brand), and now many cost around $1,000 (Red Rock Micro, SG35, etc). The typical DIY approach will set us back aprox $300.
"My second question contains to a polarizing filter. It must spin to be effective. Now, I’m inexperienced with PL filters; does the threads on one side also spin?…"
I have not heard of a design that calls for a Polarizing filter. Some call for a UV filter to be polished into a ground glass. I’ve done this and it produces pretty darn clear results.
Here’s the RedRock DIY kit:
And a video for a music camp that includes some of my 35mm adapter shots (made to look like Super8):
And this cool photo album on Flickr:
-andrew @ videomaker
July 10, 2007 at 3:44 PM #182697
Thanks for the input guys!
I’ve been doing a lot of reading myself, and they say you should have a 44-46mm length between the grounding glass and 35mm lens, so this should be easily doable with the extension tube.
As for the PL filter, that sounds like what I want it to do, so I think I’ll go ahead and order a cheap one. I plan to remove the actual filter (as well as any other glass/filters that I use in the design unless they are necessary). My thought is that I’ll have the lens attached to the tube, attached to the empty PL filter so it can spin, and then to the grounding glass. I’m not sure if I’ll need a macro for my VX2000, but if I do, that will be after the grounding glass (with however much space I need inbetween… I’ll worry about that when I need to buy a macro).
If I do it right, it will all screw together and allow me to easily change the grounding glass if I want a different style or system.
One question I have is, how did you polish a UV filter to make it a grounding glass? This sounds like a great thing to try for a first attempt!
July 10, 2007 at 11:18 PM #182698
some methods actually use a thin type of wax on the grounding glass
July 15, 2007 at 11:08 PM #182699
Well, I’ve ordered most of the parts for my adapter (from ebay) so they should arrive within the next week or so (one of them was from overseas, so it might take a bit longer to get here). The only thing left to do is get microcrystalline wax. For anyone else reading this, that’s the best type of wax to use for the method Spencer mentioned. I emailed a company which provides free samples, so we’ll see if they send me one (probably won’t know until tomorrow). I’ll let you know how it all goes when the stuff gets here!
And just so you guys know, the total right now came to 52 US dollars (not including any cost for wax I might need to buy). And that’s with buying a macro set because I don’t know how many + diopters I’ll actually need for my VX2000 (Yes, I know an achromat would have been better, but I wanted to go cheap on my first one and don’t care about perfect image quality on this one).
August 3, 2007 at 9:03 PM #182700twistedhiphopParticipant
Hi ralck, i have a dcr-vx2100 and i’m really interested on making a 35mm adapter. everywhere i go i find guides for other cameras so i was wondering if you could help me out and tell me how i should go about making one like the one you’re making…. thanks u can hit me up here firstname.lastname@example.org
August 3, 2007 at 10:18 PM #182701
Well, one of my parts I ordered still hasn’t gotten to me yet (yay slow shipping from China). It should arrive within a day or two, but who knows right now. So I don’t actually know if mine will work or not.
As far as my grounding glass, I was planning on heading down to the craft store and picking up some microcrystalline wax (as that is the best static grounding glass system). However, I was looking at lamanation (sp?) plastic, and I’m wondering if I might try that before hand since it might be an easier setup (though probably not as good).
The good thing is, your VX2100 has the same thread size as mine, so you could potentially make the same exact setup as mine. And of course, you don’t have to buy that part from China (though it might cost a bit more) 😀 .
I don’t know if I mentioned it before, but my system is designed to work with all Canon EOS (EF and EF-S) lenses for Canon EOS SLR and D/SLR cameras. So you’ll want to pick up one of those if you don’t have one. Most people suggest an f/1.4 or f/1.8 with a maximum of f/2.0, but I’ll be trying my father’s f/4-5.6 lens so that if it works, I won’t have to buy another lens. I’ll let you know what works for me. Hopefully in the next few days I’ll be able to document everything including pictures and such.
Sorry I can’t help further right now. I knew the shipping would be slow, but I didn’t think it would be slower than molasis on a cold day!
August 3, 2007 at 11:26 PM #182702
shipping from china
Can’t wait to hear how everything pieces together. I hope to make (or buy) one of these tools too.
Hmm, from what I’ve read about these adapters is that they’ll cut down light about a stop or so, on top of the SLR lens, and the video camera lens itself. sounds like shooting things outside would look great, but you might need some powerful lights indoors. 8)
August 4, 2007 at 9:21 AM #182703
Yeah, Spencer. That’s exactly the reason why an f/1.4 or f/1.8 lens is recomended.
One reason the microcrystalline wax is so nice is that it gives a very fine grain and lets a lot of light through. Although properly frosted glass is probably the best, it is extremely hard to make or rather expensive to buy.
August 7, 2007 at 8:41 PM #182704
I just wanted to put a quick update in here. I got the last piece finally! It is as described and 58mm threads. However it doesn’t fit! The reason is that a discrepency in how the thread size was measured. It’s an outside/inside diameter issue and just doesn’t fit. I was quite bummbed becaue I thought I was all set by asking "hey, what’s the thread size?" but I guess I was wrong.
Anywho, I’ve found a different brand, and I was told specifically if I wanted to screw a 58mm UV camcorder filter on to it, that I could. So I may order that, or I may try to figure out if I can get any kind of simple step down rings for the one I have now. At least the good part is it ships from MI, so it should be a little quicker. 🙂
Sorry that I don’t have any results to show you. Hopefully I’ll have something soon though.
August 13, 2007 at 7:53 PM #182705
Another quick update…
I got the new part in the mail today. Everything finally works the way I intended it to fit. So in the next day or two I’m going to head out and grab some microcrystalline wax from the local craft store. Then I’ll put it all together and take a bunch of pictures as I go. Hopefully it will work and I’ll have a nice little tutorial for people to make an inexpensive design.
August 13, 2007 at 9:33 PM #182706
Awesome! Can’t wait to see the results.
August 20, 2007 at 7:43 PM #182707
Another quick update…
I just put it all together tonight. I used a different focusing material than the wax (I want to tweak it a bit before I explain what I used).
In short, it worked! It wasn’t great because I havent ot it perfect yet (and I was using a really slow lens), so it was a bit grainy. Keep in mind this is with one 45W incandescent bulb in the room.
So I’m going to play around with it a bit and get some footage in the sun tomorrow. It’s not as good as the $1000 professional, but for 60 bucks I think it is pretty good.
August 21, 2007 at 11:29 PM #182708
Wow. Sounds great for $60. Can’t wait to see the results
September 26, 2007 at 10:35 PM #182709
I decided to make my own based off the really long thread here:
If you look on the first post, there is a link to a somewhat condensed version. Sadly, not very many pictures in the thread exist anymore, but this is the adapter in particular I tried to emulate:
And this is my creation:
sorry it’s such a bad picture, its from my cameraphone
Hopefully I’ll get some footage up this week, but I’ve been able to test it somewhat, and it looks pretty good, especially for costing JUST $13
September 26, 2007 at 11:43 PM #182710AnonymousInactive
I can’t wait to see more pictures of this bad boy. Please do share!
September 30, 2007 at 9:32 AM #182714
Okay, here’s a short video.
I’m not super impressed with the results, but it’s not too bad either, in my opinion. Fortunately I think I can make it look a little better with some tweaking.
I guess it looks like film. Maybe poorly treated 8mm film, haha.
All in all, I think this was a success for the $13 I spent. My first intention was to understand the concept better so I could possibly build one of a better (more expensive) design.
September 30, 2007 at 7:47 PM #182713AnonymousInactive
Not bad Spencer. Not quite Hollywood, but not bad.
The only complaint I have is really that the edges of the footage are a lot darker than the center, but you can probably correct that in post.
Tell me, the way you have this set up, does this project the image upside down? If so, how hard is it to control?
September 30, 2007 at 8:55 PM #182712
Yes, it isn’t like hollywood, :'( :'(
However, my ultimate goal is to produce the relatively cheap DIY adapter here:
The footage is darker on the edges, or brighter in the center, because I did not "grind" the ground glass enough (the cd). Hopefully if I fix that, it will look better.
In addition, it does project the image upside down, and its a little confusing at first. You do get a little more comfortable with it after a while, but it still gives me a headache every once in a while.
Pretty soon I probably will be retiring this adapter, purchasing an HV20, and then constructing the "jet-set" version of the adapter.
Thanks for checking it out.
September 30, 2007 at 11:01 PM #182711AnonymousInactive
All things considered though, I like it. Yeah, it’s not what you see on Oscar night, but it really does give the video a film feel. I’m very tempted to slap one of these puppies together to see what it would do for my little GL-2.
Thanks for posting the pics!
October 1, 2007 at 4:30 PM #182715
October 1, 2007 at 9:34 PM #182716AnonymousInactive
I saw that tutorial once before, a while back.
I think this would really be a fun project. The biggest problem for me is that it’s not really practical for wedding videos, which makes up the vast majority of my client base. It could be a neat effect for my side projects, or at least future ones. I’ve already started putting together my documentary, and I don’t really want to re-film the 3 hours of footage I’ve put together.
I think I would also try to figure out a way to re-flip the image, maybe using another lens glass. I would really like to be able to shoot without the need to attach mirrors and/or learn to control an upside down image.
Very cool topic. Thanks for posting the pics.
October 2, 2007 at 4:56 AM #182717AnonymousInactive
As a still photographer, I find myself doing things in photoshop, that i used to do in camera…
one example is having retired a tonne of optical filters i used for effects.
my question is this:
how does a device like that stack up to say compositing two layers of the same video clip, with masks and blurring to create the same effect of having shallow DOF and shifting focus from foreground subject to background subject?
October 2, 2007 at 5:38 PM #182718
Well, 35mm adapters do not require as much editing in post, and would have a more natural and gradual loss of focus. Consider a shot of a brick wall, like the one in this video at 00:13 seconds:
For me, I enjoy editing, but would much rather be on the field. I would not be the person to roto out a tree and its leaves blowing in the wind, but for simpler shots (ex. a close up on a person), doing this in post wouldn’t be such a bad solution.
As for quality, versus my adapter, the photoshop idea probably would win (depending on the subjects being roto’d out). Nicer DIY or professional 35mm adapters would be ultimate, however.
Either way, I would not consider my adapter field worthy. A professional adapter or a better DIY adapter would definitely be worth some considering, on the other hand, especially if you desire the cinematic DOF and organic look of film.
On a Roll:
Yup. It wouldn’t be that practical for weddings. Maybe for some moments, but it requires a lot more attention than is possible for a lot of the work videographers do in weddings. It also cuts down light somewhat.
For the upside down image: There is actually a hack now (at least for the HV20) where you can trick the camera to flip the image for you. (it thinks that the lcd screen is flipped out facing forward – if that makes any sense). It does require some disassembly of the camera though, which is a little sketchy 😕
I’m glad it caught your interest.
October 6, 2007 at 6:25 AM #182719bvalenteParticipant
Just a quick note to let you know that in addition to the Redrock M2 adapter, we also offer a DIY Guide for how to build your own 35mm adapter.
The guide and companion forums include a ton of information, schematics, and step-by-step instructions. The materials listed out can be purchased from places like Home Depot and other low cost suppliers – typically it’s around $75 for all the materials. The Guide is $45 and includes the ground glass
Hope that helps
The link to the guide is here:
October 6, 2007 at 9:08 AM #182720AnonymousInactive
I have an idea….
what if one took an old (broken) film slr (complete with lens) and mounted a slightly frosted glass slide over the film plane…removed the camera back, mounted it to a video camera?
locking the camera open to bulb mode?
October 6, 2007 at 11:40 PM #182721
Yup. That is exactly the idea behind a 35mm adapter.
Some methods have the frosted glass, or ground glass, mounted so it can vibrate or spin. Those motions would help prevent the camera from recording the grain from the ground glass.
The design I plan to build this month or the next is based on this:
there’s also so good sample footage on that site too. It’s much better than what i’ve made!
October 7, 2007 at 5:50 AM #182722AnonymousInactive
Olypmus has an d-slr (others are following suit) with live view on the lcd screen….what about recording off the lcd screen?
a bellows and mounting bracket could work the same way?
October 7, 2007 at 2:20 PM #182723
Well, unless it is a very high resolution screen, the best images would be from a ground glass, as it isn’t limited to a number of pixels of detail. Plus, in the most case, it’s a little cheaper.
Bellows and mounting brackets – good ideas.
October 18, 2007 at 8:11 AM #182724adaptoruserParticipant
FYI you can find everything you need to know about lenses for use with 35mm lens adaptors like the Redrock M2, Brevis, Letus35 etc. at http://www.lenses35.com. This site also has a large selection of mint/near mint moderately priced lenses for sale. They will answer any question you might have.
October 19, 2007 at 2:20 PM #182725
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