Join James Ball for an in-depth discussion in this video Adapting lenses from DSLR, Micro Four Thirds, and mirrorless cameras, part of Mirrorless 4K Cameras for Video Production.
- Lenses tend to have proprietary connections. Normally, I can't take a lens from one manufacturer and put it on a manufacturer's body. But these days, those rules are bending a bit. For example, I can take an Olympus lens, which uses the Micro 4/3 standard, and put it on a Panasonic body, or on a Black Magic camera that also uses Micro 4/3. So that's kind of cool. But, sometimes those standards don't mesh up. For example, we've got some Canon glass here as well as some other Cinema glass, and that normally wouldn't work with the Sony or the Panasonic.
- Right, what makes all of those lens choices that we showed you earlier work are these lens adapters. The lens adapters that match the camera mount to the lens mount. And if you have the right ones or you have the right selection, you can use pretty much any lens on the market, because there's a lot of lens mounts, but there's enough adapters to handle pretty much any lens out there. - ^These are both from Metabones. There are a lot of different manufacturers out there. Fotodiox is another one. It really depends on whether you want passive versus active.
A passive mount simply adjust it so that you can mount one lens on another. These tend to be cheaper, but you don't get any of the exchange of data. You lose controls like the ability to adjust the iris and the aperture from the camera, and instead have to rely upon either controls on this unit, like you see here, or manual controls on the lens itself. Now, this particular one is an active one. I've got a speed booster and it reads EF to M4/3 mount. This means it's easy to attach.
Let's connect this. I'll remove the body cap. and the back cap here from the adapter, and line it up using the standard dots. And turn and click it into place. Now, pretty straightforward. We'll just turn this off, and now I'll take the Canon lens, lining up its dots, and turning until it clicks into place. And, of course, the lens cap's got to come off.
And what's pretty cool is if we turn this on and the lens is in auto-focus, (camera chirp) you hear it even auto-focused, which means that you can use this for stills shooting, and it should be passing a lot of the data. As I make adjustments here to the dials, the aperture and the shutter speed are actually changing, which is pretty cool. That means that I could take advantage of all of the controls on this lens, which could be useful, because a lot of DSLR-style lenses don't have manual aperture rings, and the focus ring is not necessarily what you always want.
Sometimes you want to quickly auto-focus. - So another benefit is that these are full-frame lenses, right, with a Micro 4/3 sensor. We remember that the magnification ratio is roughly two x. So, a speed booster, a Metabones speed booster EF to Micro 4/3 mount, is going to return you to that working focal length that you were used to when it was in full frame. So a 24 is effectively a 24 again, and not two x. - Now, this is pretty useful and it gave us that functionality of being able to control the lens and passing things through.
And, we can swap here. Now, obviously if we're going to attach a bigger lens, we would need to have a little bit additional, but I could take that off, and we could even attach one of these, correct? One of the larger one? - [Man in Pink] Yes, so let's take a manual lens, because while we like having the active communication, it doesn't mean we can't use a manual Cinema-style lens as well. Now it just becomes an adapter, a physical adapter, and all of our controls now are manual like we're used to in the Cinema video world.
We'd like a nice big focus ring. We'd like a manual aperture. And it's not communicating per se any more. What it is performing the function of, a, a physical adapter, and b, giving us the full-frame focal length that we wanted when we had a full-frame camera. - This it'll make it a lot easier to shoot wide and to be able to actually get wider on some of these crop sensors. Now this is great. Remember, and we'll talk more about cages and support rods later. You start to hang big, heavy lenses like this off the front, you need to support them.
If you don't, what happens? - Now, the reason these cameras are light is because they're made with very lightweight materials, so that means that they're not very robust when it comes to supporting a lot of weight in the lens mount. So because there's going to be some stress on that lens mount and you want to have some support, otherwise it can create some back-focus problems. I've noticed the heavier the lens, the more stress on the mount. The lens itself cannot perform quite as its intended. - And, Sony has addressed this a little bit recently.
They upgraded the quality of that mount to a more robust one. Original A7-series owners have turned to manufacturers like Fotodiox to upgrade the plastic ring inside to a more robust metal ring. But still, it's just a good idea if attaching a heavy lens to provide support. We'll explore that a little bit later. Why don't you show them the same thing here on the Sony body? - So, Metabones, once again, has made another adapter, but this time it's for Sony E-mount cameras. This is an active lens mount that's also going to communicate electronic information from the lens to your camera.
So if I'm using a Canon EF lens again, which has electronic information that it wants to send, auto-focus, iris, this mount will do the same thing and it'll preserve the full-frame sensor size, because it's already a full-frame camera. So these combinations work really well. Auto-focus is on. You get all the functions that you had as if this is on a Canon camera with a Canon mount, dedicated. It's keeping the lines of communication open between lens and camera.
- One of the challenges of the Micro 4/3 format is shooting lighter. This is going to give you the ability to switch it to a more full-frame-like behavior, as far as focal-length. Not performance for low light. It doesn't really do that, but it does compensate and gives you the ability to sort of shoot as advertised on the lens. Plus, I know, for example, Jim, you have a lot of Canon lenses from the years, and the ability to switch those and use them on a Sony is probably pretty appealing if you're making a purchasing decision or a rental decision. - Absolutely.
With any purchase as a professional videographer, you want to be able to cross-purpose as much of the gear as you can. So lenses that work on one camera system, if they can work across a bunch of other lenses by adding something like a lens adapter, is something I'm going to want to invest in. And it'll also increase the shelf-life of lenses, which are already one of the pieces of gear you can have that have a very lengthy shelf-life, instead of cameras which seem to change every couple of years. You want to increase the longevity of this equipment and being able to use them on cameras as they come and go is a huge factor in making those decisions.
So now that we have the means to attach just about any lens we have in our inventory to these cameras, let's look at some of the Cinema lenses that are popular with professional film-makers.
- An understanding of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras
- Evaluating the impact of sensor size
- Recording in-camera and with an external recorder
- Choosing lenses and accessories for 4K cameras
- Adapting 4K cameras with cage and rail systems
- Improving recording quality
- Attaching gimbals
- Capturing 4K video with drones