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Turning Still Cameras Into PL Mount Movie Makers

  • May 26, 2010
  • Shane Hurlbut, ASC
Turning Still Cameras Into PL Mount Movie Makers

It seems like everyone is jumping on the PL mount 7D bandwagon and I have to say it is very unfortunate that the 5D does not have the same energy. All the specs on a PL mounted 5D have shown that the vignette is a big issue. Most cinema lens manufactures like Cooke are vignetting because of the sensor size up to a 65mm. That translates to a 44mm in 35mm motion picture lens, which is not that wide.

11-1 primo
11-1 primo

Ultra Primes are rising to the top by giving the widest field of view compared to the other PL mount lenses; they vignette at a 40mm which translates to a 26.8mm. Not bad.

It is a shame that the Panavision Primo primes that I used to shoot “Act of Valor” are not available anymore. They vignette up to a 35mm, which translates to a 24mm lens. Now that is nice. Their flange depth is so shallow that the Canon 5D, 7D, 1D don’t need to be changed in any way. Now let’s just think about that for a minute. We are taking all of these Canon cameras and chopping them up, moving the sensor, charging the public a fortune to be able to make a PL mount work when the Panavision lenses all work perfectly. They do not void warranties, cut up the lens port area, lose the reflex viewing system, or make the camera unusable with any other mount.

So I have gone on a quest to find the best company to modify these cameras so that you can slap PL mount cinema lens on them.

Hot Rod
HOT ROD Cameras

One dedicated, incredibly intelligent, intimate and personal service fabricator is HOT ROD Cameras, http://www.hotrodcameras.com/. Illya Friedman has been a leader in this technology by first building his PL mount on the GH-1. His mount has the signature Green ring and handles, and are built entirely in the USA.

Canon 7D
Canon 7D

With so many requests to PL mount the 7D, it started entrepreneurial ingenuity all over the world. Illya had already modified one and had it at Sundance for people to see.

Hot Rod Camera
Hot Rod Camera

Denz, Schmidle/FGV www.bandpro.com/309/ and others have started making incredible designs but at a price tag that chokes me, and if a new model comes out, you throw your 7D in the trash or sell it on the Recycler.

7D_PL
7D_PL

HOT ROD Camera’s mount is interchangeable. Illya is forward thinking by trying to look into the future and know that the technology will change. Since the 5D Mark II came out we have seen 2 other cameras come out in quick succession; the 7D and 1D both with different sensor sizes. This is what attracted me to HOT ROD. A mount that could embrace the future, at a price point that is a little more attractive. If you already own a 7D and want HOT ROD Cameras to modify it with a PL mount, it costs $3,250. If you would like a new 7D camera pre-modified to PL mount with all the accessories, it is $4,800. The 7D-PL cameras will be available in our Hurlbut Visuals Moviemaker Kits at Alternative Rentals. Additionally, there are many shops in the LA area renting the 7D-PL. The HOT ROD 7D-PL are the most popular. Here is the short list: Abel Cine Tech, Birns & Sawyer, Camtec, Indie Rentals, Moviola and VER.

Illya is not moving the sensor or altering the electronics of the camera. The only alteration is precision machining the lens mount area to accept the flange depth of all 35mm PL mount lenses. He has partenered with an extended warranty company, so for an extra $200 you have the option of adding a 2-year warranty. The original factory warranty is only 1-year. A new 7D Hot Rodded with a PL mount, the HOT ROD CS (an Arri-standard 15mm lightweight rod support), hand grips and a 2-year warranty all-in is $5,000.  The Denz is $7,700.00 w/camera included. The Schmidle/FGV is $7,500.00 w/camera included. Denz and Schmidle charge extra for rod support, and don’t offer hand grips.  But FGV’s mod has been done with Canon’s cooperation and keeps the cameras one year warranty active.

I talked with Schumacher Camera in Chicago while I was there for Zacuto’s Great Camera Shootout in the middle of May and they said they have 4 of HOT ROD’s 7D mod’s and they cannot keep them in the rental department. They said that the Zeiss super speeds are now flying off the shelves. This is what this revolution will fuel. A recycling of old lens technology that has been collecting dust for years, but when you put it on to these Canon cameras, it takes the camera from a Yugo to a Porsche.

thumbs_top-view-prime2
thumbs_top-view-prime2
thumbs_underslung
thumbs_underslung

Once again this platform being Eco-friendly in a way that we never saw coming. Now all the Cooke zooms that were in the Recycler, are now a entity, just like the Nikon still lenses became hot when the 5D was only automatic.

HOT ROD’s 5D PL mod runs about $3,650.00 and then you supply the camera at $2,400.00. All in $6,050.00. Not many of the other manufacturer’s are jumping on the 5D wagon because of the vignette issue. But, I see it as essential tool for making movies.

There are so many different lenses that have been lost and need a re-birth. Go on a creative and visual pilgrimage. That is what I am doing. All of you have been so generous to share lenses that inspire you and I have not kept up with all of your brilliant suggestions. I am only one person with a very full plate, so  I have hired a researcher at Hurlbut Visuals, to acquire these lenses. Meet Julien. He can be reached at Julien@hurlbutvisuals.com. Please send him all of your amazing creative lens ideas that you have used that make you jump up and say, ” I want to see that on the big screen.” Flood him with information please, educate him and we will do our best to deliver. He is a very smart film student that wants to be a cinematographer and a director. I love filmmakers with a passion for learning. The kid in a candy shop energy; when I see that fire, I throw gasoline on it.

So I ask all of you who have shared their lenses of choice to blast Julien with a barrage of information. He is there for you.

BRING IT ON!!!!

  • Canon
  • HDSLR Cameras

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