December 4, 2013

Get a Variable ND Filter Right Inside Your Canon EF Lens Adapter with HolyManta VND

HolyManta VND EF-MFTBack in April we talked about a crowdfunding campaign for a pretty interesting lens mount project from Thomas Läräng called HolyManta VND, which was designed to give you a variable ND filter of around 12 stops inside a Canon EF to Sony NEX or Canon EF to Micro 4/3 lens mount adapter. That campaign was successful and adapters have been shipped to backers, and new HolyManta adapters are now available to order. Click through for more on the adapter and how it could benefit your productions.

Here's the introduction video from HolyManta:

Some footage shot with the adapter:

This was shot in July on the island of Väddö, in the Stockholm archipelago in Sweden. A prototype of HolyManta VND was used which can be noticed by the corner light leakage in some of the shots.

Filmed in during 10 min break (except the cloud intro filmed just after), this goes to show how much more effective the workflow gets with the adapter - both due to step-less exposure adjustement and making lens changes much faster.

Lenses used:
Canon EF 18-55mm 3.5-5.6
Canon EF 70-200mm 4L (This lens had to be returned since it was extremely soft after 150mm).

Camera used: Sony NEX FS100

Here is a quick review from :

Apparently there isn't really color shift until you get near the limit of the adapter (around 12 stops), but many variable NDs have color shift far sooner. Something that should be noted is that this a dumb mount, which means there is no communication between the camera and the lens. Thomas mentioned this last time:

I gave the smart adapter idea a lot thought when I started working on this idea, but since I’m neither a software specialist nor a digital hardware specialist I focused on a dumb adapter.

This means that any EF lens without a manual iris will only be usable wide open, unless you attach the lens to a camera, set the aperture, and pull the lens off without turning the camera off (which isn't the safest thing for the contacts on your camera, but you could also put it on something like a Metabones EF to NEX adapter and change the iris). While it's not a perfect solution, if you know you're shooting outside all day with this adapter, it's probably safe to set the lens on another camera a few stops closed down to f/2.8 or f/4 for better image quality and easier depth of field, and keep it there until very late in the day when the sun is just about going down -- changing exposure only with the HolyManta.

There are some Canon lenses now with manual irises like the Samyangs/Rokinons, but you could also adapt Nikon or Leica R to this adapter very easily, and avoid the above scenario altogether. This adapter should also give better wide-angle vignetting performance because you don't have the filter rings or matte box to worry about.

Thomas also said this about infinity focus:

There is no clear glass when inactivated. The filters are very thin however, so although there is a focus shift, it’s hardly noticable unless using very fast lenses. Infinity focus is not lost, it just takes place slightly before hitting the end on the focus ring.

HolyManta VND is being sold in either a full kit with variable ND for $315 (Micro 4/3 or NEX), or separately so that you could buy just the lens mount adapter for multiple cameras at $95, and then buy only one VND filter module for $230 (which saves you money only if you're buying multiple adapters or multiple adapters for different cameras).

For more information on the adapters and how they perform, check out the HolyManta website.

Links:

Your Comment

16 Comments

Thank you! I've wanted one of these for years!

December 4, 2013 at 11:34PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Congrats on successfully completing the project!

December 5, 2013 at 4:11AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Would there be any way to make this play nice with a Metabones Speed Booster on a BMPCC...?

December 5, 2013 at 5:27AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Michael H

That would be fantastic! We need a M/43 to M/43 version, or an adapter M43 to EF.

December 5, 2013 at 10:37AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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EricV

They should have done one with Nikon lens mount because at least you can change the aperture.

December 5, 2013 at 5:59AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Daniel Villiers

You can use the Holymanta + Canon to Nikon adapter + Nikon lens. I have the Holymanta and use my Nikon lenses with it by adding an additional adapter. It works fine.

December 5, 2013 at 10:51AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Tom

Only if using F series lenses. The G series has no aperture ring on them and require that the adapter has a passive ring that pushes on the aperture pin on the back. I think that is what they were referring to.

December 5, 2013 at 12:58PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Thomas Barthle

A lot of Canon to Nikon adaptors have a slider that lets you control the aperture on G lenses.

December 5, 2013 at 8:38PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Tom

it's ironic that while everyone wants to shoot video that looks like film, more and more accessories are being made to mimic the way a video camera does...

December 5, 2013 at 6:50AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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I meant "the way a video camera works"

December 5, 2013 at 6:51AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Hehehe, you nailed it. We want ALL the convenience of video cameras, with the look of film please.

December 5, 2013 at 1:42PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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marklondon

I backed one of these through crowdfunding and it was delivered last month. The build is solid overall and it works great with my Sony FS100.

Two things though: The functionality for the ND filter to flip down in front of the camera is a little janky. The only thing preventing the ND filter from flipping down is gravity, so if you tilt the camera a lot or move it suddenly, it could engage the ND filter. I would have loved to see a magnet built into the ND filter that would hold it back until engaged.

Second, and this is something that I didn't see advertised when I bought it, the ND filter system is modular meaning you can DETACH the ND filter from the lens adapter. This was done with the intention of allowing the ND filter to be used with multiple cameras, so you would only have to buy the cheap metal adapter, and not the more expensive NDs. The ND filters attach to the lens adapter magnetically.

In the future I would expect to be able to buy adapters for several cameras and just drop the ND filters in to use.

December 5, 2013 at 2:02PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Just curious - not being an electrical engineer and all - but is it possible to have an electronic negative ISO programmed into the camera processing post-sensor?

December 5, 2013 at 7:01PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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DLD

They say the 70-200 was very soft after 150mm, this is a slight worry as a number of VND filters trash the image sharpness at longer focal lengths, I wonder if they are sure it isn't their filter? Worth checking at those prices.

For a simple example see: http://www.quantumpie.com/light-craft-workshop-fader-nd-mark-ii-review/
...scroll down to "Resolution Test at Longer Focal Lengths"

January 3, 2014 at 5:37AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Dr_Jon

Their shipping policy needs a drastic improvement as I havent received mine after 3 weeks!!

January 4, 2014 at 2:55AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Hendrick

But there is ONLY EF-M4/3 and EF-NEX! Where are the rest???

January 4, 2014 at 2:56AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Hendrick