November 14, 2015

Using a 35mm Adapter on the 4K Canon XC10 to Get a Full-Frame Look

35mm adapters have not gone away for good. You might shudder hearing that statement, but as cameras continue to get even higher resolution, and it becomes harder to differentiate them from each other, there may be opportunities to get an interesting look in the camera by using a tool many of you probably thought was extinct (in this case the Redrock Micro M3):

It might seem like a ridiculous setup, and while it defeats the purpose of the 1" sensor, fixed-lens XC10 on its own as a small camera, it does give you a very interesting look — and of course — lets you get the full view out of your 35mm still lenses. You can get 35mm adapters for dirt cheap these days, so it's not quite as ridiculous as it might seem at first, especially if you were already going to get the XC10 (or you own one). 

There are some interesting side effects with using these adapters. Not only do you get your highlights to bloom nicely, but with a spinning adapter like the M3, because the ground glass is not in the same place frame to frame, you're actually getting a look that can't be replicated any other way. In some ways digital cameras were a step back from film because of the fixed pixel design. Only one camera, the cancelled Aaton Penelope Delta, tried to mimic this and increase temporal resolution by shifting the sensor slightly from one frame to the next. Whether or not you're getting that much of an improvement with a 35mm adapter is up for debate, but there is no question it provides an in-camera look that's extremely difficult, if not impossible, to get in post. 

For more great videos, check out the Redrock Micro YouTube page, and if you wanted to try your hand at this setup or one like it, you can find these adapters on eBay or over on the Redrock site.       

Your Comment

18 Comments

I used one of these adapters years ago with a Panasonic HVX200 - and that was when I was "making the jump" into HD resolution. Even then, the red rock adapters produced footage that looked really soft to me, and most of the footage I shot with it ended up going unused. At 4K the footage looks downright unusable.

November 14, 2015 at 4:18PM, Edited November 14, 4:18PM

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Ty
Cinematographer, Editor, Director
574

For a sec stop sugar coating it please. Images with 35mm adaptor looks way more soft as if they were out of focus. Is this one of those "film look" excuses?

November 14, 2015 at 5:00PM

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Emrah Cahit OZER
Filmmaker, Director, Director of Photography
79

Shot a whole feature on the Letus Ultimate + EX1. Doesn't look soft or out of focus, in fact, it's a look I wish I could get back in an easier way. It all depends on the adapter you're using, and most importantly, how you set it up.

Back focus is critical, and not all cameras work with all adapters that well, one of the reasons P+S Technik and also Letus made relay lenses for their adapters.

November 14, 2015 at 5:33PM

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Joe Marine
Camera Department

I'm sure these will just fly off the shelves.

November 14, 2015 at 5:04PM

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Why use an over priced XC10 camera with this FF adapter, when you could use a 4K Blackmagic camera like the new $1,300 4K Micro Studio Cine camera.

You get the SAME image when using a 35mm Full Frame adapter, it costs a lot less, and it is more compact.

November 14, 2015 at 5:33PM, Edited November 14, 5:33PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
32474

I'd say each camera has its own unique look that you might prefer in terms of color, and honestly this setup doesn't make sense unless you've already got an XC10, as I said above.

It's the same reason why you'd pick any camera over another, because you like what it looks like.

As for the Micro Studio Camera, I'd agree with you except for the fact that you'll need some kind of external recording, making the setup even more of a frankenrig.

November 14, 2015 at 5:36PM

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Joe Marine
Camera Department

But this setup could be used with any camera, so why bother with the Canon XC10 in the first place ?

Yes, you would need a recorder to go with the Blackmagic 4K Micro but most recorders have a good monitor built-in with focusing and exposure tools.

The XC10 has no EVF so most likely you're going to have to add a good monitor or EVF in order to use the XC10 rig.

I honestly think this would be a much more interesting rig with the Blackmagic 4K Micro that features both global and rolling shutter capability, high bit-rate Pro-res and RAW recording, costs less and will be a lot more compact.

November 14, 2015 at 6:27PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
32474

I would think it makes sense because the sensor size is just right, it has a built-in lens, and it shoots 4K internally — not to mention it has Canon's color science.

I understand your point completely, but there are more pieces to getting that rig working. I think an interesting choice would actually be the DVX200.

November 14, 2015 at 6:50PM

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Joe Marine
Camera Department

But the DVX200 is even bigger. The only way I would consider a rig like this would be if it was pretty compact.

I definitely do NOT want to go back to the days of shooting with a HVX200 and 35mm FF adapter, which was a huge clunky rig to operate.

A compact little Blackmagic 4K Micro "cube" would be tiny and with a small macro lens would not extend the length of the rig by more than 4 inches. With the BM 4K Micro you could probably shoulder mount the rig without a lot of difficulty.

November 14, 2015 at 10:57PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
32474

The Redrock M3 is accomplishing what they made it to do. But it cannot save the inferior image characteristics coming from the Canon XC10.

Canon: if you are looking for someone to do test runs with your cameras to give you honest appraisals to see if you are making a better video image, I am available. As it is now, you may be losing out, badly, to the Sony a7S. The a7S connected to the Atomos Shogun makes your XC10 look silly, no matter what Redrock, or any other, device you can attach to it.

p.s., yes I do know Canon's main sales point is the color. And the CX10 has that color palette. But I really am wondering what the sales on the CX10 are looking like.

Samples of the Sony a7S with Shogun: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDktgWkAHDw

November 14, 2015 at 8:14PM, Edited November 14, 8:24PM

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Gene Nemetz
live streaming
1158

Ok, I'll bite.

Back in the day I wasted money on an adapter attempting to make my old little Canon camcorder look like 35mm shooting through Nikon lenses onto a spinning ground glass, just before the world was turned upside down by the 5DMKII, and the Nikon D800 and the Panasonic GH4. The rig was clumsy and almost impossible to use, especially as my adapter did not invert the image.

So, purely as an experiment, I may dig the adapter out, build the rail support/optical bench and mount the GH4 shooting 4K. With a Panasonic lens on the camera, the adapter's diopter so the camera lens can focus on the adapter's ground glass and a Nikon lens out front all passing the light to the sensor, the rig can't possibly be sharp, but no doubt will produce shallower DOF and a grainy image. And as I have all the pieces, won't cost anything but time.

What a pain. Like I said, purely an experiment. When I have time. Like in two years.

November 14, 2015 at 11:33PM, Edited November 14, 11:33PM

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IMO no matter what it is a waste of time & money.

November 15, 2015 at 10:26AM

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Emrah Cahit OZER
Filmmaker, Director, Director of Photography
79

Ah, the lo-fi hipster look! It's the dreamy, etherial antidote to the modern clinical world of 4K. It's also the antidote to traveling light, sharp images, and quick and easy shooting - which are possibly the main advantages of the XC10! :-D Still – love the way the highlights render.

November 15, 2015 at 11:43AM, Edited November 15, 11:43AM

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Alex Kalimát
Photographer ~ Filmmaker
84

I still have my Jag35 35mm adapter. I got a better look than just with the camera itself but even my t2i can get images I like without the immense hassle. Plus Im already screwing around with anamorpic.

I dont get why someone would still want this kind of agony in this day and age.

November 15, 2015 at 4:57PM

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Chris Hackett
Director, Director of Photography, Writer
1053

The adapter footage is so soft I could make a microfiber pillow out of it.

November 15, 2015 at 5:59PM

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My highschool's film program used to have a Canon xf100 with one of these adapters right before DSLRs came on the market. We thought it was amazing shot two entire features on it and seriously I still have some of that footge on my hard drives because it is just so unique. The footage may not have been the "best" but it sure did have character to it.

November 16, 2015 at 1:08AM

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jacob
128

Or, they could just design a full frame 4K camera.

Things were were getting interesting with the advent of full-frame HD sensors. Then 4K comes along and now we're back to smaller sensors again. Talk about undermining progression.

November 17, 2015 at 10:18AM

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Ian
Director/Writer
97

How about larger than full frame 8K? Sounds better. :-)

November 17, 2015 at 11:44PM

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Gene Nemetz
live streaming
1158