While focal reducers had a moment during the Micro Four Third days as full frame cameras propagate the market, there really isn’t a wide use for them anymore.
Joshua Chiara, the founder of Nodal Cine, seems to think so, which is why he’s putting out the Nodal One Focal Reducer. This PL to RF focal reducer aims to compete with Metabones and offer filmmakers all the fields of view they keep cropping.
The New Kid on the Block
The Nodal One Focal Reducer is currently in the prototype stages and being funded via IndieGoGo. The final production unit is claimed to be compatible with a variety of lenses, including Atlas Mercury and Orion anamorphic primes, Sigma FF ART Primes, DZO Vespid primes, Laowa OOOM zoom, vintage Helios and MIR primes, vintage LOMO anamorphic primes, and Cooke anamorphic primes!
Nodal One Focal Reducer PrototypeCredit: Nodal Cine
The field of view will be increased by 0.71x and 1 stop of exposure. The reducer will also be user shimmable, which is a nice touch. However, according to Chiara, all units will be calibrated before shipping. In addition, there will be a back focus adjustment and a mount lock system for increased rigidity.
Currently, the plan is to offer this focal reducer for RF mount only, but Chiara plans to expand this to E Mount and MFT mount as well.
Nodal One vs Metabones
The Metabones ARRI PL Lens to Canon RF-mount T CINE Speed Booster offers the same focal reduction at a lower price. Yes, while the Nodal One is available on sale right now for $799, it will retail for $995.
But what makes the Nodal One stand out from what Metabones has on offer is the addition of a back focus system and the ability for users to shim the unit as needed.
Furthermore, the Metabones focal reducer is designed only for the Zeiss Compact Prime line of lenses. While you can use other lenses, Metabones recommends that the rear element not protrude 14.5mm from the mount.
We’re not sure what specs the Nodal One has, but it seems to be able to support a long list of lenses.
Should You Get It?
If you shoot on a Super 35 sensor and find that you’re always using primes or zooms made for larger sensors, this may be something you need to add to your kit.
A focal reducer not only increases the field of view, but you also get a little bump in exposure.
While the Nodal One isn’t the first focal reducer on the market, it’s the first I've seen with an eye toward usability. Here's a video from a stream done with the Atlas Lens Co. team.
If you’d like a chance to grab one of your own, go and support the IndieGoGo campaign and save some cash.
Is this something you want in your kit? Let us know what you think of the Nodal One in the comments!