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The D-Mount project


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Some time ago I accidentally bought this bad boy...

IMG_3869.thumb.jpg.02a463470b64ba4e0adceb7557060fdb.jpg

It's a Cine-NIKKOR-C 13mm F1.9 Nipon Kogaku Japan D-Mount cine lens.  It's pictured above sitting on the hot-shoe of my GH5 for scale.

Ironically, with all the lenses I've bought thus far, it's the only Cine lens I own, and it's the only lens I own that I haven't ever used - I have no idea what its images look like.  I've hatched several plans to mount it and see what it's like but I've never actually carried any of them through.  

This thread is to kind-of publicly shame myself into actually doing something about this, but I thought it might be of interest to others as well, as I kind of see D-mount lenses as maybe being the most under-utilised vintage lens mount system, especially considering they were all cine lenses.  Of course, I'm under no illusions that these will be the best lenses ever, but they must have been pretty good - even 8mm film was still film, after all.

Anyone else interested in D-Mount lenses?  anyone shoot with them?

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Some time ago I accidentally bought this bad boy... It's a Cine-NIKKOR-C 13mm F1.9 Nipon Kogaku Japan D-Mount cine lens.  It's pictured above sitting on the hot-shoe of my GH5 for scale.

I've been using them on the Pentax Q and Samsung NX mini. Very fun. Starts around 07:25 Starts around 04:25  

I don’t know if you’re familiar with the Ribcage Mod but it’s a kit you can buy to change out the stock lens on your GoPro to accept M12/C Mount/D Mount lenses. Here’s an instruction video for the GoP

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welcome to the club ?

edit ..it would be interesting to see what the summer/winter ring and dull haze rings do. You might have found an intriguing in camera effect.

since we are naming and shaming, i bought a carl zeiss for a bargain price expecting great things. In reality it was a lot less lens than i anticipated lol. that will teach me to do more research. I'm not sure what to do with it either. Thats a 63mm nikon enlarger lens beside it

 

carl-zeiss.jpg

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Considering that D-Mount has a crop factor of something like 4.4 and a very short flange distance, there's hardly anything you can use these lenses on, so something has to give.

If we sacrifice the idea of flange distance and accept the fact we're going to have to hack something up, then we can first focus on crop factor, and this leads us to 1/1.7" and smaller sensors, which are typically found in phones, pocket cameras, and action cameras.  I really like the idea of fitting a cine lens to an action camera, so I just ordered an SJ4000 from ebay, and will follow in the footsteps of those who have done lens swaps on them.

The crop factor on the SJCAM SJ4000 is reportedly 5.7, so my 13mm lens would be a 74mm F11 lens, quite a nice focal length I think.

The challenge will be to hack into the camera to make room for the mount.  Wish me luck - this will be my second attempt.  The first one was for the $200 camera challenge and turned my old GoPro into a paperweight....

P1160543s.jpg.f538893721fd4ff3748dc4d3d4652512.jpg

P1160544s.jpg.a59d0d390ddad6f9bd74693c23d0654e.jpg

I really like the idea of having a small auto-everything camera with a nice lens that can be used to give a bit of soul to the image.

@mercer and I have spoken at length about minimalism and the allure of one-camera-one-lens filmmaking, and assuming I don't trash another camera, this is my intent.  Imagine having a camera that isn't much bigger than a couple of boxes of matches that shoots 1080p with a fixed focal length.  The focus becomes content and style, rather than IQ and tech.

1 hour ago, leslie said:

welcome to the club ?

edit ..it would be interesting to see what the summer/winter ring and dull haze rings do. You might have found an intriguing in camera effect.

since we are naming and shaming, i bought a carl zeiss for a bargain price expecting great things. In reality it was a lot less lens than i anticipated lol. that will teach me to do more research. I'm not sure what to do with it either. Thats a 63mm nikon enlarger lens beside it

Thanks!  Nice CZ :) 

The dull/hazy/bright notations are on the aperture ring, and correspond to the summer/winter points, so are a cheat for exposure, kind of like the Sunny 16 rule.  But I'm sure that the aperture will also be a special effects control too :) 

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if i could have found a gopro 3 or 4 black i would have bought it for the $200 challenge as well. Something to be aware of is the colour shift that happens with the gopros when you change lenses with the 3's and four's doesn't happen with the 5 well i thought it didn't happen with the 5 but this site says it does. basically you will get pink edges the only way to fix it is to  a $50  (or used to be $50 download, its now $25, business must have slowed alot) to change the lens profile somehow.

https://www.peauproductions.com/products/service-remove-gopro-lens-profile-no-pink-corners

 

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36 minutes ago, Mattias Burling said:

I've been using them on the Pentax Q and Samsung NX mini. Very fun.

I think I have vague memories from watching those videos the first time around, great stuff.  Amusingly you covered the only two mounts with a shorter flange distance listed on this reference list of mounts: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flange_focal_distance :)

30 minutes ago, leslie said:

if i could have found a gopro 3 or 4 black i would have bought it for the $200 challenge as well. Something to be aware of is the colour shift that happens with the gopros when you change lenses with the 3's and four's doesn't happen with the 5 well i thought it didn't happen with the 5 but this site says it does. basically you will get pink edges the only way to fix it is to  a $50  (or used to be $50 download, its now $25, business must have slowed alot) to change the lens profile somehow.

https://www.peauproductions.com/products/service-remove-gopro-lens-profile-no-pink-corners

Interesting.  I'd almost be tempted to turn everything b&w, but if half the image was pink I think I'd probably have my decision made for me!

There is the issue of IR cut filters being required and only installed on some lenses and not others, so that's something to watch for I believe.  Of course, who knows what could be done in Resolve to counteract such a thing.  You'd be amazed how accurately you can match cameras with a colour chart, the right approach and a couple of minutes.  

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I don’t know if you’re familiar with the Ribcage Mod but it’s a kit you can buy to change out the stock lens on your GoPro to accept M12/C Mount/D Mount lenses. Here’s an instruction video for the GoPro 3...

They also make kits for the Yi4K+ and even a kit that adds a Micro 4/3 mount to the Sony RX0. If you’re not mechanically inclined, the company will do the mod for you on a brand new camera they have in stock.

I’ve been wanting to get one of these for awhile since I have a slew of old D Mount lenses and C Mount lenses. If the RX0 kit/mod wasn’t so expensive, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

Here’s a video on their website from a GoPro with D Mount lenses...

 

I can’t believe how sharp those old, Kern-Paillard D-Mount lenses are. I have a mint set of them collecting dust in my closet... maybe I’ll pick up a modded Hero 4 or 5 to give them a little go. 

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3 hours ago, mercer said:

I don’t know if you’re familiar with the Ribcage Mod but it’s a kit you can buy to change out the stock lens on your GoPro to accept M12/C Mount/D Mount lenses.

I am..  I didn't go for one because 1) they're EXPENSIVE!!! and 2) I think they're C-mount only?

The problem with D-mount is the flange distance is so much less than C-mount, you have to hack parts of the camera out to be able to put the lens close enough.  I had a quick scan of their site and it looks like they only talk about c-mount and m12 lenses, but maybe I missed something?

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1 hour ago, Andrew Reid said:

Oh. Hello. RX0 Micro Four Thirds mount? How much is it and is it an easy mod?

Here’s the link to the site...

https://www.back-bone.ca/rx0-mod/

If you have the company supply the camera and perform the mod, it’s $1399 for the RX0ii. If you already have the camera and just buy the DIY kit, it’s $399.

Here’s a how to video for the RX0 DIY mod...

This is the instructional video for the RX0ii mod...

And here’s their promo video with some footage...

 

2 hours ago, kye said:

I am..  I didn't go for one because 1) they're EXPENSIVE!!! and 2) I think they're C-mount only?

The problem with D-mount is the flange distance is so much less than C-mount, you have to hack parts of the camera out to be able to put the lens close enough.  I had a quick scan of their site and it looks like they only talk about c-mount and m12 lenses, but maybe I missed something?

The c-mount to d-mount adapter makes up the difference... I suppose since the mount width of d-mount lenses are so small, the adapter is inset into the camera. The video I posted above was shot with D-Mount lenses... so I assume they know what lenses they shot with. 

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2 hours ago, mercer said:

The c-mount to d-mount adapter makes up the difference... I suppose since the mount width of d-mount lenses are so small, the adapter is inset into the camera. The video I posted above was shot with D-Mount lenses... so I assume they know what lenses they shot with. 

Ah, ok.  I've seen adapters that are just threaded with D-mount on the inside and C-mount on the outside, but the description commented that they didn't compensate for the flange distance, so depending on how wide the D-mount lens is, because if the lens is wider than the inside of a C-mount then it won't fit and you'll lose infinity focus (and maybe a lot of middle-focus too).  The D-mount I have fits inside a C-mount but only just.  I did a temporary mount on my GF3 with a MFT to C-mount adapter and just applied a few layers of paper to the outside of the lens to fit inside the C-mount threads.  It created a nice little image circle in the middle but when I zoomed it seemed to be a fairly standard lens, with reasonable performance wide-open and then getting sharper when stopped down a bit.

You'd have to focus pretty closely to get any bokeh though, so f1.9 isn't as fast as it seems.

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  • 8 months later...

Hello kye – was very happy to find your post, thanks! 

I noticed a while ago various photographers using vintage cine lenses on modern mirrorless cameras (@Mattias Burling : thanks for your videos on the Pentax-Q!). I actually wanted to do the same as you, i.e. place a D-mount vintage cine lens on a GoPro since I don’t like the fisheye lens effect, but I like the camera! But since mine is a GoPro Hero+, it is locked in the plastic cage, too much trouble to adapt. So, I’m thinking now to do this with a GoPro Hero 5/6. Since the GoPro Hero sensor size is 1/2.3’’, it seems that D-mount can fully cover the sensor and also C-mount (maybe C-mount lens marginally exceeds the GoPro Hero  sensor?).

I’m wondering how did you advance with your project? Do you have sample videos please? My major question is if one can place an adapter without destroying the original GoPro case.

From what I read: one needs to take out the original fisheye lens. Then, depending how deep is the 1/2.3’' sensor inside the camera – there is first an adapter S-mount/M12 [fits the old original GoPro slot] to CS/C-mount, plus an additional D-mount to C-mount adapter that need to be used. I still didn’t figure it out how would it look like – because for the 8mm D-mount: the distance between lens seat to film plane=12.29mm, while for the C-mount is larger = 17.526 mm. Grateful for any thoughts - hopefully will be able to have a nice kit for my fishing trips videos!

Thanks a lot, Florin

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On 4/22/2020 at 1:05 AM, D1305696 said:

Hello kye – was very happy to find your post, thanks! 

I noticed a while ago various photographers using vintage cine lenses on modern mirrorless cameras (@Mattias Burling : thanks for your videos on the Pentax-Q!). I actually wanted to do the same as you, i.e. place a D-mount vintage cine lens on a GoPro since I don’t like the fisheye lens effect, but I like the camera! But since mine is a GoPro Hero+, it is locked in the plastic cage, too much trouble to adapt. So, I’m thinking now to do this with a GoPro Hero 5/6. Since the GoPro Hero sensor size is 1/2.3’’, it seems that D-mount can fully cover the sensor and also C-mount (maybe C-mount lens marginally exceeds the GoPro Hero  sensor?).

I’m wondering how did you advance with your project? Do you have sample videos please? My major question is if one can place an adapter without destroying the original GoPro case.

From what I read: one needs to take out the original fisheye lens. Then, depending how deep is the 1/2.3’' sensor inside the camera – there is first an adapter S-mount/M12 [fits the old original GoPro slot] to CS/C-mount, plus an additional D-mount to C-mount adapter that need to be used. I still didn’t figure it out how would it look like – because for the 8mm D-mount: the distance between lens seat to film plane=12.29mm, while for the C-mount is larger = 17.526 mm. Grateful for any thoughts - hopefully will be able to have a nice kit for my fishing trips videos!

Thanks a lot, Florin

Hi Florin..  I haven't done it yet, but I can tell you that you're probably not going to be able to fit the lens on without significantly modifying the GoPro.

I believe that both D-Mount and C-mount lenses should cover a GoPro sensor.  In my research I did find that CS to C-mount adapters exist, but I'm not that sure on how the flange distance goes, which is the main hurdle on this conversion.  I do have a vague memory of finding a youtube video showing a CS-Cmount adapter fitting into a camera without needing to take the camera apart, but I can't recall what camera that was, so it may have been an alternative action camera, although I suspect they probably all use the same sized sensors and lens mounts, so the flange distance is likely to be equivalent. 

If you have a look at the images I took, you can see a few things:

P1160543s.jpg

Firstly, the threaded hole that the original lens fits into is very narrow compared to a d-mount lens, and also a d-mount lens will be designed to screw in and stop against a reference surface, whereas the GoPro lens is designed to adjust for infinity focus by screwing the lens in and out and there is no reference surface.

You can also see from the above that I had to grind away parts of this metal piece.  I don't know if the newer models will have the same design, but the original lens sticks out much further away from the sensor before it gets larger than the threaded hole, so I anticipate you're not going to find a d-mount lens that will work without having to essentially remove parts of the GoPro.

One thing that you might get some good info from is videos showing you how to mount a GoPro on one if those super-tiny DIY racing drones, as they always take the GoPro apart to make it as light as possible and relocate the battery for weight distribution etc.  This is useful as they should show you how to take things apart and also which things are needed for the GoPro to operate and which things aren't required and can be removed.

It's a pretty serious project, so best of luck!

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Hi kye, thanks very much for your answer & clarifications. I was very excited about this project & I did a lot of research these days myself . Besides useful information from this website, I got a very helpful answer from Back-bone. I share below my understanding:

- indeed, the main problem with the GoPro is that its distance sensor-back of the lens [flange distance] is very large as compared to the flange of the C-mount/D-mount lenses (I think about 40mm vs ~12.3mm D/ 17.5mm/C. The sensor is not the main problem in itself, D-mount/C-mount lenses (from 8mm/16mm cameras) cover more or less the sensor.

- what the ribcage kit/ adaptation of the GoPro Hero is aimed at is moving the original sensor forward. so actually, the only option with the original GoPro case is the one that kye tried above: cutting down the metal chassis, but I agree it's rather a serious DIY project, if one grinds away the metal from the chassis - difficult to affix/change the lenses later on & obtain nice aesthetics. If one buys the ribcage kit, which makes things a lot neater in my view, the budget goes up steadily. Also despite comprehensive explanations, the installation of the kit on a GoPro Hero 4: not really easy for an amateur and there is currently no kit available for GoPro Hero 7/8 (Back-Bone may adapt directly your camera in this case or sold one already adapted, but - again - massive increase in budget.)

- so, I think that the easier way to experiment with the vintage D-lenses is to start with a Pentax Q/ Samsung nx mini+ D-mount adapter, as shown by Mattias in the videos above. The Samsung generates probably a lot more vignetting, myself I don't know if it possible to easily remove that from videos without impacting on quality. I found some Italian blogs from 2016 explaining why some results may be still disappointing - but, I will follow this option for the moment, first I'll try with a Pentax Q10 (sensor smaller than Q-S1).

- btw: meanwhile the prices for the D-mount lenses have increased (C-mount evenmore), ebay doesn't seem to offer bargains on good cine lenses as kern-paillard or berthior (minimum 60-70 euros / ~75$)

- so, I'll firstly puchase& try the D-mount lenses with a Pentax Q and check if I like the results. I wanted to try especially videos and then decide whether I'll resume my GoPro modification project. Pentax Q does't have great stabilization, so not sure that the videos will be representative for the lens quality, but - I need to start somewhere.

Thanks again to kye & other contributors on this page & will keep you posted. 

Florin

P.S. as a final opinion: from the videos posted with the modified GoPro, in my view there is better quality/sharpness/even color with the D-mount/C-mount lenses than the original fisheye lens.

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One thing you may consider is instead of the Pentax Q or the Samsung NX is to use the P4K.  I know it has a m43 sensor which is far too big, however, it's a 4K m43 sensor and it has several crop modes.

D-Mount lenses were designed for 8mm film, which is either 3.3mm x 4.5mm for 8mm or 4mm x 5.79mm for Super 8 film.

The P4K sensor is 18mm x 10mm, which makes 8mm film 25% the width/height, and 25% of 4096 is 1024 pixels wide.  So, even if a D-Mount lens only covered 8mm standard film and not Super 8, it would still project a large enough image circle to get a 1024x576 resolution image, and remember that this is RAW.

The P4K has a 1080 mode, which if you shoot in RAW it just uses the middle of the sensor, so its cropped in.  Depending on the lens you use, you might end up being able to get a larger crop than just 576p.  In comparison to the quite compressed files from the Q or NX, having full RAW (and up to 120p) would definitely be an upgrade in image quality.  

I was going for an action camera due to the size and weight, but as soon as you move up to something normal camera sized then that's gone out the window and you may consider other options like the P4K.

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Hi kye: I still need to ask you what's a "P4k" :) ? [Is it a Panasonic 4k camera, like a Lumix G7? I know that the G7 has a four thirds/ 17.3x13mm sensor, and probably one can still shoot on a 8mm lens, with vignette effect]

My clear preference was for an action camera, too - but I think I need to put it on hold for the moment. I also considered buying a cheaper action cam (e.g. an Akaso), and to grind away the metal body & try to fit the D-mount lenses, but honestly the point is to get some good quality, otherwise looks like wasted time.

Finally, in one of my pure idealist moments, I was thinking to try to film on the 8mm vintage cameras that I'm currently try to purchase :)

Thanks again for your pieces of advice,

Florin

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20 hours ago, kye said:

One thing you may consider is instead of the Pentax Q or the Samsung NX is to use the P4K.

There's currently no adapter for d-mount to Micro Four Thirds. If it's doable at all, it would need to be deeply recessed into the camera's mount since the flange focal distance of d-mount is 12.29 mm vs. 19.25 mm of Micro Four Thirds. For comparison, Pentax Q only has 9.2mm.

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