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Andrew Reid

SLR Magic Rangefinder footage - kiss goodbye to focus breathing / Kowa anamorphic goes single focus

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

-I am not an SLR Magic engineer, I'll ask Andrew Chan about that, I wrote a note (SLR magic own lens hood possibility for the RG), but my personal impression, no a lens hood would not remove the flaring on this lens, the glass is absolutely enormous and would need a huge hood given the amount of flaring that appears with light sources. Actually, the glass it self is blue, coated bright blue, any light that comes even directly to the lens blues things up, in fact, the image of the rangefinder has a slight cool/blue shift vs. without. A lens hood, large one, or a mattebox, would probably ''reduce'' the lateral flares a bit but I do believe this is an inherent design to the optics, plus wide angle lenses would be tricky with a large hood, and the problem is the adapter is designed to be used with any lens, not just a specific focal lens so a hood would have to fit all focal lengths, pretty impossible. And as a side but related note, SLR Magic actually state in an interview that they spend up to 8 months just trying to get the flare to look pleasing, perfecting the intensity, the length of it, the thickness of it throughout its length, the actual shape, and the colour of it, they are specifically designed. I like it and it's something you have to decide for yourself whether you like it or not. It IS on the rangefinder look. Blue flares. Even if you look through it with your bare eyes, you see blue and blue flares. It probably looks absolutely awesome with the SLR anamorphot adapter, a heaven of blue horizontal flares and ability to rack focus from infinity to 1m with a cinema grade focus ring. 

 

-Distortion, I shot a straight line as a quick distortion test, it doesn't distort much no, just makes the lens a bit wider. I'll re do it scientifically. again. 

 

-Oh and a note, when you set your lens to infinity and focus with the rangefinder, on any lens the minimum focus distance is 1 meter, fixed on the focus marks on the lens barrel, so that's a downer for lenses with a mfd less than 1 meter. BUT, of you focus the main lens it self to MFD and focus the RF to the MFD, actually the combination focuses closer than the lens alone. So in a way if you use the two rings it works as a pretty effective close-up adapter if you want, it reduced mime from about 35mm to about 20mm, given both are set to MFD. But when you use it as it's intended, with your lens glued/taped to infinity and focusing with RG, MFD is fixed at that RG marked point on the barrel. 

 

These are very small points but very important in real use to know before purchasing, and since Andrew did cover the main points like anamorphic use and breathing and resolution, I am looking more into giving the small points he didn't cover.

I will do proper resolution test at 4K with my personally-despised videoy-insanely-sharp gh4 tomorrow at different F stops as I am curious. If there's is still a loss in resolution even when stopped down, I'll stop testing and put it aside really, no one will want to put a front optical block that softens up their expensive glass. If the loss is minimal at least when stopped down one stop.ish, will continue testing as it'd be a killer product. 

I'll be updating regularly here on this thread about the tests and not have you wait for the final article/review on the RG. If it passes the first resolution test, I'll test as scientifically as possible for distortion, focal length, CA, fringing, flaring, Bokeh, contrast, MFD, focus marks calibration accuracy, etc. 

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

Yes I do have the Canon 10-18mm STM, fly by wire and non linear, will try it and get back to you. Just waiting for those damned cheap step-up/down rings that would be strong enough to carry the RG. 

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Miraud, at least he is filming and not complaining about you.

If you don't understand another filmmaker, that is ok, likely other people feel the same way about you.

My advice is more filmmaking and less concern how others do it.

The irony is that now I need to take my own advice since I am criticising you for criticising others.

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

Polite criticism is something great. Impolite criticism destroys souls. They call it constructive/destructive but I like polite/impolite better, it's more accurate. 

Analyze every single frame I shot and tell me it's bad and should have been done like "x'' Dr. Saadawi, but don't tell me your frames are bad, Dude

 They are two completely different things and have completely different effects on the person being criticized. One helps to better his work, one helps to quit his work. 

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

So does it fix breathing? 

Yes. This is the real deal if you were waiting for a fix.

Completely fixes it for all practical purposes. Put it on my 50mm 1.8 which breathes at least 10 full millimetes. And with the RG, somehow magically frame doesn't change from Infinity to MFD. You get that real stable cine focus pull aesthetic with any lens due to the smoothness and long throw of the ring (270° from infinity to 1 meters) and the lack of breathing. I've no idea how it does it as each lens has a different breathing amount so it's not a counter-acting solution. Anyway fortunately it just does it, how, I am curious but doesn't matter. 

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Yes I do have the Canon 10-18mm STM, fly by wire and non linear, will try it and get back to you. Just waiting for those damned cheap step-up/down rings that would be strong enough to carry the RG. 

Incidentally, I wounder if you could check the rear of the 10-18 and see whether the rear element moves outwards past the electrical contacts at any point in the zoom range. (probably at 10mm is it furthest back).  In other words, Is the ef-s hump just their for cosmetic reasons or does it actually protect a protruding rear element?

The reason I am curious is because I am interested in its compatability with the BMPCC to EF speedbooster. 

Someone was able to modify the back of an ef-s 17-55 (remove its ef-s hump) and use it with the speed booster and reported no problems.  However I have the ef-s 18-55 and can see clearly that the rear element does protrude past the contacts at 18mm.  And I can tell from looking at photos of the speed booster that the speedboster element sits flush with the contacts.  So even a modified the 18-55 wouldn't work without the lens rear element bumping into the element in the speedbooster.

So it would be good to know if the 10-18 is like the 18-55 or the 17-55 in that regard, even if it is just to put the fantasy of modifying it to bed.

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Andrew, are you sure of the introductory pricing? You have it in USD, but those are the prices I'm seeing on SLR Magic's site in Pounds, and on Adorama in the USA, it's $599, no mention of a discount. Just trying to figure out how to get the discount, it hasn't been made very clear to understand.

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

Incidentally, I wounder if you could check the rear of the 10-18 and see whether the rear element moves outwards past the electrical contacts at any point in the zoom range. (probably at 10mm is it furthest back).  In other words, Is the ef-s hump just their for cosmetic reasons or does it actually protect a protruding rear element?

The reason I am curious is because I am interested in its compatability with the BMPCC to EF speedbooster. 

Someone was able to modify the back of an ef-s 17-55 (remove its ef-s hump) and use it with the speed booster and reported no problems.  However I have the ef-s 18-55 and can see clearly that the rear element does protrude past the contacts at 18mm.  And I can tell from looking at photos of the speed booster that the speedboster element sits flush with the contacts.  So even a modified the 18-55 wouldn't work without the lens rear element bumping into the element in the speedbooster.

So it would be good to know if the 10-18 is like the 18-55 or the 17-55 in that regard, even if it is just to put the fantasy of modifying it to bed.

Actually at 10-12mm it does protrude ''inside'' the EF-S cap. Not as much as an 18-55mm but it does just a little bit. It would be fine on the SB I think unless you move the zoom ring forcefully to 10mm and bump it repeatidly into the SB elements. But I am curious about whether the SB will drive the lens electronics at all since it's not supported, remember it is fully electronic, with the camera off, the lens goes to sleep, moving the focus ring does nothing. I'd make sue of that first before going with the Mod. 

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Actually at 10-12mm it does protrude ''inside'' the EF-S cap. Not as much as an 18-55mm but it does just a little bit. It would be fine on the SB I think unless you move the zoom ring forcefully to 10mm and bump it repeatidly into the SB elements. But I am curious about whether the SB will drive the lens electronics at all since it's not supported, remember it is fully electronic, with the camera off, the lens goes to sleep, moving the focus ring does nothing. I'd make sue of that first before going with the Mod

Thanks.  Yeah I gues it will depend on whether the lens has the electronics to change focus, therfore just needing power from the camera.

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

Here's what it does to breathing. 

Going from infinity to MFD on a Nikon 50mm Ai, huge jump in focal length, 

DTuytyD.jpg

9k1zgXD.jpg

After the RG, From infinity to MFD by using the RG ring with the Nikon at Infinity. No change in focal length at all. 

9KGZx7D.jpg

21TH5hl.jpg


Andrew from SLR Magic explains how it fixes breathing (not quoting): since the taking lens is not moving focus at all, of course there is no breathing introduced by the taking lens, and the RG is just an optical block that focuses from 1 meter to infinity without breathing within the optical design (very little), so it does't literally fix the breathing of the lens, just overrides/stops the lens breathing and gives you its own minimal breathing. It's genius in that respect really. No breathing on any lens. 

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

And by the way, the most annoying thing with the Rangefinder that I am seeing affecting me whilst shooting is how it fixes the minimum focus distance of all lenses at 1mm (3'6). I  always shoot close, it's a liability to have on normal 24-50mm lenses, but with lenses that have a MFD of more than 1 meter, it brings it down to 1 meter, even a 600mm lens will focus on 1 meter with RG, so with those lenses it's an advantage. But for me, it's annoying to be limited at that particular MFD on my lenses that shoot closer with, so I find myself focusing the lens it self to MFD (instead of keeping it at infinity) which interestingly makes the MFD even shorter than the lens alone, but it's a two ring operation setup and misses the calibration and focus marks you set your lens to when calibrating and taping your focus ring. It's something to consider really.

The lens alone MFD

AfKJjKQ.jpg

With the RG @mfd and taking lens @infinity (as it's supposed to be used), this is closest

dXNY6TG.jpg

But, when you miss the calibration and put both lenses at MFD, it gets even closer than normal: 

O700NO9.jpg

On sharpness: will do a much better test but at first sight, the RG does not reduce resolution in any practical way, even at 1.8 with a soft nikkor Ai-s, what it does when wide open is reduce contrast drastically giving the impression of lower resolution but detail is not really affected much. It just has a hazy contrast look when wide open with the two lenses I tried so far, the contrast and resolution become normal when stopped down a bit. What I see, it doesn't lose much resolution, just contrast wide open and practically nothing stopped down one stop, 

MUCH better than I expected. Will do a more scientific and sure test though to confirm, this is just shooting. 

Wide 1.8 without the RG:

1V1uxIW.jpg

Wide open 1.8 with the RG

E4FwhVl.jpg

Looks drastic right? actually no, it's just lower contrast and a slightly wider focal length, hence DOF too. When you adjust contrast easily it's this:

SHNwexz.jpg

pretty much same resolving power as without the RG just a bit wider and different DOF, so a scientific test would eliminate those. 

At 2.8 without the RG

u1F6VhL.jpg

With the RG at 2.8

23nnROp.jpg

No difference in either contrast, resolution. Just a bit wider again. (Sorry about the test paper on cancer, what I found nearest on the wall! next time I'll find a more pleasing subject)

Anyhow I am impressed with both lack of resolution loss (practically) and lack of breathing. Just annoyed by the MFD at 1 meter issue. The strong blue flares I love, matches anamorphic flares colour and pattern and intensity, but it's a downside too for some. 

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Hi all, I hope you do not mind this interjection. We ate the UK and European distributors for SLR Magic. We have been getting many queries concerning the preorder promotion price (and some confusion) for the RANGEFINDER. The prices we quote are for UK and European customers when purchasing from www.slrmagic.co.uk or www.slrmagic-europe.com. The prices include Vat and duties as they are shipped from our HQ in the UK so these have already been paid. Other than the shipping costs the price you see is the price you pay. Furthermore we provide an extra 12 months free extended warranty on all products.

Additionally if you are a business purchaser (based in the EU other than the UK) and a have a European VAT number then simply make your preorder and then email your Vat number together with your order number and we will remove the Vat.

I hope this clarifies the situation.

Paul

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Hi all, I hope you do not mind this interjection. We ate the UK and European distributors for SLR Magic. We have been getting many queries concerning the preorder promotion price (and some confusion) for the RANGEFINDER. The prices we quote are for UK and European customers when purchasing from www.slrmagic.co.uk or www.slrmagic-europe.com. The prices include Vat and duties as they are shipped from our HQ in the UK so these have already been paid. Other than the shipping costs the price you see is the price you pay. Furthermore we provide an extra 12 months free extended warranty on all products.

Additionally if you are a business purchaser (based in the EU other than the UK) and a have a European VAT number then simply make your preorder and then email your Vat number together with your order number and we will remove the Vat.

I hope this clarifies the situation.

Paul

 Don't you think eating them was a bit harsh? Perhaps next time just a good talking to would suffice?

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

@ebrahim: indeed, the MFD of 1m for me is a huge issue for me. if i apply your trick (focusing the taking lens to mfd), then you loose infinity focus, right?

Yes you do. You need to focus the taking lens back to the other end. (and if the taking lens doesn't have a hard infinity stop, it'll take time calibrating both to infinity - you set the RG to infinity, go out the window to find a horizon or a star at night, adjust focus on the lens until infinity is achieved and glue at that somehow, any inaccuracy in doing this renders the marks on the RG unusable/inaccurate). 

You can also be more nerdy and focus the RG to the MFD of 5 feet and measure and put subject 5 feet away from the sensor plane and adjust the taking lens until it's in-focus and glue it. Either way you're calibrating the RG with the Lens and after doing so, 3'6 is the MFD. 

This is an issue with the version with distance marks but I think with the blank cheaper version since you don't care about calibrating the numbers, you can just focus closer than 3'6 with the taking lens and bring it back to the other at any time (you don't ''need'' to be accurate)

Hey Ebrahim. Do you own any fly-by-wire lenses you could test this out on? Thinking the cheaper version could be a good way of managing focus on these fly-by-wire lenses most of teh mirrorless guys are making.

@dafreaking I confirm, it fixes fly by wire lenses. Just set it to infinity and focus with the cine smooth 270° one of the RG. 

For the first time I am getting SOO accurate focus for land scapes with the 10-18mm. I specially like Cine focus rings with wide angle lenses when depth of field is deep, since focus shifts are not so visible and it's so hard to nail with a photo focus ring, with 85mm 1.8 I can focus just fine with a photo lens as the changes are so apparent on the screen. It's a godsent for wide angles. 

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