I’m wanted to post this quick demo using the new indiSYSTEM SNAP! Gear and Collar on a Kodak Cine Ektar II 25mm f/1.4 c-mount lens. I’ve been talking with Tim Ovel from indiSYSTEM about creating a geared solution for cine c-mount lenses and the SNAP! collar was a very simple addition to the SNAP! Gear and will work with most c-mount lenses. I gave Tim the front lens diameter of some of my lenses and he constructed a SNAP! collar that would essentially fit into the SNAP! Gear. With the help of some “squish” between the lens and the collar, the setup works very nicely and gives a nice secure geared fit.
This is just a simple demo that I did very late at night so please forgive the uncleaned lens of the footage but I wanted to show folks how the SNAP! Gear and Collar fit on the lens and it’s use with a follow focus. Actual footage is currently being edited and will follow shortly.
Overall, pulling focus is very smooth with this system and here are a few key points to consider to use this with your lenses.
Key points for a successful SNAP! Gear and Collar setup:
- The space between the SNAP! Collar and your lens should not be more than 7mm. Anything larger does not give you a secure fit. I’ve done a number of tests and it seems the ideal is to have 2-3mm of space but no larger than 7mm. Again, this space is pre-squish material.
- C-mounts with focal rings at the front or middle of the lens work best. Though I have tested a Cine Nikkor 10mm where the focal ring is at the rear of the lens but you have to turn the gear at an angle in order to make it work. Surprisingly it still works well. I’ll be doing more testing to see if this technique works on other lenses where the focal ring is at the rear of the lens. Again, this is more for clearance of the gear and the camera.
- Take the time to test out the “squish”. The best technique is to place “squish” between the lens and the collar first and then compress the SNAP! gear and collar together with the lens. There should not be any play with the lens, if there is some play then you may even need to place a tiny bit of “squish” between the collar and the actual SNAP! gear itself.
- Once the SNAP! Gear and Collar is secured to the lens, rotate the SNAP! Gear back and forth making sure that the gear does not slip. You should be able to firmly spin that gear from close focus (MFD) to infinity and back again with no problem.
- Make sure you choose lenses that have a smooth focus ring, you may need to find a lens repair guy to overhaul your lens and use a light grease on your focusing helicoid. Lenses with rough focus will force the gear to work harder and with the added torque the lens will unscrew itself from the mount.
I’ll be posting some sample footage later this week to show real world usage of the SNAP! Gear and Collar on c-mount lenses. It has been extremely fun to use and with the new Panasonic AG-AF100 micro 4/3 camera just around the corner I think the reality of using c-mount legacy lenses and these SNAP! Gear and Collars will be extraordinary and a must. The exciting thing is that we don’t need to wait for that camera we can use it now with the Panasonic GH1. The reality of a digital 16mm world using old school beautiful c-mount lenses is a dream come true.