In the Editblog garage: GT35pro adapter

Here at the Editblog, we recently got our hands on a great little 35mm lens adapter called the GT35pro. This adapter is created by Greg Tay in Singapore. We thought this would be a great addition to the HV20 video camera kit so we are excited to shoot some footage and test it out.

The unit we are testing out is the GT35pro Advanced. Greg offers a number of different configurations that adapt a wide range of cameras and budgets. Unlike the “high end” 35mm adapters, Greg’s adapters are priced at a different place in the market. I think it might be hard to justify $1000 + for a 35mm adapter that isn’t used in a professional shooting environment to make money. And by that I mean it’s not always easy to convince your spouse or your bank account that you need a Red Rock M2 Indie Bundle for $995 when all you want to do is shoot your dog or your kid. Are there advantages to a more expensive adapter like a Red Rock or those from Letus? Sure there are but that’s part of working on a budget, compromises. That’s where an adapter like the GT35 line can hit a sweet spot.

This particular adapter is the GT30pro Advanced. From the GT35pro website:

This package consists of the GT35pro and power unit with a high quality 3 lens element achromat, coated on every glass for distortion free and chromatic abberation free and the sharpest video possible. This is NOT some surplus shed glass that others provide built in. Now upgradeable to Elite config. Only for camcorders with filter threading of up to 46mm. Price USD$340 + $15 shipping & handling* Tested compatible camcorders. Sony SR1, Sony HC7, Canon HV20, Canon HV30, Canon GL2, Canon HF100, JVC GZ-HD7.

Also included in our package is the $95 GT Viper Rod Support system. This acrylic rod system is a great addition to an adapter like the GT35 pro as handling the HV20 + Canon 50mm prime lens without it is possible but the whole rig feels much more secure with the rod support. According the the official GT35pro website, fixed prime lenses are best since “some zooms exhibit vignetting on 35mm adapters. The vignetting will be worse in low light and you might notice grain. Best lenses to use are f1.4, f1.8 and f2.8 lenses.”

I popped my 300mm zoom onto the GT35pro and while it is possible to shoot with the lens at full zoom it makes for quite a large and heavy rig. I will have to do some real test shooting with the big zoom lens to see how the images look.

This is a vibrating DOF adapter so in some of the pictures you will notice the light blue plug into the bottom of the adapter and single AA battery pack rubber banded to the rod. There’s a single toggle switch on the power unit to turn the vibration unit on and off. I’ve posted more photos on Flickr.

Greg is constantly making upgrades to the system. Since I received mine a couple of weeks ago he has added a tally light to the unit to indicate that the vibration is on:

This new feature uses a 9 volt battery instead of AA but you can still order a unit without the tally light. The vibrating is quite audible so it’s not hard to know that vibration turned on when near the camera but it’s nice to have the option of the light. He has also added a clamp to the rail system that clamps the whole lens barrel instead of just letting the barrel rest on the support:

That’s a great improvement.

So what’s missing from this article? Why footage of course. I’ve only had time to shoot just a few minutes of video on a cloudy, rainy day. Early tests look good but I am still learning how to use the adapter properly. It’ll be coming home for the Christmas break for some extensive shooting (and hopefully some sun) so expect footage after the first of the year. In the meantime check out the footage and testing that is available on Vimeo. We will have our own footage up in January. Stay tuned!