Redrock M2 Encore 35mm adapter on Canon XF 105
After shooting two commercial jobs recently (sample footage above) with the Redrock M2 Encore 35mm adapter on the Canon XF 105, here are my first impressions:
The M2 Encore is much better than the previous version, and it is not dead by far. Many people think that 35mm adapters are obsolete now that we have DSLR video, but this is not the case at all.
First of all: you have a camera with proper XLR audio inputs that runs forever, no worries about battery life or overheating.
Also, by using a suitable camera, you can have 50Mbps 4.2.2 or whatever else that you might need, so you are not limited to DSLR fragile codecs.
Another good thing: in strong daylight, you can adjust the aperture of the lens to create the depth of field that you want, and then use the “iris” of the camera to adjust the actual exposure. You don’t need ND filters, you just use the camera to adjust the light hitting the sensor (and the XF105 has a very useful waveform monitor for this!).
The best thing: it REALLY looks like film, it is always soft and creamy in a way that a DSLR cannot deliver each and every time.
It is HEAVY! Not like a video camera, more like a cinder block! You need a professional tripod and a strong camera operator if you want to go handheld.
If you want to use Canon lenses, you need a way to adjust aperture (there is an electronic add-on that does that). Of course, if you want to shoot a short sequence with the lens wide open, you can still use a Canon lens. Not practical for a feature film, but useful for a short clip that you can get away with this (I prefer to use a Samyang Cine or a Nikon with mechanical adapter as my primary lens, but I also carry my bag with Canon lenses just in case I need one).
It is not very suitable for very low light shooting. When you need to crank up the ISO, then you really need a DSLR (or a C300 or another large sensor camera). This is not a fault of the M2 adapter (it only loses maybe half a stop of light), it is a matter of sensor sensitivity. The XF 105, while a great camera overall, cannot compete with a large sensor camera when the going gets really tough (candlelight, street light ambient, moonlight etc). It is like shooting real film: you need to light the night scenes, but the results can be stunning if you do it properly.
VERY IMPORTANT: CUSTOM PICTURE PROFILES!
With the Canon XF 105, I found that you need a good custom picture profile in order to get the best out of the adapter. If you just go ahead and shoot with a standard video profile, you get strange results, and most of the problems are due to ovesharpening. My custom picture profile for the adapter is listed below (whatever is not shown, is left to the standard setting)
The most important setting is Sharpness Level -6, this is what gives the most pleasing results to my eye. Also, I have lifted the Master Pedestral to 3 to get a film-like lower contrast (you can easily crush the blacks if needed later). As for the colour settings listed below, it is what I have found pleasing, but this is a personal taste. Try them, you might like them.
CPName : “ADAPTER1”
Gamma : Cine2
Black – Master Pedestal : 3
Sharpness – Level : -6
Noise Reduction : 2
Color Matrix – Select : Cine2
Color Matrix – Gain : 0
Color Matrix – Phase : 0
Color Matrix – R-G : -2
Color Matrix – R-B : 0
Color Matrix – G-R : 0
Color Matrix – G-B : 0
Color Matrix – B-R : 0
Color Matrix – B-G : 0
White Balance – R Gain : -5
White Balance – G Gain : 0
White Balance – B Gain : -2
Update: here is another example: