It seems like everyone is jumping on the PL mount Canon 7D bandwagon and I have to say it is very unfortunate that the Canon 5D does not have the same energy. All the specs on a PL mounted 5D have shown that the vignette is a big issue. Most cinema lens manufacturers like Cooke are vignetting because of the sensor size up to a 65mm. That translates to a 44mm in 35mm motion picture lens, which is not that wide.
PL Mount Lenses Vignette
Ultra Primes are rising to the top by giving the widest field of view compared to the other PL mount lenses. They vignette at a 40mm which translates to a 26.8mm. Not bad.
It is a shame that the Panavision Primo primes that I used to shoot Act of Valor are not available anymore. They vignette up to a 35mm, which translates to a 24mm lens. Now that is nice. Their flange depth is so shallow that the Canon 5D, 7D, 1D don’t need to be changed in any way.
Now let’s just think about that for a minute. We are taking all of these Canon cameras and chopping them up, moving the sensor, and charging the public a fortune to be able to make a PL mount work when the Panavision lenses all work perfectly. They do not void warranties, cut up the lens port area, lose the reflex viewing system, or make the camera unusable with any other mount.
So I have gone on a quest to find the best company to modify these cameras. That way, you can slap PL mount cinema lens on them.
Hot Rod Cameras
One dedicated, incredibly intelligent, intimate, and personal service fabricator is HOT ROD Cameras. Illya Friedman has been a leader in this technology by first building his PL mount on the GH-1. His mount has the signature Green ring and handles, and is built entirely in the USA.
With so many requests to PL mount the 7D, it started entrepreneurial ingenuity all over the world. Illya had already modified one and had it at Sundance for people to see.
Denz, Schmidle/FGV, and others have started making incredible designs but at a price tag that chokes me, and if a new model comes out, you throw your 7D in the trash or sell it on the Recycler.
Hot Rod Cameras Mount
HOT ROD Cameras’ mount is interchangeable. Illya is forward-thinking by trying to look into the future and know that technology will change. Since the 5D Mark II came out we have seen 2 other cameras come out in quick succession; the 7D and 1D both with different sensor sizes. This is what attracted me to HOT ROD. A mount that could embrace the future, at a price point that is a little more attractive.
Say you already own a 7D and want HOT ROD Cameras to modify it with a PL mount. It costs $3,250. If you would like a new 7D camera pre-modified to PL mount with all the accessories, it is $4,800. The 7D-PL cameras will be available in our Hurlbut Visuals Moviemaker Kits at Alternative Rentals. Additionally, there are many shops in the LA area renting the 7D-PL. The HOT ROD 7D-PL is the most popular.
Here is the shortlist:
- Abel Cine Tech
- Birns & Sawyer, Camtec
- Indie Rentals
Illya is not moving the sensor or altering the electronics of the camera. The only alteration is precision machining the lens mount area to accept the flange depth of all 35mm PL mount lenses. He has partnered with an extended warranty company, so for an extra $200 you have the option of adding a 2-year warranty.
The original factory warranty is only 1-year. A new 7D Hot Rodded with a PL mount, the HOT ROD CS (an Arri-standard 15mm lightweight rod support), hand grips, and a 2-year warranty all-in is $5,000. The Denz is $7,700.00 w/camera included. The Schmidle/FGV is $7,500.00 w/camera included. Denz and Schmidle charge extra for rod support and don’t offer hand grips. But FGV’s mod has been done with Canon’s cooperation and keeps the camera’s 1-year warranty active.
I talked with Schumacher Camera in Chicago while I was there for Zacuto’s Great Camera Shootout in the middle of May and they said they have 4 of HOT ROD’s 7D mods and they cannot keep them in the rental department. They said that the Zeiss super speeds are now flying off the shelves. This is what this revolution will fuel. Recycling of old lens technology that has been collecting dust for years, but when you put it on to these Canon cameras, it takes the camera from a Yugo to a Porsche.
The Bottom Line
Once again, this platform is Eco-friendly in a way that we never saw coming. Now all the Cooke zooms that were in the Recycler, are now an entity, just like the Nikon still lenses became hot when the 5D was only automatic.
HOT ROD’s 5D PL mod runs about $3,650.00 and then you supply the camera at $2,400.00. All in $6,050.00. Not many of the other manufacturers are jumping on the 5D wagon because of the vignette issue. But, I see it as an essential tool for making movies.
Looking for mentorship in the film industry? Schedule a 1-on-1 meeting with Shane Hurlbut, ASC today! This is where you can get expert advice from an industry professional on your career or a particular project.
About Filmmakers Academy Cinematographer Mentor Shane Hurlbut, ASC
Director of photography Shane Hurlbut, ASC works at the forefront of cinema. He’s a storyteller, innovator, and discerning collaborator, who brings more than three decades of experience to his art. He is a member of the American Society of Cinematographers, the International Cinematographers Guild/Local 600, and The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Hurlbut frequently joins forces with great directors: McG’s Netflix Rim of the World and The Babysitter, plus Warner Bros. We Are Marshall and Terminator: Salvation; Scott Waugh’s Need for Speed and Act of Valor; and Gabriele Muccino’s There Is No Place Like Home and Fathers and Daughters. His additional film credits include Semi-Pro; The Greatest Game Ever Played; Into the Blue; Mr 3000; Drumline; 11:14, which earned Hurlbut a DVDX nomination; and The Skulls. Notably, his television credits include the first season of AMC’s Into the Badlands.