B4 to EX3 adapter


It’s difficult to get excited about things like adapters but that’s exactly what I was when Mike Tapa of MTF Services sent me his latest creation for review and testing. The “Powered B4 to EX3 Adapter” lets you attach any 2/3” B4 mount lens to your EX3, maintaining full servo zoom, auto iris and VF info. This ability opens up a whole new world of focal lengths to EX3 users, not to mention vastly improved ergonomics over the stock lens. When tripod mounted you can zoom, as you would traditionally, with your left hand – no more reaching around the camera, fantastic! Hand held you’re likely to end up with a more tired right arm as 2/3” lenses tend to be fairly weighty compared to the lightweight EX3 lens.
At first glance you may think the electrical connector and cable on the adapter look a bit awkward, as I initially did. But any concerns I had were quickly dismissed when I mounted a lens and put it on the camera. The cable tucks perfectly neatly away behind the mic mount, where there is even a cable clip to make sure it stays put. Once it’s in place, you hardly notice it.
One thing to bear in mind with this adapter is the sturdiness of your support. With the stock lens you can get away with a fairly lightweight tripod and head but once you add a bigger lens and go for longer focal lengths you’ll struggle. I have used a Sachtler DV12 with 2/3” cameras for news, feature and commercial work for the best part of 10 years and found it the ideal balance between weight and stability. But the DV12 struggled when I flicked in the extender to film some Marsh Harriers during testing for this review. What that means is, depending on your filming intentions, you may have to cough up over £1500 for some new sticks. On the plus side, the results could be fantastic. I’m lucky to have the choice of Sachtler 12,15,18 and 25’s for my work and I found the 18’s gave a good result. I have upgraded the base plate on my EX3 to a heavy duty one that works with an industry standard quick release plate. The quick release may not be essential for most users but, in my opinion, the heavy-duty base plate is. This is especially the case if you’re intending to put heavy (and expensive) glass on the camera.
The laws of physics and optics mean a 2/3” lens/EX3 combination is better for telephoto work but wide angles still work fine, just not quite as wide as you would be on a 2/3” camera.
Ultimate image quality will entirely depend what lens you put on the front, as the adapter is purely electromechanical – there are no optical elements. I tested various lenses and all gave good results, even an old non-HD lens! Used SD lenses are readily available on the Internet and there are some absolute bargains to be had if you are prepared for a possible compromise on absolute image quality. I recommend trying out whichever lens may interest you on an EX3 before you part with your cash because lens quality can and does vary considerably. Also be prepared to work within f4-f8 to maximise performance, especially on older lenses.
I don’t usually use my EX3 for my normal work but I did whilst testing for this review and found the results using an SD lens were absolutely great across all focal lengths. I must admit, I was surprised at how good the images were. Get yourself a good HD lens and prepare to be blown away! Of course, it’s going to dent your bank balance to buy a 2/3” HD lens but the B4 mount has been around for a long time and is likely to stay around. So your investment should stand you in good stead if you intend to upgrade your camera to a 2/3” one in the future.
I tested the adapter with various lenses and found no problems other than I’d turned my EX3 into an IPhone. That’s right folks – it was life changing! If you’re a regular EX3 user and do a lot of tripod work this adapter will improve your life 100%. It transforms the ergonomics of the EX3 completely when you put a “real” lens on the front. It also has the added bonus of taking away the EX3’s “Z1ness” and making it look like a pretty serious bit of kit and that could be rather useful if you want to impress clients.
As for the adapter itself, like all MTF Services products, it’s a fine piece of engineering that is definitely built to last. The combination of beautifully machined aluminium and electrics makes it fairly pricey for an adapter, but it’s considerably less expensive than the Fujinon option and quite reasonably priced as an entry into the world of 2/3” glass. £695, but highly recommended.
Paul Marshall
Paul Marshall or “Slim” is a lighting cameraman at ITV Channel Television. He has over 20 years experience of 2/3” ENG cameras in news, feature, corporate and commercial work. When not filming he spends his time photographing wildlife and if he’s not in when you ring, he’s probably in Africa!

Tags: b4 to ex3 adpater | lens adapter | sachtler | dv12 | ex3 | mtf services | mike tapa | iss041 | N/A
Contributing Author N/A

Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

Related Interviews
  • MTF at IBC2011

    MTF at IBC2011

  • Sachtler Bags at BVE 2015

    Sachtler Bags at BVE 2015

  • Sachtler Tripods at BVE 2015

    Sachtler Tripods at BVE 2015

  • Sachtler at BVE 2012

    Sachtler at BVE 2012

  • Sachtler at IBC2011

    Sachtler at IBC2011

  • Lens Adaptor at BVE 2013

    Lens Adaptor at BVE 2013


Articles
TVFutures. No More Comfort Zone - Get a Placement
Michelle Brown I have often heard that any chance of getting work in the television industry is based quite heavily on who you know, and whilst that might indeed be true, I’ve also come to the realisation that it may also depends on what opportunities you seize and how far out of your comfort zone you might be prepared to push yourself.
Tags: iss138 | portsmouth uni | creative careers | placement | Michelle Brown
Contributing Author Michelle Brown Click to read or download PDF
Review: JVC GY-HC900 Camera
Andy McKenzie JVC has a long history of developing relatively low price-point equipment, dating right back to its success in the 1970s with the VHS tape format. JVC products sometimes impact the broadcast mainstream but generally find greatest success in niche market segments such as news production where price and portability take priority over the no-comprise quality and robustness demanded by the leading studio-based and OB content producers.
Tags: iss138 | jvc review | camera | sdhc | sdxc | mpeg-2 | nab | gy-hc900 | Andy McKenzie
Contributing Author Andy McKenzie Click to read or download PDF
How Providers Can Win Man of the Match With Live Sports OTT
Chris Wood Times are tough for traditional broadcasters and live TV; the rise of on-demand TV and paid subscription services isn’t a secret and a large amount of the population are turning to these alternatives rather than their established counterparts.
Tags: iss138 | spicymango | ott | live sports | cdn | Chris Wood
Contributing Author Chris Wood Click to read or download PDF
How the Womens World Cup was Boosted by Broadcast
John Griffiths As we write this article, England’s Lionesses have just beaten Norway 3-0 and are smashing viewing figure records, with 6.9 million viewers tuning in to watch them play Cameroon on BBC One. Rewind to the previous World Cup in 2015, and England’s group and early stage knockout games tempted up to 2.5 million viewers for each match. It’s safe to say that women’s football is finally having its moment; what was perhaps once considered a niche sport is finally gaining momentum in the mainstream space with broadcasters giving it the attention it deserves.
Tags: iss138 | wwc | world cup | spicymango | diversity | John Griffiths
Contributing Author John Griffiths Click to read or download PDF
The World of 12G 4K/UHD Processing
Varun Patel Technology moves fast and when it comes to audio and video broadcasting, there is always room for improvements in audio and video quality and ease of production. One of the main goals of broadcasters and content providers today is to create an immersive experience for the viewers, giving them the feeling of being part of the viewed content. The 4K/UHD buzz has been in the consumer world for some time but what does that actually mean for the content producer?
Tags: iss138 | lynx technik | ott | greenmachine | yellobrik | conversion | Varun Patel
Contributing Author Varun Patel Click to read or download PDF