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Arri Standard to PL mount recommendation


Raymond Zananiri
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Seeking feedback before I buy an Arri standard lens mount to PL camera mount. 

What do you recommend and more importantly what would you warn against?

The price range is huge between a cheap, made in China, stainless steel (link below) to a very expensive Duclos version. Eager to hear your thoughts.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/PL-Convertion-Adapter-ARRI-Standard-Mount-to-ARRI-PL-Mount-/292996089310?_trksid=p2385738.m4383.l4275.c10

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There are a couple of issues to think about when buying Arri S adapters.

Firstly, what sort of Arri standard lenses are you adapting? The early lenses, like some Schneider’s and Cooke lenses, require a tab to enter from the rear and hold the inner lens while the mount rotates to focus. You can tell these lenses because the focus ring and the protruding rear mount are one piece. You can’t use grub screw type adapters on these lenses, you need the proper, often expensive, adapters that allow the lens to rotate inside, and have a locating tab coming from the back. These are the type made by Duclos or Les Boscher. Here’s a cheaper version by RafCamera:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Arri-Standard-Arri-S-lens-to-Arri-PL-camera-mount-adapter/253368293632?hash=item3afded5900:g:3jgAAOSwDO5fhwny

The second issue is that these sorts of adapters usually don’t work on Alexa cameras. They protrude too far inside and foul on the internal baffles of all Alexa variants except the classics.

There are adapters that use a clip ring in the rear groove of the lens which can work with both types of standard mount lenses and also fit Alexas, but you need to check with the manufacturer. I think these Visual Products ones might work on Alexas, but I’m not sure:

http://www.visualproducts.com/storeProductDetail02.asp?productID=700&Cat=3&Cat2=43
 

We had similar ones at a rental house I worked for that worked on Alexas but I never knew who had made them. I like this type, but you can’t quickly release the lens and put in another like with the Duclos/Boscher/RafCamera type. 

Here’s Paul Scaglione from Visual Products showing the two types of Standard mount lenses and installing their adapters on them:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLfPBZLtcRY

The cheapest adapters simply use grub screws pushing into the lens mount to hold them in place, which is problematic. If you do the grub screws up too hard, they deform the lens mount and can cause focus binding. If you don’t do them up enough, the mount can come loose. I have used them successfully however. I would try to buy stainless steel versions. Many come with poor finishing, and need sharp edges de-burred, and the flange depth setting may be out, meaning the lens scale may not line up. Sometimes this can be fixed with shims.

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Thank you so much Dom:

This adapter is for an Angy 17.5-70mm (for 16mm cameras)

https://www.dropbox.com/s/nquvcn243x1rxpm/IMG_1248.jpeg?dl=0

Not sure if this is the type of lens that is one piece from mount to focus ring. It should arrive sometime next week. The camera is an Eclair NPR with a PL mount made by Les Bosher. I think there is plenty of room with that mount because I use my Angy 16-42mm Optimo DPs (for S35mm) with it and those lenses are not supposed to be used with mechanical shutters, but in my case there is plenty of room to spare. 

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Ah, well if it’s a zoom then the mount won’t rotate. And any adapter should fit in a 16mm film camera (though check with the protruding tab types that the tab is correctly aligned in the PL mount and won’t foul on the mirror).

With zooms the flange distance setting becomes more important though. If it’s off by the tiniest amount (even two hundredths of a mm), the lens won’t properly hold focus as you zoom out. (With cine zooms you should always focus with the zoom set at the long end, then zoom out to the focal length you want.)

So I would recommend getting one of the better designs that is more likely to have the distance setting accurate. Also, unless you’re supporting the weight of the zoom with a lens support, there will be a lot of pressure on the mount, so a grub screw held adapter won’t be ideal. If you can afford it I think the Visual Products design would be perfect for this application, and should be pretty accurate in the distance setting. For guaranteed best results you should probably have the camera/lens combo checked for accurate camera flange depth and lens back-focus (a 10 minute job for a tech with an auto-collimator), but you can roughly check yourself by eye if the focus seems to hold as you zoom out from the long end, and then shoot a film test to confirm.

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Be careful with some of the cheaper adaptors. They do not have a clearance chamfer machined in the front of the inner diameter of the flange face of the adaptor. The sharp edge bears against a fillet radius on the lens tail. 

This prevents the adaptor from engaging face-to-face contract and causes inability to focus the lens to infinity.

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