Thursday, March 03, 2011

Birger Engineering Canon EF mount for Panasonic AG-AF100

The Birger Engineering lens adapter for Canon EF lenses to the Panasonic AG-AF100 first got some press a few months ago, and though they won't be formerly announcing it until NAB, Erik Widding from Birger Engineering spoke at this weeks LearningLabs at Rule Boston Camera.
Rule has posted a video of the event, and if you are interested in this mount, it's well worth watching ( though it does get a bit technical here and there.) Some interesting details:
  • They are already looking at other cameras they could support in addition to the AG-AF100. The Sony PMW-F3 and even the Arri Alexa were listed, though they think the Sony NXCAM Super 35 might be the other "high-volume product."
  • The mount allows the camera to communicate with the lens, controlling aperture and focus. It will also allow autofocus, though he hedged a bit on whether he thought people would like the performance of auto-focus. He suggested that people come to NAB and try it! The camera will display the focus position of the lens on it's LCD panel.
  • Aperture can also be set manually using a knob on the mount.
  • He demoed a separate remote control that they are also developing. It will not be released at NAB, but should be available later in the year, with a target price of $700. In the current demo, the mount was connected by wire to a Mac, and then the control was talking wirelessly to the Mac; the final control unit will be able to talk wirelessly to the mount
  • It's compatible with "every Canon lens ever made" though he noted that the Canon lenses seem to talk slightly different variants of the basic control language; he said there were six to eight "dialects." The work of controlling the lenses has been done, and they are just finalizing the communication with the camera. That's about 70-80% done.
  • It works with the GH1, and they expect it to work with the GH2.
  • No back-focus adjustment is built in, but they don't believe it is necessary due to the tolerances of the camera, lenses and the adapter.
  • They will support Nikon "someday." They have an engineering model, but are currently focusing on other projects.
  • There was some discussion about price, and it sounded like they'd had some push back on the price but they justified it on what was involved in creating and manufacturing the product, as well as expected support and marketing costs. They may be able to reduce price in the future
Rule Boston Camera
Birger Engineering

Learning Lab: New AF-100 Lens Control System on 3.2.11 from Rule Boston Camera on Vimeo.

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