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RE: Eclair Cameras: Lenses for Super 16

Thanks for the news, Ian.
Whilst I agree that modifying the lens itself to include a mechanical aperture would be a task, there's a pretty easy way to solve the aperture problem, providing that no aperture pulls are required during a shot: use one of a set of aperture masks on uv filters in front of the lens itself. Easy to make, very low in cost. That should at least get the lens testing underway without much cost, with the added benefit of leaving the lens itself intact for return, resale or other recycling should it not prove suitable to the S16 task.
Chris-who's in the process of conversion to S16 himself and would love to know about how these new lenses perform-

Ian Marks wrote:

Olympus has announced a new professional-level digital still camera in a new format called "three fourths," or something like that. This new format centers around a digital sensor that is about half the size of the 35mm still format, which is to say just about the same as acadamy 35mm motion-picture film. This, of course, means that lenses for this camera should cover Super 16 with room to spare. The camera is the Olympus E-1, and as there are ads for it sprouting up everywhere it shouldn't be hard to find information about it on the net.

I had no particular interest in this camera as I perused a magazine at my local newsstand until I noticed the line of lenses being released along with the camera, one of which is a zoom with a range of 11mm to something like 50mm (I forget the long end, because I was so interested in the short end). The lens will have a list price of $599. I immediately thought that this lens might make a great Super 16 lens, with an appropriate mount adapter.

I've also seen an ad for Nikon's new zoom for their digital line of SLR's. Their cameras are based around 35mm designs so that that can employ the whole line of Nikkor lenses, but they incorporate an image sensor that is smaller than the regular 35mm (still) film format, meaning that each lens produces a 1.5x telephoto effect on digital when compared to the regular (film) format. Lenses in the extreme wide angle range have been a bit lacking, in that, for example, a 24mm ultra-wide becomes the equivalent of a 36mm moderate wide angle lens. To address that, Nikon are releasing a line of lenses with a smaller image circle, to be used exclusively with the digital cameras. Again, these lenses will cover Super 16 with no problem. The lenses employ the same basic Nikon F mount as the rest of the range, which means one should theoretically be able to mount them to an ACL via a Nikon-to-C adapter. The lens that caught my eye is a 12mm to 24mm zoom with an expected street price of $600. You can read about it at http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/1224.htm.

Okay, here's the rub: As far as I can determine (without having seen either the Olympus of the Nikon lens), neither of these lenses sports an aperture ring. It seems that the aperture is controlled electronically from the camera body. Here's my thought - is there a savvy engineering type out there who could figure out how to defeat this limitation? Could there be a way to modify these lenses, at minimal cost, to give them a standard-issue aperature ring? Or am I just nuts for thinking that this could be done? Any thoughts?

- Ian Marks

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