When it comes to shooting professional (or at least on an enthusiast level) video with your smartphone, the name BeastGrip comes to mind in an instance. Ever since launching their first Kickstarter campaign four years ago for their original, 3D printed universal smartphone cage/grip system, the team at BeastGrip have been hard at it making new accessories and churning out new and improved versions such as the BeastGrip Pro, which lets you use SLR lenses with your smartphone.
The time has come again for BeastGrip, who have once again turned to the Kickstarter community for support for their latest DOF Adapter Mark II and also a new Pro Series 1.33x Anamorphic lens. The BeastGrip DOF Adapter MKII was teased earlier this year with some sweet looking iPhone 7 footage (you can check our post about it here)
BeastGrip are calling their all-new 2nd generation DOF Adapter and new Anamorphic lens “the next step in the evolution of smartphone photography and filmmaking”.
In a nutshell, the new BeastGrip DOF Adapter Mark II features a new and improved design, making it (according to BeastGrip) ...”the most advanced smartphone SLR/DSLR lens adapter ever created.” It allows users to use a DSLR lens with their smartphone camera for a more shallow depth-of-field effect and film-style look, in addition to the ability to pull focus manually like on professional cinema cameras.
The DOF Adapter Mark II has been redesigned from scratch and now has two main parts: the body shell with a bayonet mount on one side and a 37mm threaded mount on the other and the optical system that contains the lenses and focusing screen/ground glass.
The Mark II DOF adapter features custom machined components with anodized finish combined with stainless steel design for maximum durability and slick design.
BeastGrip have completely redesigned the optical system from scratch to eliminate as much vignetting, chromatic aberration and distortion as possible. Their custom achromatic doublet macro lens reduces chromatic aberration and gives users the ability to quickly focus in macro.
The condenser lens is positioned next to the focusing screen and works in conjunction with the Fresnel lens on the focusing screen to remove vignetting/hot-spotting and eliminate the pincushion distortion from the achromatic doublet macro lens. Together, this optical system provides the most optimal performance for the best possible results.
The DOF Adapter MK2 incorporates a new patent-pending system with a rotating barrel and unique locking mechanism to easily frame the focusing screen and at the same time align the bayonet mount and SLR/DSLR lens in the correct orientation to see your lens measurements like on a professional camera.
The DOF Adapter MK II also features an Enclosed Focusing Screen on both sides with a multi-coated glass filter to shield it from dirt, dust and scratches for a practically maintenance-free user experience. The entire body is assembled as a single-piece, complete system designed for simplicity and strength, while shielding the complex elements underneath its elegant outer shell for an effortless user experience.
Keep in mind that the DOF Adapter MKII comes in EF mount (or can be adapted to EF mount), so in order to ensure your adapted lenses work, they have to be in EF mount and have to be Full-Frame as the focusing screen inside the DOF Adapter MK II is designed for full-frame lenses. Using a full-frame focusing screen offers the best performance and compatibility with the largest variety of lenses.
Crop sensor lenses are not recommended, as they will cause extreme vignetting when used with the DOF Adapter MK2.
Also lenses have to have a manual focus ring (Canon STM lenses are a no-go) and a manual aperture ring as the BeastGrip DOF Adapter MK2 does not have electronic connections on the lens side. Lenses without a manual aperture control ring, like the L-Series Canon EF lenses, will usually already have their aperture wide open and are also compatible, however you won’t be able to change the aperture and have to shoot wide open.
For the best results, BeastGrip recommend using fast (f.95 – f2.8) SLR/DSLR lenses.
For those, who plan to use follow focus systems with their smartphones and the DOF Adapter MK II, BeastGrip is also offering a 15mm aluminium rod support system they call BeastRail.
DOF Adapter MK II Limitations (kind of important to know)
The DOF Adapter MK II is an amazing tool for creating unique and artistic film-style looks, but there are some limitations worth mentioning:
The image is flipped upside down – do make sure your native camera supports image flip, or use a third party app from the list below recommended by BeastGrip:
Light reduction – the DOF Adapter MK2 reduces light by around 20%. You’ll also want to take your lens’ f-stop value into consideration, which also reduces light. For the best results, be sure to film in well-lit environments.
Visible textures – the focusing screen has microscopic indentations that diffuse light and micro engravings on the other side (Fresnel lens), which are both necessary for the adapter to function. In some cases you may see some of these textures in your image. These textures are more apparent in certain lighting conditions and with smaller apertures (larger f numbers). For the best results, stick to fast lenses, shooting in well-lit environments and always keeping your aperture wide open.
Dust/Microscopic particles – the DOF Adapter MK2 works differently than other optical systems. Since it projects the image onto a small focusing screen, which your phone then records by looking through a macro lens, it’s very important to keep the focusing screen dust-free to prevent imperfections from getting on your image. For this reason, we assemble the DOF Adapter MK2 in a clean, dust-free room and enclose it on both sides with multi-coated glass to eliminate the chance of dust from getting on the focusing screen. However, there’s a slight chance that a microscopic-sized imperfection/particle/piece of dust that’s naked to the human eye could get on the screen during the manufacturing process and show up on your image.
The Pro Series 1.33x Anamorphic Lens is the latest accessory by BeastGrip and with it filmmakers have access to that classic, cinematic widescreen aspect ratio, dramatic perspective and creative, Hollywood-style lens flares.
Do note that this lens is designed for smartphones with a 28mm equivalent focal length or greater and to be used without a protective case on your phone. Using a phone with a wider focal length or a protective phone case may cause slight image quality degradation towards the edges of the frame.
The anamorphic lens works by “squeezing” the image horizontally to record the highest resolution possible onto the sensor, which then allows you to “de-squeeze” the image in post-production (or in real-time with a third party app, like FiLMiC Pro) for a widescreen 2.4:1 aspect ratio for video and 16:9 for photos.
BeastGrip Pro Series 1.33x Anamorphic Lens Highlights
Multi-Coated Cylindrical Optics
Optics provide for 2.4:1 for video and horizontal flares
58mm filter size front mount
Enclosed, machined aluminium body
Smooth rotating mechanism for easy alignment
A huge benefit to using anamorphic lenses are the beautiful lens flares they add to your images and videos. Since the Anamorphic Lens contains cylindrical lenses that focus light into a line instead of a point, as a normal spherical lens would, the Anamorphic Lens creates a vivid, instantly recognizable horizontal flare. For iPhone 7 Plus users, this lens offers even more creative possibilities when aligned with the 56mm equivalent telephoto camera, by giving your image a narrower perspective and thicker lens flares.
By now just a few days into their Kickstarter campaign, BeastGrip have already raised over $114K (well over their $80K goal) but you can still grab some early bird deals. The Anamorphic lens starts at $140, and for $215 you can get the DOF Adapter MK2.