Every day there is a new tool coming out, a new camera, a new evolution to the gear we are working with today. Recently we got our hands on a piece of gear from Aputure. This company is creating equipment that filmmakers actually want and can use, at an affordable cost. We will cover several different aspects we learned about their new DEC while using it out in the field.
WHAT IS THE APUTURE DEC?
This new Aputure DEC looks like any old EF-E mount adaptor on the surface, but upon further inspection you will realize that it does a whole lot more. Most of the time these adaptors allow you to control the iris from the camera and use the autofocus feature as well. Instead...what if you could connect your lenses via an adaptor and have control of your iris, focus, create rack focus points, not have to worry about trying to get the lenses to talk to the camera and...do it all wirelessly? Thats what the does! The DEC does not try to connect to the camera, it is powered by an internal battery on the adaptor and has a wireless connection to a remote that allows you to control all the normal features of a lens.
WHAT IS THE BENEFITS OF USING THIS TYPE OF ADAPTOR?
At first glimpse this was my first thought..."HOLY CRAP, THEY'VE DONE IT!" The reality is, how practical is it to use out in the field and what kind of filmmaker is it designed for...thats what we where our to find? We quickly found it's more designed for the fast paced, highly versatile filmmaker. We tested this in several environments and shooting style, one of which was on our DJI Ronin. If you have ever used a gimbal stabilization system, the biggest problem is focusing; getting a wireless follow focus system costs a lot of money and finding a professional focus puller is...harder in smaller cities like Boise, Idaho. Now, I can connect this to my camera, power it via the 5v port in the Ronin battery, send a wireless feed to a monitor for my focus puller and BAM, I have a wireless focus pulling system for $339. The added benefit is we can control the iris at the same time. So going from outside to inside with a gimbal is pretty easy when you have control over your iris remotely. A few additional features of the DEC is the ability to do Iris Lock, start/stop recording, and has a digital readout of your FOV as well as your F-stop.
Going with a shoulder rig system is equally as awesome because the DEC Remote can be attached to your rig as a handle and allows you to free up your other hand to help support the camera. Again you can control the iris and focus with the remote. The added benefits of this is you have the option to set a focus A point and a B point; so you can either slowly focus between the two points or quickly do a rack focus and hit the marks perfectly every time.
WHAT COMES WITH IT?
The kit comes with a sweet travel case, the adapter, an additional mounting in 1/4 in., the handgrip, mounting hardware and a bunch a cables to deck out your camera. I did add one thing to the kit myself and it was a 110v - 5v USB wall adapter so I could charge it on location if need be.
All technology has its fallback. The DEC is no exception to this idea but not necessarily in a major way. The DEC uses batteries, so you will have to be mindful to make sure it's charged before going on set. These batteries do last for quite some time but I for one, would never rely on having enough juice from a previous shoot. You could simply be prepared and just carry a portable battery, such as a Mophie, to keep it charged during use.
The remote system works great but the iris is not de-clicked and neither is the focus. The iris goes by 1/3 stops, so if your are looking to do a smooth iris pull then you might want to go with a manual lens; I found no problems with it, so I was happy.
In more of a run and gun shooting environment, I had a hard time using it as a perfect follow focus system. I ended up still manually focusing with my hand; however, the DEC was so handy for making minor adjustments without having to move my hand back to the lens and bumping the camera. Basically it's really hard to pull focus across great distances when you don't have time to set the A and B points on focusing.
Lastly, not all lenses work right on this adaptor yet. Just like Metabones and various others, this does have a firmware and is consistently updated but so far, I have had only one lens not work right and it was an old 28-135mm stock 7D lenses...again, no biggie.
So here are my final thoughts. I think this DEC is so freakin cool; I am going to keep this as my normal shooting package from now on. We have 4 cameras, 2 canon DSLR's and 2 Sony E-mounts but we often use EF glass. As of right now, I am using the DEC adapter before my other adaptors because of the fact that I am constantly put in run and gun situations by my clients and Doc's. Having this DEC on board allows me to quickly pick up my camera and have my main functions in one hand on the fly. As with most tools, there is a time and place for everything; the Aputure DEC bridges the gap between high-end wireless focus pulling systems, and more basic follow focus designs.
Here are the specs from B&H:
Lens Mount EF
Camera Mount E-Mount
Lens Compatibility EF Mount
- EF 35mm f/1.4L USM
- EF 40mm f/2.8 STM
- EF 50mm f/1.4 USM
- EF 50mm f/1.8 II
- EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM
- EF 100mm f/2.8L II USM
- EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM
- EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM
- EF 24-105mm f/4L USM
- EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
- EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
- EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
Wireless Frequency2.4 GHz
Wireless Range328" / 100 m
Power Adapter Battery Voltage: 3.7 VDC
Capacity: 700 mAh
Charge Voltage: 5 VDC
Battery endurance: Up to 5 hr (Based on a fully charged Li-ion battery, a Canon EF 24-70mm/2.8L Ⅱ USM and CIPA testing standards)
Battery Voltage: 3.7 VDC
Capacity: 2600 mAh
Charge Voltage: 5 VDC
Battery endurance: Up to 48 hr (Based on a fully charged Li-ion battery, a Canon EF 24-70mm/2.8L Ⅱ USM and CIPA testing standards)
32 to 104°F / 0 to 40°C
-4 to 140°F / -20 to 60°C
Humidity65±20% (without condensation)
Package Weight 4.9 lbs.
Box Dimensions (LxWxH)11.3 x 9.7 x 5.4"