Active Adapters To Mount Canon EF Lenses To PL and C Mount, Nikon F, Sony E and FZ - Canon EOS Technoclopedia

Since Canon EF mount lenses usually do not have a manual aperture control ring, it either doesn't make sense to mount those to other camera systems (with the exception of Samyangs) or involves a serious amount of costly electronic support. At the moment there is only one simple solution I am aware of - the Metabones EF - E and EF - MFT mounts, which are simple to use, the cheapest and seem to support the most features.
The following list is a summery of more expensive electronic mounts focused on cine applications. There is a seperate list for adapting EF lenses to mirrorless cameras, which covers MFT, Sony E and Fuji X.

Birger Engineering Canon EF Mount (2008) for Sony FZ and PL mount
... is a fully electronic mount supporting all relevant functions of EF lenses, especially including iris and focus. It is either controlled by PC/MAC or by a Viewfactor Impero (see below). The mount communicates all lens data to the camera (iris, focus, zoom).
First electronic EF mounts were built by Birger in 2000 already for industrial surveillance purposes. They only gained a lot of popularity outside this market when the RED ONE came up and people wanted to use their EF mount lenses with that camera. Birger already had the right solution at hand. Birger mounts are not commonly sold or promoted, leaving some people with the impression, that the mount never really made it to the market. Infact it did, but not so much for the usual consumer. It is for one widely known amongst RED ONE users, which features a PL mount, and for another used by a number of companies producing industrial/scientific/surveillance camera heads to offer an active Canon EF mount option for their cameras (namely i.e. Allied Vision Technologies, Emergent Vision, Illunis, Imperx, IO Industries, SVS-Vistek and Vieworks). It is also actively used individually in some scientific environments, evidently within the Dragonfly and Huntsman Eye projects. The Allied Vision adapters mount to Nikon F and C mount. Allied also state compatibility with all Canon EF, EF-S, Tamron DI and Di-II lenses. Emergent Vision Tec. at least refer to adapters for C mount, M42 and M52. Birger is further reported to work on a Micro Four-Thirds adaption. A first presentation of a prototype was spotted at the NAB 2011. A Sony FZ version was announced to start shipping in November 2011. Birger labeled parts were also found in the OptiTek ProLock-i Mark II (see below).
  • #RD-EF1-CM0-RS0 is a universal Canon EF to C mount adapter with 6V RS232 connector
  • #RD-EF1-CM0-RS1 is a universal Canon EF to C mount adapter with 12V RS232 connector
  • #RD-EF1-EM0-RS1 is a universal Canon EF to Sony E mount adapter with 12V RS232 connector
  • #RD-EF1-PM0-RS0 is a universal Canon EF to P mount adapter with 6V RS232 connector
  • #RD-EF1-PM0-RS1 is a universal Canon EF to P mount adapter with 12V RS232 connector
  • #RD-EF1-TT0-RS1 is a universal Canon EF to TFL-II mount adapter with 12V RS232 connector
  • #RD-X-RC1-X was the PL mount adapter for the RED ONE, which further required #RD-EF1-X-X Canon EF mount adapter (sold out since 2014)

This is only a list of universal adapter versions. There are more dedicated versions for several camera models available as well.
The Viewfactor Impero is a controller unit originally made for the Viewfactor Inclino (an external motor drive to control iris, zoom and/or focus). Birger adopted it to control their EF mount. The Impero can be set up to work wired as well as wireless. As of 2008 it required a modification of the Impero's Bluetooth radio unit as well as a modification of the COM port (from CAN to RS232). In 01.2009 Viewfactor started to ship the Imperos with a compliant radio unit by default, and as far as I get it, there is a cable produced by Birger to prevent the port modification (by simply crossing wires, that usually would not cross). That cable is also required for firmware updates. The Impero is powered by a 9V battery. The production seems to have been stopped in 2010. A new batch had been announced. As of 2015 all units were sold out having Birger left with a replacement in development, but no release date has yet been announced.

Metabones EF - FZ Mount (2017)
With the introduction of the 5th generation of Metabones Smart Adapters for common mirrorless camera mounts in early 2017 an EF-FZ smart mount adapter made its initial appearance as well. This generation of smart mounts came in two flavors - the T Smart Adapters and the T Cine Smart Adapters.
As the name suggests, the T Cine Smart Adapter versions aim at cinematic applications. They add a Cinema Lock type EF mount to the list of features, which in the case of the EF-FZ mount reads as follows:
  • aperture, focal length and focus distance information are displayed in the viewfinder
  • support for auto exposure
  • support for lenses featuring image stabilization (IS)
  • adapter is powered by the camera body
  • built-in micro USB for firmware upgrades
  • auto focus is not supported

Model history:
  • EF-FZ Mount T Cine Smart Adapter [MB_EF-FZ-BM1]: t.b.a.

MTF Effect for Sony FZ (2011) and AJA Cion (2014)
... consists of the so called Control Unit, which in its original version is wire-coupled to an electronic mount for Canon EF lenses. IS is supported. Mounts are available for MFT, Sony E (NEX and FS-100), AJA Cion (see below) and Sony FZ cameras [#MTCANEFF3]. The original FZ mount was called F3 mount, since with its release in 2011 the PMW-F3 was for long the only camera with this mount (the PMW-F5 and F55 were announced in late 2012). Using the FZ mount results in a magnification factor of 1.5x. The only incompatible lens named (as of 2012) was the EF 1.2/85. There was no reason given, but it features E-M, which might be the reason. The control unit comes with illuminated display to show the current focal length and aperture (both in realtime, even during zoom with lenses not featuring constant aperture values). Aperture can be adjusted in 1/8th stop increments by turning a knob. Mark I of the control unit was powered by AA power cells lasting for a day of shooting. It will automatically shut down when idling to save energy.
In 2013 Control Unit Mark II was released. It was then powered by an external power source via D-Tap or 4-pin Hirose and size and weight were reduced. Mark III succeeded in 2015. This new version finally adds wireless control. The Mark III kit includes the control unit, the receiver, mounting bracket, charger for the control unit and a mount adaptor all packed in a Peli case.
The EF to AJA Cion mount was released in 2014. The AJA Cion camera by default uses a standard PL mount and comes with a removable front mount plate. The MTF adapter has the front plate built-in, so the adapter will only fit the Cion, not other PL mount cameras.
About pricing ... they charge 650£ for the Control Unit and 350£ per mount (460£ for the Cion). Alternately they also offer dumb mounts, which still go between 200£ and 275£ (415£ for the Cion). The Mark III kits go for 1800£.
Read a review by Dan Chung.

OptiTek ProLock-i (2012) for Sony FZ
The Prolock-i [CPL-SONY-F] (2012) "[...] has electrical contacts to allow powered control over the iris in 1/3rd stop increments via keys on the mount. The mount adapter also provides power to IS stabilization and internal focus servos. When used with the Optitek Optitron Lens Controller, precision repeatable remote focus control is also available. The Optitek Prolock EF requires 12v power, which can be provided via accessory cables to P-Tapor Hirose 4-pin connectors, which are compatible with both the PMW-F5 and PMW-F55 as well as the hard-wire connection to the Optitek Optitron. The Optitek Prolock EF also features a PL-style clamping lock ring on the Canon EF mount, assuring that the lens will not shift in the lens mount."
The Prolock-i Mark II [CPLII-SONY-F3] (2013) "[...] has electrical contacts to allow powered control over the iris in 1/3rd stop increments via keys on the mount. The mount adapter also provides power for image stabilizers and internal focus servos. When used with the Optitek Optitron Lens Controller, precision repeatable remote focus control is also available. The Optitek Prolock EF draws its power directly from the camera mount, so no additional cable is required. The Optitek Prolock EF also features a PL-style clamping lock ring on the Canon EF mount, assuring that the lens will not shift in the lens mount."
The later Mark I and all Mark II adapters feature buttons to instantly open and close the iris - early Mark I makes do not feature these. The early Mark I adapters are further reported to have been quite buggy. This could been fixed, but required factory service. The Mark II adapter's firmware fully integrates with your Sony camera, so the lens data is being displayed as overlay in the viewfinder as well as recorded as meta data.
Read a Mark II review at CameraDoe.
Prolock-i Mark III [CPLI-FZ3] (2015) is very similar to Mark II, but offers a few upgrades like updated circuits, auto iris initialization, 1/8 stop iris increments, continuous/stepless iris control by holding down the corresponding buttons (instead of step-by-step) and full compatibility with the newest Tamron lenses (including 24-70mm F2.8 VC, 70-200mm F2.8 VC and 15-30mm F2.8 VC).
OptiTron Lens Controller [OT-1-WCP] (?): compatible with both mount versions.
The OptiTron 2 Lens Controller [OT-2-WCP] (2013) "... is a compact electronic follow focus that also features a built-in wireless transceiver. [...] The OptiTron2 Controller comes with one Hirose 4-pin to 4-pin Coiled Control Cable and one "Dog bone" LW Rod Mounting Bracket."
The Mark II controller is also compatible with both mount versions.
Pricing info: The original Prolock adapter sold for 1650$, Mark II and III come for 1750$. The OptiTron Mark II controller takes another 1972$. Prices according to AbelCine, whose' descriptions are directly quoted above as well.

PrimeCircle XE-EF Pro (2014) for Arri Alexa, Sony FZ and IMS
LockCircle's entry into the hall of smart C/EF mounts starts with 5 variants (Arri, IMS, Sony FZ and additional Sony E and MFT versions). The basic system consists of the mount and a wired control unit [#XE-BM], which can be extended by another control unit [#XE-RM]. The clue: The control units communicate wirelessly with each other (but not with the mount directly) over distances of up to 150m. Means you do need the wired controller in the setup. The wired connection is limited by the choice of 4 cable lengths from 30cm to 12m. Aperture ramping is programmable. The control units are equipped with an LCD showing aperture, aperture ramping settings, focal length (min., current and max.) and focus check warning.

The mount has a size of 87 x 82 x 29mm, weights 360g and comes with a set of collimation shims.
The control units have a size of 98 x 63 x 43mm* and a weight of 280g. The units can be powered by an internal recharcheable (runs the units for 8 hours**) or an external 12V power source. The units feature a bunch of Lemo ports, one of which is a communication port for firmware updates and another one for external accessories, that might be released in the future. The units are both CE (868.3 MHz) and FCC (915 MHz) ready by a pressing of a button.

Pricing again is on the higher buget side - the whole system clearly adresses professional film production. The basic wired system goes for ~2600€, add another 400€ for the secondary wireless controller plus some for cables, cases etc.
* According to the brochure. The manual states 125 x 70 x 44mm.
** 6 hours according to the manual, 8 hours according to the brochure.

Redrock Micro LiveLens Active Lens Mount (2009)
... was the Redrocks' first active lens mount for Canon EF lenses. You actually can't mount it to any camera directly, it's made to be mounted to the M2 Encore or M3 Cinema Lens Adapters (camcorder DOF adapters), which are mounted to the filter thread of a camera mounted lens. The lens mount controls the aperture of EF lenses (same working principle like their MFT adapter). It's powered by an external battery pack (standard 9V 6LR61 (1.2A max.) or IDX Endura 10s (14.8V, 6.3A)).
Refer to Still Lenses C/EF > Adapting EF > EF to Mirrorless for the LiveLens MFT version.

Wicked Circuits' Smart Mount for PL mount
... uses an external controller to control the lens (see below). It supports EF and EF-S and is supposed to work with any EF lens, even 3rd party (... in theory ... not all lenses were indeed tested). The mount seems to be powered by the controller. It was presented at NAB 2010, first reports go back to 2008. A few samples seem to have made it out of the factory. It was announced to become RED certified (which would have meant a warranty preservation). Same size as the Dumb Mount.
The Wicked Circuits Smart Mount Controller (Standard Version) supports electronically transmitted manual control of focus and iris and offers remote control either using a Bluetooth device (supports Win Mobile, XP - 7, OS X and iPhone) or any standard Sony compatible IR remote. It saves multiple focus positions and recalls them in any order with adjustable speed settings. It is powered by the camera's AUX or some other external 12V power source, weights 113.4g and has a size of 128 x 73 x 20mm. It was presented at NAB 2010 as well.
The production state of Wicket Circuits is uncertain, the website still shows a "coming soon" for the controller and wasn't updated since ages. There is a praxis report by Vincent Laforet, so it does exist. There also is a dumb mount version, see RED ONE listing.

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