Beastgrip DOF Adapter MK3 for Smartphones Now on Kickstarter

Beastgrip DOF Adapter MK3 for Smartphones Now on Kickstarter

Beastgrip is a brand founded by Vadym Chalenko who has already released several filmmaking products for smartphones, like the Beastgrip Pro, the Beastcage, and the DOF adapter. Now, the company is launching a Kickstarter campaign with a renovated version of their adapter. The DOF adapter MK3 is a renewed version that allows us to use full-frame SLR/DSLR lenses with our smartphones. 

I still remember the old days (‘old’ is a very subjective term) when a generation of filmmakers started their careers using MiniDV camcorders with small sensors. We were breaking our brains to achieve ‘cinematic’ images. Of course, with our limited knowledge, ‘cinematic’ was a synonym for ‘shallow depth of field’. With 1/3-inch sensor video cameras dominating the market, achieving such images was only possible by zooming and blurring the background. Of course, that was not possible in the tiny locations we had access to (i.e. our bedrooms). 

The DOF adapter MK3 rigged with a gimbal and a cage. – Source: Beastgrip

DOF adapters, a long short story

One day, an incredible invention appeared: an adapter that would let us use SLR photo lenses with our video cameras. Letus, RedRock, etc., were some companies that launched these cool gadgets that caught our attention. The terms ‘cinematic’, ‘filmic’, and ‘bokeh’ entered our daily vocabulary as we pursued these images. Nevertheless, they resulted in a bulky setup and were usually more expensive than the camera itself.

Then, suddenly, the Nikon D90 introduced 720p video, followed by the Canon EOS 5D Mark II with 1080p video, and the Panasonic GH1… Bigger sensors, fast lenses, hundreds of YouTube videos shot at f1.2… you know the story. The DSLR and mirrorless revolution had arrived, and these adapters fell into oblivion. 

I write this because this DOF adapter MK3 reminds me of those old adapters. While nowadays some brands compete for the biggest sensor, another side of the industry is revisiting smaller sensors. Suddenly, almost 20 years later, these adapters regain relevance, now catering to our smartphones. Let’s take a closer look at this new release.

How does the DOF adapter MK3 work?

The DOF adapter MK3 works like a camera viewfinder attached to the phone. When we attach a lens, the adapter projects the image onto the surface of its screen. The phone can then record the projected image through macro lenses. 

The new MK3 has adapted their previous design for the latest smartphones, with bigger sensors and faster optics, ensuring compatibility with their internal cameras. One of the most significant updates is the new optics used for this model making it easier to focus on the ground glass, with more frame coverage, less distortion, and a more detailed image than with previous models. 

“Epic Worlds”, shot on Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra with the Beastgrip DOF Adapter MK3.

Beastgrip also talks about the added vintage touch that’s applied to the images produced, thanks to the gentle roll-off that adds halation to the highlights, reduced contrast, and color fringing. Anytime I see these values advertised, I take it with a grain of salt since they talk more about optical imperfections than real improvement of the image. If the adapter already gives this vintage flavor, I would use more clinical lenses to avoid an excess of these effects on the final image. Anyway, what is true is that these imperfections help mask the digital edge of modern sensors, and the images from their promo videos look stunning.

The mechanical design has also been renewed for a more reliable locking system and better alignment of the ground glass. The designers have simplified the assembly process, ensuring the adapter’s increased reliability and life. Beastgrip has crafted it with metal components for improved performance and an anodized finish.

The images produced with the adapter have a cinematic vintage texture – Source: Beastgrip

DOP Adapter MK3 compatibility 

The DOF adapter MK3 works with full-frame lenses and it has been designed with a Canon EF-mount, ensuring compatibility with other brands by using conversion rings. Using crop sensor lenses will result in extreme vignetting, so the brand doesn’t recommend it.

Since the DOF adapter MK3 focuses mechanically, it works primarily with mechanical manual focus lenses. Lenses operating with electronic connections to the camera body to control the aperture are incompatible, and electronic lenses that provide manual aperture must be set to their maximum to ensure the shallowest depth of field. Canon EF lenses without a manual aperture ring have their aperture wide open by default, so they are also compatible with the system. Finally, the manufacturer recommends using fast lenses for better results. 

The adapter is compatible with other Beastgrip rigs like the Beastgrip Pro and the Beastcage. 

The EF Mount makes the adapter compatible with many lenses – Source: Beastgrip

Limitations and recommendations 

Please remember that the projected image is flipped upside down, but some apps correct this by supporting DOF adapters. Aside from this feature, the following apps will give you better control in focusing on the ground glass:

For iOS:

  • Beastcam
  • Filmic Pro
  • Cinema P3

For Android:

Another downside to consider is the light reduction when using the DOF Adapter MK3 (20% approx), so it’s better to shoot in well-lit situations. 

Using wide apertures should avoid optical aberrations and undesirable visible textures caused by the adapter’s inherent characteristics. Finally, although the adapter design safeguards against dust entering the focusing screen, a few particles may still make their way, potentially becoming visible in the final image.

Price and availability

The Beastgrip DOF Adapter MK3 is now available to preorder for $209 for early birds, a savings of $90 from its final price. Please visit their Kickstarter site for information about other buying options and products. 

At CineD, we always recommend researching and being cautious when investing in a crowdfunding campaign. Read Kickstarter’s terms and conditions and consider the possibility of delays and products that never see the light. 

For more information about the DOF adapter MK3, check the Beastgrip campaign’s page here.

What do you think of these DOF adapters? Have you used them for professional work or for your projects? Let us know your thoughts!

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