Video Review: Aputure DEC
The DEC from Aputure is a wirelessly controlled lens adapter that puts Canon EF lenses onto either micro four thirds or Sony E-mount cameras, depending on which version you buy.
Inspiration for the design clearly comes from science fiction with the box containing a Stargate-like lens adapter and a Jedi style wireless remote controller as well as some rather more mundane cables and a clamp to mount the controller if you don’t want to wave it around.
As well as those items, you also get a small extender to pop under your camera in case the DEC obscures access to the tripod hole, and a brief instruction sheet written in a font so small you’ll need a macro lens to read it.
Both the adapter and the controller need charging of course; a suitable cable is provided but you need to have your own USB power supply.
The adapter’s USB socket also doubles as a remote start / stop controller for the camera if you plug in the supplied cables, which cover Sony, Panasonic GH, and Blackmagic pocket cinema cameras.
The lens adapter, obviously, takes Canon EF lenses on one side, with marks painted to help you align them when mounting. A small button on the side is a catch and lens release.
Those tiny electronic pins take the commands for focus and iris from the adapter to the lens. On the back is either the micro four thirds mount as on our version, or the Sony E-mount. That’s a separate version, a single unit is not configurable to do both.
In use, it’s very straightforward – your lens of choice screws onto the adapter which mounts onto your camera. Here’s what our demo setup looks like, including the cheapest EF lens we could find and possibly the world’s smallest micro four thirds camera:
As you can see, the adapter has raised the camera to a point where you would not be able to attach a tripod plate; here Aputure’s included extender comes into play though in our extreme example it perhaps needs another millimetre or two added on.
With the camera set, time to turn to the joystick-like controller which is moulded in soft, easy to grip plastic. All the controls are at the top including a notched wheel for iris setting; a spring-loaded jog lever for focus, and a start-stop button for remote control recording.
An iris lock button on the side instantly punches the camera to its widest iris and holds it there regardless of how much you turn the dial, until the lock is pressed again.
A and B buttons enable you to set limits on the focus distance so that you can pull focus without overshooting. That knurled ring is for gripping the included clamp which we showed earlier.
On the tiny OLED screen, the readout shows firstly your zoom setting which of course, is not controlled remotely because EF lenses tend to be manual not powered zooms. You’d need a whole different mechanical rig to achieve that.
Next on the display is your aperture then there’s a battery readout and wireless signal strength. This information is duplicated on the adapter itself.
So much for the facts, here’s the review: it works. There really is not much more to say. You turn the knobs, you press the lever and the commands get relayed to the lens which does what you tell it, both for focus and iris.
At no stage in our testing did anything go wrong, there was no suggestion that we were using a prototype unit. Aputure say the final version should be released very soon at a cost of a few hundred US dollars. So if it’s of interest, look out for it at your favourite retailer very soon.
If the above video is insufficient to slake your thirst for knowledge, then here’s our unboxing and first look too: