Well for my Letus Extreme and Brevis adaptors that is, and probably for the SGpro and the M2 etc…
First off, the most important thing is to get good glass. The best you can afford really.
Most of the adaptors have mounts for Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Mintolta etc…I only have Nikon lenses so let’s stick with that for the sake of this blog.
Prime lenses are the way to go generally as they are always faster than Zoom lenses. Prime lenses are fixed focal length lenses, which means you can’t zoom in or out, if you need to change framing you have to get a wider or longer lens or move back and forth!
The reason you need fast lenses is because adaptors are often light hungry and you sometimes you need the lens that opens the widest. Also the vibrating adaptors, like the Brevis and Letus start to show grain if you close down the iris too much.
My basic lens advice would be a fast 28mm maybe an f2, a 50mm f1.4 and an 85mm f1.4
Start with these lenses then enlarge your collection.
Some of my favourite lenses are my Zeiss 50mm T2 Macro, which lets me focus really close, I have just bought a 100mm Zeiss t2 macro and can’t wait to try it out.
I also love my Swing Tilt lenes which I used to interesting effect on the South Bank, Dungeness and Lost Times shorts. I have 3 of those 2 Hartbleis, a 65 and 85mm and an arrax 35mm. I love these lens.You can do some incredibly things optically with them.
Often people get obsessed by shallow DOF in 35mm adaptors and think wide angles are pointless. I cannot disagree more! 35mm adaptors give more than shallow dof (they can give wide DOF too!) they give an organic film look which looks truly stunning. Taking away that harsh video look and making cheap cameras look very expensive. Have a look at my HV20/letus mini short. To me, that does NOT look like a £500 camera.
Wide angles can look amazing, I have 16mm Zenitar f2.8 which i don’t use much as it’s too fish eye for most things. I use my Sigma f1.8 20mm DG all the time. A lovely, lovely lens that I can’t recommend enough. One word of warning, avoid all sigma glass that says DC. It is for crop sensor DSLR cameras which are no good for adaptors, The image it creates is too small, meaning you have to zoom in too far on the camera.
Long lenses are a slight problem due to their weight and often need more support. I have a 180 f2.8 Nikon and a 80mm-200mm Nikon f2.8 zoom. One of only two zooms I own. If you buy a zoom make sure it’s f stop stays the same all the way through the length of the lens. This makes them very expensive. Actually this nikon zoom I own was one of three that ARRI modified to work on a 35mm movie camera for the Bourne Ultimatum as it is was so much lighter than the usual film glass.
You will also need decent rod support. The Letus rod supports are good but really the Rolls Royce of them is the Zacuto. They are pricey, but are so well made and can be customised to whatever your set up is, no matter how big or small.
A good high resolution monitor is normally needed for focus, I have a Marshall but when I shoot with the ex1 I never use it as the screen is fine for me!