Rapido FVD-16A

August 12, 2018

This is Rapido Technology’s first take into the single focus market in order to compete with Rectilux and SLR Magic. It’s a pretty awesome adapter!

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Tito Ferradans here to talk about the Rapido FVD-16A. Before I even start, I’d like to thank JSD for letting me have his lens for a few days and take it to the distant lands of Hiroshima, while I was in Japan. The FVD-16A is Jim Chung’s single focus solution and it puts Rapido in the same market as the SLR Magic Rangefinder, Rectilux and – the now seemingly defunct – FM Lens. This is a small and light unit that magically turns your double focus setup into single focus. When I was out shooting at night I could always tell if something was in focus. The loss in IQ compared to just the anamorphic and taking lens feels negligible.

Unlike my previous single focus solution tests, I didn’t have a Kowa B&H for this one, so I tested with a Moller 32/2x and a Hypergonar S.T.O.P. 16 and the Contax Zeiss taking lenses. The name – FVD-16A – means front variable diopter for 16mm scopes, version A, implying there are other versions coming in the future. I was shooting in extremely hot weather and there was some grease leaking on the outside of the barrel every time I refocused. This is something I experienced with the HCDNA as well, so maybe these adapters are just not meant for tropical areas!

The FVD-16A feels like the Rangefinder should be if it wanted to compete with Rectilux. It’s smaller than the HCDNA, lighter too – only 415g. It has 75mm female threads on the back and connects to your scope through those or three small screws (just like the HCDNA). The 75mm threads also match the front of the Rapido FMJ and HTN’s Kowa Locking Ring. Rapido also offers an adapter from 72mm threads to 75mm so you can attach it to anything else.

The front has 77mm threads, which are much MUCH friendlier than the Rectilux’s 86mm. The FVD has focus scales in feet and meters, solid focus gears for follow focus and comes down to 1.2m (4ft). You’ll need diopters to get closer than that, but it’s cheap to get good 77mm diopters. Thanks to the non-rotating front it’s also easy to use 77mm vari-NDs. Handling feels solid and one of the debatable downsides is focus feels too light (no dampness to the ring). I’ve heard from a few users it’s quite stiff once you get it, but this one has been smoothed out by repeating turns. Another thing that constantly made me miss shots is that focus is reversed, Nikon-style. This is a big downside for me, since it takes me days to rewire my brain.

The FVD costs $500 and is made in small batches, while the HCDNA costs $1000 and is made in even smaller batches. If you’re on the fence about it, I’d say it’s a great investment. Go for it, but at this point, it means getting in line for one of the later batches.

Image quality is immensely superior than the Rangefinder, staying fairly sharp all the way to wide open and it feels in the same league as the HCDNA.

In terms of flares, it doubles up flare reflections, like all other single focus solutions, but I didn’t see any orbs like the ones from the Rangefinder. It has neutral coatings which won’t play with your original look.

My biggest concern at this point is the added vignetting because of its smaller size. So if you’re constantly pushing towards the widest combo you have, your setups will take a hit. With the Moller I had to go past 85mm to clear full frame with the Moller (smaller scope), but did fine at 85 and the Hypergonar. For clearing 2.4:1 crop on full frame, you’ll have to go longer than ___mm

My closing thoughts are this is a great piece of gear especially for those trying to spend less money and making a good single focus setup. Focus is a little light, but that’s a personal preference, and my only real downside to this whole thing is the reversed focus. Having 77mm filter threads is amazing, non-rotating front, focus gears, focus scales and a simple process to setup is all great. Jim did a great job on this one, and I’m curious to see if/when there’s gonna be another one for larger scopes.

What do you think of the FVD-16A? Are you getting one, or sticking to the Rectilux HCDNA? Let me know in the comments below! Also, like this video and subscribe to the channel so you can get updates with new episodes. I very much recommend making a pledge at my Patreon page, since you’ll have early access to content and other useful perks. I’m Tito Ferradans and I’ll see you soon.