Cinematography, GearComments Off on Saramonic CaMixer Adds a Headphone Jack to Your Sony a6300 / a6500
If you’re a proud owner of aSony a6300, you might be in desperate need of some sort of audio interface due to its lack of a headphone jack. Saramonic has your back here with the release of a very compact and very affordable audio mixer. Meet the Saramonic CaMixer.
The Saramonic CaMixer
This little audio interface could be just what you need if you’re after a a small, lightweight and affordable audio solution. Saramonic claims it is brand new, but actually it looks very familiar to me. Last year they released a very similar audio interface, the SmartMixer, intended to be used with smartphones. It’s a little more expensive, as it comes bundled with a smartphone holder and a grip. The new CaMixer comes in professional black rather than in consumer red.
Spot the dfference! Saramonic CaMixer (left) and SmartMixer (right)
Anyway, the functionality for a device like this is still very relevant, as a lot of smaller cameras like theSony a6300or even the freshly announced Sony a6500 lack a decent headphone jack for monitoring audio. You also get two detachable directional microphones plugged into 3.5mm mic inputs, a phantom powered mini XLR jack and of course an audio out port for connecting the Saramonic CaMixer to your camera. A lot of stuff for such a tiny preamp device, indeed.
GearComments Off on Sony RX100V & Sony A6500 Hands-On Video – Rolling Shutter & Overheating Solved?
Yesterday’s press event at Sony’s European headquarters was very informative. We were given the possibility to record with the new RX100V but not with the a6500 as this camera was not yet ready for primetime, although we did get a A6500 Hands-On too.
Here are, in short, the new features that these cameras have to offer:
On both cameras:
The Sony RX100V and Sony a6500 both share the same BIONZ X image processor and front-end LSI chip as the new Sony a99II, which allows for high volumes of data to be processed.
The buffer has been increased, which allows for capture of more photos per second and longer slow-motion videos.
Sony RX100V – Better rolling shutter effect control
Video image quality has been slightly improved.
Rolling shutter effect has been greatly improved because of better processing.
Autofocus is now faster and more accurate than before.
Photo mode allows up to six seconds of 24fps in RAW, theoretically allowing to create short 5.5K video clips.
GearComments Off on Five Things Fuji Missed With the X-T2
Fujifilm recently released the updated version of their flagship DSLR-styled mirrorless body, theX-T2. There are plenty of great things to be said about this new body. However, after a few weeks of using it, I’d like to share with you and Fuji a few things I’d like to see fixed or changed in the next firmware update.
Although perhaps not as convoluted as the menus on Sony cameras, the X-T2 menu system is starting to go that way. Simple things seem to be buried very deep — things like formatting your memory card. The new menu has a cleaner look, but I find it to be overly complicated when compared to the older menus on the X system. Although this is not the place to provide a full list, I feel that some things could be pulled out from the third-tier menus up to the main tier.
Saving the Focus Settings
I’ve written about this before. It seems like such a simple thing. When I’m using AF-S, I like to use my camera in single point AF. When working in AF-C, I like to use 3D tracking. I very rarely switch away from these two settings for my day-to-day work. However, the Fuji system keeps the focus mode and drive mode absolutely separate. This means that every time I switch to AF-C, I also need to switch the focus mode to 3D tracking. Then, when I switch back to AF-S, I also need to change the camera back to single point focus. This is a two step process that could be a single step.
Flat Picture Profile
With all the effort Fujifilm went to in order to improve their video integration, the missed some things that would be really useful. I am a huge fan of Fuji’s film simulations. I love them. Classic Chrome and Velvia make the shooting experience more fun just by having them. However, that’s not what I always want for video. A flat profile would be really great. Of course, you can create a similar effect by pushing shadows and pulling highlights in camera, but simply being able to switch to a flat profile would be so much simpler. Of course, then there’s F-Log.
Internal F-Log Recording
HDMI output only? Really? This feels like something Sony might charge you an upgrade price for. However, we can hope that the Fuji engineers will find a way to incorporate it through firmware. The hardware is there, so presumably, it’s just heat dissipation that they’re finding to be a problem. The F-Log footage looks great, so hopefully we’ll see that in the next firmware upgrade!
Apple, GearComments Off on We Compared the iPhone 7 Plus Camera to a Nikon DSLR
Another iPhone has hit the market and once again Apple has claimed that its camera creates “DSLR quality pictures.” I never believe when any cell phone manufacturer makes this claim, so I decided to put it to the test.
The iPhone 7 Plus has two cameras on its back: one 12 MP sensor has a wide-angle lens with optical stabilization and excellent ISO performance, and the other has a standard/telephoto lens with poor ISO performance. Our iPhone cost us around $1,000 but we certainly can’t claim the camera itself is worth that much. It’s one of many included features of this smartphone and therefore we couldn’t compare it to a $1,000 DSLR. We decided to compare this phone to a Nikon D300s and a Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 lens. Both cameras shoot 12 MP files and both of them have a wide to standard “zoom” range. On eBay this kit sells for around $500. Honestly this is still too expensive to be a “fair” comparison because the camera in the iPhone certainly isn’t half of its value, but it’s what we had available.
Image Quality In Ideal Light
Winner: Nikon D300s
I expected the Nikon to absolutely destroy the iPhone in this test and I was shocked to see how well the iPhone’s wide-angle camera performed. If you printed both of these files out, I’m not totally sure you would be able to pick out which is which, but if we zoom in to 100% on a computer we could tell the iPhone had more grain and noise than the Nikon.
The Nikon D300s shoots at 7fps but the iPhone seemed to shoot around 15fps. That being said, the iPhone didn’t give us manual control and chose a slow shutter that produced blurry images. In short, the iPhone is faster but the Nikon got the better shot.
Shallow Depth Of Field
Winner: Nikon D300s
Once again the iPhone lost but was still quite impressive. The new “portrait mode” on the iPhone allows you to create a fake shallow depth of field that looks quite convincing, especially for web use. One major downside is that the longer lens on the iPhone used in this portrait mode does not perform well in low light.
Winner: iPhone 7 Plus
This test wasn’t even fair. The D300s was one of the first DSLRs to ever shoot video and it can shoot a very poor 720p. The iPhone shoots an incredibly crisp 4K. It’s amazing to see just how far technology has come in seven years.
Winner: iPhone 7 Plus
This was the biggest shock to me by far. I never would have believed that a cell phone could beat a DSLR, even if that DSLR was seven years old. Well, the iPhone was extremely impressive in low light and easily beat the ISO performance of the D300s.
This is a tough one to judge. A DSLR will obviously give you access to unlimited accessories like lenses and flashes, but the iPhone has access to the App Store. Currently, many apps are allowing you to shoot raw on your iPhone 7. If you want to shoot a long exposure, a DSLR is your best bet, but if you want to do almost anything else, an iPhone probably has an app available.
Gear, TechniqueComments Off on This Cooled Nikon D5500a Chills the Sensor for Clearer Star Photos
An Italian astrophotography company called PrismaLuceLab has launched a modded version of the Nikon D5500 DSLR. Called the “D5500a Cooled,” the camera uses a special cooling system mounted on the back to chill the sensor and reduce noise during long-exposure photos.
“It’s the first ever cooled Nikon camera ever for astrophotography,” PrismaLuceLab CEO Filippo Bradaschia tells PetaPixel. Cooled CCD cameras generally have better performance in astrophotography compared to traditional DSLRs, but Bradaschia is aiming to narrow the gap with his company’s new modified DSLR. Unlike other CCD astro cameras on the market, the D5500a Cooled can be used without a computer.
The cooling system is a box that protrudes from the LCD screen space on the camera back — the LCD screen is kept in a flipped out position to the side of the camera. Temperatures inside the camera are reduced by a double Peltier cell by as much as 27°C (~80.1°F) compared to ambient temperature, dramatically reducing noise.
Here’s a “dark frame” comparison at ISO 6400 of a photo with the cooling system on and sensor at -2°C (left) and with the cooling system off and sensor at 20°C (right):
Cinematography, GearComments Off on Laowa 15mm f/2 E-Mount and 7.5mm f/2 MFT Mount Lenses Announced
At Photokina, Chinese lens manufacturer Venus Optics, who sell lenses by the name Laowa and specialise in niche glass for various cameras, announced two new fast wide angle lenses:
After their 12mm f/2.8 E-Mount which we reported about in August, they now also offer a new 15mm f/2 for E-Mount, which is very fast for such a wide angle lens. It covers the full frame 35mm sensor of Sony A7 series E-Mount cameras and is fully manual with hard stops and manual aperture. It features a filter thread which isn’t a given on all wide angle lenses at 15mm. No info on pricing yet.
Their other new lens is a fully manual 7.5mm f/2 prime for Micro Four Thirds cameras. It will feature a comparable wide angle field-of-view given the 2x crop factor of MFT sensors compared to 35mm full frame cameras. What’s particularly noteworthy about this lens is its tiny size and weight which, when combined with the wide angle field-of-view and the staggering f/2 maximum aperture, make it an ideal choice for drone operators flying a GH4 (or GH5 in the future) on their multicopter. There is no word on pricing on this lens either, but they promise to be “competitive”, which has usually been the case with their lenses so far indeed.
Cinematography, GearComments Off on Fujifilm X-T2 vs. Sony a7S II – Which One is the Best Mirrorless Video Camera?
The Fujifilm X-T2 mirrorless camera is quickly becoming a candidate as the new gold standard in affordable 4K video. But will it be replacing the famous Sony a7S II as the best mirrorless video camera for cinematic shooting?
Video shooters live in good times. Every few months, a new video shooting mirrorless camera rocks the market and gives us better cinema-like quality and features. Last year, theSony a7S II quickly became the best mirrorless video camera you could get, with a nice 4K image, numerous useful video features and impressive lowlight performance.
Just two weeks ago, the Panasonic GH5 was announced and raised the bar once more with its specs, offering internal 4:2:2 10bit in 4K, though this camera will only see the light of day in 2017. For now, the Fujifilm X-T2 has landed on our desk and stands a serious contender against theSony a7s II as the new gold standard. Let’s take a look.
We recently tested the Fujifilm X-T2 in a documentary style situation (check out our review). Few people expected that this camera would be quite so interesting for both photographers as well as video shooters. This is only Fujifilm’s first attempt at implementing 4K video into one of their mirrorless cameras, yet they got a lot of things right, and even since our review some new features have been implemented via a firmware update: Now you can get extended dynamic range (H-2, S-2) when recording internally.
Both the Fujfilm X-T2 as well as the Sony a7S II are designed as mirror-less cameras in a photo body. The FujifilmX-T2 has the Fuji X-Mount and houses an APS-C sized sensor. The Sony a7S II has the Sony E-mount and houses a full-frame sensor. There are fans for both sensor sizes, but in terms of the lens-mount, there are only a few adapters for Fuji right now, while there are many options for Sony E. This could change in the future, if user interest for Fuji X-Mount adapters rises.