Richard Sisk

I am a photographer, in particular since 1993 a full time photographer. I have specialized in landscapes and city skylines. It has been an interesting journey that has taken me all around our great country. I have visited many historic sites and most of our magnificent cities. One thing that has struck me has been the kindness and helpful spirit of the many people I’ve met along the way. It has been an opportunity to learn a great deal about many remarkable locations and people. I was able to travel a remote portion of the Oregon Trail in Idaho. I visited the source of the Missouri River in Montana, and reached down to taste the cold, crystal clear water, as Meriwether Lewis had done 200 years earlier. A few months later I found his final resting place along the Natchez Trace in Tennessee. There have been many moving moments during this long journey. However, the wonderful and kind people of America have been the greatest source of inspiration throughout my travels.

Sony 18-110mm Review – One-Of-A-Kind Versatile Video & Cine Zoom by; Sebastian Wober

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Sony 18-110mm Review – One-Of-A-Kind Versatile Video & Cine Zoom by; Sebastian Wober
May 192017
 

The conveniently-named Sony E PZ 18-110mm F/4 G OSS lens has been on our radar ever since it was announced in September, as it is one of the only lenses of its kind made for large sensor video cameras. In my Sony 18-110mm review, I will be looking at all the benefits and limitations of this lens. See the video review summary above, or read on for the details.

Sony 18-110mm Review

When looking at the new Sony E PZ 18-110mm F/4 G OSS, it makes sense to first look at its predecessor, the FE PZ 28-135mm F/4 G OSS (Review HERE). Back when Sony introduced their first lens in this series, it was the only “affordable” video lens made for large-sensor cameras with video functionality. Unfortunately, some aspects about it were not ideal: while it gave us a great focal range on full-frame cameras like the Sony a7S and Sony a7S II, the field of view was too narrow on crop sensor cameras (super35) like the Sony FS7, which it actually shipped with as a combo package. Also, the electronic zoom functionality was a big downside for many.

Fast forward to 2016 when Sony introduced the E PZ 18-110 F/4 G OSS, the subject of this 18-110mm review. Tailored to super35, it introduced a manual zoom functionality alongside several other improvements. Now this lens is finally on my desk and, even though the Sony FS7 is out for a shoot, I have no reservations to slap it onto our Sony a6500 to take it for a spin.

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Go Wide with the New Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 GM and 12-24mm F/4 G by; Adam Plowden

 Gear  Comments Off on Go Wide with the New Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 GM and 12-24mm F/4 G by; Adam Plowden
May 192017
 

The new Sony 16-35mm F/2.8 GM and 12-24mm F/4 G are the latest additions to the wide-angle end of their lens line-up for full-frame E-mount cameras.

Sony 16-35mm F/2.8 GM

Professional video creators and filmmakers have been eagerly anticipating the release of a wide-angle G Master lens, and the wait is finally over. The Sony 16-35mm F/2.8 GM promises sharpness across the zoom range and throughout apertures, with Sony promoting the extreme aspherical (XA) element – the largest Sony has ever created – to achieve the greatest resolution and lowest image distortion. The Nano AR coating also is supposed to reduce the unwanted flare and ghosting that often plague wide-angle shots.

Eleven aperture blades promise a pleasing circular bokeh, even when shooting at the minimum focus distance of 28cm, where lower-end wide-angle lenses struggle with creating depth and maintaining sharpness.

Two direct drive SSM systems handle the auto-focusing capabilities, working with the floating focus configuration to achieve fast and precise results while remaining quiet in operation, thus catering for both photography and video applications.

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Freefly MōVI Carbon and Pilot by; Rin Ehlers Sheldon

 Gear  Comments Off on Freefly MōVI Carbon and Pilot by; Rin Ehlers Sheldon
May 132017
 

NAB 2017 was abuzz with the sound of Freefly: adding to their big MōVI XL release, they have also announced the MōVI Carbon gimbal and Pilot controller.

Freefly MōVI Pilot

If you’re a fan of the MIMIC, you should be pretty jazzed about the MōVI Pilot. With remote control over the 3 axes of focus, iris, and zoom, the Pilot gives an AC or an operator a pumped follow focus that fully integrates with MōVI Pro. The Pilot features adjustable focus knob damping and a 2-axis joystick that can be set to control focal length, gimbal, pointing, or just about anything you want at the tip of your thumb.

Freefly promises a price point under $5,000, and if you want, you can reserve one before you even know what you’re spending. If you’re a part of a team that leans on a MōVI gimbal, this seems like a smart purchase to fully take advantage of what your rig can do.

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Quick Overview of DaVinci Resolve 14 Audio Editing Capabilities

 Technique  Comments Off on Quick Overview of DaVinci Resolve 14 Audio Editing Capabilities
May 132017
 

DaVinci Resolve 14 looks very promising and more videos about it are popping up on YouTube every day. One feature that was left out in many demonstrations until now is the integration of FairLight for audio editing. With the new version of Resolve, it’s possible to edit sound within the software. No need for an additional costly plugin, or any round-trip of a sort. Let’s see how with Casey Faris.

Resolve was primarily known for its color editing capabilities. It’s become an industry standard for grading, but Blackmagic Design wants to offer more to its users by creating a one-stop editing software. It has had editing possibilities for a while now, but audio edition wasn’t quite up to par. With the integration of FairLight Audio, it’s a whole different world, and it could potentially make other apps such as Adobe Audition useless for most video makers.

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Ingenious ‘FilmLab’ App is the Easiest Way to Turn Negatives Into Digital Files

 Technique  Comments Off on Ingenious ‘FilmLab’ App is the Easiest Way to Turn Negatives Into Digital Files
May 132017
 

Software developer Abe Fettig has a winner on his hands. His newly developed app FilmLab makes it easier than ever to turn film negatives and slides of various sizes into digital files without having to touch a scanner, understand wet mounting, or really do anymore more than point and shoot with your smartphone.

Fettig says he created the app for himself. “When I got into shooting film, I started imagining software that would make it easier and more fun to scan and share my negatives with other people,” he says in the Kickstarter video. “About six months ago I started working on FilmLab as a side project, and now I have a working prototype.”

And that prototype is impressive in its sheer simplicity. It really is as simple as point and shoot. No more difficult than scanning prints with a smartphone app like Google’s Photo Scan. Check out the walkthrough video below to see how it works:

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Sony Introduces the S3CA – A Sony a7S II Without Recording Limit by; Sebastian Wober

 Cinematography  Comments Off on Sony Introduces the S3CA – A Sony a7S II Without Recording Limit by; Sebastian Wober
May 022017
 

Many were hoping to see an announcement of something like a “Sony a7S 3” camera at this year’s NAB. Instead, we saw a new version of the Sony a7S II called S3CA. While there is indeed an “S3” in its product name, this is rather a “special version” of the a7S II for certain applications. Here’s all about the new Sony S3CA.

Sony S3CA

The S3CA is an interesting camera – it features the same sensor and processing as the popular Sony a7S II, but doesn’t limit your recording to 30 minutes, meaning your card size is really the deciding factor on how long you can record for.

The Sony a7S II was introduced in 2015 and has made headlines as being one of the best cinema cameras on the market, especially because of its impressive lowlight capabilities (see my lowlight review here).

On top of its a7S II heritage, the S3CA has a slightly smaller, box-shaped and more durable body and it has no screen or buttons – it requires a USB connection with a PC or Mac as a control interface. For some applications this could be a very interesting solution. The S3CA could for example be used during a live production and be controlled from the mixer instead of a camera operator.

The camera on display was hooked up to a computer app, in which I noticed that the image lagged and stuttered. The app, however, is not intended for monitoring. Instead, the camera features an HDMI output up to 4K for monitoring and external recording.

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Panasonic 360 4K Video Camera – A Prototype No Longer by; Graham Sheldon

 Gear  Comments Off on Panasonic 360 4K Video Camera – A Prototype No Longer by; Graham Sheldon
May 022017
 

360 video is still very much the talk of NAB, and Panasonic is not one to be left behind. First announced late last year, the AW-360C10 – AKA the Panasonic 360 camera –  features four cameras shooting at 3840×1920 resolution and uses real-time active stitching. It’s aimed at the live event 360 world and we have all the details below: 

We first announced the Panasonic 360 prototype camera (Panasonic-360C10) and its base unit back in November of 2016 at Inter Bee, and now it seems the camera has made the jump from prototype into production. Four cameras mounted along the head of the unit shoot 4K video at up to 59.94fps in a 2:1 image format ratio, a.k.a equi-rectangular video.

Panasonic is hoping that their low latency system will find a home with sports, concerts, and other live, stadium-based events.

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This is What 20fps with the Sony a9 Sounds Like (Spoiler: Nothing)

 Gear  Comments Off on This is What 20fps with the Sony a9 Sounds Like (Spoiler: Nothing)
Apr 242017
 

Sony made quite a splash in the photo industry this week by announcing the new a9, a mirrorless camera that can shoot 24MP full-frame photos at a whopping 20fps. We soon got a look at what 20fps on this camera looks like. If you want to see what 20fps sounds like, check out the video above.

Some DSLRs can shoot at relatively fast rates as well — check out 12fps with the Nikon D5 and 16fps with the Canon 1D X II — but with DSLRs you’ll have audible sounds from the mirror and/or shutter flapping up and down.

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Hasselblad H6D-100c Review – Shooting Medium-Format Video by; Christoph Tilley

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Hasselblad H6D-100c Review – Shooting Medium-Format Video by; Christoph Tilley
Apr 242017
 

In this guest review, Vienna-based filmmaker Christoph Tilley takes a close look at the Hasselblad H6D-100c – a 100MP, 4K Raw-capable medium format camera. Intrigued? Read on for his hands-on impressions.

Christoph Tilley reviews the Hasselblad H6D-100c

Shooting Medium-Format Video

Not too long ago DSLRs revolutionized the way we make films. These days, we are seeing the emergence of the first medium-format stills cameras capable of shooting video. What would it be like to shoot video on an such an extremely large sensor? 

Enter the Hasselblad H6D-100c, a 100 Megapixel Full-Frame Medium-Format Stills Camera. The resolution is absolutely incredible on this thing – each Raw image has a file size of 216,3 Megabytes. But why in particular is this interesting for us filmmakers? Well, this thing can also shoot 4K Raw video.

But what kind of results will you get when shooting video? And how does this large sensor compare to Super35 in the real world? To find out, we shot a typical interview scene on the RED Dragon with a 50mm lens wide open at f/1.4. Right alongside we had the Hasselblad H6D-100c with a 100mm lens at an f-stop of f/4.

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Sony Unveils Blazing Fast a9: A 24MP Sports Camera that Shoots 20fps

 Gear  Comments Off on Sony Unveils Blazing Fast a9: A 24MP Sports Camera that Shoots 20fps
Apr 202017
 

Holy frames per second Batman! Sony just raised the bar on high-speed sports photography with their latest “groundbreaking” (but actually) camera release. The newly-announced Sony a9 is a 24MP high-end full-frame mirrorless sports camera that can fire off an insane 20fps with no blackout.

Sony is calling this “the most technologically advanced, innovative digital camera that [we have] ever created,” and this descriptor doesn’t miss the mark.

With 20fps blackout-free and distortion-free silent shooting, high-speed tracking with 60 AF/AE calculations per second, a 693-point AF system with 93% frame coverage, a 3,686k-dot EVF that runs at 120fps, and 5-axis in-body stabilization that offers up to 5 stops of shake reduction, the camera is looking to challenge entrenched sports cams like the Canon 1DX Mark II and Nikon D5.

The a9 can also shoot full-frame, full-sensor 4K that is actually downsampled from 6K worth of pixels; it features an Ethernet port for quick file transfer and dual SD card slots for plenty of storage; and the new battery Sony put inside boasts twice the capacity (480 shots per charge) of previous models. If you need even more charge, the optional battery grip holds two of these batteries, for a total of 950 shots.

 

Putting the impressive spec sheet aside, the headline feature is, of course, the sheer speed of this thing. At 20fps for up to 241 RAW or 362 JPEG frames, it makes even the 1DX Mark II and its 14fps seems a bit… clunky.

Sony is able to reach these unheard of continuous shooting speeds thanks to the new stacked CMOS sensor at its core, a chip Sony says is the “first of its kind” and “enables data speed processing at up to 20x faster than previous Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras.” Pair that sensor and its built-in RAM with a brand new BIONZ X engine and you’ve got a camera that screams.

Here are a few videos that offer a closer look at this revolutionary new mirrorless camera and some of its most compelling features:

Promo Video

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Famous B&W Photos Turned into Color by a 21-Year-Old Whiz

 Technique  Comments Off on Famous B&W Photos Turned into Color by a 21-Year-Old Whiz
Apr 162017
 

 

Marina Amaral is a 21-year-old Brazilian retoucher who is receiving widespread acclaim for her work adding color to famous historical B&W photos.

Amaral’s work provides a different and beautiful look at various people and events.

Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, 1914
Senator John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy, 1953

Each of the works requires a lot of careful research, planning, and retouching — Amaral sometimes spends months working on a single image. All the digital editing is done by hand in Photoshop, and often involves hundreds of different layers of color coming together to form the final look.

Here are some more colorizations Amaral has done so far:

Body of Confederate sharpshooter, 1863

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Lightroom Mobile HDR Camera Better than iPhone 7 HDR

 HDR Images, HDR Info, HDR Software  Comments Off on Lightroom Mobile HDR Camera Better than iPhone 7 HDR
Apr 152017
 

Adobe just launched an update to Lightroom Mobile that lets users shoot HDR photos on iPhone and Android using the Lightroom Mobile app. The great photo organizing and editing app from Adobe will let users shoot their shots and then edit them after taking the photos. We’ll show users how to use the app to take beautiful shots in difficult lighting situations.

Why Shoot HDR Photos on iPhone?

First, what is HDR? It stands for High Dynamic Range and refers to a special kind of photography where the photographer shoots three or more photos using different light settings for each shot. For example, the person will shoot the first shot to get the brightest parts of the scenery well-lit, but this leaves the mid-tones and dark areas too dark. So they take another shot of the same scenery so that the mid-tones get the best exposure. However, this leaves the brightest areas, like a window in a room or the sky in a landscape photo, too bright. The darkest areas, like the shaded area under a tree in a landscape, look too dark. The third shot gets the best exposure for those dark areas, leaving the mid-tones and bright areas too bright.

An example of a beautiful landscape photo (source Pixabay user: hannsbenn).

Professional or high-end consumer cameras often give photographers the best option for shooting HDR photos. They automatically will shoot three or more shots using different exposure settings. Some apps will mimic this HDR look, but they don’t really work as well. The HDR setting on the iPhone 7 camera works okay, but not as well as Lightroom Mobile. Until now, using the camera app’s HDR setting gave users the best option for shooting HDR Photos on iPhone, but not anymore.

Before Adobe’s update to Adobe Lightroom Mobile, shooting HDR Photos on iPhone meant taking three shots and then exporting them to a computer. The photographer then combines the three or more shots into one shot with excellent lighting for all three areas, light, dark and mid-tones. That means uploading the photos, going to your desktop or laptop computer and opening a photo editor, like MacPhun’s Aurora HDR 2017 editing software or Adobe Photoshop CS.

 

How to Shoot HDR Photos on iPhone with Lightroom Mobile

First, install the app and sign up for an Adobe account if you don’t already have one. To get the most out of the app, you will need a subscription. The Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan only costs $9.99/month and includes access to the full desktop/laptop versions of Photoshop and Lightroom plus the ability to sync between mobile devices and desktop/laptop computers. The free version lets users take photos using the steps below.

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Samsung Unveils High Dynamic Range 4K LED Cinema Display by; Fabian Chaundy

 HDR TV  Comments Off on Samsung Unveils High Dynamic Range 4K LED Cinema Display by; Fabian Chaundy
Apr 152017
 

The new 34-foot HDR LED cinema display from Samsung aims to offer impressive performance for a new age of the cinema viewing experience.

Samsung’s latest unveiling in cinema technology has clearly been designed for the new age of viewing experience. The 34-foot LED screen design follows the latest trend of High Dynamic Range, a hot topic that many manufacturers have been chasing after in recent times (check out THIS article for a recent example). Its 146fL (foot-Lamberts) make it over 10 times brighter than regular movie projectors, while offering “ultra-contrast and low tone grayscale settings” for contrast ratio of almost infinity:1.

Of course, it also features Cinema 4K resolution of 4,096 x 2,160, one of the features which make it DCI-compliant.

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HDR Photography vs. HDR TV Explained

 HDR Info, HDR Software, HDR TV  Comments Off on HDR Photography vs. HDR TV Explained
Apr 132017
 

You’re going to hear a lot about High Dynamic Range, or HDR in the next few years. HDR imaging is already leaving a mark on the photography industry. Now, HDR displays are making a splash too, although it will be some time before they become commonplace.

As a photographer, you might be tempted to purchase an HDR TV or and HDR screen. At least for now, that isn’t necessary or practical.

 

HDR TV vs. NON-HDR TV. Is there a difference?

HDR display and HDR capture, which we’ll discuss, aren’t the same things, although they have a similar goal. Each process makes a digital copy, whether it be a video or photograph, look more like the real thing.

With HDR for monitors or TVs, this display process refers to the device’s ability to recognize specialized content that standard devices cannot. Here, the goal is to make bright images even more so, while keeping the darker parts dark. This difference between light and dark, known as the contrast ratio, is greater on HDR-capable devices than on standard ones.

As CNET notes,

“In its simplest state, it means a brighter TV, but only in the areas on the screen that need it. The result is an image that really pops and looks more like what you’d see in the real world.”

Not surprisingly, the first HDR monitors are very expensive. One from Dell, for example, is expected to launch for $4,999, while the studio-grade Sony BVM X300 costs $18,000.

 

What are the alternatives to expensive HDR TVs?

Rather than paying for an HDR display, purchase an entirely new Apple Mac instead.

Apple currently offers a 21.5-inch iMac with a Retina 4K display and the 27-inch iMac with a Retina 5K display. It also offers a 12-inch MacBook, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and 15-inch MacBook Pro — all with Retina displays too. Each of these devices are ideal for professional and novice photographers alike.

The 21.5-inch iMac with a Retina 4K display features 4,096 x 2,304 resolution and 9.4 million pixels, which is 4.5 times more than the standard 21.5-inch iMac display. The 27-inch iMac features 14.7 million pixels, seven times more pixels than an HD display. Both iMacs are supported by a wider P3-based color gamut, which provides 25 percent larger color space than previous models.

How can I capture HDR with my camera?

By contrast to HDR display, HDR for cameras is a capture process where a display shows a wider and richer range of colors, crisper whites, and much deeper blacks.

Many of today’s most popular smartphones have HDR capabilities, including current generation iPhones, Samsung, and Sony devices. High-end cameras also utilize HDR.

 

From a technical standpoint, smartphones and cameras handle HDR imaging differently. Regardless, each has a similar goal: providing a greater contrast between light and dark images, by combining several photos taken during a single burst.

You capture each of these pictures at a different exposure called “stops” or “brackets,” during the HDR process. The first stop offers an extremely dark image, while the last one is extremely bright. When merged into a single image, the final photograph includes a greater exposure range.

Taking  HDR shots isn’t easy, and in some situations, not recommended. HDR mode requires a steady hand because it doesn’t capture action well. When movement is involved, alignment can be off, and double exposures can occur. Because of this, you should use a tripod.

HDR mode works best for high-contrast scenes such as landscapes or in scenes with backlighting. HDR is also nice when capturing objects in direct sunlight.

 

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Adobe Lightroom for iOS updated with authentic HDR capture, by Zac Hall

 HDR Info, News, Technique  Comments Off on Adobe Lightroom for iOS updated with authentic HDR capture, by Zac Hall
Apr 132017
 

Adobe has released a new version of Photoshop Lightroom for iOS that includes more powerful tools for shooting on the iPhone. Authentic HDR is a new mode that rivals competing high-dynamic-range methods. Version 2.7 also includes exporting raw images and a new widget for 3D Touch and the Today view in Notification Center.

Authentic HDR, or raw HDR, is a new capture mode that Adobe says “combines the benefits of HDR technology and DNG raw” and “automatically analyzes a scene to determine the appropriate spread of exposure values over three shots, then automatically aligns, de-ghosts, and tone maps the image, creating a 32-bit floating point DNG file.”

Apple’s built-in Camera app has long supported shooting in HDR mode, but shooting in raw on iOS is still limited to third-party apps. Adobe also says its new raw HDR capture mode is superior to the iOS method that applies heavy noise reduction, sharpening and tone adjustment, and an overall lower quality image.

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Canon Working on Global Shutter With High Dynamic Range, by Alex Cooke

 HDR Info, News  Comments Off on Canon Working on Global Shutter With High Dynamic Range, by Alex Cooke
Apr 132017
 

Canon has developed a 2/3″ sensor with a global shutter and high dynamic range, helping to pave the way toward future generations of video cameras.

The rolling shutter is a common issue in video. Because most cameras read each frame of sensor data by scanning across the frame either vertically or horizontally, this means that data from the sensor is not read simultaneously, which can cause artifacts, particularly with quickly moving subjects, the most common example being airplane propellers.

While certain cameras such as the Sony F55 have a global shutter, which reads all sensor data at the same time, the majority still use rolling shutters. Canon’s global shutter CMOS sensor initially had a smaller dynamic range that required two improvements to regain a wider range.

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Topaz Labs Spring Sale Info

 News  Comments Off on Topaz Labs Spring Sale Info
Apr 132017
 

I am a big fan of Topaz Labs plugins for Photoshop… They are having a 40% off Storewide sale through April 16, 2017.

Please use the code: “SPRING40” in your cart.

Introduction to Aurora HDR 2017

 HDR Software, HDR360pro Discounts, Technique  Comments Off on Introduction to Aurora HDR 2017
Apr 112017
 

Download the FREE Trial at the link below!

Aurora HDR 2017

Leica Thalia Lens Line Announced for Alexa 65 and Vista Vision by; Tim Fok

 Gear  Comments Off on Leica Thalia Lens Line Announced for Alexa 65 and Vista Vision by; Tim Fok
Apr 022017
 

Leica has just announced a new set of primes for the 65mm Cinema format, compatible also with smaller sensor sizes. The Leica Thalia spherical lenses are compact, come in 9 focal lengths, and will cover a 60mm image circle.

The new Leica Thalia lens line.

The Leica Thalia collection has been designed with large format cinema in mind – think Alexa 65 and Vista Vision (RED Weapon 8K VV). The large image circle, however, will also enable their use on smaller, more regularly-used formats in Super35 film and digital.

Leica has announced 9 focal lengths straight off the bat, with no drip-feeding over time: 24, 30, 35, 45, 70, 100, 120, and 180mm, with T-stops ranging from 3.6 to 2.2 (see the graph further down for itemised T stops).

The Thalia lens line features a PL mount, with i Technology contacts for providing metadata.

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Metabones PL-E T CINE Speed Booster ULTRA is Here by; Jakub Han

 Gear  Comments Off on Metabones PL-E T CINE Speed Booster ULTRA is Here by; Jakub Han
Apr 022017
 

The new Metabones PL-E T CINE Speed booster ULTRA was recently announced. It uses special materials and allows you to mount PL (Positive lock) full-frame cinema lenses on E-mount Sony cameras and X-mount FUJIFILM cameras.

Metabones PL-E T CINE Speed Booster ULTRA

The new Metabones PL-E T CINE Speed Booster ULTRA features a new 5-element/4-group optical design with ultra-high index tantalum-based optical glass, which should improve corner sharpness, distortion, and reduce vignetting.

Just like the original Speed Booster, it reduces crop factor by 0.71x. Given the standard crop factor of 1.5 of most APS-C/Super35 cameras, using the new Speed Booster will result in having almost no crop at all (1.5 x 0.71 = 1.065). Remember that Speed Boosters are designed to only cover an APS-C/Super35 image circle, so on full-frame camera bodies (A7 series, NEX-VG900) the camera needs to be in “APS-C/Super35” capture mode.

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