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.

Canon 6D Mark II Vs. 80D and 7D Mark II In-Depth Review

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Canon 6D Mark II Vs. 80D and 7D Mark II In-Depth Review
Sep 072017
 

The Canon 6D Mark II has not been the most well-received camera thus far. But how does it actually perform, and are the complaints justified?

The initial complaints were around the fact that this camera does not shoot 4K video. Discussions then moved on to its dynamic range and how it underperformed even against APS-C cameras. The most recent complaints are around the fact that its performance at higher ISOs may be worse than the original 6D. Personally, my biggest gripe about this camera is the fact that it only has one storage slot. This one individual point makes it less viable in a professional setting for me, however this may not bring as much concern to shooters upgrading from the original. The 6D Mark II has been referred to as a bigger Canon 80D and for good reason. There are a few minor differences between the two cameras except for the sensor size and price tag. The Canon 7D Mark II sits in between the 80D and 6D Mark II when it comes to the price and for that reason, it’s viable to compare these three to one another.

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Here’s the First 8K Timelapse Shot with the Nikon D850

 Gear  Comments Off on Here’s the First 8K Timelapse Shot with the Nikon D850
Sep 072017
 

The new Nikon D850 lets you create 8K timelapses using the 45.7-megapixel sensor and the built-in Interval Timer. If you’ve been wanting to see what 8K shot with the camera looks like, today’s your lucky day: we got our hands on the first 8K timelapse short film shot on the D850.

The 2.5-minute video above was captured by photographer and Nikon Ambassador Lucas Gilman in Iceland using a pre-production D850. If you somehow have an 8K-capable screen, be sure to select the 4320p/8K quality option in the video to watch it in its full glory.

Here’s an illustration showing how much more resolution 8K has than 4K, Full HD, and SD:

Gilman says he chose to test the camera’s 8K capabilities in Iceland due to the movements that can be seen everywhere in the landscapes and due to the microclimates that provide a huge amount of visual diversity even in a short amount of time.

The project was challenging though: there’s only a single sunrise and sunset you can capture each day, and each 3-4 second sequence in the video above took hours for Gilman to plan and shoot. He was planning to shoot night scenes as well, but Iceland’s days were 20 hours long while he was in the country.

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Vision Research introduces Phantom VEO 4KPL and Phantom VEO 590L

 Gear  Comments Off on Vision Research introduces Phantom VEO 4KPL and Phantom VEO 590L
Sep 062017
 

Vision Research has just introduced its newest flagship model, the Phantom VEO 4K PL, as well as the Phantom VEO 590S and VEO590L. How do these newly-introduced cameras compare to other models? Will the camera break my bank? We have the answers for you below.

What is the Phantom VEO line?

They say that when you touch a Phantom camera you go straight to heaven. At least that’s how I feel. Vision Research is a company that started out with high-speed cameras for military testing and analysing car-crash impacts, only to later turn its eye to the film industry with its revolutionary tech. In 2014, Vision Research introduced the mind-blowing Phantom Flex 4K camera, capable of 1000 frames-per-second at full 4K DCI resolution, in what many would consider the best quality 4K RAW compared to RED and even ARRI. Last year, Vision Research introduced the VEO line, a more compact version of their film industry cameras that continue the trend set by the ARRI Mini and RED – that smaller is better. Less weight and a more compact design mean more possibilities, such as the use of stabilisation platforms and even UAV. In comparison, the Phantom Flex 4K body weighs an incredible 5kg without ANYTHING on it. Add a lens, follow focus, rods, viewfinder, batteries, monitor and you can easily accumulate a weight that not many gimbals can handle.

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Olympus E-M10 III – Sample Footage and Exclusive First Impressions

 Gear  Comments Off on Olympus E-M10 III – Sample Footage and Exclusive First Impressions
Sep 062017
 

Johnnie had a chance to be one of the first to get his hands on the new Olympus E-M10 III and test its video capabilities.

Finally, a short family summer vacation. It is time to pack, leave work behind and slow down to the point that only the necessary body organs are working (brain excluded). But wait, whom am I kidding? The courier just rang the door bell, bringing a small package containing the shiny new Olympus E-M10 III. Now, as a workaholic, my options are limited: cancel my vacation and risk an immediate divorce, or pack my production bag and search for a story to shoot while on vacation. Knowing from past experience that mixing a family activity and work is a bad idea, I decided to leave behind my ambitions of a big production and scale everything down to the minimum. My simple tourist setup consisted of this small new Micro Four Thirds camera, the extremely cheap Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 EZ pancake kit lens and my trusted Heliopan Vari ND filter. THAT’S IT – no tripod, no slider, no gimbal, just pure simplicity. And enough to be reassured that there is no substitute for having fun when filming with a small camera, no matter how good its bigger brothers may perform.

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Nikon D850 Full Frame 4K!

 Adorama Deals, Cinematography, Gear, News  Comments Off on Nikon D850 Full Frame 4K!
Aug 242017
 

Record 16:9 4K Ultra HD (3840×2160) in full frame glory using the total widthof the D850’s back-side illuminated CMOS sensor. Take advantage ofthe large sensor size for clean output at high ISO and for shooting with zerocrop factor with full-frame NIKKOR lenses3, including wide and ultra-wideangle lenses.

 

I think this is just what I need… I have been a Nikon user but switched to Canon a number of years ago. I just may switch back!

Pre-Order Now:

The new Nikon D850 is now available for pre-order. Expected ship date is 09/7/2017

Nikon D850 FX-format Digital SLR Body – $3296.95

New Accessories:
MB-D18 Multi-Power Battery Pack – $396.95
Nikon ES-2 Film Digitalizing Adapter Set for D850 – $139.95
AN-DC18 Strap – $24.95
FH-4 Strip Film Holder $34.95
FH-5 Slide Mount Holder – $24.95

Nikon D850 Announced

 Adorama Deals, Cinematography, News  Comments Off on Nikon D850 Announced
Aug 242017
 

Nikon D850

The Nikon D850 is now official after quite a bit of anticipation following a development announcement just a few short weeks ago. Thankfully, Nikon has not disappointed and the new D850 houses some of the best specifications and features of any modern camera. Headlining the announcement is a new full frame 45.7MP BSI (back side illuminated) sensor with no low pass filter. We first saw this technology implemented in the Sony A7RII and it should allow for amazing dynamic range while still retaining great low light results, even with the higher resolution sensor. When the Nikon D800 first pioneered the high resolution DSLR, it did so with limited speed and performance. Thankfully the D850 matches the Canon 5D Mark IV’s ample 7fps shooting speed and can even exceed it by shooting up to 9fps when paired with the MB-D18 battery grip and EN-EL18a/b battery. Alright Nikon, you have my attention!

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Matthews Grip Goes Mobile – MSE Rover Smartphone Cage

 Gear  Comments Off on Matthews Grip Goes Mobile – MSE Rover Smartphone Cage
Aug 232017
 

With the Rover smartphone cage system, grip manufacturer Matthews Studio Equipment enters the world of smartphone filmmaking.

 

With its 50 years of experience in the manufacture of grip equipment, Matthews Studio Equipment has become synonymous with industry-standard, quality products. Matthews’ new Rover smartphone cage system first made an appearance back in February for an unsuccessful Kickstarter campaign. Despite this brief setback, MSE went ahead with product development, bringing their pedigree in the industry into the new era of smartphone filmmaking.

The core of the Rover system are the two aluminium brackets that hold your phone in place. The system has been designed to work with most popular smartphones models and 3rd-party lens systems.

The cage itself is attached to a frame made of rods, which makes it possible to customise the placement of various accessories. In addition to a repositionable cold-shoe mount and fourteen 1/4”-20 mounting points (which Matthews calls Points of Freedom), the system also includes a tripod mount so you can attach a plate and go from sticks to handheld in no time.

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New Samsung T5 SSD is Super Fast – Enough for 4K Raw?

 Gear  Comments Off on New Samsung T5 SSD is Super Fast – Enough for 4K Raw?
Aug 232017
 

The recently-announced Samsung T5 SSD is a little V-NAND storage beast, capable of throughput speeds up to 540MB/s.

The Samsung T3 has been a popular external SSD for content creators since its introduction in 2016 thanks to its fast transfer speeds, rugged build and small size. Samsung has just updated the T3 with the new T5 version, which features a jump to the USB 3.1 Gen 2 protocol, doubling the potential data transfer rate from 5 to 10Gbps.

The 64-layer V-NAND architecture of the Samsung T5 offers potential transfer speeds of up to 540MB/s, making it one of the fastest external SSDs in the market and in theory fast enough to edit 4K raw footage off of. This is great as it would mean editing off of a single drive rather than from a RAID – the kind of storage system that can offer the required data transfer speed.

Bear in mind, though, that the T5 needs to squeeze every bit of those new 10Gbps it possible can, meaning that in order for the drive to reach its full transfer-speed potential, your computer needs to have a USB 3.1 Gen 2-compatible port. If you are not totally clear on the ins and outs of external drives, ports and transfer protocols, let me point you to this excellent recent article by Tim: Looking For a Fast Portable Drive? It May Not Be As Fast As You Think.

The Samsung T5 features an aluminium unibody for maximum ruggedness, weighs only 51g and is smaller than a business card, keeping with the dimensions of the earlier T3.

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Sigma Cine High Speed Zoom Line – Sample Footage & Review

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Sigma Cine High Speed Zoom Line – Sample Footage & Review
Aug 172017
 

In this guest review, DP and Director Thomas Schweighofer takes a look at the Sigma Cine High Speed Zoom line during a documentary shoot with a RED EPIC-W Helium 8K. Please also read Graham Sheldon’s extensive review of both Sigma zoom lenses, which we published a few months ago. 

I recently had the chance to shoot a documentary project in the US featuring Austrian musician Dominic Muhrer and American Superstar Joshua Ledet. In order to achieve a better image quality in this particular project, I wanted to get my hands on some of the new Sigma cine primes, but at that point in time it was just too early to get a set. Instead, the folks at Sigma contacted me and told me to test their Sigma Cine High Speed Zoom cine line. I agreed but, being so used to shooting with primes, I didn’t expect too much. 

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How to Maximize Your DJI Spark Dynamic Range in Postproduction

 Gear  Comments Off on How to Maximize Your DJI Spark Dynamic Range in Postproduction
Aug 172017
 

Amongst the drones available on the market in 2017, the DJI Spark is surely not amongst the top ones in terms of files quality. The sequences it creates are quite difficult to color grade in postproduction and thus it makes it hard for videographers to mix the clips with footage from another camera. However, there are ways to improve what you can get out of Spark’s videos. Casey Faris gives us one of the tricks he uses to maximize the dynamic range of the images.

The DJI Spark is without a doubt an incredibly attractive product to get into aerial photography and videography. But its price comes at the cost of more advanced features found on the Phantom and Mavic, such as log footage. The sequences produced by the Spark are very contrasty, sharp, and quite saturated. It’s not a bad thing for average users, but it’s far from ideal for those who want to color grade their footage.

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Fstoppers Reviews the Insta360 Air: A Pocket-Sized 360-Degree Streaming Camera

 Gear  Comments Off on Fstoppers Reviews the Insta360 Air: A Pocket-Sized 360-Degree Streaming Camera
Aug 172017
 

Live streaming on Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook is nothing new in the age of social media. It’s a fantastic tool for marketing or just showing how much fun you’re having on a fun new adventure. What if you were able to completely immerse your viewers in the environment you’re streaming? InstaAir 360 is one such a camera and I was given the opportunity to work with it.

To start I’ll give you the basics. The camera is available for both Android (both Micro USB and USB Type-C) and Apple devices. For lens elements, it has dual 210-degree lenses facing 180-degrees from each other. With a max output of 3K resolution images, and 2K (3K on certain phone models) video. Utilizing real-time stitching, you’re able to stream the views from the camera live on most social media applications. It featured built-in stabilization allowing for smooth operation. In addition, it can be used as a webcam with the included USB adapter.

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Fixed & Downloadable: Sony FS5 Firmware V4.02 with Hybrid Log Gamma

 Gear  Comments Off on Fixed & Downloadable: Sony FS5 Firmware V4.02 with Hybrid Log Gamma
Aug 102017
 

FS5 Firmware V4.02 has just been released, fixing some of the bugs introduced with the highly-anticipated V4.0.

A few weeks ago, Sony aimed to greatly increase the functionality of the Sony FS5 by releasing FS5 Firmware V4, bringing HDR support with the introduction of new Hybrid Log Gamma Picture Profiles, reduced minimum ISO for Slog 2 and 3, as well as support for 120fps continuous shooting with an optional license sold separately (you can read our post on this release HERE).

Only a few days later, however, Sony pulled the download due to “a minor issue found within the HDR function”. This caused concern among users who had already downloaded V4.0, as there is no way of rolling back on this camera’s firmware to a previous instance.

Sony removed the firmware V4.0 download, prompting worries from users.

True to their word, Sony have now released FS5 Firmware V4.02 available for download from HERE. The release notes also finally indicate the “minor issues” introduced with V4.0. From the Sony site:

V4.02 fixes the following issue:

1.      Video image may be recorded with short delay of 2 or 3 frames of audio in other recording modes than AVCHD.

2.      When choosing [HLG1],[HLG2] or [HLG3] in the PictureProfile and CENTER SCAN in the CAMERA/PAINT menu, rebooting the camera may cause brightness and color shift.

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Review: The Laowa 15mm f/2 FE Zero-D is a Fine Lens at a Fair Price

 Gear  Comments Off on Review: The Laowa 15mm f/2 FE Zero-D is a Fine Lens at a Fair Price
Aug 102017
 

A few weeks ago Laowa sent me a copy of their first lens dedicated to Sony’s full frame E-mount system, the 15mm f/2. This lens is meant for landscape and astrophotographers who want to capture as much of the beautiful night sky as possible; which means wide and fast.

Last year, I was able to get a copy of their 12mm f/2.8 for Canon and used it on my Sony a7R II with a Metabones adaptor. I was quite surprised how much I enjoyed the lens. A lot of what was great about that lens can be translated over to this one as well.

First, let’s talk about the physical design and characteristics.

Physical Characteristics

Since it was designed for a mirrorless system, they were able to pack in a very wide lens with a fast aperture into a compact system. They’re able to keep things slim thanks to a shorter flange focal distance and by staying clear from fancier things like autofocus or stabilization. What you’re getting is glass and metal. The 15mm is built like a tank. I don’t feel like I’m using a plastic toy. That does mean that it is a bit on the heavier side, but still pleasant to use (500g or 1.1 lbs).

The aperture ring can click in one stop increments from f/2 to f/22; or can be declicked — great for you video buffs. I did a quick video to show off the smooth transition between exposures as well as to see how things look at f/2. You can certainly see some vignetting going on here but this is wide open on a very wide lens, that’s going to happen with these kinds of specs. The bokeh is actually quite pleasing if you want to get super close to your subject like I did here. That’s not going to happen often, but at least you can see how that turns out.

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Here’s the First 81-Megapixel Photo by the Light L16 16-Camera Camera

 Gear  Comments Off on Here’s the First 81-Megapixel Photo by the Light L16 16-Camera Camera
Aug 102017
 

The camera startup Light began shipping out the first L16 cameras to pre-order customers last month. If you want to see what the 16-camera camera can do, the company has also released a set of full-resolution photos for you to pixel peel.

In case you haven’t been following this camera’s journey, here’s the gist: a startup called Light has created a camera called the L16 that contains 16 separate camera modules on its front surface.

The images captured by these modules are combined into single photos, giving the camera some groundbreaking features. These include 52-megapixel+ photos, 5x optical zoom, ultra-low light performance, depth of field control, and more, all in a relatively small compact camera.

Light just released three full-resolution photos showing what the L16 can do. The first is the largest of the three. It’s a massive 81-megapixel picture of a man in a field holding a machete (you can download the full-res version here).

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Which Video Camera Would You Buy Today? Here’s a Comparison of 4K Systems from Canon, Sony, and Others

 Gear  Comments Off on Which Video Camera Would You Buy Today? Here’s a Comparison of 4K Systems from Canon, Sony, and Others
Aug 012017
 

Every time I’m on a set or grabbing coffee with another local filmmaker, we always end up talking gear for a bit, and inevitably the question comes up of “What camera would you buy if you had to buy right now, and why?” I decided to research things a bit and put together an article that explains what I’d buy if I absolutely had to right now, and the answer might surprise you.

First, let me just define a few parameters. I’m going to look at 4K-capable cameras that can capture internally, and cost less than $10,000. To further refine the list, fixed-lens cameras will not be listed, but don’t disregard them. They still serve a lot of event productions and run-and-gun shooters should really consider them a viable option when speed and versatility are more important than being able to change lenses. I’ll also being leaving DSLR-style cameras off the list, even though they are a popular choice. I wanted to keep the comparison as direct as possible.

Here’s a chart to get us started which should give us a quick glance at some major specs and price points. Below, I’ll hit on key points, note any special considerations, and finally end with my suggested picks for the kind of videographer or filmmaker you might be.

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DJI Spark Review – Is it Really Suitable For Professionals?

 Gear  Comments Off on DJI Spark Review – Is it Really Suitable For Professionals?
Aug 012017
 

As a professional filmmaker and DJI Mavic shooter, Tamás Kiss wanted to test the capabilities of the tiny new DJI Spark drone, so he took it to the challenging Icelandic climate to put it through its paces. Here’s his DJI Spark Review, that confirms a lot of the observations I made during my hands-on session with the tiny new drone. – Introduction by Sebastian Wöber.

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Fstoppers Reviews The Fujifilm GFX Medium Format Camera

 Gear  Comments Off on Fstoppers Reviews The Fujifilm GFX Medium Format Camera
Jul 272017
 

Fujifilm has made quite the name for themselves in the camera industry. They completely changed the game with the release of the original X100 and have since been turning out great camera after great camera. In a similar fashion, Fujifilm is looking to change the way you view medium format cameras with the recent release of the Fujifilm GFX 50s. This camera is not only smaller and lighter than most comparable cameras, but it also comes in at a cheaper price tag. But does the final product live up to the hype?

To start this review off, let’s talk price. The camera alone without a lens comes in at just under $6,500. Bring in the 63mm prime and that will add another $1,500. Lenses like the 32-64mm will run you $2,300. Want another battery? That will add $120. So by no means is this camera cheap. But, compare all of this to any Hasselblad camera and things start to look a lot more reasonable. Compare the price to a Nikon D5 and now we are playing in the same court.

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Comparison Breakdown: The Lightest, Most Affordable, Professional Full-Frame System

 Gear  Comments Off on Comparison Breakdown: The Lightest, Most Affordable, Professional Full-Frame System
Jul 272017
 

In a world where less than a handful of brands are considered well-established in the professional full-frame camera market and where more than a handful of other brands have done a very healthy share of innovating to wedge their way into the market, where do we stand? If you’re going to buy a new system to start fresh or are just starting out and getting serious, this is for you. Here’s a thorough comparison of the major bodies and lens kits you’ll likely be considering. As long as you’re considering full frame, regardless of budget, here’s a comparison for it.

The DSLR establishment is extremely interested in the possibility of mirrorless cameras, and rightly so. They’re faster, cheaper, lighter, and more compact… or are they? If you’re thinking of Fujifilm’s X-Series cameras, you’d be right. And those might work for you. But for professionals coming from the top DSLR brands, they’ll be lacking in speed, versatility, and sensor size (not to mention ISO performance), as they’re all APS-C-based. But what about the full-frame mirrorless cameras? Of course, we’re now talking about Sony’s a7-series cameras.

YouTuber Duncan Dimanche recently published a video that compared the price and weight of an entry-level full-frame kit from four different brands, including Canon, Nikon, Pentax, and Sony. NikonRumors has a great summary of that video, but there were a few issues in there. First and foremost, none of the combinations of lens kits were anything that any reasonable person would purchase together. It was a good first effort, but with a number of the zoom ranges of the cheap lens kits overlapping and with the results slightly skewed toward Nikon with a few interesting and cheaper not-quite-equivalent options included (and I’m a Nikon fan, even), the video didn’t quite do it for me. Still, it more than piqued my curiosity. Let’s dive into a comparison based on what we’d actually get. Scroll down to the conclusion for the final advice, or read on to get all the details.

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Lots of Canon Lenses Likely Coming at the End of August [Rumor]

 Gear  Comments Off on Lots of Canon Lenses Likely Coming at the End of August [Rumor]
Jul 162017
 

I think few people can argue that Sigma hasn’t been killing it lately, particularly with their 85mm f/1.4 Art and borderline audacious 135mm f/1.8 Art lenses turning in mostly rave reviews. It was only a matter of time before the big manufacturers responded, and from the looks of things, Canon is preparing to do just that.

Our friends over at Canon Rumors are reporting that Canon is preparing to announce the fabled EF 85mm f/1.4L IS lens at the end of August, along with three other lenses. Which mount these additional lenses will be for is unknown at the moment, though with Canon continuing to update their mirrorless models, it’s possible they may be looking to expand the EF-M line. Other lenses getting long in the tooth include the 50mm f/1.4 and 135mm f/2L. The 85mm f/1.4L IS will not replace the legendary 85mm f/1.2L II lens, but if it improves wide-open sharpness over its f/1.2 cousin (bringing it at least near that of the Sigma Art) and adds image stabilization while only giving up a third of a stop, it could be an extremely intriguing lens for Canon users and would complicate the choice for fans of the Sigma lens’ performance. Be sure to check out the full report over at Canon Rumors for more.

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DDJI Spark, Mavic, Phantom, or Inspire – Which Drone Should You Buy? by Oliver Kmia

 Action cams, Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on DDJI Spark, Mavic, Phantom, or Inspire – Which Drone Should You Buy? by Oliver Kmia
Jul 162017
 

DJI has released many drones over the past few years. The different models may seem similar to a newcomer, but each one actually addresses a different need. In the end, it all boils down to size and portability versus image quality and performance. Here we’ll analyze the main differences between the DJI drones to help you determine which one is the right fit for you.

Criteria

Price: The price point is an obvious criteria, but one must not forget all the associated costs of ownership, especially spare batteries which can run up to $169 each.

Portability: The drone size and weight will often dictate which model to buy. While the DJI Mavic won’t take more space than a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens in your bag, the mighty DJI Inspire requires a dedicated case for transportation. If you travel frequently, you may prefer a smaller model that fits in the plane’s carry-on compartment. The size also plays a role in public perception. Larger drones look more intimidating to the public and attract more attention (visibility and noise). Also, in some countries the applicable regulation on drones is based on weight threshold. The heavier it gets, the more constraints you will face (registration, mandatory parachute, and flight restrictions to name a few).

Image quality: Larger drones tend to carry better sensors and lenses. Entry-level models can only film in 1080p while the Inspire 2 can shoot up to 5.2K raw video. The Inspire 2 is also the only one to offer an interchangeable lens system while other models come with fixed focal length.

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