Foton 25-300mm T2.8 Cine Zoom – Not Ready for Primetime

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Foton 25-300mm T2.8 Cine Zoom – Not Ready for Primetime
Apr 242019
 

A new lens company called Foton, owned by China-based parent company DZO, has a new spherical T2.8 25-300mm S35 12x zoom on display at NAB. We tried the very, very large lens on the show floor and had some thoughts…  

Lens manufacturing is tricky and this lens is admittedly not yet in production, but we noticed a few flaws during the show. For one, the lens was displayed on a large format RED Monstro, so the S35 lens would crop at anything over 5K as displayed in the booth.  The build quality is also a little suspect. We tried to set the lens to T2.8 and the lens ring stopped just short of the point marked at T2.8 on the lens body.

I also had trouble finding focus in the booth for just a quick test because the min focus distance is 6.5 ft (or 2 meters) and the booth wasn’t quite large enough for focusing on too many different objects. The lens also appeared a little soft in my opinion. While the price point is more affordable to other zooms of this scale there are a few things that need to be worked out before this zoom is ready for primetime in my opinion.

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Tokina Unveils the FiRIN 100mm f/2.8 1:1 Macro Lens for Sony Mirrorless

 Gear  Comments Off on Tokina Unveils the FiRIN 100mm f/2.8 1:1 Macro Lens for Sony Mirrorless
Apr 222019
 

Tokina has unveiled the new FiRIN 100mm f/2.8, a 1:1 macro lens designed for Sony E-mount mirrorless cameras.

The lens, which is “great for portraits and landscapes too,” features a minimum focusing distance of 11.8 inches (30cm), and captures a life-sized 1:1 reproduction with subjects at that distance from the sensor plane. Subjects at the minimum focusing distance sit 4.5 inches from the front of the lens.

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Is This the End of the Canon EOS 7D Series of Cameras?

 Gear  Comments Off on Is This the End of the Canon EOS 7D Series of Cameras?
Apr 222019
 

Canon’s flagship APS-C DSLR, the 7D Mark II, is long overdue for an overhaul, and all of the speculation for 2019 was that its successor, the 7D Mark III, would soon be announced. Rumors now suggest that it will be merged with the 80D, with an EOS R in the pipeline to take its place.

A few years ago, choosing between the 6D Mark II, the 7D Mark II, and the 80D was a tough choice, all offering broadly similar specifications, and all offering a reasonable price point. The 6D gave you full-frame; the 7D gave you more autofocus points, a faster burst speed, and dual card slots; and the 80D offered a flip-out touch screen, better dynamic range, and a lower price.

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Canon May Build LED Lights Into DSLR Pop-Up Flashes, Patent Suggests

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Canon May Build LED Lights Into DSLR Pop-Up Flashes, Patent Suggests
Apr 152019
 

Canon is apparently looking into building continuous LED lights into the pop-up flashes on DSLR cameras, something that could come in handy for certain situations when shooting photo or video.

Canon News first reported on the development after it was spotted in a patent (2019-056787) filed by Canon over in Japan. The patent describes a solution for dealing with the heat that’s generated the continuous LED light source in order to prevent it from deteriorating. Here’s an excerpt:

[W]hen using LED which carries out a continuous light as a light source of a lighting system, the measure against the heat which occurs from LED serves as problem. If the measure against heat is not performed sufficiently, LED deteriorates for a short time and there is a possibility that it may become impossible for light volume to be deteriorated or to switch on the light. If it is a lighting system removable to a camera […], in order to radiate heat in the heat which occurs from LED, it is possible to provide a radiation substrate with a large area, but in the type which has a pop-up function, it is difficult to provide a radiation substrate with a large area near the LED.

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Sony a7/a7R III Firmware v3 Adds Real Time Eye AF, Animal Eye AF, Timelapse

 Gear, Mirrorless  Comments Off on Sony a7/a7R III Firmware v3 Adds Real Time Eye AF, Animal Eye AF, Timelapse
Apr 152019
 

Sony has just released firmware version 3.0 for the Sony a7R III and a7 III mirrorless cameras. It’s a major update that adds Real-Time Eye AF, Animal Eye AF, and Time Lapse features to the cameras.

Real-Time Eye AF

In v3.0, the existing Eye AF technology has been upgraded further with an AI-powered eye-detection system that keeps focus on the eye, even in difficult situations.

“Through machine learning, Sony has created a system that can detect—and focus on—the human eye even if the subject is looking down, partially blocked in the frame, turning or backlit,” Sony says. “This feature is available in AF-C mode with a simple half-press of the shutter button.”

This is the same technology that was unveiled in the Sony a6400 in January 2019, promised for the a7 III and a7R III at the time, and added to the Sony a9 in a firmware update in March 2019.

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Tokina Vista Lenses – Cine Primes and 50-135mm T2.9 mk II Cine Zoom Announced

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Tokina Vista Lenses – Cine Primes and 50-135mm T2.9 mk II Cine Zoom Announced
Apr 072019
 

Tokina entered the cinema marked with the introduction of their Vista line of fast and full frame cine prime lenses. Now, a few years later, they introduce a limited edition, called the Tokina Vista One. The Ones sport a single-coated front element, resulting in more cinematic character. There’s also a new 50-125mm T2.9 mk II cine zoom lens!

While many cinematographers applauded to the optical quality of the original Vista series, some were missing a certain character. And that’s a thing in the high end cinema market: you don’t want a clinical look (sometimes you do but that’s another story). You want some soul, something that support the story at hand. That’s where the Tokina Vista One series of lenses come into picture.

Tokina Vista One Prime Lenses

The Tokina Vista One lenses tick all the boxes when it comes to serious cinematographic tools: full frame (even beyond that), 8K resolution, fast 1.5 T-stop, virtually no focus breathing, low chromatic aberration, 9-blade curved iris for pleasing bokeh, 300 degree focus throw, all-metal design with geared rings.. it’s all there. And still, something is missing from the original Vista primes: Less coating. The Tokina Vista One primes come with only a single-coated aspheric front element.

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Here’s the Best Photo Gear of 2019 According to the TIPA Awards

 Gear, Mirrorless  Comments Off on Here’s the Best Photo Gear of 2019 According to the TIPA Awards
Apr 032019
 

The Technical Imaging Press Association (TIPA) has announced the winners of its 2019 awards honoring the best products in the photography industry in 2019.

Founded in 1991, TIPA consists of 28 prominent photo industry publications based around the world. TIPA members meet at least once a year at the General Assembly to discuss photography and the industry, and one of the activities during the meeting is also to vote on the best photo products of the year — the winners are chosen by majority vote.

Editors from the magazines met in Bangkok, Thailand on March 17th and picked the winning products across 40 different categories. Here are some of the best products, as selected by TIPA members, in the more prominent categories (with TIPA’s description of each):

Best DSLR Camera: Nikon D3500

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Teradek and SmallHD Make 1st AC’s Dreams Come True

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Teradek and SmallHD Make 1st AC’s Dreams Come True
Apr 012019
 


Teradek and SmallHD (both part of Vitec) have joined forces once again! All recent models of OS3 powered SmallHD monitors, including the FOCUS Bolt 500 RX or 703 Bolt are capable of receiving lens data from the Teradek CTRL.1 single axis lens controller. The data is being displayed as an overlay on the screen which is pretty neat and a first in wireless video!

So you’re on a pro shoot and your team involves a dedicated 1st AC (aka focus puller). That’s great but how to avoid having the 1st AC glued to the camera because of one of the following: No wireless video and/or no wireless remote focus control? And even if you have both, he/she will stick around for a glance at the focus scale of the lens.. This seems to be solved now, because with this new firmware update 1st ACs see exactly what’s going on without being anywhere near the lens.

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Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro G2 Introduced, Pocket 4K Gets Blackmagic RAW, No More DNG

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro G2 Introduced, Pocket 4K Gets Blackmagic RAW, No More DNG
Mar 062019
 

Blackmagic Design just announced the URSA Mini Pro G2, the second generation of its flagship shoulder camera, plus the long sought-after Blackmagic RAW update to the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K.

To get an extensive run-down of all the new products and features that Blackmagic Design introduced today, watch CEO Grant Petty in this 35 minute video below:

But if you want to save some time, you can also read my summary here:

Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro G2

This is the new second generation of the popular URSA Mini Pro. It replaces the previous model and while it looks similar, Blackmagic have redesigned all the electronics inside the camera and it includes a new generation 4.6K sensor. Blackmagic claims that this camera has 15 stops of dynamic range. (Here’s our dynamic range test of Blackmagic RAW on the original URSA Mini Pro in case you missed it.)

The new electronics allowed them to ramp up the camera frame rates. They have doubled the frame rate in Blackmagic RAW and in ProRes.

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New Budget Portrait Lens for Sony Shooters: Meike 85mm f/1.8 Announced

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on New Budget Portrait Lens for Sony Shooters: Meike 85mm f/1.8 Announced
Mar 062019
 

Today, Meike announced their latest full-frame E-mount lens with the 85mm f/1.8.

The Meike 85mm f/1.8 is a manual focus lens constructed of nine elements in six groups. It has a minimum focusing distance of 2.78 feet (0.85 meters) and accepts 67mm filters on the front. It measures 3.93 inches (100 millimeters) long and has a diameter of 3.14 inches (80 millimeters). Product photos supplied by Meike show it with a lens hood, so it is possible that it will come with one although I haven’t seen confirmation.

Pricing of the new Meike 85mm f/1.8 is currently unknown, but it joins two other full-frame lenses they have developed, the $99.99 50mm f/1.7 and $269.99 85mm f/2.8 Macro. Meike does sell a similar 85mm f/1.8 lens in Canon EF mount, and is priced at $189.99. Knowing this, it is predictable that the new E-mount lens will be much less expensive than Sony’s own $573 85mm f/1.8.

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Fstoppers Takes a Hands-On First Look at the Fujifilm X-T30: Best Camera Under $1000?

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Fstoppers Takes a Hands-On First Look at the Fujifilm X-T30: Best Camera Under $1000?
Mar 062019
 

They say the third time’s the charm, and that’s certainly the case with Fujifilm’s new X-T30. I got a chance to take a hands-on look at a pre-production X-T30 and put it through its paces recently. How did it do?

As some background, I’ve been an X-series user for the past few years with an X100T and later an X-T1. I’ve been a big fan of the X-T1 for journalism as a second camera to a DSLR or a primary camera for certain events. I also carry it along to weddings for the gorgeous color and sharp Fuji lenses, such as the 56mm f/1.2 R. The X-T30 is technically two generations newer than the X-T1, though it sits below the single digit T-series model (X-T3) in the lineup. That said, my X-T1 has always been the bridesmaid and never the bride in my shoots, always being a second camera to my battle-tested full-frame DSLRs.

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Nikon Unveils the NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S

 Gear  Comments Off on Nikon Unveils the NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S
Feb 182019
 

Nikon has announced the new NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S lens for its full-frame mirrorless cameras.

The lens is the first to feature Nikon’s new ARNEO coating, which complements Nikon’s Nano Crystal Coat to further reduce flare and ghosting.

“While Nano Crystal Coat suppresses ghosting and flare coming from backlight at diagonal angles, the ARNEO coat compensates for light entering the lens from vertical angles,” Nikon says. “This expanded field enables the lens to capture exceptional contrast and sharpness even when the light source is visible inside the frame.”

The lens is also the first NIKKOR Z lens to feature a dedicated manual focus ring (that’s present in addition to the customizable control ring), a Function (L-Fn) button, and an info display.

The Organic EL Lens Information Panel on the side of the lens displays key settings such as focus distance, depth-of-field, aperture, and focal length.

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Canon EOS RP Released – A Few Less Features for Way Less Money

 Gear  Comments Off on Canon EOS RP Released – A Few Less Features for Way Less Money
Feb 142019
 

Today Canon has unveiled their latest addition to their new EOS R lineup of full frame mirrorless cameras: The Canon EOS RP sits below the already available EOS R in regards of both, features and pricing. This aggressive pricing might be a good thing, though: As a bottom line we get plenty of features for less money. Update: There are six new RF lenses in development, too.

Canon’s transition from the legacy EOS D line of DSLRs to the EOS R line of full frame mirrorless cameras seems to be in full swing. Next up: The new EOS RP. It’s not the flagship R camera many of us are eagerly waiting for, though. If the EOS R is the middle class body, the RP is the entry level model.

It’s less expensive and it has fewer features but it is based on the same robust platform. So what is the news with the new Canon EOS RP? Well, in terms of cost-performance ratio it might get the nod instead of its bigger brother, the EOR R (read our coverage here and here plus our full review here).

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Hands-On Preview With the Panasonic S1R

 Gear  Comments Off on Hands-On Preview With the Panasonic S1R
Feb 122019
 

In a world where it feels like there is a new camera every month, finding an identity in the market is becoming increasing difficult. Where do Panasonic’s new cameras fit and will they be successful?

In this first look from DPReview you won’t get their entire in-depth review quite yet but you will learn about some of the real-world features and issues. One of the main features that caught my attention when first learning about this camera was its capability to produce 187-megapixel images; yes, you read that correctly. The sensor is rated at 47.3 megapixels but using its pixel shift technology, you can essentially quadruple the effective resolution. While this technology isn’t anything new, it has become something I am personally keeping a close eye on within the market as a landscape photographer.

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Think Twice Before You Buy More Camera Gear

 Cinematography, Marketing, News  Comments Off on Think Twice Before You Buy More Camera Gear
Feb 122019
 

I know you probably didn’t enjoy reading that title. We all enjoy buying and playing with new gear. But before you push that buy button, take a few minutes to consider the points made in this video.

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Lifetime Review: Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens

 Gear  Comments Off on Lifetime Review: Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens
Feb 102019
 

The Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM lens is the oldest piece of kit in my work camera bag. As I get ready to upgrade all of my gear, I thought a lifetime review was in order.

I purchased this lens a very long time ago, it may be around a decade ago, I am not really sure. What I am sure of though is that it has paid for itself many times over. This is perhaps the best return on investment that a single piece of equipment has ever given me. I vividly remember walking to my local camera shop in Leicester during a lunch break to purchase a copy of this lens, with very little thought, research, or general clue as to what I was doing. I assume I had heard of a pro photographer who liked an 85mm lens and assumed I needed one. Back then I would have probably only had a crop-sensor camera so it was a little on the tight side for my taste, but I seem to remember buying my first full-frame body shortly after to remedy this, also with very little research and forethought.

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Micro Four Thirds Versus Full Frame: How Much Heavier Is Panasonic’s S1?

 Cinematography, Gear, Mirrorless  Comments Off on Micro Four Thirds Versus Full Frame: How Much Heavier Is Panasonic’s S1?
Feb 102019
 

For those of us that like shooting on a mirrorless camera, we’ve probably become accustomed to the lightweight and easy to manage cameras. So are the S1 and S1R a step too far on the scales?

Now that Panasonic are entering the full-frame mirrorless market, they’ve created the heaviest camera of the bunch. The S1 weighs 2.25 pounds, with the S1R weighing basically the same at 2.24 pounds. Out of the competition, it’s only the Sony a9 that comes close with 1.48 pounds. All of this is with the battery inside the camera. Here’s a breakdown:

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Fujifilm X-T3 Versus X-T2: Which Camera Should You Buy?

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on Fujifilm X-T3 Versus X-T2: Which Camera Should You Buy?
Feb 072019
 

When a new camera comes out, one of the most common questions I see is whether it’s worth upgrading to or not. This I think is a very reasonable and fair question because in many cases now, new cameras tend to be minor updates as opposed full on upgrades. Based on that, how does the Fujifilm X-T3 compare to the X-T2 and is it worth paying slightly more for the upgrade?

Personally, I feel that Fujifilm make some of the best APS-C cameras currently available. This is precisely why I’m such a fan of their cameras. The X-T2 was such a fantastic camera and currently its price point makes it a fantastic value for the money. It offers incredible image quality with some very useful video features. Fuji did such a good job with that camera that it’s going to take something pretty special to beat it.

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Fujifilm X-T30 Leaked Photos Show New Joystick

 Gear, Mirrorless  Comments Off on Fujifilm X-T30 Leaked Photos Show New Joystick
Feb 072019
 

Fujifilm appears to be gearing up to announce the successor to the X-T20, and purported photos of the X-T30 have leaked onto the Web.

The Japanese camera rumor site Nokishita posted the photos today after receiving them from overseas sources.

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Sony a6400 Review – Is the End of Manual Focus Lenses Near?

 Cinematography, Gear, Mirrorless  Comments Off on Sony a6400 Review – Is the End of Manual Focus Lenses Near?
Feb 032019
 

With the introduction of the Sony a6400, I had a chance to take the new camera for a short spin and after playing with it for a bit, I made up my mind. Sony’s latest offering is very different and interesting, BUT, is it worth the upgrade from its a6300 and a6500 siblings? (Same sensor but enhanced image processing engine). Is it really a Vlogger’s camera? What is its strongest selling point and last but not least, what is the real reason for Sony to introduce this camera in my personal opinion? Interested? Keep reading.

It is the middle of January. My short (and yet to be disclosed) assignment in Japan is almost over but before going back home, I’m lucky enough to put my hands on the new Sony a6400 to take it for a short spin. At first, my plan was to shoot a short documentary with it and by doing so, explore its video capabilities, but after noticing that most features and even technical specifications are very similar to the Sony a6300 and a6500 (which I reviewed and tested before), I decided to scrap my original plan and concentrate on testing a single feature, the one that captured my attention most.

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