Nikon Announces NIKKOR AF-S 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR Compact Super-Telephoto Lens

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Nikon Announces NIKKOR AF-S 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR Compact Super-Telephoto Lens
Aug 232018
 

Following up Nikon’s big mirrorless announcement, Nikon also announced a much-anticipated F-mount lens: the AF-S 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR super-telephoto lens.

UPDATE: Pre-orders now available.

Nikon’s newest super-telephoto is another addition to its PF series of lenses that use a phase fresnel lens element in order to reduce the size and weight of what would otherwise be a much larger lens similar to more traditional fast, super-telephotos. The maximum diameter of this 500mm f/5.6E PF lens is 106mm, and it’s just 237mm long. It weighs about as much as the AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR lens, which is quite a feat for a lens with such reach. Most fast 500mm lenses weigh about twice that much. Naturally, this lens features Nikon’s dust- and drip-resistance as well as a fluorine coat on the front element to help repel dirt and moisture (and to also make it easy to clean).

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DJI Mavic 2 Pro & Mavic 2 Zoom Announced – Plenty of Improvements

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on DJI Mavic 2 Pro & Mavic 2 Zoom Announced – Plenty of Improvements
Aug 232018
 

Finally – today is the release day for the new DJI Mavic 2 drones. The DJI Mavic 2 Pro with integrated 1″ sensor Hasselblad camera and Mavic 2 Zoom, the world’s first foldable consumer drone with optical zoom capability. Both drones offer lots of smart features, flight time of up to 31 minutes and a more stable video transmission system.

The new DJI Mavic 2 Drones. Source: DJI

Every drone enthusiast was waiting for this. The day when DJI releases their new Mavic 2 drone. That day is today! As we already know since a month ago – DJI is not revealing one new drone, but two new drones. Number one: Mavic 2 Pro, the world’s first drone with an integrated Hasselblad camera. Number two: Mavic 2 Zoom, the world’s first foldable consumer drone with optical zoom capability. Both drones share the same foldable body design and offer a flight time of up to 31 minutes as well as a more stable video transmission system.

Brief History of the Mavic

When the original DJI Mavic Pro (our review here) came out in 2016, it caused a small revolution in the drone world – it featured an unprecedented combination of portability and image quality. With its foldable design it fitted in every bag and made drone shooting accessible to masses. Even despite its low bitrate of 60Mbps, and therefore not so great dynamic range, it carried much more strengths and is still a very popular product, to this day.

New DJI Mavic 2 Series Drones. Source: DJI

In january 2018 DJI presented Mavic Pro’s smaller brother – the DJI Mavic Air (hands-on video here, Mavic Pro comparison here). It featured a higher bitrate of 100Mbps in a smaller, lighter and more affordable body. There were, however, some trade-offs when compared to the older Mavic Pro. For instance, the lower range due to different wireless technology used (OcuSync in Pro vs Extended Wifi in Air).

Both the Mavic Pro and the Mavic Air shared the same 1/2.3″ sensor. The field-of-view of the lens was 26mm (full frame equivalent) with the Pro and 24mm (full frame equivalent) with the Air.

DJI Mavic 2 Pro – Image Quality is Everything

The DJI Mavic 2 Pro features the brand-new camera module which DJI co-engineered with Hasselblad. The partnership with the medium format photography pioneer is very clear, as the Mavic 2 Pro proudly carries the Hasselblad logo right above the lens.

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PolarPro Quartzline ND Filter Review – a new Gold Standard?

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on PolarPro Quartzline ND Filter Review – a new Gold Standard?
Aug 192018
 

In this review, I’m testing the new PolarPro Quartzline ND 64 filter and PolarPro ND16 / PL (polarizer) filter. Those filters are made of 99.9% fused quartz to ensure optical clarity with a very low refractive index. The frames are built from machined brass to ensure they thread on smoothly – very essential as I have experienced seized up filters from aluminium frames myself already. A very nasty experience …

PolarPro claims a neutral color balance, zero color shift and near perfect transmission by the optical coatings. For more information about the available filters and sizes, please head to Richard’s article.

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Canon IS vs Sony IBIS: Which Image Stabilization is Better?

 Gear  Comments Off on Canon IS vs Sony IBIS: Which Image Stabilization is Better?
Aug 192018
 

The Sony a7R III is a feature-filled camera that I’m sure many of us would consider to be one of the best currently available on the market. One of its very useful features is IBIS or in-body image stabilization. This feature helps prevent motion blur in your images by moving the sensor to compensate for unintentional vibrations and movements.

In practical uses this means you can shoot with relatively slower shutter speeds and still produce sharp images, preventing the need to increase the ISO. The great thing about having stabilization on the sensor is that it’s effective on pretty much any lens you put on the camera.

Canon, on the other hand, does not currently offer any camera with sensor stabilization. Their reason for this is because they believe stabilization in the lens is more effective because it’s designed specifically for the lens in question. For that reason, I decided to compare Canon’s lens IS against Sony’s IBIS to see which one is actually better.

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PolarPro Quartzline ND Filter Review – a new Gold Standard?

 Cinematography  Comments Off on PolarPro Quartzline ND Filter Review – a new Gold Standard?
Aug 112018
 

I first got to know PolarPro cinema series ND filters about 1.5 years ago when I was conducting a GoPro Hero camera review fitted with their set of filters. (See my review here). Now they are venturing into the professional large diameter filter world (up to 82mm), essentially claiming a neutral color balance and near perfect optical quality. Is this claim true? Read on to find out. 

PolarPro Quartzline ND Filter

In this review, I’m testing the new PolarPro Quartzline ND 64 filter and PolarPro ND16 / PL (polarizer) filter. Those filters are made of 99.9% fused quartz to ensure optical clarity with a very low refractive index. The frames are built from machined brass to ensure they thread on smoothly – very essential as I have experienced seized up filters from aluminium frames myself already. A very nasty experience …

PolarPro claims a neutral color balance, zero color shift and near perfect transmission by the optical coatings. For more information about the available filters and sizes, please head to Richard’s article.

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DJI Mavic 2 Is Coming – Leaks Reveal Not Just One, but Two New Drones

 Action cams, Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on DJI Mavic 2 Is Coming – Leaks Reveal Not Just One, but Two New Drones
Aug 012018
 

If you’re like us here at cinema5D eagerly waiting for some news on the anticipated DJI Mavic 2 drone, Well, here’s some solid information for you: British digital retailer Argos issued their latest (print) catalogue and in it, alert readers found two brand-new drone models : The Mavic 2 Pro and the Mavic 2 Zoom.

Cinema5D HQ actually received an invitation for an official event that should have taken place during July but this event has been postponed without any alternative date so far. So, now with everybody on the edges of their seats, let’s have a look at what surfaced in that aforementioned catalogue:

There will be not one but two models of the upcoming Mavic 2 drone and the difference lies within the actual camera gimbal. The so-called Mavic 2 Zoom will sport a 2x optical zoom (24mm – 48mm) while the Mavic 2 Pro will feature a Hasselblad camera with a 1-inch sensor but no zoom. You will have to decide whether Pro image quality or the flexibility of a zoom lens is your thing.

There’s no word on video recording capabilities. I assume 4K (UHD) recording but the amount of compression and the quality of the codec deployed are yet to be revealed. The gimbal itself doesn’t seem to be detachable, which is unfortunate but since we’re talking about a drone listed in the consumer section of the company’s lineup, it’s not surprising, really.

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Intro to Video: A Photographer’s Guide to Filmmaking

 Cinematography, Technique  Comments Off on Intro to Video: A Photographer’s Guide to Filmmaking
Aug 012018
 

As more and more people call themselves “professional photographers,” the need to diversify and offer other services to your clients is rapidly growing. With social media and advertising visuals fighting for more and more of our attention, the importance of video is at an all time high. Luckily, if you are a photographer, you already have 90% of the tools you need to start making professional videos and multimedia productions. This new Fstoppers tutorial on videography is aimed at helping both professional and amateur photographers take the gear they already own and start producing high quality videos. There is no better time to learn how to film video than right now!

Intro to Videography

The idea behind the Fstoppers website was first born back in 2010 when Patrick Hall and Lee Morris both had an interest in learning how to shoot video. Having both been successful wedding photographers, Patrick and Lee saw the value videography could supply to their own photography businesses. Over the years, Fstoppers has grown from a little side project used to explore behind the scenes videos into a full blown world wide community of photographers and videographers. Since 2010 when DSLRs first started shooting high definition video, Lee and Patrick have seen photographers and social media influencers transitioning to video at an alarming rate. In today’s cut throat market, the trend is very clear: if you are not incorporating video along side you photography, you are going to get left behind.

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Nikon’s New 500mm f/5.6 to Offer High-Quality Super-Telephoto in a Handheld Package

 Gear  Comments Off on Nikon’s New 500mm f/5.6 to Offer High-Quality Super-Telephoto in a Handheld Package
Jul 162018
 

Nikon announced the development of a new AF-S 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens last month, but now we finally get a look at it thanks to an image posted to Twitter by Photographer Pavel Bednyakov, whose photograph makes it look like the new 500mm could be easier to hold than Nikon’s 200mm f/2.

If you’ve ever shot with the Nikon 200mm f/2G VR II (or the earlier version), you’ll likely remember how it was more or less at the limit of what could reasonably be handheld for longer periods of time. Essentially, the Nikon 200mm f/2 is to we normal humans as the 600mm f/4 is to Dwayne Johnson. But that’s what makes this new “PF” technology so exciting, as it enables this 500mm in development to be smaller and lighter than anything else before it.

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Samyang Unveils an 85mm f/1.4 Full Frame Lens for Canon EF

 Gear  Comments Off on Samyang Unveils an 85mm f/1.4 Full Frame Lens for Canon EF
Jun 192018
 

Samyang has just announced its new Samyang/Rokinon 85mm f/1.4 full frame autofocus lens for Canon EF-mount cameras. The announcement comes just one week after the company unveiled its new 24mm f/2.8 lens.

The lens is the equivalent of a 136mm when mounted on a Canon crop sensor APS-C camera.

Thanks to its internal design and technologies such as a Hybrid Aspherical element, the 85mm measures less than 3 inches long and is lightweight for its focal length (17oz/482g). The features (including Ultra Multi-Coating) also help reduce and control distortion and aberrations.

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Drone Comparison: New Parrot Anafi vs. DJI Mavic Air

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Drone Comparison: New Parrot Anafi vs. DJI Mavic Air
Jun 072018
 

Parrot just announced a new drone that may be able to challenge DJI’s domination in the hobby market. Let’s take a look at the specifications and check if the French manufacturer can take on the Chinese leader.

Size, Weight and Speed

The two drones are fighting in the similar lightweight category but the Anafi is lighter than the Mavic air at 374 grams versus 430 grams. It can be a curse or a blessing. Lighter drones tend to sustain less damage in case of crash but more weight also helps to stabilize the frame.

The Mavic Air wins the top speed category (42mph) but the Anafi is not too far behind (33mph). The key factor is to determine the maximum usable speed because the sport mode on DJI drones is not very good to record video (propellors in the field of view, limited stabilization) but it can help to fly back against strong winds.

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DJI Mavic Air vs. Mavic Pro Footage Comparison

 Action cams, Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on DJI Mavic Air vs. Mavic Pro Footage Comparison
May 282018
 

After our hands-on with the Mavic Air in Monaco earlier this year, it was time to put the Mavic Air up against its older brother, the Mavic Pro, and compare the footage. Which footage holds up better?

Does the Mavic Air Make Superior Images?

The irony about new technology is often that newer generations are simply better, even in a model that sits in a lower price bracket than a predecessor that is still in the market. And this is exactly what we are seeing with the new Mavic Air, which I took for a hands-on spin at their press event in Monaco earlier this year (watch the video here). The Mavic Air is a classic example for this conundrum that many manufacturers face, unless they want to artificially strip newer technology off of some of the features of older, but “higher end” version of their products (C200, cough-cough!).

Skydio R1 – Impressive Fully Autonomous 4K Drone

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Skydio R1 – Impressive Fully Autonomous 4K Drone
May 032018
 

The California-based startup Skydio has introduced a fully autonomous drone named Skydio R1. Its development took 4 years. The R1 is an artificial intelligence-powered quadcopter capable of shooting 4K video of a subject and maneuvering complex environments entirely on its own. It uses 13 onboard cameras and vision-based computer system to actually see the obstacles and avoid them while following and filming the desired subject.

There were initiatives to make autonomous drones before. We still remember the sad story behind the autonomous drone Lilly, which never made it in production. It is obviously quite a challenging task to design a drone that can safely fly in busy and changing environments. Skydio seems to have succeeded with the R1. Interesting fact is that their first batch of drones called “the frontier edition” is being assembled directly in their facility in the USA. The company did not say anything about outsourcing their production to China yet.

The Skydio R1 does not come with a controller. It can be controlled with a smartphone using the Skydio mobile app. Since this is an autonomous drone, users will not need the controls so often though. Mostly only take-off and landing of the drone are being managed through the app. Furthermore users can see video previews of footage there or control how the drone captures that footage with presets like:

  • follow – drone follows and films the subject from behind
  • side – drone films the subject from the side
  • lead – drone films its subject from the front
  • tripod – drone hovers at one place and turns to have the subject in the picture
  • orbit – drone circles around the subject to create 360-degree shots

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Transform Your DJI Drone in a Handheld Gimbal With This Accessory by PolarPro

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Transform Your DJI Drone in a Handheld Gimbal With This Accessory by PolarPro
Apr 122018
 

Everyone I know who shoots video dreams to own a gimbal if they don’t already. But did you know that if you have a drone, you actually already own a gimbal that you can use to shoot anything?

The role of the gimbal is to keep something horizontal no matter what. When flying a drone, it’s quite essential to maintain the camera stable and avoid any movement due to external elements or when flying it aggressively. However, a drone can also record videos and take pictures while on the ground. This means you can use it as a camera and take advantage of its gimbal to make super steady shots even if you don’t own a stabilizer for your bigger DSLR.

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Sony Interview: FS5 II, What’s REALLY New?

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Sony Interview: FS5 II, What’s REALLY New?
Apr 092018
 

I spoke with Claus Pfeifer from Sony about the newly announced FS5 II and the other new cameras. And I asked the tough question: What’s REALLY new about the FS5 II?

A few hours ago Sony announced the FS5 II, an update to Sony’s little FS7 brother (see our report here). Some of our readers were asking: What’s REALLY new about it though? It seems to use the same sensor and have the same exact body as the original FS5. And while the FS7 II at least got the Vari ND feature that the FS7 was missing, the original FS5 already had that.

 

RAW for “free”, Better Color Science & “Instant HDR”

Sony is teasing the integrated RAW output functionality in the FS5 II, which was a payable firmware upgrade in the original FS5 – a welcome addition of a feature becoming standard, especially with the newly announced ProRes RAW (article here) and the upgrade of the Atomos Shogun Inferno and Sumo19 recorders to support ProRes RAW recording (article here). Now also the formerly payable high frame rate output and internal high frame rate recording capabilities are included with the FS5 II.

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Blackmagic Pocket Cinema 4K Camera Hands on with CEO Grant Petty

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Blackmagic Pocket Cinema 4K Camera Hands on with CEO Grant Petty
Apr 092018
 

No longer only a mysterious billboard outside NAB 2018, the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema 4K camera is here and it shoots 12-bit RAW cinema 4K 60fps and full HD at up to 120fps — all at an impressive price point. The specs, pricing and more are below including an interview with Blackmagic Design CEO, Grant Petty: 

 

Unlike its HD-only predecessor, the Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera, the new 4K version shoots full cinema 4K (4096 x 2160 pixels) at up-to 60fps with a newly designed M4/3 (21.60 x 17.30mm) sensor. You’ll also be able to capture full HD 120 fps cropped (no info on how much of a crop) slow motion in both 12-bit CinemaDNG RAW and 10-bit Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) varieties. Unfortunately you won’t be able to shoot in the newly announced Pro Res RAW  at least not yet.

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Pre-Order Now:

Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4K Body Only with Active Micro Four Thirds Lens Mount

$1295 with Free Expedited Shipping.

The CEO of Sigma Explains the Challenges of Curved Sensor Technology

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on The CEO of Sigma Explains the Challenges of Curved Sensor Technology
Mar 132018
 

The French website Mizuwari published a series of captivating interviews with the CEO of Sigma, Kazuto Yamaki. Among other things, the Japanese executive mentions the challenges of implementing curved sensor technology in digital cameras.

Simply put, camera lenses are round and project different rays of light on a flat sensor, which is not an ideal solution. This explains, for instance, the softness issue encountered on the corners of the image, especially when shooting wide open. In a perfect world, the shape of the sensor would match the light beam created by the lens. Several manufacturers, such as Sony, have been working for years to develop curved sensors where each pixel could be placed at the perfect distance in relation of the light beam. Easier said than done.

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Seven More of the Best Nikon Tricks

 Gear  Comments Off on Seven More of the Best Nikon Tricks
Mar 132018
 

Although it is popular to talk about mirrorless cameras these days, DSLR cameras are still alive, and with the help of some useful tricks, you can make the most of your DSLR. Especially if you own a Nikon camera, you might be surprised with these features that most photographers skip using.

Well-known nature photographer Steve Perry has published a video previously about Nikon tricks, and in this second video of the series, he shares seven new tricks about Nikon cameras, with in-depth explanations.

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The Cameras Used in the 2018 Oscar-Nominated Films

 Cinematography  Comments Off on The Cameras Used in the 2018 Oscar-Nominated Films
Mar 112018
 

Today we’ll take a look at the cameras used in the Oscar-nominated films in the Cinematography and Best Picture categories. The results may surprise you… or not!

 

One of the most interesting questions that may strike your curiosity when watching a movie – and especially one nominated for an Oscar – is “what camera was that shot on?” For us filmmakers, when it comes to choosing the right camera, these films can serve as a sort of reference, especially in a time when there are so many cinema cameras, sensors and ultra high-resolution goodies to choose from.

So, we had a look at the Tech Spec section of all of these movies’ IMDB page. Check out the list below to find out what cameras were used for this year’s Oscar-nominated films:

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Fujinon MKX – Unique X Series Features

 Gear  Comments Off on Fujinon MKX – Unique X Series Features
Mar 062018
 

The recently announced Fujinon MKX T2.9 cine lenses come with unique features for Fujifilm camera owners. We looked into them more closely …

The E-mount versions of these MK lenses have been a big hit with cinematographers. But this is about more than just a simple mount change. When pairing these new cine lenses with Fujifilm X Series cameras, such as the new X-H1, the electrical contacts on the lens pass data to the camera. This allows the the camera to correct lens distortion as well as colour and brightness shading.

Lens Data

The lens data passed to the camera includes iris (T-stop) data, as well as focus distance and zoom information. As well as the obvious benefit on seeing this information displayed on the cameras LCD monitor, it also apparently allows for improved white balancing. We will be reviewing these two new lenses soon, so it will be interesting to see how this innovative feature works.

The Fujinon MKX 18-55mm will retail for $3999. The Fujinon MKX 50-135mm will retail for $4299. As a recap, here are the main features of these two lenses:

Fujinon MKX 18-55mm T2.9 & Fujinon MKX 50-135mm T2.9

  • Use an optical construction comprising 22 glass elements in 17 groups, with six super ED lens elements and two ED lens elements (two super ED lens elements and two ED lens elements for the 50-135mm).
  • T2.9 aperture across the entire zoom range which facilitates the increasingly popular style of bokeh effect with shallow depth-of-field. This also eliminates the need to re-adjust lighting, contributing to shortening shooting time.
  • The MKX lens achieves advanced optical performance despite its compact and lightweight body by incorporating the benefits of short flange focal distance of X Mount into optical design to the maximum extent. This accommodates shooting with a limited number of people.

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ALEXA vs Varicam LT vs GH4 vs A7s – with William Wages, ASC – ON THE GO – Episode 83

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on ALEXA vs Varicam LT vs GH4 vs A7s – with William Wages, ASC – ON THE GO – Episode 83
Feb 042018
 

n this episode of cinema5D ON THE GO, we wrap up our conversation with William Wages, ASC regarding using Lumix cameras on high-end productions.

 

Continuing our discussion about how William has changed to currently preferring the Varicam LT and Lumix environment, he tells us about the blind test he carried out to convince decision makers that the GH series of Panasonic cameras was indeed worthy.

But is there really a place for a Micro Four-Thirds sensor in the world of high-end filmmaking? As William says, the kind of situations that would require deploying a GH camera are exactly those where it would be challenging to set up a follow focus system. For this reason, the more restricted depth of field that the Micro Four-Thirds sensor size offers would in fact prove to be an advantage.

We also discuss Panasonic’s latest addition to its range of filmmaking cameras: the Panasonic EVA-1. While it could prove to be a solid B-Cam option to the Varicam line, for William Wages the small size of the Lumix line is still a major plus over this new model. (Please note that this episode was recorded before Panasonic released the final specs of the EVA-1).

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