Sigma Cine High Speed Zoom Line – Sample Footage & Review by;Thomas Schweighofer

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Sigma Cine High Speed Zoom Line – Sample Footage & Review by;Thomas Schweighofer
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 by; Quentin Decaillet

 Gear  Comments Off on How to Maximize Your DJI Spark Dynamic Range in Postproduction by; Quentin Decaillet
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 by; Ryan Pramik

 Gear  Comments Off on Fstoppers Reviews the Insta360 Air: A Pocket-Sized 360-Degree Streaming Camera by; Ryan Pramik
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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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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A First Look at the Canon 6D Mark II Camera, by Alex Cooke

 Gear  Comments Off on A First Look at the Canon 6D Mark II Camera, by Alex Cooke
Jul 082017
 

Canon recently released both the 6D Mark II and SL2 cameras. The 6D Mark II was particularly anticipated, as it is Canon’s cheapest and lightest full-frame DSLR. Here’s a helpful and practical first look at the newest DSLR in the Canon family.

Kaiman Wong recently had a chance to play with the new Canon 6D Mark II. With 45 cross-type AF points, a fully articulating screen, improved burst speed, and dual pixel autofocus, it’s an intriguing option for those looking to break into the full frame world. Of course, it’s missing features to distinguish it from the 5D Mark IV, most notably 4K and a second card slot.

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The Citograph 35 is a 35mm Pancake Lens That’s Always in Focus, by Will Nicholls

 Gear  Comments Off on The Citograph 35 is a 35mm Pancake Lens That’s Always in Focus, by Will Nicholls
Jul 082017
 

C.P. Goerz has unveiled a new lens called the Citograph 35. It’s a 35mm f/8 lens that promises to “always be in focus”. Cito means spontaneous in Latin, and that’s where the name is derived from. The German start-up behind the Kickstarter campaign wants to bring spontaneity back to photography and Instagram on a more professional level.

So how exactly does this lens work? With a fixed focus set to the hyperfocal distance point, everything at 9 feet or more from the lens is in focus.

The key thing about this lens is how compact it is, weighing only 120 grams. It’s “one of the thinnest lenses in the world,” and looks almost unnoticeable on your camera.

It’ll be available for Nikon, Canon Sony, Leica M, Micro Four Thirds, and Fuji cameras. The creators envision this lens being used on all sorts of DSLR and mirrorless bodies, bringing impulsive photography back to professional cameras.

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RED Unveils a $1,200 Phone That’s a ‘Holographic Media Machine’, by Michael Zhang

 Gear  Comments Off on RED Unveils a $1,200 Phone That’s a ‘Holographic Media Machine’, by Michael Zhang
Jul 082017
 

The cinema camera company RED just made a huge announcement: its first smartphone. The new RED Hydrogen One is an Android OS smartphone that’s being referred to as a “holographic media machine” for viewing and capturing “multi-dimensional” imagery.

The phone features a 5.7-inch “holographic” display that makes bulky glasses obsolete for viewing multi-dimensional content.

“This incredible retina-riveting display advancement features nanotechnology that seamlessly switches between traditional 2D content, holographic multi-view content, 3D content, and interactive games,” RED says.

In addition to displaying content, the RED Hydrogen One will also be a camera for capturing content. A “modular component system,” perhaps similar to what’s found on the Moto Z with its Hasselblad camera add-on, will allow users to use attachments to shoot higher quality still photos and videos, including RED’s new Hydrogen format holographic images.

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New Nebula 5100 Slant Gimbal and Other Accessories from Filmpower, by Fabian Chaundy

 Gear  Comments Off on New Nebula 5100 Slant Gimbal and Other Accessories from Filmpower, by Fabian Chaundy
Jul 012017
 

Filmpower — the company behind the popular Nebula gimbals — have announced the new Nebula 5100 Slant 3-axis gimbal, a new line of shotgun microphones and a wireless follow focus system.

Nebula 5100 Slant

A couple of years ago, the Nebula 4000 from Filmpower was one of the many popular choices among a new breed of affordable 3-axis gimbal stabilisers for DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. A few incarnations later, the Nebula 5100 (covered HERE) offered amazing battery life, time-lapse support, unlimited rotation on all axis and strong encoded motors that needed very little balancing. The newest model, the Nebula 5100 Slant, has already been announced, coming only a few months after the original 5100 and offering some interesting structural improvements.

The Slant part of the name refers to the new design of the roll-axis arm, which now sits at a 45-degree angle from the camera rather than totally perpendicular behind the screen. According to Filmpower, not only does this improve the overall rigidity of the unit, but it also allows for a heavier total payload: the 900g Nebula 5100 Slant can take camera systems up to 3.2kg — a whole 700g more than its predecessor. Additionally, the new design allows for a clear view of your camera’s rear LCD monitor for easier use.

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Tamron Announces SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 Lens, by Alex Cooke

 Gear  Comments Off on Tamron Announces SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 Lens, by Alex Cooke
Jul 012017
 

For many photographers, a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens with vibration compensation is a holy grail. Tamron has just introduced their second generation of that exact lens with many improvements and a slick redesign. Check out the new lens!

Specifications

  • New dual Micro-Processing Unit for quicker and more precise AF and improved Vibration Compensation performance
  • Two extra refractive elements, three low dispersion elements, three glass-molded aspherical elements, and one hybrid aspherical element to reduce distortion and aberrations
  • eBAND and BBAR coatings to reduce flare and ghosting
  • USM autofocus motor with full-time manual override
  • Five-stop Vibration Compensation with two modes (normal and panning)
  • Moisture resistance with fluorine-coated front element
  • Minimum focusing distance: 15″
  • Maximum reproduction ratio: 1:5
  • 17 elements in 12 groups
  • Nine-blade diaphragm
  • Front element: 82mm
  • Weight: 1.99 lbs. (904 g)
  • Compatible with optional TAP-in Console

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13 Gimbal Movements You Should Know, by Alex Cooke

 Gear  Comments Off on 13 Gimbal Movements You Should Know, by Alex Cooke
Jun 172017
 

Adding to your arsenal of camera movements is always a good thing to do. If you just bought your first gimbal, this great tutorial will show you 13 essential movements that will add more visual interest to your work.

Gimbals are one of the fastest ways to get your footage looking more professional and cinematic. They open an entirely new world of stabilized, smooth video, and they enable shots that just aren’t possible (or don’t look good) when shooting handheld. In this helpful video from Aputure, you’ll learn 13 such movements that take advantage of a gimbal’s capabilities.

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This Photographer Uses a Flash Drone to Light Difficult Portraits, by Michael Zhang

 Gear  Comments Off on This Photographer Uses a Flash Drone to Light Difficult Portraits, by Michael Zhang
Jun 152017
 

Want to place an off-camera flash where stands and assistants can’t go? Try mounting it to a drone. That’s what Chinese photographer Fuyan Liu does to light difficult portraits in extreme situations.

WeTalkUAV reports that Liu attached a flash to a DJI Inspire 2 drone for a recent fashion photo shoot on top of a tall building.

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HIVE LIGHTING Wasp 100-C – Omni Color LED Ready to Go!, by Fabian Chaundy

 Cinematography  Comments Off on HIVE LIGHTING Wasp 100-C – Omni Color LED Ready to Go!, by Fabian Chaundy
Jun 142017
 

After a successful Kickstarter campaign, HIVE LIGHTING are just a few weeks away from finally bringing their much-awaited Wasp 100-C LED fixture to market.

Like we originally reported back in December 2016, the Wasp 100-C is an 85W LED spotlight with the kind of output you would get from a 650W tungsten fixture. In addition to the usual advantages of LED — such as lower power consumption and heat generation — the Wasp 100-C also offers Omni Color LED technology, allowing it to reproduce millions of different hues thanks to an array of LEDs of various colours, in addition to pure white.

In comparison to something like the ARRI Skypanel — a very desirable Omni Color LED fixture — the Wasp 100-C comes in a compact form factor that allows it to be a lot more portable than something in a panel form-factor. The light can also be powered with anything above 95Wh, so you can stay mobile with a V-Lock or Gold mount and a D-Tap to 4-pin XLR adapter.

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Apertus AXIOM Beta – Your Open Source Camera. An Update and Recent Footage, by Johnnie Behiri

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Apertus AXIOM Beta – Your Open Source Camera. An Update and Recent Footage, by Johnnie Behiri
Jun 142017
 

It has been a while since we last reported about the status of the apertus AXIOM beta camera, so last week I took the opportunity to meet and talk to Sebastian Pichelhofer who is acting as AXIOM’s project leader, association chairman and one of the software developers, in order to find out what is new and in what shape and status the project currently is.  

AXIOM Beta Developers kit

It was nice to hear and see that this unique open source/open hardware motion picture camera system venture is really moving forward to the point where developers and early adopters alike can now already get their kit. Mind you, if you are an “end user” like me, then the camera is NOT YET ready for us as the enclosure and actual  operating system of the camera are still under development. Without those, operating the camera can be a tedious work.

 

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