Fstoppers Reviews the ZhongYi Mitakon Speedmaster 35mm f/0.95 for Fujifilm

 Gear  Comments Off on Fstoppers Reviews the ZhongYi Mitakon Speedmaster 35mm f/0.95 for Fujifilm
Dec 102017
 

Over the past few years, Zhongyi Optics have introduced several lenses in their Mitakon “Speedmaster” series of reasonably-priced, well-constructed, super-fast manual focus lenses. The 35mm f/0.95 Mark II lens falls straight into that category. We’ll be looking at the Fujifilm mount version, but this lens is also available for EOS-M and Sony E cameras. So, let’s get into it and look at sharpness, build quality, and, of course, bokeh.

I picked up this lens a little over a month ago and was initially a little disappointed with it. It didn’t seem to fit the Fujifilm system all that well and it certainly didn’t fit my style of shooting. That would all change over time as I got used to the way it was designed and learned to work with it for certain types of shooting. It’s certainly not an all-rounder, but it is a beautiful lens and one worth considering if you like to shoot wide open a lot.

Build Quality and Handling

The all-metal-and-glass construction of the ZY Mitakon 35mm f/0.95 makes for an “old-school” feeling lens. When I first picked it up, I found it reminiscent of the Nikkor 35mm f/1.4 I used to use on my old Nikon FM. The resistance in the focus ring and the weight were the first things that stood out to me.

At 460 grams and just 63x60mm in size, it is a stocky lens that feels very solid in the hand. It’s almost too heavy on the smaller Fujifilm bodies and I found that it felt best on the X-Pro2. On the X-T2, or especially with the smaller bodies, it tips the center of balance too far forward and I felt like I was constantly supporting the lens and not the body. Compared to Fujifilm’s 35mm offerings it is much larger and heavier and you will instantly notice the difference.

The aperture ring is positioned at the front of the lens and is declicked. Both of these things feel rather strange on a Fujifilm body at first and take some getting used to. The aperture ring is far too easy to knock in the position it is in. Perhaps a lock switch would help to stop it from rotating with everything it touches. I have found that keeping it at f/0.95 (and let’s face it, that’s why you buy the lens) is quite difficult in the field. I’m constantly having to check the ring before I raise the camera to my eye. This declicked design may be useful for video shooters, but to be honest, I’d prefer a clicked aperture for stills.

The front element of the lens also sits disconcertingly close to the end of the lens barrel and the package doesn’t come with a lens hood. This is disappointing in a $500-plus lens and I would hope that ZhongYi includes hoods with their future lenses. There are a few options out there from third-party manufacturers, so you can certainly get one to fit.

Read More:

fstoppers

~

The Sigma 85mm 1.4: One Year Later

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on The Sigma 85mm 1.4: One Year Later
Nov 282017
 

About this time last year, the Sigma 85mm 1.4 Art series lens was released and I went ahead and decided to pull the trigger and invest in the new glass. I had heard great things about other entries in the art lineup and understandably Sigma’s new 85mm focal length was getting a solid amount of hype. For the past year, I have been shooting exclusively with Sigma’s 85mm. It’s been the only lens in my camera bag and the only lens I’ve used for a straight year. What follows are my impressions after a solid year of use; what I like about the lens and what I don’t like.

Let’s start out with some of the things that I love about this lens. After a year of continuous use, I can say that there is no question that the Sigma 85mm 1.4 is a great piece of glass. I am first and foremost a portrait photographer so the focal length itself is a no-brainer for me. As a short/medium telephoto lens, the 85mm gives me a gorgeous level of background compression, beautiful bokeh, and I don’t need to be overly concerned with facial distortion if I come in for a closeup shot. It’s been said before and will be said again that the 85mm focal length is pretty much perfect for portraits.

As I currently live in Colorado and have generally have access to gorgeous sunsets for most of the year I have developed a love for shooting backlit images. If you’ve ever shot backlit before, you know that depending on the angle and position of the sunlight, as well as your own preferences regarding lens flare, some lenses can be finicky about nailing focus. This is understandable as you’re basically asking your camera to nail focus while either direct or angled light is coming right into the lens. I can say with confidence that the Sigma 85mm handles backlighting scenarios like a boss. This is one of the first things that I noticed about this lens; even in less than ideal backlit situations, the lens is wildly successful at getting great focus right where you want it.

Read More:

fstoppers

~

Twenty Helpful Tips and Tricks for Photoshop

 Technique  Comments Off on Twenty Helpful Tips and Tricks for Photoshop
Nov 202017
 

Photoshop is a tremendously intricate and nuanced program, and you can never have enough tips and tricks to navigate all its features and options and make your workflow both more powerful and more efficient. This helpful video will show you 20 more tips and tricks you might not have seen before.

Read More:

fstoppers

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.

Read More:

fstoppers

~

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.

Read More:

fstoppers

~

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.

Read More:

fstoppers

~

 

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.

Read More:

fstoppers

~

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.

Read More:

fstoppers

~

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.

Read More:

fstoppers

~

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

Read More:

fstoppers

~

How to Improve the Sound of Your Speech in Premiere Pro, by Alex Cooke

 Technique  Comments Off on How to Improve the Sound of Your Speech in Premiere Pro, by Alex Cooke
Jun 232017
 

You can have the most visually stunning videos, but if you sound like you’re talking to your audience from two rooms over, they won’t be engaged by your work. Here’s how to get better-sounding speech in Premiere Pro.

Part of being a good video editor means getting your sound editing skills up to speed. Premiere Pro borrows some tools from Audition, Adobe’s audio editing software, to give video editors the ability to improve their sound within the program.

Read More:

fstoppers.com

~

Adobe Premiere Pro’s Editing Tools Explained, by Jason Boone

 Technique  Comments Off on Adobe Premiere Pro’s Editing Tools Explained, by Jason Boone
Jun 152017
 

It took me several years of editing video before I became comfortable venturing out to use some of Premiere Pro’s editing tools. The problem is that you can accomplish almost everything you need with the Selection tool, and some editors are comfortable doing just that. You can perform simple trims, move clips around, and add transitions all using just the Selection tool. To be honest, you never really need to use any of the tools provided in Premiere Pro. However, by exploring tools such as Ripple Edit, Rolling Edit, Track Selection, Rate Stretch, Slip, and Slide, I’ve ended up saving myself countless hours in the edit suite.Take the Ripple Edit tool as an example. The Ripple Edit tool allows you to trim or expand a clip while simultaneously shifting (rippling) all of your assets further on down the timeline. This happens all in one movement. Performing the same action with the Selection tool could easily take 3 movements, and sometimes, even more, depending on the complexity of your project. If you use the Ripple Edit tool enough, it begins to save you quite a bit of time.

Read More:

fstoppers

~

Quick Overview of DaVinci Resolve 14 Audio Editing Capabilities

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

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

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

Read More:

fstoppers

~

Check Out This Crazy Deal on the 5D Mark IV by; Alex Cooke

 Gear  Comments Off on Check Out This Crazy Deal on the 5D Mark IV by; Alex Cooke
Mar 262017
 

This is the best price we’ve seen on the Canon 5D Mark IV yet, and it likely won’t last long. If you’re in the market for Canon’s latest full-frame body, now is a really good time to pick it up.

I just completed two shoots with my 5D Mark IV today, and it continues to be my favorite Canon body to date. It’s a very capable and versatile camera that spits out gorgeous files. I recommend it very highly to anyone in the Canon system.

Read More:

fstoppers

~

With the Panasonic GH5 Imminent, Atomos Announce the Ninja Inferno as the Ultimate Companion by; Mike Briggs

 Technique  Comments Off on With the Panasonic GH5 Imminent, Atomos Announce the Ninja Inferno as the Ultimate Companion by; Mike Briggs
Mar 262017
 

With reports that Panasonic have already begun to ship the hotly anticipated GH5, it seems Atomos have perfectly timed the announcement of their latest external monitor-recorder, the Ninja Inferno, due to ship March 31st. With 4:2:2 10-bit recording in 4k 60p and HD 120p, is this the ultimate companion for videographers awaiting their GH5 pre-order to arrive?

The Ninja Inferno will become the world’s first external monitor-recorder to accept 4k DCI signals from cameras like the GH5, recorded in ProRes or DNxHR and displayed on a 7″ 10-bit HDR touch screen LCD with 1500nits of brightness. You’ll get the typical rugged, high quality build you’d expect from an Atomos monitor-recorder made from ABS Polycarbonate. Also expect to see the usual features you’d expect in a premium external monitor-recorder such as focus peaking, zebra patterns, vectorscopes, false color and anamorphic desqueeze.

Read More:

fstoppers

~

Five Ways to Edit Video More Quickly in Adobe Premiere by; Alex Cooke

 Technique  Comments Off on Five Ways to Edit Video More Quickly in Adobe Premiere by; Alex Cooke
Mar 142017
 

Some view editing as the place where the magic happens, while others see it as a necessary evil before they can get back out to shoot some more. Either way, we’d all love to be more efficient at it. These five tips will help you speed up your workflow in Adobe Premiere.

I use workspaces constantly in Digital Performer, and they’ve dramatically increased my efficiency and allowed me to intuitively design my window sets for the task at hand. Along with workspaces come four other tips in this great video, including adjustment layers to apply effects and corrections to multiple clips simultaneously, using presets to save single or multiple effects, color-toning, etc. for easy access down the road, using nested sequences to ensure you can easily move around blocks of clips without disturbing their relative ordering, and of course, shortcuts to keep you out of menus.

Read More:

fstoppers

~

Rumor Has It Sigma Is Releasing a 70-200mm f/2.8 Sport Lens in Late 2017 by; Alex Cooke

 Gear  Comments Off on Rumor Has It Sigma Is Releasing a 70-200mm f/2.8 Sport Lens in Late 2017 by; Alex Cooke
Mar 062017
 

Sigma is showing no signs of slowing down. As their line of unique and high-quality lenses continues to expand at an explosive rate, it appears they’ll be adding a lens almost every photographer should own later this year: the 70-200mm f/2.8.

The 70-200mm f/2.8 lens is arguably the most important lens most photographers can carry, along with the 24-70mm f/2.8. Every major manufacturer has their own native version: Canon, Nikon, Sony, and Pentax, all of which represent some of their best optics and performance. Tamron also recently released the SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2, an update that provides improved AF, stabilization, and optical quality. With Sigma on a roll, having released four new full-frame lenses, it’s only logical to hear that they’re planning an update to their 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, which is a holdover from the days before their revamped design that started with their Art series. Such a lens would surely be widely welcomed by photographers who have mostly embraced Sigma’s new lenses, while the continued pressure put on the mainstay manufacturers by increasingly tempting third-party options is always good for the market.

Read More:

fstoppers

~

Using Adobe’s Kuler Tool to Color Tone Images By Mark Bowers

 Technique  Comments Off on Using Adobe’s Kuler Tool to Color Tone Images By Mark Bowers
Nov 302016
 

Something I get asked often is how to add color tones to your images. Often the easiest option is to use filters either in Lightroom or with a plugin software such as Google Nik. However, as you delve deeper into the world of color grading you will eventually become curious how to create your own effects.
There are obviously an enormous number of ways to achieve a certain look to your photos. The Adobe Kuler plugin for Photoshop is an incredibly powerful option that is available to anyone with Photoshop (for free) and provides complete control over the look and feel of an adjustment.

The first concept to grasp is color theory. You know, the whole color wheel thingy and colors complementing one another… Well this is huge. And while you don’t need to be an expert on the subject, it helps to know the basics which will eventually lead to a better understanding of the subject as you use it in practice. One article I have found extremely helpful on his topic was written by one of my favorite landscape photographers of today, Ted Gore. Gore has won several accolades in his field and produces some of the most amazing images I have ever seen. His article titled “Color Theory and Landscapes Photography” goes into great detail about color harmonies and how to work them into your images. He explains the difference between analogous, complementary, and monochromatic color harmonies (as well as several others that are much less obvious) and gives great examples of how he uses them in his work. I highly recommend this read as it applies not only to landscapes imagery but color grading and application on any photograph. At its core the idea is that certain colors simply work well together and are pleasing to the viewers’ eye when introduced into an image with subtlety. For example, blue and yellow are complementary colors. When the darker tones in an image are “cooler” and the lighter tones are “warmer,” the image is more aesthetically pleasing than if the color tones were simply left to chance.

This is where Adobe Kuler comes in. For one, the Adobe Kuler tool is free if you already have a Creative Cloud membership and you can also install the tool directly into Photoshop (directions provided here). Once installed, it is available by going to Window > Extensions > Adobe Color Themes which creates a new tab in your workspace. How is this useful? The tool provides a built-in color wheel which allows you to create custom complimentary color tones. More importantly though, it contains a ton of color pallets already available for use that follow the “rules” of color theory.

Read More:

fstoppers

Fstoppers Reviews the New Best Portrait Lens, the Nikon 105mm f/1.4, By Quentin Decaillet

 Gear  Comments Off on Fstoppers Reviews the New Best Portrait Lens, the Nikon 105mm f/1.4, By Quentin Decaillet
Nov 302016
 

Canon has always been known for its fabulous portraits lenses: the 85mm f/1.2 and the 135mm f/2. I used to own and love both of them, with a preference for the first. When I bought into the Nikon system, I was afraid I would miss these two optics. But truth be told, the Nikon 85mm f/1.4 is at least as good as its Canon equivalent if not better! Regarding the 135mm, that’s a whole different story as the Nikon’s is quite old now. However, they recently announced the 105mm f/1.4, and I had the chance to put my hands on it for a few weeks! Let’s see how it compares with other portrait lenses and if it could potentially replace a 135mm.
Many people regarded the 105mm f/1.4 announcement as very bizarre. The new portrait lens is not extremely different from the 85mm in terms of focal length and most people probably expected a 135mm replacement instead. Nonetheless, the 105mm in itself is an interesting focal length for many uses, especially for someone who owns a 58mm even though they don’t share the same image quality or look at all.

Build Quality
When taking the lens in your hands for the first time, you immediately notice its weight and size. It’s not small by any means. For someone used to the Canon 85mm f/1.2, it’s nothing very surprising, but for Nikon users, it might feel beefy.

Canon 5DII with 85mm f/1.2 vs. Nikon D810 with 105mm f/1.4

Canon 5DII with 85mm f/1.2 on the left and Nikon D810 with 105mm f/1.4 on the right

Read More:

fstoppers

 

500px Launches ‘500px for Business,’ a New Global On-Demand Photography Service

 Marketing, News  Comments Off on 500px Launches ‘500px for Business,’ a New Global On-Demand Photography Service
Nov 232016
 

Earlier in the year, I reported on a photography service that was offering tourists the chance to summon a professional photographer through an app — essentially the photo-equivalent of Uber. Reaction to the concept was mixed, although there’s clearly potential in the idea, as 500px has just taken things up a notch with “500px for Business,” their newly-announced series of photography on-demand services.

So, what differentiates them from other companies offering similar services?

We draw upon billions of data points from social signals on our own site about what images people respond to based on their demographic and psychographic make up… from how Americans versus people from Asia want to see images of Amsterdam, to what kinds of images of coffee women like versus men.

Read More:

fstoppers

~