Photos of Canon’s Mirrorless M6 and Removable EVF Leaked

 Gear  Comments Off on Photos of Canon’s Mirrorless M6 and Removable EVF Leaked
Feb 082017
 

Photos of Canon’s soon-to-be-announced EOS M6 mirrorless camera have leaked, and unlike the M5, it doesn’t feature an EVF. Instead, Canon is releasing a new removable EVF that has also leaked for your peeping pleasure.

These leaked photos come to us from Digicame-info, who regularly gets their hands on official product shots just days (or sometimes hours) before an official announcement. This time is no different. The M6 is expected to be announced this month before CP+, which starts February 23rd.

Scroll down to see all of the leaked photos of the black and silver M6 and the EVF-DC2 viewfinder, and keep your eyes peeled for an official announcement, probably in the next few days.

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Sigma 85mm f/1.4 Art Lens Awarded Highest Score Ever by DxOMark

 Gear  Comments Off on Sigma 85mm f/1.4 Art Lens Awarded Highest Score Ever by DxOMark
Feb 022017
 

Sigma is still on a roll when it comes to its high-end Art lenses, and the latest accolade is impressive: DxOMark just awarded the new Sigma 85mm f/1.4 Art lens the highest score the benchmarking company has ever given.

The lens beat out a trio of highly regarded Zeiss lenses for the top spot, earning an overall score of 50 while the Zeiss Otus 55mm f/2 received a 48.

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Honest MacBook Pro Review Says the New Laptop is Apple’s 5D Mark IV

 Apple  Comments Off on Honest MacBook Pro Review Says the New Laptop is Apple’s 5D Mark IV
Jan 242017
 

In a single sentence, photographer and reviewer Jaron Schneider summed up the problem with Apple’s new MacBook Pro: it’s basically Apple’s 5D Mark IV. Too much time and build-up meant insanely high expectations, and Apple didn’t come close to matching them even if they did release a good product.

Schneider’s MacBook Pro review is one of the best we’ve seen. It does a great job of staying neutral, starting out on a positive note, explaining what it is Apple “fanboys” are chasing and why they’re willing to put up with so much, and then giving Apple a well-deserved lashing for the ways in which the new MBP falls short.

The question he’s really trying to answer is: is the MacBook Pro really “Pro,” and the answer seems to be “sort of.” The ultimate problem is that Apple tried to please everyone, and in the process didn’t really satisfy anyone. In Scheider’s words, “[The MacBook Pro] is a wonderful, beautiful product… that is in constant disagreement with itself.”

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Leica Announces the M10 by Adam Ottke

 Gear  Comments Off on Leica Announces the M10 by Adam Ottke
Jan 212017
 

The Leica M10 is the latest iteration of digital German rangefinders. The M10 features a similar 24MP CMOS sensor to that of the M-P (Typ 240), expanded ISO performance from ISO 100-50,000, an improved viewfinder, new three-button back panel design, and more for a discount over the Typ 240.

At $6,595, the M10 is nearly 10 percent cheaper than the Typ 240 and offers better performance across the board. A new 0.73x viewfinder offers a 30-percent larger field of view and 50-percent increased eye relief. The menu system is designed to be controlled with a joystick and just three buttons: Play, Live View, and Menu. Meanwhile, a dedicated ISO dial offers automatic or manual selection from through the native range of ISO 100-6,400. A Leica Maestro II image processor allows for five-frame-per-second shooting.

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Fuji Announces X100F and X-T20 Cameras, Fujinon XF 50mm f/2 R WR Lens, and GFX 50S Full Specs, All With Preorders, by Alex Cooke

 Gear  Comments Off on Fuji Announces X100F and X-T20 Cameras, Fujinon XF 50mm f/2 R WR Lens, and GFX 50S Full Specs, All With Preorders, by Alex Cooke
Jan 212017
 

Well, it’s quite a day to be a Fuji fan! The company has announced two new camera bodies, a new lens, and the full specifications for their upcoming mirrorless medium format camera.

X100F Camera

The X100F is the next iteration of the X100 series of cameras. I personally still use my X100S and love it. Check out the X100F’s full specs:

  • 24.3MP X-Trans CMOS III APS-C sensor
  • 23mm f/2 lens
  • Advanced hybrid viewfinder
  • User-adjustable magnification in rangefinder mode for improved focusing accuracy
  • 60 fps electronic viewfinder
  • Realtime parallax correction
  • Improved performance times, including 0.5-second startup time, 0.2-second shooting interval, 0.01-second shutter lag, and AF speed as fast as 0.08 seconds
  • 91 AF points, with 40% of the imaging area covered by phase detection points
  • New ACROS film simulation with optional grain simulation (available on all simulations)
  • Built-in ISO dial
  • Built-in three-stop ND filter
  • Electronic shutter with speeds up to 1/32,000 s
  • Digital teleconverter option with 50mm and 70mm-equivalent angles of view
  • Interval shooting with unlimited frames
  • Wi-Fi control

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Panasonic GH5 Hands-on – “6K” Anamorphic Video, 4K 60p, 180fps FHD by: Graham Sheldon

 Gear  Comments Off on Panasonic GH5 Hands-on – “6K” Anamorphic Video, 4K 60p, 180fps FHD by: Graham Sheldon
Jan 082017
 

The GH5 was announced back in September last year, but Panasonic kept many features of the camera close to the chest. Today, at CES, Panasonic pulled back the curtain. We have the full feature list and were invited to an exclusive prior GH5 hands-on event in Los Angeles. Spoiler alert, the camera looks great and it’s a cinematographer’s dream. Features, pricing and availability below: 

Watch our new interview about the GH5 with Panasonic advisor M. Uematsu in this new article by clicking here.

The built-in flash found in the old GH4 is gone and a whole new array of magical features aimed squarely at indie filmmakers have taken its place in the MFT Panasonic DMC-GH5, unveiled today at CES in Las Vegas. However, the Panasonic GH5, like a fine wine, will need to age gracefully into the summer to reach its full potential. More on that later.

Back in May of 2014, the Panasonic Lumix GH4 hit the market and became an instant favorite. Lauded for its internal 4K, variable frame rate option, XLR input module and professional video features such as peaking, zebras and cinema color profiles, it was clear that Panasonic built the camera with the cinematographer in mind. On paper, engineers have outdone themselves in every way with the new GH5.

Panasonic will be squishing features like 4:2:2 10bit 4K with a bitrate of 400Mbps and 180fps FHD variable frame rate recording into the tiny 2.0 pound body of the GH5. Over the years you get used to seeing specs like this from companies such as RED Cinema, but with the price point of a BMW 5-series. For the GH5, we are more in 1998 Honda Civic territory with a camera body price point of $2,000.

In short, the GH5 looks stylish, feels great to hold and shoots gorgeous video.

The camera launches with a max resolution of 4096×2160 up to 60fps with a bitrate of 150Mbps. Notice the differences from the features in bold above? That’s because Panasonic is rolling out a free firmware plan upgrading the camera into the summer, and 4K (400Mbps) All-Intra recording will unlock by July.

Of course, it would be great to have all the banner features right as you open the box, but like many video games these days, you’ll need to wait for updates before the camera has its full feature list, but what a list of features it is.

Here is the full firmware breakdown:

GH5 Firmware Upgrade Path:

4:2:2 10bit – Available April, 2017
6K/24p Anamorphic Video Mode (4:3) – Available Summer, 2017
(200 Mbps) FHD 4:2:2 10bit ALL-Intra – Available Summer, 2017
(400Mbps) 4K 4:2:2 10bit ALL-Intra – Available, Summer 2017

V-Log Color Profile  – Available at launch, Cost: $100

6K/24p Anamorphic Video Mode will be available in a 4:3 aspect ratio in the Summer and the very fact we are talking about getting 6K, or close, Anamorphic out of a $2,000 MFT body is exciting. Panasonic is calling this upcoming mode: “High Resolution Anamorphic” as it is 6K resolution in terms of pixel density, but not 6000 pixels of horizontal resolution.

**Update: The camera ships with Anamorphic 4K (4:3) with H.264 compression enabled. Come Summer 2017, 6K (4:3) will be shootable in H.265 compression with free firmware update. Firmware schedule below.  

Unfortunately, if you previously purchased V-Log for your GH4 you will not be able to transfer that update over to the new GH5. A new purchase is required.

While the GH5 has the same dynamic range as the Panasonic GH4, it has slightly improved lowlight performance, but I wouldn’t call this a lowlight camera by any means. We were presented with a ISO 6400 video sample and noise in the picture was very evident. On top of that, when shooting with high ISO settings, the camera will automatically reduce noise internally. This feature cannot currently be turned off and can only be controlled via the menu with high/mid/ and low settings. Panasonic is certainly willing to listen to feedback and might consider adding a complete “off position button” if there is a demand for it.

Color depth is improved and the GH5 will eventually shoot internal 4:2:2 10bit, compared to the 4:2:0 8bit of its predecessor, but launches with 4:2:0 8bit only in IPB compression. 4:2:2 10bit color is double the information of 4:2:0 and provides greater grading flexibility in the post process before the image falls apart.

Here is some gorgeous footage, shot on GH5, from the good folks over at Neumann Films:

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Canon 5D Mark IV vs Nikon D810 vs Sony A7R II: Side-by-Side Comparison

 Gear  Comments Off on Canon 5D Mark IV vs Nikon D810 vs Sony A7R II: Side-by-Side Comparison
Jan 012017
 

If you’re in the market for a high-end full-frame camera, chances are good the Canon 5D Mark IV, Sony A7R II, and Nikon D810 are all contenders. Check out this side-by-side comparison if you’re having a hard time deciding which of the three is best for you.

This comparison was put together by JP Morgan over at The Slanted Lens, who enlisted the help of Kenneth Merrill to put all three of these cameras through their paces using native glass. They tested image quality, autofocus accuracy and tracking, dynamic range, and high ISO/low light performance to see where each camera excelled, or if there’s even a noticeable difference.

You should definitely check out the full video to see the comparison tests and judge the results for yourself, but if you’re in a hurry, you can read our summary below.

fullframeshootout_feat

Image Quality

Canon really fell short here, but then again it’s also the lowest resolution camera of the bunch at just 30.4MP compared to Nikon’s 36.3MP and Sony’s 42MP. Both the Nikon and Sony came out very sharp, but each exposed the scene a little differently, and the lower res Nikon seems to have generated the highest quality image.

Autofocus

Sony won tracking hands down thanks to the plethora of AF points going all the way to the edge of the sensor and its nifty Face Detection mode. As far as accuracy, Nikon seems to hit the mark more accurately than Canon (the Sony had to sit this test out).

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Sphere Pro – The 360 Degree Lens for DSLR by Jakub Han

 Gear  Comments Off on Sphere Pro – The 360 Degree Lens for DSLR by Jakub Han
Jan 012017
 

Sphere Pro lens is a new product from Sphereoptics — a young startup from New York. It brings 360 video capability to conventional DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. No stitching is required so converting videos to spherical format is easier and faster. 

The Sphere Pro lens is intended to be mounted (for best results) or held pointed upwards and it is designed to capture a 360° horizontal and 180° vertical field of view. That makes it one of a kind. It is a 35mm full frame format lens and has a Nikon F mount, but you can mount it to most cameras using an applicable adapter. The aperture is fixed at f/8 and focus is fixed as well (best at 40″/1meter).

From the test video you can see the image quality is not perfect, but for a quick VR experience it is sufficient. This lens gives you the ability to shoot conventional content with your personal camera and then quickly switch lenses and record a spherical video with the same body. If you wanted a better quality image you could mount the lens to a RED Cinema camera and shoot in significantly higher resolution, such as 6K. The image outcome will get better in line with the sensors used, which is an excellent feature of the device.

How does Sphere Pro lens work?

The device uses a special toroidal mirror with a reflective surface and series of optical elements to capture the full sphere of light around the lens into a circle-like image on the camera sensor. The resolution is therefore only dependent on the smallest dimension of the sensor. Converting the video to a spherical shape for VR viewing is easy and fast through pixel mapping. According to the creators, the process is so easy it can be done on your average iOS or Android device.

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DreamGrip Smartphone Rig for Filmmakers By: Jakub Han

 Gear  Comments Off on DreamGrip Smartphone Rig for Filmmakers By: Jakub Han
Dec 112016
 

If you’re a smartphone videography enthusiast maybe considering to step up your game, check out DreamGrip. You can use it with any smartphone, and allows you to mount plenty of accessories.

The quality of smartphone cameras has been steadily improving in recent times, with more and more people starting to use smartphones to generate high-quality video content. We brought you 10 useful Tips for cinematic smartphone videos in the past, but I think we will continue to see huge progress in smartphone videography in the coming years. This means more smartphone-oriented filmmaking accessories will start making an appearance.
DreamGrip is a Hong Kong-based company but with offices in Vancouver, Canada, and have been developing their smartphone rig since August 2015. After testing their first prototypes during the past year, they are now taking pre-orders.

What does the DreamGrip smartphone rig offer you?

Adjustable lens mount, so you can use any smartphone.
A variety of lenses: Fisheye, Wide Angle, Telephoto x2, Telephoto x3.
Bluetooth wireless remote with free app for Android and iOS.
Two cold shoe mounts on the handles.
Additional mounting possibilities through ¼” – 20” mounts and screws.
Adapter with a 52mm CPL filter.
One of the issues when filming with a smartphone at high resolutions while using Bluetooth is of course battery life. While I am not sure where you could mount a powerbank on this rig, it seems like it could accomodate one of those power cases for extra battery life. These are not available for all smartphones, though.

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Why I’m Leaving Apple for Microsoft: Switching as a Photographer

 Gear  Comments Off on Why I’m Leaving Apple for Microsoft: Switching as a Photographer
Dec 062016
 

applemicrosoftfeat

iPhones, MacBooks, Mac Pros, heck, even the Apple Watch, it was a good run indeed. However, times have changed, and that beauty that was once your innovation has now been covered up with the makeup that is nice marketing.

Don’t get me wrong, I am writing this on iMac number three, but like all other Apple products, it will soon be slower and barely usable due to some OS update that, while not mandatory, will show me an “update” banner ruthlessly until I succumb. But as I look back on the good times, I start to see what our relationship really was.

I was young and easily influenced. I didn’t just like Apple products, I looked up to them, for they were what professional photographers used. But now that my career as an advertising photographer is no longer new, I find the “need” that once existed is no longer there. When I get asked by strangers how I can get by as a photographer without having an iPhone, the reality of the relationship is drawn into complete focus.

It all started with a MacBook Air…

I was just out of college, and starting this career that is photography. I didn’t have a lot of money, but knew I wanted an Apple computer since they were made for creatives. Watching the keynote where Steve Jobs pulled the MacBook Air out of an envelope, I was smitten.

Unfortunately for me, I had to wait until I could buy a used one on Craigslist because the price new was too much. Creepy/shady transaction aside, there I stood with my first Apple product. It was perfect in every way, from the battery life, to the size of it, to how it felt to type on it. Over the years, many a blog post would be written on that little laptop and some incredible photo shoots would see their files transferred on its hard drive as I flew home.

However, as time went on, it got slower and slower. Through the latest and greatest OS updates that claimed to make it “faster,” my little MacBook Air would barely run Safari. But not to worry, I had been fortunate to have some success in this career, so I could buy a new MacBook that ran like the old one used to. On top of that, I could get a powerful laptop on which I could do all my editing while on set.

Enter the MacBook Pro…

Immediately upon taking it out of the box I remember thinking, it’s a bit big, but it’s like having a desktop that I can take with me everywhere. This argument fought in my brain, only to be quelled by the words of Jonathan Ive telling us that the fans were not symmetrical in it so it would be quieter. I carried around the MacBook Pro to every shoot for years, even to set with me as recently as last week. However, I have yet to ever edit a file on it, sans a quick resize.

While it may be possible to adjust files from smaller DSLRs, the idea of manipulating a 100 megapixel file on it is humorous at best. In short, my laptop has been what I have always wanted it to be, a file transportation system that I can write blog posts on.

So with that in mind, I began to crave the return of the MacBook Air. It was small, light and easy to chuck files on before getting on a plane. However, what we got was a new laptop that costs more to have less buttons (but at least we can select emojis on the keyboard). Herein lies my concern about Apple and the reason for my change.

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Olympus OMD E-M1 II controls and handling for video – a first look

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Olympus OMD E-M1 II controls and handling for video – a first look
Dec 062016
 

The new flagship Olympus OMD E-M1 II has been getting quite a lot of attention lately thanks to its amazing image stabilisation capabilities and high bitrate internal DCI 4K recording. We’ve just received the highly specced Micro 4/3rds camera to test and will be taking a closer look at it over the coming days.

In this first article I’m going to look at the design and handling of the camera for video. In later articles we’ll examine the image stabilisation system, autofocus and image quality. Bitrates, crops and colour settings will have to wait till then. (spolier – there is no Log profile on the camera)

The camera body is nicely put together.

The body of the camera is nicely put together and is weather sealed. There is a good sized handgrip that felt good in my hands.

The LCD screen is a flip-out type similar to cameras like the GH4. You can angle it up, down or a full 180 degrees around for selfies – video bloggers will be happy. The electronic viewfinder has a 120 hz refresh rate and is very good, with little noticable lag or image judder. There is a histogram function, peaking and also focus magnification. These all work well, but the one major annoyance is that the magnification function doesn’t work while recording – unlike the competing Sony a7 and a6xxx series.

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Kinotehnik Practilite 600 — Portable LED Lighting for $799, By Graham Sheldon

 Gear  Comments Off on Kinotehnik Practilite 600 — Portable LED Lighting for $799, By Graham Sheldon
Nov 302016
 

The Kinotehnik Practilite 600 recently announced by the film accessory manufacturer is a portable, smartphone-controlled LED with a promised output similar to a 300-450 watt Tungsten light. This new addition to their Practilite line will be shipping and available soon, so read on for all the specs including pricing and availability.

LED technology has been improving dramatically over the years. Gone are the days of green tinged color output and individual diodes burning out because of poor quality control. The struggle these days, however, is creating high-output LED lights at a price point that makes sense. The Practilite 600 comes in with a price tag of $799, double the price of a comparable output tungsten light, but significantly more affordable than LED lights of years past.
Other budget LED fresnel lights on the market:
CAME TV CE-1500WS LED Video Spotlight $338.95
Dracast Fresnel 200 Daylight LED Light $493.50
The Kinotehnik Practilite 600 promises an equivalent output to a 300-450 watt tungsten unit, which for me personally places this light in background light, hair light or fill light territory — not necessarily for a key light. Despite being cheaper than the Practilite 602, the 600 has an output 20% higher in flood mode according to the manufacturer.

For more on the first member of the Practilite line read Johnnie Behiri’s minute review of the Practilite 602 HERE.
The benefits of LED lighting lie in power consumption and heat output. You can plug multiple LED lights into household circuits and not worry about blowing a breaker. In the tungsten world, you are out of luck with anything larger than a 1K light, maybe 2K in some instances, inside a home. Not to mention that with tungsten lighting there is always that tiny chance of someone getting burned. Not so with LEDs.

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OmniVision’s new image sensors will bring zHDR technology to smartphones

 Technique  Comments Off on OmniVision’s new image sensors will bring zHDR technology to smartphones
Nov 182016
 

Chinese image sensor manufacturer OmniVision Technologies has announced four new smartphone sensors capable of capturing more dynamic range and less noise than ever before.
The four sensors use OmniVision’s second-generation PureCel Plus and PureCel Plus-S pixel technologies to achieve the increase in performance.
To increase dynamic range, OmniVision has increased full-well capacity (FWC), meaning each pixel is capable of collecting more light before clipping of the highlights begins to occur. This improvement is said to increase dynamic range by 20 percent over the previous generation.

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DJI announces the M600 Pro drone for payloads up to 6kg

 Action cams, Gear  Comments Off on DJI announces the M600 Pro drone for payloads up to 6kg
Nov 162016
 

DJI has announced yet another drone, but this time it is a lot larger than the Mavic Pro. The Matrice 600 Pro inherits everything from the M600 with the addition of improved flight performance and better loading capacity. The M600 now comes with pre-installed arms and antennas to help reduce the setup time. This is perhaps the biggest improvement over the older M600.

screen-shot-2016-11-11-at-3-09-35-pm

The airframe is equipped with the A3 Pro flight controller, Lightbridge 2 HD transmission system, intelligent batteries and battery management system. All Zenmuse cameras and gimbals are natively compatible and there is full integration with third party software and hardware.

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Chronos 1.4 – Affordable 1050fps Camera for 720p Slow Mo

 Gear  Comments Off on Chronos 1.4 – Affordable 1050fps Camera for 720p Slow Mo
Oct 312016
 

The Chronos 1.4 camera is the result of the efforts of a single engineer, David Kronstein, who is working diligently to bring slow motion to a wider group of filmmakers. The device –  now “production ready” and headed to Kickstarter in the “next few months” for funding – is capable of 1050fps at a resolution of 1280×1024.  Read on for all the details, including footage samples: 

Shooting great-looking slow motion is really, really expensive and usually requires renting a Phantom high-speed camera for the best shots at 300 fps+, or an equally pricey RED Epic Dragon or Weapon for anything below 300 fps. Slow motion, however, is almost always worth it.  Don’t take my word for it –  just look at the trailer for Planet Earth II here, which includes some epic slow motion moments.

The YouTubers over at the “TAOFLEDERMAUS” channel have gotten their hands on a prototype production model of the Chronos 1.4 and have in-camera footage to show as well:

As you can see from the video, there are still a few kinks to work out: there is a 30 second boot up time from the moment the power button is pressed, and saving to SD card takes a considerable amount of time as well, but hopefully we’ll see improvements as the project progresses.

This is very much a speciality tool, especially given the lack of full 1080p resolution, but it is cheap and shows promise at being a no-fuss slow motion solution in the future.

Once fully funded through Kickstarter, the 8GB base model of the Chronos 1.4 is expected to cost a (comparatively speaking) very affordable $2,500.

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Apple Announces the 2016 MacBook Pro with new Touch Bar

 Apple  Comments Off on Apple Announces the 2016 MacBook Pro with new Touch Bar
Oct 312016
 

The release of the new 2016 MacBook Pro marks the 25th anniversary of Apple’s first laptop computer. As always, the refresh brings a reduction in weight and size, a boost in performance, but this time also introduces the new Touch Bar. But what does it mean for video editors?

The October Apple event came right on the heels of their recent launch of the iPhone 7, but many already had a clear idea of what was to be announced. With the current series of MacBook Pros overdue for a refresh, it was fairly obvious that it was their turn to take centre stage.
The new range of MacBook Pros is quite a bit thinner and lighter than the previous generation, challenging even the dimensions of the MacBook Air. In terms of connectivity, the 2016 MacBook Pro features Thunderbolt 3 ports only, offering incredibly fast speeds of up to 40Gbps. Even when using any one the ports for charging the machine, the rest make up for it due to the to the daisy chaining functionality of Thunderbolt. What is a bit of a downer for video shooters, though, is that Apple has completely left out the SD card reader on the new 2016 MacBook Pro. Oh, and it still features a 3.5mm headphone jack, just in case you were wondering…
In terms of performance, the 2016 Macbook Pro features an Intel Core I7 processor, AMD Radeon Pro graphics card with Polaris Architecture (for the 15 inch model) and faster SSD drives. Apple claims all of these improvements boost performance far beyond the previous generation in important areas for video production. The Retina display is also capable of quite a lot more contrast ratio and colour, responding to the ever increasing demand for higher dynamic range and wider colour gamut of today’s professional video industry. The graphics card included in the 2016 MacBook Pro was also mentioned to be capable of driving two 5K external monitors in addition to the MacBook Pro Retina display. Nice!
The feature that stole the show, however, was the new Touch Bar. This Retina-quality, multi-touch strip – located where the escape and function keys used to be – is a content-aware interface that allows you to control system and application settings with familiar gestures such as tapping and swiping. 
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MIOPS MOBILE: A Versatile Camera Remote That Connects to Your Phone

 Gear, Technique  Comments Off on MIOPS MOBILE: A Versatile Camera Remote That Connects to Your Phone
Oct 242016
 

With only 3 days left and over triple the minimum funding goal of $50 000, Miops Mobile is offering something that is both useful and compact for your everyday filmmaking needs.

Camera Remotes have been a standard tool in everyone’s kit for a while now, but they can be expensive, plain and boring. Many have tried to use Kickstarter as a platform to reinvent the small black and white screened remotes. With Apple OS Kits allowing customers to tap into the power of mobile applications, MIOPS have tapped into the power of using an app that allows more than any trigger could possibly offer, and that at an even better price.

MIOPS MOBILE Remote features

Motion, Vibration Sense and Sound Trigger Mode

The app’s MOTION mode uses the smartphone’s camera to watch for the action. It captures photos of moving objects without the need for a manual trigger. This could be useful for capturing wildlife, or even a moving selfie.

The MIOPS MOBILE will also trigger a shot using its vibration sense feature. Using the architecture of a smartphone’s gyroscope and accelerometer, the phone can be attached to a pole, which will allow you to capture your best slam dunk.

Using the smartphone’s microphone, the MIOPS is capable of triggering on sound bites.

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Kodak Ektra, the Photography-First Smartphone – Gimmick or Game Changer?

 Gear  Comments Off on Kodak Ektra, the Photography-First Smartphone – Gimmick or Game Changer?
Oct 242016
 

Kodak Ektra – hard to tell if it’s a phone or a camera, seen from the back …

In a surprising move from Kodak, the company forever synonymous with photography has unveiled the Kodak Ektra, a photography-first smartphone.

Chase Jarvis coined the phrase “The best camera is the one that’s with you”, and I couldn’t agree more. For many of us, that’s our phone.

Building a phone around a proper camera instead of the other way around is something that hasn’t really been done to the extent that many photographers might like. It seems this didn’t go unnoticed by Kodak, and they’ve jumped at the chance to stake a claim, and define that niche for themselves.

The Ektra is not the first smartphone to bear the Kodak brand, however. You have probably never heard of the IM5, released early last year in a pretty feeble attempt to grab hold of people’s nostalgia for the Kodak brand. Not a great phone, nor a great camera.

The Kodak Ektra, however, looks like a much better attempt. It seems like Kodak might be onto something this time, although the specs themselves seem average compared to how far some manufacturers are currently pushing to claim the top smartphone camera spot. The hardware itself is made by manufacturer-for-hire Bullitt, who also make phones for Caterpillar among others.

Kodak have some major competition for the hearts and minds of mobile photographers. There is certainly a legitimate market for a fantastic camera that happens to make phone calls, connect you with all your social media, and let you run all your favorite smartphone apps… but is the Ektra really everything it claims to be?

Kodak Ektra – Gimmick or Game Changer?

One could argue that the imaging specs of the Ektra are not actually pushing the envelope. The camera is based around a 21MP Sony sensor with 6-axis optical image stabilization and an f/2.0 lens. This is good, but far from revolutionary, considering the 41MP sensor in the Nokia Lumia 1020, or dual camera configurations from the major players in a cutthroat industry that will pull out all the stops to offer the best imaging tech available. Is Kodak offering the best cutting edge imaging technology? Not really, but it does stack up pretty well.

Kodak Ektra: 21MP, UHD 4K video, f/2 fixed lens, optical image stabilization

Sony Experia Z5 Compact: 23MP, UHD 4K video, f/2.3 fixed lens
Apple iPhone 7: 12MP, UHD 4K video, f/1.8 fixed lens, optical image stabilization
Apple iPhone 7 Plus: 2x 12MP, UHD 4K video, f/1.8 wide angle fixed lens + f/2.8 telephoto fixed lens, optical image stabilization
Samsung Galaxy S6: 16MP, UHD 4K video, f/1.9 fixed lens, optical image stabilization
Huawei P9: 2x 12MP, UHD 4K video, f/2.2 (x2) fixed lens, SteadyShot video stabilization

Maybe it’s not about that. I’m sure the camera functions just fine, and produces perfectly acceptable images, as well as 4K video. The Ektra does have an attractive design and a distinct style which will appeal to the photo enthusiast, especially those like myself who like to shoot film and walk around with 40-year-old SLR’s hanging around the neck. It has a nostalgic leatherette covering, a throwback to a time long past.

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Saramonic CaMixer Adds a Headphone Jack to Your Sony a6300 / a6500

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Saramonic CaMixer Adds a Headphone Jack to Your Sony a6300 / a6500
Oct 182016
 

If you’re a proud owner of a Sony a6300, you might be in desperate need of  some sort of audio interface due to its lack of a headphone jack.  Saramonic has your back here with the release of a very compact and very affordable audio mixer. Meet the Saramonic CaMixer.

The Saramonic CaMixer

This little audio interface could be just what you need if you’re after a a small, lightweight and affordable audio solution. Saramonic claims it is brand new, but actually it looks very familiar to me. Last year they released a very similar audio interface, the SmartMixer, intended to be used with smartphones. It’s a little more expensive, as it comes bundled with a smartphone holder and a grip. The new CaMixer comes in professional black rather than in consumer red.

Spot the dfference! Saramonic CaMixer (left) and SmartMixer (right)

Anyway, the functionality for a device like this is still very relevant, as a lot of smaller cameras like the Sony a6300 or even the freshly announced Sony a6500 lack a decent headphone jack for monitoring audio. You also get two detachable directional microphones plugged into 3.5mm mic inputs, a phantom powered mini XLR jack and of course an audio out port for connecting the Saramonic CaMixer to your camera. A lot of stuff for such a tiny preamp device, indeed.

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Sony RX100V & Sony A6500 Hands-On Video – Rolling Shutter & Overheating Solved?

 Gear  Comments Off on Sony RX100V & Sony A6500 Hands-On Video – Rolling Shutter & Overheating Solved?
Oct 182016
 

Yesterday’s press event at Sony’s European headquarters was very informative. We were given the possibility to record with the new RX100V but not with the a6500 as this camera was not yet ready for primetime, although we did get a A6500 Hands-On too.

Here are, in short, the new features that these cameras have to offer:

On both cameras: 

  • The Sony RX100V and Sony a6500 both share the same BIONZ X image processor and front-end LSI chip as the new Sony a99II, which allows for high volumes of data to be processed.
  • The buffer has been increased, which allows for capture of more photos per second and longer slow-motion videos.

Sony RX100V – Better rolling shutter effect control

Sony RX100V: 

  • Video image quality has been slightly improved.
  • Rolling shutter effect has been greatly improved because of better processing.
  • Autofocus is now faster and more accurate than before.
  • Photo mode allows up to six seconds of 24fps in RAW, theoretically allowing to create short 5.5K video clips.
  • New underwater housing (Marine pack MPK-URX100A, up to 40m/130ft).

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