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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FUJINON MK 50-135mm Review – A Worthy Cine Zoom For Your Kit?, by Sebastian Wober

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on FUJINON MK 50-135mm Review – A Worthy Cine Zoom For Your Kit?, by Sebastian Wober
Jun 232017
 

Earlier this year FUJINON introduced a new line of affordable E-Mount Cine Zooms made for documentary-style shooters. Here’s our FUJINON MK 50-135mm Review, where we take a look at the second of the two complimentary zoom lenses from FUJINON .

Featuring a non-breathing focus mechanism, par focal design and fully-geared focus, iris and zoom, I took this lens for a spin, after having already reviewed its little brother – the MK 18-55mm T/2.9 – earlier this year.

FUJINON MK 50-135mm Review

I tested the FUJINON MK 50-135mm over the course of several days and, while at first I was hesitant, I really enjoyed working with the lens after I had gotten the hang of it and seen the footage. Together, the FUJINON MK 18-55 T/2.9 and the new FUJINON MK 50-135mm T/2.9 cover a good focal range: 18mm to 135mm.

I recently tested the Sony 18-110mm cine style lens which is also a good alternative to the FUJINONs if you don’t want to carry two lenses and if you don’t mind that a lot Sony’s science is done electronically. Of course, the Sony lens is missing the 110-135 range, which admittedly will not be a huge tradeoff for many. The MKs are all-manual and in comparison to the Sony they also feature a constant aperture of T/2.9. This is great, especially because to me it seemed like they do look good wide open.

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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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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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Freefly MōVI Carbon and Pilot, by Rin Ehlers Sheldon

 Gear  Comments Off on Freefly MōVI Carbon and Pilot, by Rin Ehlers Sheldon
May 132017
 

NAB 2017 was abuzz with the sound of Freefly: adding to their big MōVI XL release, they have also announced the MōVI Carbon gimbal and Pilot controller.

Freefly MōVI Pilot

If you’re a fan of the MIMIC, you should be pretty jazzed about the MōVI Pilot. With remote control over the 3 axes of focus, iris, and zoom, the Pilot gives an AC or an operator a pumped follow focus that fully integrates with MōVI Pro. The Pilot features adjustable focus knob damping and a 2-axis joystick that can be set to control focal length, gimbal, pointing, or just about anything you want at the tip of your thumb.

Freefly promises a price point under $5,000, and if you want, you can reserve one before you even know what you’re spending. If you’re a part of a team that leans on a MōVI gimbal, this seems like a smart purchase to fully take advantage of what your rig can do.

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Sony Introduces the S3CA – A Sony a7S II Without Recording Limit by; Sebastian Wober

 Cinematography  Comments Off on Sony Introduces the S3CA – A Sony a7S II Without Recording Limit by; Sebastian Wober
May 022017
 

Many were hoping to see an announcement of something like a “Sony a7S 3” camera at this year’s NAB. Instead, we saw a new version of the Sony a7S II called S3CA. While there is indeed an “S3” in its product name, this is rather a “special version” of the a7S II for certain applications. Here’s all about the new Sony S3CA.

Sony S3CA

The S3CA is an interesting camera – it features the same sensor and processing as the popular Sony a7S II, but doesn’t limit your recording to 30 minutes, meaning your card size is really the deciding factor on how long you can record for.

The Sony a7S II was introduced in 2015 and has made headlines as being one of the best cinema cameras on the market, especially because of its impressive lowlight capabilities (see my lowlight review here).

On top of its a7S II heritage, the S3CA has a slightly smaller, box-shaped and more durable body and it has no screen or buttons – it requires a USB connection with a PC or Mac as a control interface. For some applications this could be a very interesting solution. The S3CA could for example be used during a live production and be controlled from the mixer instead of a camera operator.

The camera on display was hooked up to a computer app, in which I noticed that the image lagged and stuttered. The app, however, is not intended for monitoring. Instead, the camera features an HDMI output up to 4K for monitoring and external recording.

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Panasonic 360 4K Video Camera – A Prototype No Longer by; Graham Sheldon

 Gear  Comments Off on Panasonic 360 4K Video Camera – A Prototype No Longer by; Graham Sheldon
May 022017
 

360 video is still very much the talk of NAB, and Panasonic is not one to be left behind. First announced late last year, the AW-360C10 – AKA the Panasonic 360 camera –  features four cameras shooting at 3840×1920 resolution and uses real-time active stitching. It’s aimed at the live event 360 world and we have all the details below: 

We first announced the Panasonic 360 prototype camera (Panasonic-360C10) and its base unit back in November of 2016 at Inter Bee, and now it seems the camera has made the jump from prototype into production. Four cameras mounted along the head of the unit shoot 4K video at up to 59.94fps in a 2:1 image format ratio, a.k.a equi-rectangular video.

Panasonic is hoping that their low latency system will find a home with sports, concerts, and other live, stadium-based events.

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This is What 20fps with the Sony a9 Sounds Like (Spoiler: Nothing)

 Gear  Comments Off on This is What 20fps with the Sony a9 Sounds Like (Spoiler: Nothing)
Apr 242017
 

Sony made quite a splash in the photo industry this week by announcing the new a9, a mirrorless camera that can shoot 24MP full-frame photos at a whopping 20fps. We soon got a look at what 20fps on this camera looks like. If you want to see what 20fps sounds like, check out the video above.

Some DSLRs can shoot at relatively fast rates as well — check out 12fps with the Nikon D5 and 16fps with the Canon 1D X II — but with DSLRs you’ll have audible sounds from the mirror and/or shutter flapping up and down.

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Hasselblad H6D-100c Review – Shooting Medium-Format Video by; Christoph Tilley

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Hasselblad H6D-100c Review – Shooting Medium-Format Video by; Christoph Tilley
Apr 242017
 

In this guest review, Vienna-based filmmaker Christoph Tilley takes a close look at the Hasselblad H6D-100c – a 100MP, 4K Raw-capable medium format camera. Intrigued? Read on for his hands-on impressions.

Christoph Tilley reviews the Hasselblad H6D-100c

Shooting Medium-Format Video

Not too long ago DSLRs revolutionized the way we make films. These days, we are seeing the emergence of the first medium-format stills cameras capable of shooting video. What would it be like to shoot video on an such an extremely large sensor? 

Enter the Hasselblad H6D-100c, a 100 Megapixel Full-Frame Medium-Format Stills Camera. The resolution is absolutely incredible on this thing – each Raw image has a file size of 216,3 Megabytes. But why in particular is this interesting for us filmmakers? Well, this thing can also shoot 4K Raw video.

But what kind of results will you get when shooting video? And how does this large sensor compare to Super35 in the real world? To find out, we shot a typical interview scene on the RED Dragon with a 50mm lens wide open at f/1.4. Right alongside we had the Hasselblad H6D-100c with a 100mm lens at an f-stop of f/4.

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Camera-Specific Outdoor Packs Suck, Here’s What I Use Instead

 Gear, travel  Comments Off on Camera-Specific Outdoor Packs Suck, Here’s What I Use Instead
Apr 022017
 

If you’ve ever loaded up a large camera backpack (like something from Think Tank Photo or LowePro) and hiked a mountain, you’ll be able to fully appreciate how terrible the experience is… well, except for the views.

The narrow shoulder straps dig deeply into your shoulders and neck. The pack bounces all over, sliding from side to side. The “waist belt”—a piece of bare 2-inch nylon webbing with a buckle—does more harm than good, and executes exactly zero of the functions that a waist belt is supposed to offer. You curse the thing under your breath and mutter that there must be a better way.

And there is!

The solution I found and have been very happy with is to ditch the camera bag and go with a pack that has been developed over decades with engineering designed to handle heavy loads comfortably in all kinds of conditions and terrains: a hiking pack.

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New Marshall 7″ On-Camera Monitor V-LCD70W-SH by; Olof Von Oss

 Gear  Comments Off on New Marshall 7″ On-Camera Monitor V-LCD70W-SH by; Olof Von Oss
Mar 262017
 

Marshall Electronics has just unveiled their latest LCD on-camera monitor, the 7″ V-LCD70W-SH. Originally planned for IBC 2016, it’s now finally available, so let’s have a quick look.

Marshall 7″ V-LCD70W-SH LCD monitor

There’s a wide range of decent on-camera monitors to choose from, and now there’s one more candidate: the new Marshall V-LCD70W-SH. It’s a 7″ HDMI and SDI LCD monitor with pretty much every feature you would expect in this class of monitors.

It features a detachable sun hood that’s also foldable, which can be quite useful for stowing away when not needed. Those tiny brackets look like they may be a little fragile, though…

Folded and extended sun hood.

When the sun hood is attached, all buttons remain accessible as they are located on the outside, which is nice. Three user-customizable buttons for common functions such as focus peaking can be found on the left-hand side of the monitor. The other buttons are for input, menu access and on/off.

In terms of connectivity, you can use both the HDMI and SDI signals as an input. There’s a cross converter built right into the V-LCD70W-SH, so you’re able to loop through whatever signal is needed to a client monitor, for example. As an addition, this 7″ LCD sports a built-in tally light with two colors to choose from: red or green.

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FUJIFILM X-T20 Review – Real World Video Samples and First Impressions

 Gear  Comments Off on FUJIFILM X-T20 Review – Real World Video Samples and First Impressions
Mar 262017
 

Late last year while visiting Japan, I was fortunate enough to test the FUJIFILM X-T2. Now I’m delighted to have its little sibling before me, the X-T20, which was first announced at the beginning of 2017. I certainly had some expectations in regards to the video capabilities from this little camera, especially knowing how well the bigger X-T2 preformed. Here’s my FUJIFILM X-T20 review, where I will focus on its video performance.

If you have been following the latest developments in our industry, you might agree with me that something good is happening regarding all things FUJI. Besides FUJINON – their optical devision that now brings us quality cinema zoom lenses at a reduced price – FUJIFILM now offers high-quality 4K video throughout their new APS-C line, an indicator that the company is listening to their customers. If I can be a fool and look into the future, I wouldn’t be surprised if FUJIFILM’s ambitions eventually merge, and what we will see is a proper high-quality filming tool to accompany their high-quality glass.

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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.

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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.

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