DxOMark’s Pentax 645Z Review is Out After 2 Year Delay, Scores 101

 Gear  Comments Off on DxOMark’s Pentax 645Z Review is Out After 2 Year Delay, Scores 101
Nov 202017
 

Last month, we reported that DxOMark had reviewed the Pentax 645Z back in 2015 and given it a highest-ever score of 101 before pausing its medium format camera reviews prior to publishing any. That Pentax 645Z review is finally out, and DxOMark still has glowing things to say about the camera.

DxOMark says the 51.4-megapixel camera has extremely good image quality scores, and the large pixels on the sensor gives the camera the best low-light ISO scores ever recorded up to this point among all cameras.

“It’s clear from our testing that the Pentax 645Z’s sensor is extremely capable, coming within a whisper of matching the performance of the Hasselblad X1D sensor (our highest-scoring sensor to date),” DxOMark says. “The 645Z’s high dynamic range and color sensitivity make it ideally suited for capturing the types of scenes that are traditionally favored by medium-format photographers — landscapes, weddings, portraits, and still lifes (commercial).”

The camera is interesting to compare against the Nikon D850, DxOMark says. The Pentax has a sensor that’s 1.7 times larger, but the D850 is about 3 years newer. The Nikon D850 actually stacks up well against the medium format camera thanks to Sony’s sensor manufacturing prowess.

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FUJIFILM X-E3 Review – Sample Footage and First Impressions

 Gear  Comments Off on FUJIFILM X-E3 Review – Sample Footage and First Impressions
Nov 132017
 

The new FUJIFILM X-E3 is the latest edition to the ever growing family of FUJIFILM’s X-mount line. This APS-C sensor-sized, mirrorless stills camera, can shoot high quality 4k (UHD) video and, dare I say it, is the best they have produced so far! As a reviewer, I had the chance to work with the X-PRO2, X-T2, X-T20 and the GFX 50S. While all produce nice looking images, the new X-E3 sets itself apart from the crowd by offering greater ease of use (mostly due to the added focus lever and LCD touch screen), enhanced autofocus capabilities and very pleasing video quality. Read on for my FUJIFILM X-E3 review. 

FUJIFILM was kind enough to supply me with a production sample that I could use and explore for a few days; here are my findings from my FUJIFILM X-E3 review:

Ergonomics

The first thing I noticed when taking the camera out of the box was how light-weight it is, to the point of not being sure if FUJIFILM had decided to pull my leg and send me an empty camera shell! In a world where every gram counts, particularly in relation to international travel, this is a big advantage.

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Canon XF405 Review – Sample Footage and First Impressions

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Canon XF405 Review – Sample Footage and First Impressions
Oct 262017
 

With the introduction of the new Canon XF405, XF400, LEGRIA/VIXIA GX10 – as well as the whole of Sony’s new line – one can assume that the fastest growing market for news and documentary shooting is coming in the form of 4K (UHD), handheld 1” sensor-size cameras. It is not that we haven’t had them before, but they certainly have been getting better and more feature-rich with time. When it comes to affordability… well, it totally depends on who you are talking to and the model you choose.

Canon XF405 camera

If you are an independent filmmaker looking for an all-round shooting device that can produce a bit of a cinematic look thanks to a slightly larger sensor than those traditionally found in these type of cameras, or if you’re a broadcaster looking to equip news crews with a versatile and affordable piece of equipment, then the Canon XF405/400/LEGRIA GX10 might be the right cameras for you. Sound tempting? Then read on for my full Canon XF405 review.

Before continuing, it is important for me to make it clear that the image coming out of the camera I tested may be slightly different than that of the final product.

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Sony a7R III Announced Along Sony 24-105mm f4 and 400m f2.8

 Gear  Comments Off on Sony a7R III Announced Along Sony 24-105mm f4 and 400m f2.8
Oct 262017
 

Today is a Sony announcement day that sees the unveiling of the Sony a7R III and 24-105mm f4 zoom, and the announcement of an upcoming 400m f2.8 G Master lens.

Sony a7R III

The wait is over: Sony has finally unveiled the first in the new generation of the A7 series. As always, the Sony a7R III comes at the vanguard of the new announcements – ahead of the A7 and S models – and this time brings a host of improvements to existing features and a few new surprises.

As expected, the new Sony a7R III brings a high pixel-count sensor, with its 42.4MP of resolution once again making this the model aimed primarily at professional stills photographers. The camera’s back-illuminated Exmor R and BIONZ X processor make this model capable of capturing 10 still frames per second, for a buffer of 76 continuous compressed RAW or JPEG images. ISO is available from 100-32000, and Sony claims that noise has been reduced by up to a full stop.

All of this with the advanced autofocus capabilities we have come to expect from this line’s R model, thanks to its 399 phase-detection AF points across 68% of the image, in addition to 425 contrast-detection points. Sony also claims that the camera’s Eye AF performance has been improved when the subject is moving, backlit or looking down.

What about video?

Just like with the II, the new Sony a7R III is capable of recording internal 4K in both full-frame and Super 35mm modes. As you may remember from some of our camera tests of the previous generation, the A7R II offered a better 4K image in crop mode, so it remains to be seen whether this will still be the case with the a7R III (take a look at some comparisons here, and our review here). It’s worth mentioning that the camera also supports proxy recording for easier editing of high-resolution videos, particularly useful when dealing with the relatively processor-intensive XAVC codec. Additionally, one of the biggest improvements to the video capabilities of the camera is the ability to achieve an increased resolution of 5K in Super 35mm mode thanks to an oversampling of a 15MP section of the sensor.

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Pre-Order:

Sony a7R III Mirrorless Digital Camera Body

Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 G OSS E-Mount NEX Camera Lens

DJI AeroScope is Designed to Track Down Your Drone While Airborne

 Gear  Comments Off on DJI AeroScope is Designed to Track Down Your Drone While Airborne
Oct 262017
 

DJI has unveiled a new tool designed to increase safety and security in a world of crowded air space. AeroScope can identify and track any DJI drone by using the existing link between the drone itself and the controller on the ground. A bold move, you might think. Certainly, but also a necessary one!

Security is always an issue, and it’s always about keeping a balance. Surveillance, incapacitation and big brother authorities on the one hand, privacy and freedom on the other.

Photograph credit: Bertrand Bouchez | unsplash.com

We need regulation for the increasing air traffic caused by affordable drones, sure. But we also need to avoid a surveillance state in order to enforce these regulations. In comes DJI AeroScope, a tool which tries to satisfy both sides.

DJI AeroScope

This upcoming technology won’t be available for everybody. It’s designed to be used by authorized parties like police or aviation authorities only. AeroScope has been installed at two international airports since April, and DJI is continuing to test the system in other environments.

Basically AeroScope is a receiver that can detect any drones within its range once that drone is powered on. Before it’s even airborne, AeroScope can already know its location and its unique registration number, which relates it directly to its registered owner.

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Review: The Nikon D850’s Negative Digitizer Isn’t Ready for Prime Time

 Gear  Comments Off on Review: The Nikon D850’s Negative Digitizer Isn’t Ready for Prime Time
Oct 242017
 

 

A couple weeks ago, I got a chance to run the Nikon D850 through its paces as a scanner. The “Negative Digitizer” feature, which can automatically flip negatives to positive got a lot of buzz as the camera was being released, and I was eager to try it out.

I’ve been using digital cameras to scan my negatives since I was first able to put my hands on one. When done properly, it’s possible to digitize very large collections quickly and efficiently.

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Fast and Affordable Mitakon Creator Primes Now Available for E-Mount

 Gear  Comments Off on Fast and Affordable Mitakon Creator Primes Now Available for E-Mount
Oct 162017
 

Lens manufacturer Zhongyi has expanded the Mitakon Creator line-up, with the 35mm f/2 and 85mm f/2 now available for Sony E-mount.

Zhongyi Optics is a lens manufacturer out of China that specialises in affordable fast glass and lens adapters under the Mitakon banner, which includes the Speedmaster series of primes and the Lens Turbo focal reducer – think of it as a Speed Booster without electronic contacts, but which has proven popular with beginner filmmakers due to its low cost and good compatibility with manual cine-style lenses like the Rokinons.

Their Mitakon Creator line of fully-manual primes consists of a 35mm f/2, an 85mm f/2 and a 135mm f/2.8, and had until now been available in Sony A, Canon EF, Pentax K, and Nikon F mounts. Now, the Mitakon Creator series is expanding, offering both the 35mm and the 85mm also in Sony E-mount.

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PolarPro FiftyFifty Review – A New Way to Compose Your Watersport Shots

 Gear  Comments Off on PolarPro FiftyFifty Review – A New Way to Compose Your Watersport Shots
Oct 162017
 

The PolarPro FiftyFifty is the latest gadget for the GoPro HERO 5: a dome for split shots over and underwater. Read on for sample footage and my impressions.

Having used GoPro gear for the last few years, I am constantly amazed by the evolution of the cameras and their accessories. I recently got my hands on the PolarPro FiftyFifty, a dome shaped-accessory that allows you to achieve shots above and below the water surface simultaneously.

Now you may ask, why would I need a dome? Couldn’t I just hold the GoPro half way over and under water? There are two reasons why this isn’t a good idea. First, the GoPro’s tiny lens makes it difficult to accurately hit that half/half position. Secondly, there’s the small detail of physics blurring your image: the surface tension of the water, in addition to the air and plastic front lens creates a contact angle with a water surface curvature, acting like an optical element. If this happens directly on your front lens, it blurs a lot of your recorded image. However, if this phenomenon happens further away – hence the dome – then it occupies only a small portion of the image, and you get a clear split shot.

The PolarPro FiftyFifty

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Looking Through the Viewfinder of a Hasselblad XPan

 Gear  Comments Off on Looking Through the Viewfinder of a Hasselblad XPan
Oct 022017
 

The XPan was the first Hasselblad camera to 35mm film and was able to shoot ultra-wide panorama negatives. Photographer Jordan Lockhart decided to mount an action camera to his XPan to capture what it’s like to frame the world and shoot with this unique camera.

“It took us a while to figure out a proper way to make this work but we eventually found out a decent solution, which I hope will give you a taste of why I love this camera so much,” writes Vincent Moschetti of OYWFO, who made the 6-minute video above showing the experiment. “We used a roll of Kodak Portra 800 which seemed like the perfect film to use on this rainy day and explore the city of Tampere in Finland.”

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Panasonic GH5 Cage Review & Shootout – Zacuto vs. Movcam vs. Came-TV

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Panasonic GH5 Cage Review & Shootout – Zacuto vs. Movcam vs. Came-TV
Oct 022017
 

We put three camera cages for the Panasonic GH5 head to head for an in-depth look, review and comparison. Came-TV, Movcam, Zacuto… Let’s see which one comes out on top on this GH5 Cage Shootout!

To use the full potential of any camera, it is crucial to find the right cage on order to mount whatever third-party accessories you may need. That said, cages don’t just add several mounting threads and cold shoes, they also improve protection of the camera body, usually add better grips and handles, and protect the HDMI connector and other ports.

In the case of the Panasonic GH5, there is now wide variety of compatible cages, and the quality differences are quite significant. For this comparison, we received three popular cages for testing, but please note that this is not an exhaustive list of Panasonic GH5 cages.

Structure of Each Review:

  • Ease of assembly and disassembly.
  • How securely is the camera attached to the cage?
  • HDMI cable protector design.
  • Do we have access to the side outputs, slots and all the buttons?
  • Is it possible to use the Panasonic XLR adapter?
  • How good is the included Rod Support?
  • Quality of the Metabones Mount.
  • The top-handle design.
  • Overall ergonomics.
  • Conclusion.

At the very end of the article I’ll summarize the main pros and cons of each cage and announce our veredict. Please note that no cage is perfect and it’s up to each user to decide which cage better fits their needs and preferences.

Came-TV

Came-TV has the simpliest design out of all three tested cages. It does not feature HDMI support, but has many threads and offers a rod support piece. How well did it perform?

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Phantom Flex VEO 4K-PL Exclusive Hands-On

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Phantom Flex VEO 4K-PL Exclusive Hands-On
Oct 022017
 

Vision Research has recently introduced a new Phantom VEO 4K-PL, which like its older brother Phantom Flex 4K, can shoot up to 1000fps at full 4K DCI resolution, but in a smaller and more compact body.

What is the Phantom VEO line?

They say that when you touch a Phantom camera you go straight to heaven. At least that’s how I feel. Vision Research is a company that started out with high-speed cameras for military testing and analysing car-crash impacts, only to later turn its eye to the film industry with its revolutionary tech. In 2014, Vision Research introduced the mind-blowing Phantom Flex 4K camera, capable of 1000 frames-per-second at full 4K DCI resolution, in what many would consider the best quality 4K RAW compared to RED and even ARRI. Last year, Vision Research introduced the VEO line, a more compact version of their film industry cameras that continue the trend set by the ARRI Mini and RED – that smaller is better. Less weight and a more compact design mean more possibilities, such as the use of stabilisation platforms and even UAV. In comparison, the Phantom Flex 4K body weighs an incredible 5kg without ANYTHING on it. Add a lens, follow focus, rods, viewfinder, batteries, monitor and you can easily accumulate a weight that not many gimbals can handle.

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This Zunow Cine Wide Attachment CWA-114 Promises High-End Performance on Cine Zooms

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on This Zunow Cine Wide Attachment CWA-114 Promises High-End Performance on Cine Zooms
Sep 242017
 

The Zunow Cine Wide Attachment is the latest by the optics converter manufacturer. It promises x0.75 conversion with minimal light loss.

Zunow is known for its wide-angle converters, such as the DWA-075 for DSLR lenses or the WCX-100 for 4K zooms. The latest offering from Zunow is the CWA-114, an attachment specifically made with larger-diameter cinema lenses in mind.

Zunow Cine Wide Attachment: The CWA-114

The Zunow Cine Wide Attachment makes the focal length of your wide-angle cinema lens 0.75x larger through a 130mm front element that offers a minimal distortion of 1%, an almost maximum light transmission of 97% and 4K coating for maximum resolution from corner to corner. It aims to quickly offer a wide-angle option without the need to change lenses.

But what does this mean in numbers? Some of the examples provided by Zunow include:

  • FUJINON 20-120mm T3.5, which becomes a 15-75mm T3.6.
  • Canon 17-120mm T2.95-3.9, which becomes a 14-75mm T3.0-4.0 (with vignetting at 12.75-14mm).
  • ZEISS 21-100mm T2.9-3.9, which becomes a 15.75-75mm T3.0-4.0.

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iPhone 8 Plus Has the Best Smartphone Camera Ever, DxOMark Says

 Gear  Comments Off on iPhone 8 Plus Has the Best Smartphone Camera Ever, DxOMark Says
Sep 242017
 

The new iPhone 8 Plus has the best smartphone camera ever. That’s the conclusion DxOMark came to after the camera testing lab went hands-on with the new Apple smartphone. With a record score of 94, it’s now the clear leader in the market.

“The Apple iPhone 8 Plus has a main camera system truly worthy of a flagship phone,” DxOMark says in the opening of its newly published review. “[It’s] the best-performing mobile device camera we have ever tested.”

The upgrades given to the cameras — a 12MP main wide-angle camera (with a backside-illuminated (BSI) sensor and f/1.8 lens) and a 12MP telephoto camera (with a f/2.8 lens) — have improved its quality in every single category. The iPhone 8 Plus scores exceptionally high marks in both Zoom image quality and Bokeh quality, two new categories that DxOMark just added to its scoring system.

The score of 94 puts in 2 points ahead of the new iPhone 8 and 4 points ahead of the Google Pixel and HTC U11.

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A Look at Blackmagic’s URSA Mini Pro Mirrored SSD Recorder Add-On

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on A Look at Blackmagic’s URSA Mini Pro Mirrored SSD Recorder Add-On
Sep 212017
 
 URSA Mini Pro Mirrored SSD Recorder

Blackmagic Design has listened to customer requests and developed an SSD recorder for the URSA Mini Pro, which was announced earlier this year. This allows users to to get fast recordings on to larger-capacity media. It attaches to the rear of the URSA Mini Pro and enables you to mirror recordings in the same codec and format that is recorded internally.

The URSA Mini Pro Mirrored SSD Recorder connects via 2 SDI cables to the camera. However Tim tells us that it records the files as original data in the chosen format and not via an SDI stream.

For productions that require multiple sets of rushes, such as for sending to archive or a post-production facility, the new URSA Mini Pro mirrored SSD recording capability allows for a much faster workflow than needing to create copies of sometimes very large files or long video clips.

The choice of using SSDs was due to the low cost and wide availability of the medium. The SSD recorder works in the same way as the Blackmagic Design Hyperdeck, and recommends the same high-speed drives to use in the recorder. It mounts directly onto the camera, and is designed to be used exclusively with the URSA Mini Pro.

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The New Cmotion cPRO Wireless Hand Unit Offers Ultimate Focus Control

 Gear  Comments Off on The New Cmotion cPRO Wireless Hand Unit Offers Ultimate Focus Control
Sep 212017
 

We took a look at the new Cmotion cPRO lens controller, a feature packed, professional hand unit for professional focus assistance with Camin integration.

We saw a very interesting and affordable low end wireless focus control solution with Tilta’s new $399 Nucleus-N yesterday. Today we’re looking at state of the art high end stuff. Here’s what Cmotion had in store during IBC 2017.

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Zenit is Back! First Look at New 50mm f/0.95, 50mm f/1.2, and 85mm f/1.2

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on Zenit is Back! First Look at New 50mm f/0.95, 50mm f/1.2, and 85mm f/1.2
Sep 172017
 

News broke back in February that Russian camera manufacturer Zenit was going to come back and take on Leica in the luxury camera market. But the first Zenit products to see the light of day aren’t cameras, it’s three very fast KMZ/Zenit lenses: the Zenitar 50mm f/0.95, 50mm f/1.2, and 85mm f/1.2.

Photo Rumors initially spotted the lenses last week on Russian photographer Denis Gavrilov’s website (translated link). And when we got in touch with Gavrilov to ask permission to share the images, he was kind enough to upload even more!

So let’s take the new lenses one by one, starting with the fastest of them.

Zenitar 50mm f/0.95

No doubt meant to give mere mortals an affordable alternative to the much lusted-after Noctilux (although, we hope, at a significantly lower price tag), the Zenitar 50mm f/0.95 is meant for Sony’s FE mirrorless cameras.

Sporting 9 elements in 8 groups, the lens’s 14 aperture blades in 2 levels surprised Gavrilov. The lens will supposedly arrive sometime in 2017 and run you close to $500… so yes, just a touch cheaper than the $9,700 Noctilux.

Here are a few more shots of the lens:

Zenitar_50_095_1

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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.

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Vision Research introduces Phantom VEO 4KPL and Phantom VEO 590L

 Gear  Comments Off on Vision Research introduces Phantom VEO 4KPL and Phantom VEO 590L
Sep 062017
 

Vision Research has just introduced its newest flagship model, the Phantom VEO 4K PL, as well as the Phantom VEO 590S and VEO590L. How do these newly-introduced cameras compare to other models? Will the camera break my bank? We have the answers for you below.

What is the Phantom VEO line?

They say that when you touch a Phantom camera you go straight to heaven. At least that’s how I feel. Vision Research is a company that started out with high-speed cameras for military testing and analysing car-crash impacts, only to later turn its eye to the film industry with its revolutionary tech. In 2014, Vision Research introduced the mind-blowing Phantom Flex 4K camera, capable of 1000 frames-per-second at full 4K DCI resolution, in what many would consider the best quality 4K RAW compared to RED and even ARRI. Last year, Vision Research introduced the VEO line, a more compact version of their film industry cameras that continue the trend set by the ARRI Mini and RED – that smaller is better. Less weight and a more compact design mean more possibilities, such as the use of stabilisation platforms and even UAV. In comparison, the Phantom Flex 4K body weighs an incredible 5kg without ANYTHING on it. Add a lens, follow focus, rods, viewfinder, batteries, monitor and you can easily accumulate a weight that not many gimbals can handle.

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Nikon D850 Announced

 Adorama Deals, Cinematography, News  Comments Off on Nikon D850 Announced
Aug 242017
 

Nikon D850

The Nikon D850 is now official after quite a bit of anticipation following a development announcement just a few short weeks ago. Thankfully, Nikon has not disappointed and the new D850 houses some of the best specifications and features of any modern camera. Headlining the announcement is a new full frame 45.7MP BSI (back side illuminated) sensor with no low pass filter. We first saw this technology implemented in the Sony A7RII and it should allow for amazing dynamic range while still retaining great low light results, even with the higher resolution sensor. When the Nikon D800 first pioneered the high resolution DSLR, it did so with limited speed and performance. Thankfully the D850 matches the Canon 5D Mark IV’s ample 7fps shooting speed and can even exceed it by shooting up to 9fps when paired with the MB-D18 battery grip and EN-EL18a/b battery. Alright Nikon, you have my attention!

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Matthews Grip Goes Mobile – MSE Rover Smartphone Cage

 Gear  Comments Off on Matthews Grip Goes Mobile – MSE Rover Smartphone Cage
Aug 232017
 

With the Rover smartphone cage system, grip manufacturer Matthews Studio Equipment enters the world of smartphone filmmaking.

 

With its 50 years of experience in the manufacture of grip equipment, Matthews Studio Equipment has become synonymous with industry-standard, quality products. Matthews’ new Rover smartphone cage system first made an appearance back in February for an unsuccessful Kickstarter campaign. Despite this brief setback, MSE went ahead with product development, bringing their pedigree in the industry into the new era of smartphone filmmaking.

The core of the Rover system are the two aluminium brackets that hold your phone in place. The system has been designed to work with most popular smartphones models and 3rd-party lens systems.

The cage itself is attached to a frame made of rods, which makes it possible to customise the placement of various accessories. In addition to a repositionable cold-shoe mount and fourteen 1/4”-20 mounting points (which Matthews calls Points of Freedom), the system also includes a tripod mount so you can attach a plate and go from sticks to handheld in no time.

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