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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Sony Unveils Blazing Fast a9: A 24MP Sports Camera that Shoots 20fps

 Gear  Comments Off on Sony Unveils Blazing Fast a9: A 24MP Sports Camera that Shoots 20fps
Apr 202017
 

Holy frames per second Batman! Sony just raised the bar on high-speed sports photography with their latest “groundbreaking” (but actually) camera release. The newly-announced Sony a9 is a 24MP high-end full-frame mirrorless sports camera that can fire off an insane 20fps with no blackout.

Sony is calling this “the most technologically advanced, innovative digital camera that [we have] ever created,” and this descriptor doesn’t miss the mark.

With 20fps blackout-free and distortion-free silent shooting, high-speed tracking with 60 AF/AE calculations per second, a 693-point AF system with 93% frame coverage, a 3,686k-dot EVF that runs at 120fps, and 5-axis in-body stabilization that offers up to 5 stops of shake reduction, the camera is looking to challenge entrenched sports cams like the Canon 1DX Mark II and Nikon D5.

The a9 can also shoot full-frame, full-sensor 4K that is actually downsampled from 6K worth of pixels; it features an Ethernet port for quick file transfer and dual SD card slots for plenty of storage; and the new battery Sony put inside boasts twice the capacity (480 shots per charge) of previous models. If you need even more charge, the optional battery grip holds two of these batteries, for a total of 950 shots.

 

Putting the impressive spec sheet aside, the headline feature is, of course, the sheer speed of this thing. At 20fps for up to 241 RAW or 362 JPEG frames, it makes even the 1DX Mark II and its 14fps seems a bit… clunky.

Sony is able to reach these unheard of continuous shooting speeds thanks to the new stacked CMOS sensor at its core, a chip Sony says is the “first of its kind” and “enables data speed processing at up to 20x faster than previous Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras.” Pair that sensor and its built-in RAM with a brand new BIONZ X engine and you’ve got a camera that screams.

Here are a few videos that offer a closer look at this revolutionary new mirrorless camera and some of its most compelling features:

Promo Video

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Lightroom Mobile HDR Camera Better than iPhone 7 HDR

 HDR Images, HDR Info, HDR Software  Comments Off on Lightroom Mobile HDR Camera Better than iPhone 7 HDR
Apr 152017
 

Adobe just launched an update to Lightroom Mobile that lets users shoot HDR photos on iPhone and Android using the Lightroom Mobile app. The great photo organizing and editing app from Adobe will let users shoot their shots and then edit them after taking the photos. We’ll show users how to use the app to take beautiful shots in difficult lighting situations.

Why Shoot HDR Photos on iPhone?

First, what is HDR? It stands for High Dynamic Range and refers to a special kind of photography where the photographer shoots three or more photos using different light settings for each shot. For example, the person will shoot the first shot to get the brightest parts of the scenery well-lit, but this leaves the mid-tones and dark areas too dark. So they take another shot of the same scenery so that the mid-tones get the best exposure. However, this leaves the brightest areas, like a window in a room or the sky in a landscape photo, too bright. The darkest areas, like the shaded area under a tree in a landscape, look too dark. The third shot gets the best exposure for those dark areas, leaving the mid-tones and bright areas too bright.

An example of a beautiful landscape photo (source Pixabay user: hannsbenn).

Professional or high-end consumer cameras often give photographers the best option for shooting HDR photos. They automatically will shoot three or more shots using different exposure settings. Some apps will mimic this HDR look, but they don’t really work as well. The HDR setting on the iPhone 7 camera works okay, but not as well as Lightroom Mobile. Until now, using the camera app’s HDR setting gave users the best option for shooting HDR Photos on iPhone, but not anymore.

Before Adobe’s update to Adobe Lightroom Mobile, shooting HDR Photos on iPhone meant taking three shots and then exporting them to a computer. The photographer then combines the three or more shots into one shot with excellent lighting for all three areas, light, dark and mid-tones. That means uploading the photos, going to your desktop or laptop computer and opening a photo editor, like MacPhun’s Aurora HDR 2017 editing software or Adobe Photoshop CS.

 

How to Shoot HDR Photos on iPhone with Lightroom Mobile

First, install the app and sign up for an Adobe account if you don’t already have one. To get the most out of the app, you will need a subscription. The Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan only costs $9.99/month and includes access to the full desktop/laptop versions of Photoshop and Lightroom plus the ability to sync between mobile devices and desktop/laptop computers. The free version lets users take photos using the steps below.

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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.

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10 Tips and Tricks for Making Difficult Selections in Photoshop

 Technique  Comments Off on 10 Tips and Tricks for Making Difficult Selections in Photoshop
Mar 142017
 

If you’re just starting out in Photoshop and would like to learn the art of making difficult selections to isolate things in photos, check out this great video tutorial by Tutvid. It’s a 37-minute lesson with 10 tips and tricks on methods that range from beginner to advanced.

“Learn to make virtually ANY selection and cut out anything you would even need in Photoshop,” writes Nate Dodson. “We’ll make simple, straight-line selections with the Poly Lasso tool, we’ll select car parts with the Pen Tool and edit the path, we’ll use Calculations to create extremely intricate and difficult selections VERY quickly, we’ll learn to use and work with Select and Mask as well as Refine Edge, we’ll build a selection based on a single channel, and SO much more!”

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Cinematic Motion with GoPro ND Filters – PolarPro Cinema Series Filter Review

 Action cams  Comments Off on Cinematic Motion with GoPro ND Filters – PolarPro Cinema Series Filter Review
Mar 062017
 

A little edit of my recent skiiing holidays in Flachau, Austria. I used the GoPro Hero 5 black with the Karma Grip Gimbal and PolarPro ND filters – combo that works very well! Music is “High Speed Chase” by Terry Devine-King, licenced from audionetwork.com

Let me know how you like it and feel free to share it!

Follow me on twitter: twitter.com/gunmac

The timelapse sequences were shot on my Sony A7s II

 

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Sony Develops Super Slow Motion Sensor for Smartphones by; Jakub Han

 Cinematography  Comments Off on Sony Develops Super Slow Motion Sensor for Smartphones by; Jakub Han
Feb 162017
 

The capabilities of image sensors are constantly getting better, also in the area of the ubiquitous small smartphone sensors. Sony has developed a new 3-layer stacked high speed CMOS sensor with DRAM. It promises to minimise image distortion and add super slow motion capabilities to future smartphones.

Sony announced the development of the industry’s first 3-layer stacked CMOS sensor for smartphones. Compared to traditional 2-layer sensors, the new Sony sensor features an added DRAM layer. The purpose of this extra layer is to increase data readout speeds and make it possible to capture still images of fast-moving subjects with minimal focal plane distortion (something we also call “rolling shutter”) as well as super slow motion movies at up to 1,000 frames per second in 1080p.

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Schneider Optics Announces New Cine Prime Tilt Lenses by; Jakub Han

 Gear  Comments Off on Schneider Optics Announces New Cine Prime Tilt Lenses by; Jakub Han
Feb 022017
 

A few days ago, German optics manufacturer Schneider announced a new range of full-frame cine prime tilt lenses. This dynamic functionality allows for extended focusing possibilities and tweaking of the depth of field in your shots.
Introduced on January 27th, these new Xenon primes from Schneider are the world’s first full-frame Cine Primes tilt lenses. In terms of design, they are basically regular Schneider Xenon full frame primes, just with the added tilt function. If tilt is left at 0°, there is no loss of image quality or sharpness compared to standard Xenon primes.

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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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The Medium Format Fujifilm GFX 50S Camera is Finally Here and Shoots Video, by Sebastian Woberr

 Gear  Comments Off on The Medium Format Fujifilm GFX 50S Camera is Finally Here and Shoots Video, by Sebastian Woberr
Jan 212017
 

A few months ago Fujifilm unveiled its new mirrorless medium format camera that also shoots video, the Fujifilm GFX 50S. Today they’ve finally released all the details, including the GFX 50S video capabilities, pricing and availability.

The Fujifilm GFX 50S is a Big Thing for Photographers

We’re all about video functionality here at cinema5D, but first and foremost, the Fujifilm GFX 50S is significant news for photographers as it introduces a much more affordable medium format system, including lenses and accessories, in comparison to other systems in this field. Now it’s official, that the new GFX 50S goes for $6,499.

Other benefits of the Fujifilm GFX 50S is its compact size, the removable OLED viewfinder with close to Full HD resolution and of course the high sensor resolution of 51.4-megapixels (8256 x 6192). Fujifilm is also releasing three lenses as part of the new GF series, which cover a variety of focal lengths and promises more lens releases throughout 2017.

 

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Yi Erida tricopter drone carries the new 4K+ 60p Action Camera to new heights

 Gear  Comments Off on Yi Erida tricopter drone carries the new 4K+ 60p Action Camera to new heights
Jan 112017
 

Yi has launched a new version of what they are claim is the world’s ‘fastest tricopter drone’ (although we have no idea which tricopter drone previously held the record so its a bit hard to verify), the Yi Erida. The company says the Erida is exceptionally fast and agile, and can reach speeds of up to 75 miles per hour (120 km/h). To put that speed into perspective the DJI Inspire 2 can fly at up to 58 mph or 94 kph in Sport mode.

The only major difference between the new drone and the one that was originally announced in the middle of last year, is that it will now include the company’s latest YI 4K+ Action Camera. The 4K+ the only action camera in the world that can capture UHD video at up to 60fps. The Erida also has a built-in advanced gimbal system.

For those not familiar with the drone, the Yi Erida features patented folding rotors which helps make the drone more portable. It can be controlled from any mobile device using the compatible YI Erida mobile app, which means there is no need for a remote control. From the app, users can set the flight mode, choose the height and shooting angle, control takeoff and landing, and check battery status, distance and flight time. If you don’t want to use a smart phone or tablet to control the Erida, it is possible to connect a regular RC remote control.

The Erida also has a claimed maximum flying time of up to 40 minutes. The drone weighs 1.3 kg (2.86lb) and is made out of carbon fibre. The company also uses a very unique three-rotor design and innovative aeronautics to make the drone capable of flying at such high speeds.

As far as built in safety features go the Erida uses Yi’s custom LIDAR system. This system has built-in laser scanners that automatically increases the altitude if the surface elevates. The LIDAR system operates at altitudes up to 6,000 meters, and is effective at up to 30 meters. The Erida also works with Beidou, GPS and GLONASS satellites to provide high accuracy and safety of flight. Supporting messages include integrity protection, geofencing, and spoofing detection.

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The Hardware of the Panasonic GH5 – An Interview with Panasonic’s M. Uematsu by: Fabian Chaundy

 Gear, News  Comments Off on The Hardware of the Panasonic GH5 – An Interview with Panasonic’s M. Uematsu by: Fabian Chaundy
Jan 082017
 

With the expected shipping date for the Panasonic GH5 just over the horizon (here’s our detailed feature GH5 hands-on post from earlier today), we thought it would be a good time to catch up with Panasonic’s M. Uematsu to chat about some of the more technical aspects of the next member of the popular GH line of mirrorless cameras. Check out our interview at cinema5D HQ… shot, of course, on the Panasonic GH5.

We all know how much of a cut-throat business the camera world is, with manufacturers constantly trying to one-up one another in a constant and quick succession of new camera releases. As the first big camera release of 2017, the Panasonic GH5 aims to come out swinging, promising to bring a host of truly nice features for indie filmmakers. And about time, too, as after almost 3 years, the popular GH4 was slowly starting to lag behind next to the competition.

But before diving into the great features that the GH5 will bring in a couple of months, we first wanted to know why Panasonic didn’t decide to go all out with some much-requested bells and whistles, especially given its popularity among filmmakers both amateur and professional. So, Panasonic, why didn’t you include internal ND filters and RAW recording?

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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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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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The Kamerar ZOOM Lens Kit – a Removable Dual-Lens System for the iPhone 7 Plus By: Fabian Chaundy

 Gear  Comments Off on The Kamerar ZOOM Lens Kit – a Removable Dual-Lens System for the iPhone 7 Plus By: Fabian Chaundy
Dec 112016
 

The Kamerar ZOOM Lens Kit is a new, third-party dual-lens system for the iPhone 7 Plus. It features a sleek and slim design that makes it unobtrusive and quick to use.

Smartphone filmmaking is certainly a thing these days. Modern smartphones feature decent cameras that can be used in conjunction with a variety of apps, stabilisers and other accessories to produce very high quality content. Just take a look at this short film shot simultaneously on an iPhone 7 and a RED Weapon for the kind of end result you can achieve. By the way, if you want to learn more about iPhone filmmaking, make sure you check out this excellent article by cinema5D’s Richard Lackey.
One of the limitations you may find on your journey as an iPhone cinematographer is your camera’s lens. Camera accessory manufacturer Kamerar has announced a product that promises to help you achieve more interesting images: it’s the Kamerar ZOOM Lens Kit for the iPhone 7 Plus.

The Kamerar ZOOM Lens Kit

The main difference to other third-party lens options out there is how seamlessly it integrates with your iPhone 7 Plus. The Kamerar ZOOM Lens Kit is based around an actual functional protective phone cover with access to all ports, meaning that you don’t have to whip out lens mounts whenever inspiration strikes and you change from phone mode to shooting mode.

 

The back of the case features a slot in which to insert the different dual-lens setups, allowing you to quickly flip up the optics when you want to change your field of view and optical characteristics. This removes the need to screw and unscrew different lenses, and helps you save time when trying to get that unexpected shot.
Kamerar claims their removable dual-lens system for the dual camera on the iPhone 7 Plus is the first in the world, and this does in fact seem to be the case, as other third-party offerings only appear to make use of one of the cameras.

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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
 

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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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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.

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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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