PolarPro Quartzline ND Filter Review – a new Gold Standard?

 Cinematography  Comments Off on PolarPro Quartzline ND Filter Review – a new Gold Standard?
Aug 112018
 

I first got to know PolarPro cinema series ND filters about 1.5 years ago when I was conducting a GoPro Hero camera review fitted with their set of filters. (See my review here). Now they are venturing into the professional large diameter filter world (up to 82mm), essentially claiming a neutral color balance and near perfect optical quality. Is this claim true? Read on to find out. 

PolarPro Quartzline ND Filter

In this review, I’m testing the new PolarPro Quartzline ND 64 filter and PolarPro ND16 / PL (polarizer) filter. Those filters are made of 99.9% fused quartz to ensure optical clarity with a very low refractive index. The frames are built from machined brass to ensure they thread on smoothly – very essential as I have experienced seized up filters from aluminium frames myself already. A very nasty experience …

PolarPro claims a neutral color balance, zero color shift and near perfect transmission by the optical coatings. For more information about the available filters and sizes, please head to Richard’s article.

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Intro to Video: A Photographer’s Guide to Filmmaking

 Cinematography, Technique  Comments Off on Intro to Video: A Photographer’s Guide to Filmmaking
Aug 012018
 

As more and more people call themselves “professional photographers,” the need to diversify and offer other services to your clients is rapidly growing. With social media and advertising visuals fighting for more and more of our attention, the importance of video is at an all time high. Luckily, if you are a photographer, you already have 90% of the tools you need to start making professional videos and multimedia productions. This new Fstoppers tutorial on videography is aimed at helping both professional and amateur photographers take the gear they already own and start producing high quality videos. There is no better time to learn how to film video than right now!

Intro to Videography

The idea behind the Fstoppers website was first born back in 2010 when Patrick Hall and Lee Morris both had an interest in learning how to shoot video. Having both been successful wedding photographers, Patrick and Lee saw the value videography could supply to their own photography businesses. Over the years, Fstoppers has grown from a little side project used to explore behind the scenes videos into a full blown world wide community of photographers and videographers. Since 2010 when DSLRs first started shooting high definition video, Lee and Patrick have seen photographers and social media influencers transitioning to video at an alarming rate. In today’s cut throat market, the trend is very clear: if you are not incorporating video along side you photography, you are going to get left behind.

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Call to Action for All Sony Shooters: Test Your Lens Adapter for Sharpness

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Call to Action for All Sony Shooters: Test Your Lens Adapter for Sharpness
Jul 232018
 

With the exodus of Canon users to Sony’s Alpha series, adapters have become incredibly important, particularly the Metabones V and the Sigma MC-11. Photographer Luis Gabriel Gerena has done a comparison and produced some slightly alarming — albeit very limited — results regarding sharpness when shooting with a wide angle lens.

It’s worth keeping in mind that Gerena’s results are based on just one comparison and one lens, so here’s our call to action: if you have access to both the Sigma MC-11 and the Metabones V, please perform your own test with your widest lens and post the results below.

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Mounting a 70-200mm Lens on the Ronin S

 Gear  Comments Off on Mounting a 70-200mm Lens on the Ronin S
Jul 162018
 

I’ve always wondered what it would be like to mount a longer lens like an 85-200mm on to a gimbal and get footage with it. I feel like a lot of video we see shot on a gimbal is from a wide angle lens, but in this video we see something a little more interesting.

My curiosity about mounting a telephoto lens to a gimbal came from a while ago when I saw that the Inspire could mount different lenses. Being so into drones, I really wanted to have that ability and create this new look from the sky. Once I ended up with my Inspire 2, I began to learn how to fly a 25mm and 45mm lens which both double in focal length because of the micro 4/3 sensor. After a good amount of practice flying, I was finally able to achieve the shots I wanted and have been using this for a lot of my work ever since.

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Panasonic EVA1 Guide by Barry Green now Available – For Free

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Panasonic EVA1 Guide by Barry Green now Available – For Free
Jul 102018
 

Do you own a Panasonic AU-EVA1 camera? Tired of digging through YouTube and/or shady forums to get additional intel on how to squeeze the very last piece of performance out of it? Well, look no further. Barry Green has published a comprehensive e-book – An EVA1 Guide for free!

Almost every major camera manufacturer has its own industry specialist. One who knows every last detail of a given camera and spreads the word among the community. Sony has Alister Chapman, RED has Phil Holland and Panasonic? Well, Panasonic has Barry Green. And that exact Barry Green has just published an extensive e-book, an EVA1 guide.

Panasonic AU-EVA1 Guide

Just as Alister Chapman’s guide to the Sony FS7 Cine EI mode, this EVA1 guide isn’t just a manual. It’s a comprehensive real-life guide to the camera. Since Barry Green is a professional in his line of work, this guide is far from real-life Youtube flicks which oftentimes come without too much insight.. This guide to the EVA1 covers everything there is: The camera body itself with all the connectors, buttons and dials, the menu structure, codecs and recordings formats, LUTs and looks, and everything else. All in one PDF. For a brief overview of the camera in question, watch the video below, also hosted by Barry Green:

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SLR Magic Anamorphot 65 Adapter Review – Your Alternative to Anamorphic Lenses?

 Gear  Comments Off on SLR Magic Anamorphot 65 Adapter Review – Your Alternative to Anamorphic Lenses?
Jul 052018
 

Last month we reported about the new Anamorphot 65, an anamorphic lens adapter by SLR Magic that can mount to lenses with 82mm front thread like SLR Magic’s own micro cinema primes and FUJINON’s MK family of lenses. There is also a chance that by the time you read this review, this promising adapter will be available for preorder. 

 

SLR Magic Anamorphot 65 anamorphic adapter on a Sony a7 III camera

Nino, my colleague, caught up with Andrew from SLR Magic during this year’s CineGear to discuss the new product, yet it was time to actually test it and put it through its paces.

The Anamorphic Lens Routine

First thing first: Why should one actually consider “shooting anamorphic”?, well, the answer is clear. If you are looking to mimic the true aesthetic of cinematic looks, then shooting with an anamorphic lens is the way to go. As this is a product review I will not go deep into the subject anamorphic filming, but please consider heading to our cinema5D essentials episode where Li-Lian and I were aiming to explain what anamorphic filming is all about….

Ok, so if shooting with anamorphic lenses has the benefit of producing a unique look, why is it not too widely spread? In short: budget and training. TRUE high quality anamorphic lenses simply coast A LOT, far beyond the budget of most independent filmmakers. There are, of course, ways to track and purchase vintage anamorphic lenses, but this is not too easy. Speaking of anamorphic – I urge you to visit our friend and content contributor, Tito Fernandez’ YouTube channel, where he demonstrates a great deal of knowledge and shares valuable tips for anamorphic lens and adapter lovers.

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Drone Comparison: New Parrot Anafi vs. DJI Mavic Air

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Drone Comparison: New Parrot Anafi vs. DJI Mavic Air
Jun 072018
 

Parrot just announced a new drone that may be able to challenge DJI’s domination in the hobby market. Let’s take a look at the specifications and check if the French manufacturer can take on the Chinese leader.

Size, Weight and Speed

The two drones are fighting in the similar lightweight category but the Anafi is lighter than the Mavic air at 374 grams versus 430 grams. It can be a curse or a blessing. Lighter drones tend to sustain less damage in case of crash but more weight also helps to stabilize the frame.

The Mavic Air wins the top speed category (42mph) but the Anafi is not too far behind (33mph). The key factor is to determine the maximum usable speed because the sport mode on DJI drones is not very good to record video (propellors in the field of view, limited stabilization) but it can help to fly back against strong winds.

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DJI Mavic Air vs. Mavic Pro Footage Comparison

 Action cams, Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on DJI Mavic Air vs. Mavic Pro Footage Comparison
May 282018
 

After our hands-on with the Mavic Air in Monaco earlier this year, it was time to put the Mavic Air up against its older brother, the Mavic Pro, and compare the footage. Which footage holds up better?

Does the Mavic Air Make Superior Images?

The irony about new technology is often that newer generations are simply better, even in a model that sits in a lower price bracket than a predecessor that is still in the market. And this is exactly what we are seeing with the new Mavic Air, which I took for a hands-on spin at their press event in Monaco earlier this year (watch the video here). The Mavic Air is a classic example for this conundrum that many manufacturers face, unless they want to artificially strip newer technology off of some of the features of older, but “higher end” version of their products (C200, cough-cough!).

When the Sony a7S III Is Announced, What Features Are Make or Break?

 Gear  Comments Off on When the Sony a7S III Is Announced, What Features Are Make or Break?
May 282018
 

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z97p00uQ3Ik

Each day that passes is another day closer to the announcement of the Sony a7S III. We all know it’s coming, but what new features should it have?

In September 2015, Sony announced the a7S II sporting a groundbreaking sensor specializing in low light videography. As time went on, other companies introduced very competitive alternatives that either matched or exceeded many of the a7S II’s video specifications. Personally, I think it’s a little uncharacteristic for the Sony of the past few years give their competitors enough time to catch up. But what this may mean in the end is that they have something worth waiting for.

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The Fundamental Terms of Lighting in Photography

 Technique  Comments Off on The Fundamental Terms of Lighting in Photography
May 172018
 

When you’re first starting out with artificial lighting, the vast array of terms to describe and quantify the various parameters of light can be a bit overwhelming. This helpful video will introduce you to the most essential terms that will allow to effectively communicate how any light source behaves.

Coming to you from Mark Wallace of Adorama TV, this great video will introduce you to the fundamental language of lighting and how it’s used in practice. I know that when I first started, trying to learn them abstracted from experimenting with an actual light source felt a bit like trying to speak French in Russian. Nonetheless, it’s crucial to understand these terms so you can communicate how you want light to look. Once you’re ready, this, in turn, will allow you to better choose the proper modifier for a specific shoot. Even if you prefer to shoot natural light, this terminology still applies, and it’ll lend you a greater ability to understand how and why your final image looks the way it does and how to take control of that. As mentioned, I recommend grabbing a light and modifier and trying it out so you can see the effects in real time. Check out the video above for the full rundown.

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SmallHD Wireless Monitors – FOCUS Bolt TX and RX

 Gear  Comments Off on SmallHD Wireless Monitors – FOCUS Bolt TX and RX
May 032018
 

At NAB 2018, SmallHD showed off new wireless versions of their popular 5″ FOCUS monitor and we spoke with the company Co-Founder, Wes Phillips, to get all the details. Like the Bolt 703, SmallHD has merged their FOCUS 5-inch monitor with Teradek’s wireless capabilities and the results could be welcome news for directors or for clients looking for portable field monitor solutions.

We already covered the announcement of the transmitter and receiver versions of the FOCUS Bolt, but we thought it would be useful to catch up with SmallHD Co-Founder, Wes Phillips, and see the product for ourselves. After going hands on with the new monitors it appears that the FOCUS Bolt TX and RX are among the lightest wireless monitor/receiver solutions available. Shipping along with the 5-inch FOCUS touchscreen are the lightweight grippy monitor handles and a Sony L series battery. Of course, you can also power the monitors with a D-Tap cable.

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Review: Anthem One Could Be the Next Great LED Light to Save Your Production Big Bucks

 Gear  Comments Off on Review: Anthem One Could Be the Next Great LED Light to Save Your Production Big Bucks
May 032018
 

Anthem is a new company. So we didn’t know what to expect when we sat down with their new LED light that promises to far outlast any HMI while promising the implied savings that could drive down production costs.

The Anthem One isn’t just any continuous LED light source. Every aspect has been designed to perform at its highest level. Heat is the enemy of long-lasting LEDs, so Anthem designed their debut light system to dissipate heat better than other lights do.

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What Nikon F to Sony E Adapter Is the Best Choice?

 Gear  Comments Off on What Nikon F to Sony E Adapter Is the Best Choice?
May 022018
 

If you are a Nikon user thinking about making the switch to Sony cameras, you probably wonder what adapter could help you make a smooth and cheap transition by keeping your precious glass. In this video, Matt Granger shows you the different adapters available for you and which one is the best — or the less bad.

Switching from one camera manufacturer to another is always a pain because of all the lenses accumulated that must be replaced. It can be difficult to sell them, and it’s not rare to lose a bit of money along the way. With the mirrorless systems, what’s great is the possibility of using adapters to keep the glass from our current system. Many Canon users have had a smooth transition by doing so, but we hear less Nikon users telling similar stories.

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Transform Your DJI Drone in a Handheld Gimbal With This Accessory by PolarPro

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Transform Your DJI Drone in a Handheld Gimbal With This Accessory by PolarPro
Apr 122018
 

Everyone I know who shoots video dreams to own a gimbal if they don’t already. But did you know that if you have a drone, you actually already own a gimbal that you can use to shoot anything?

The role of the gimbal is to keep something horizontal no matter what. When flying a drone, it’s quite essential to maintain the camera stable and avoid any movement due to external elements or when flying it aggressively. However, a drone can also record videos and take pictures while on the ground. This means you can use it as a camera and take advantage of its gimbal to make super steady shots even if you don’t own a stabilizer for your bigger DSLR.

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Sony Interview: FS5 II, What’s REALLY New?

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Sony Interview: FS5 II, What’s REALLY New?
Apr 092018
 

I spoke with Claus Pfeifer from Sony about the newly announced FS5 II and the other new cameras. And I asked the tough question: What’s REALLY new about the FS5 II?

A few hours ago Sony announced the FS5 II, an update to Sony’s little FS7 brother (see our report here). Some of our readers were asking: What’s REALLY new about it though? It seems to use the same sensor and have the same exact body as the original FS5. And while the FS7 II at least got the Vari ND feature that the FS7 was missing, the original FS5 already had that.

 

RAW for “free”, Better Color Science & “Instant HDR”

Sony is teasing the integrated RAW output functionality in the FS5 II, which was a payable firmware upgrade in the original FS5 – a welcome addition of a feature becoming standard, especially with the newly announced ProRes RAW (article here) and the upgrade of the Atomos Shogun Inferno and Sumo19 recorders to support ProRes RAW recording (article here). Now also the formerly payable high frame rate output and internal high frame rate recording capabilities are included with the FS5 II.

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Blackmagic Pocket Cinema 4K Camera Hands on with CEO Grant Petty

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Blackmagic Pocket Cinema 4K Camera Hands on with CEO Grant Petty
Apr 092018
 

No longer only a mysterious billboard outside NAB 2018, the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema 4K camera is here and it shoots 12-bit RAW cinema 4K 60fps and full HD at up to 120fps — all at an impressive price point. The specs, pricing and more are below including an interview with Blackmagic Design CEO, Grant Petty: 

 

Unlike its HD-only predecessor, the Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera, the new 4K version shoots full cinema 4K (4096 x 2160 pixels) at up-to 60fps with a newly designed M4/3 (21.60 x 17.30mm) sensor. You’ll also be able to capture full HD 120 fps cropped (no info on how much of a crop) slow motion in both 12-bit CinemaDNG RAW and 10-bit Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) varieties. Unfortunately you won’t be able to shoot in the newly announced Pro Res RAW  at least not yet.

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Pre-Order Now:

Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4K Body Only with Active Micro Four Thirds Lens Mount

$1295 with Free Expedited Shipping.

Aputure Amaran MX & F7 LED Lights Announced & Reviewed

 Gear  Comments Off on Aputure Amaran MX & F7 LED Lights Announced & Reviewed
Apr 022018
 

Aputure just announced their new small and super powerful MX and F7 LED lights, and our man Eric van Vuuren already reviewed them in detail in this video.

Aputure Amaran MX – small with big output

The new Amaran MX light by Aputure is the successor of the popular M9 light, but this time it’s very sturdily built using aircraft aluminium, on the footprint of a credit card. It features 128 LEDs and is supposed to be 3 times as bright as the M9 – when using the “booster” function, it can temporarily output even 4 times as much light as the M9 (for up to 60 seconds).

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Tilta Introduces New Gravity G2 and G2X Handheld Gimbals

 Gear  Comments Off on Tilta Introduces New Gravity G2 and G2X Handheld Gimbals
Mar 142018
 

Tilta has updated their popular line of handheld gimbals. The new Gravity G2 and G2X gimbals feature updated specs, ergnomics and features.

The two models are almost identically when digging through the specs but there’s one significant differene: The G2X model sports an angled roll axis which can be configured to sit either in front of, or behind your given camera, resulting in an unobstructed view of the LCD screen.

Tilta Gravity G2 & G2X Gimbal

Both models offer a payload of up to 8 lbs (3.6 kg). The pan and tilt axes feature full 360° of rotation while the roll axis can be rotated 60° to the left or right. In order get you up to speed, watch the introduction video below:

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Canon M50 Hands-On Review – The Best Vlogging Camera?

 Gear  Comments Off on Canon M50 Hands-On Review – The Best Vlogging Camera?
Mar 142018
 

The Canon M50 was recently announced, and now I had a chance to review a pre-production version of it. Is Canon’s first attempt at a 4K mirrorless camera also the best vlogging camera out there? Let’s have a look.

A Beginner’s Camera

I can’t stress this point enough before diving deep into the camera’s functions: This is a beginner’s camera and its price point (below $800 or €600) make it a great deal compared to its competition. So whenever I lament about a missing function, this should be kept in mind. It’s not an apples-to-apples comparison with the more expensive entry-level camera from Sony, the A6500, which is almost twice as expensive.

Tiny Footprint

The Canon M50 has a tiny footprint, and is sturdily built around Canon’s EOS M lens mount. A smaller version of the EOS lens mount – which is also backwards-compatible, but an adapter is needed. The camera feels very sturdy despite its entry-level status and it feels like it can take a beating. It seems like Canon designed this as a “family camera” that can be in anyone’s hand from time to time. The flip-out screen makes it very convenient to use from every angle. It gives a lot of  nice flexibility that their higher-end DSLR offerings are missing – lightness and the flexible screen, plus a decent viewfinder which can of course also be used for video. “Of course” because this is a mirrorless camera – on their DSLRs, the optical viewfinder becomes useless when you switch to the video modes, because the mirror blocks your view.

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Seven More of the Best Nikon Tricks

 Gear  Comments Off on Seven More of the Best Nikon Tricks
Mar 132018
 

Although it is popular to talk about mirrorless cameras these days, DSLR cameras are still alive, and with the help of some useful tricks, you can make the most of your DSLR. Especially if you own a Nikon camera, you might be surprised with these features that most photographers skip using.

Well-known nature photographer Steve Perry has published a video previously about Nikon tricks, and in this second video of the series, he shares seven new tricks about Nikon cameras, with in-depth explanations.

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