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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

NEW - Mini TX Backbone For Radian's Wireless HD Video Set

Radian Pro at work
Sometimes you come across a product that works so good, that you can't imagine it to become any better. I've felt that way about the Radian Pro (review here) from Camera Motion Research, which is used to transmit an uncompressed HD video signal wirelessly through the air. A perfect tool for filmmakers who need to be able to freely move their camera through space while using it in combination with a gyro stabilizer like the MōVI as well as other equipment like a crane, stabiliser or Steadicam. All of these devices share a common enemy: cables. But even if you're not using such a device, it's still an extremely handy accessory on any film set to provide the director, producer or client with a direct feed of what the camera is capturing without any limitations. The Radian transmitter can be placed on any camera thanks to CMR's backbones. It provides several mounting options and also enables you to add a lightweight USB style battery to directly provide power to the transmitter for several hours. You will forget it's even on the camera while filming.

It's more common then ever for filmmakers to use smaller cameras with great capabilities on productions as an 'B' or even as an 'A' camera. Camera Motion Research, the company behind the Radian Pro and Radian Multicast wireless sets, has developed a new Mini TX Backbone which is the perfect lightweight match for any DSLR or similar type of camera. It enables you to mount the wireless transmitter with installed battery in a very discrete and lightweight way, without compromising on ease of use or performance.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Announced - Panasonic HC-X1000 4K Ultra HD Camcorder

The Panasonic HC-X1000 4K Ultra HD Camcorder

Panasonic just announced the HC-X1000 4K Ultra HD Camcorder. It will cost $3,499.99 and is available for pre-order!

Product Highlights

  • 4K DCI & UHD Video/ 8.8MP Stills
  • 1/2.3" MOS Sensor
  • 2 x Venus Image Processing Engines
  • Leica Dicomar 20x Optical Zoom Lens
  • Individual Focus, Zoom & Iris Lens Rings
  • Power O.I.S, & Hybrid O.I.S.
  • 0.45" EVF / 3.5" LCD Touch Screen
  • Records MP4, MOV, AVCHD to SDXC Cards
  • Simultaneous/Relay/Background Recording
  • Wi-Fi / NFC Connectivity

DSLR Camera Simulator

DSLR camera simulator

Always wanted to know what different kind of camera settings will do to your pictures? Here's a really cool simulator to let you play with different settings and see their outcome without having to leave this page.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Metabones Firmware Update For Canon EF Adapter for Better Performance with Sony a7S

Metabones has released an update (V0.32) for the MARK IV Canon EF Adapter which can be done by the user by following the instructions on the download page. It will improve the performance of the Metabones adapter when working with the a7S. I've already done the update and it doesn't seem to improve focus performance as far as I can tell, but will probably prevent the adapter to lose contact with the a7S.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Sony a7S Hands on Review - Footage Available for Download

Click here for more information about the Sony Alpha a7S mirrorless digital camera
Sony Alpha a7S mirrorless digital camera unboxed

In the beginning I was a bit skeptical. Could this little camera really produce good quality video? Well, I found out quick enough, the answer is YES. For the last few years I've mostly been using the FS100 and was very happy with the results I got. I did need some time getting used to this little "brick camera", but more because of the form factor and different way of shooting. Before the FS100 I've been working with heavy ENG shoulder mounted cameras that were all about getting your shots and quickly moving on. With the FS100 and cameras of a similar kind, you'll need to put effort in each and every shot to get the most out of it and I've learned to appreciate this kind of filming. Going from the FS100 and now to the Sony a7S I further complete the transition to a whole new way of filming.

Sony a7S first impressions

While taking the Sony Alpha a7S mirrorless digital camera out of the box I noticed that it came with two Sony NP-FW50 batteries, which is a nice bonus. The camera is compact but still feels good in the hand. It's not too light and the LCD screen can be tilted. The viewfinder is surprisingly good and way better then I expected. I can actually use this! Thanks to a few customizable buttons on the body and a dedicated dial for shutter, exposure and aperture it's very easy to use this camera in manual mode and quickly adjust settings. There are a lot of options to go through in the menu so finding that one setting you're searching for can take a bit more time in the beginning. Nevertheless I'm glad the camera has so many options available.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Adobe's New Creative Cloud 2014

Adobe Creative Cloud 2014

Adobe revealed its latest update to Creative Cloud with 14 new versions of CC desktop applications, four new mobile apps and the official launch of the company's stylus and ruler set for iPad.

"We’ve been hard at work the last two years to address four key areas of the Creative Cloud you told us to focus on: performance boosts, workflow efficiencies, support for new hardware and standards, and of course innovative features, which we call the Adobe “magic.” If you’ve been hanging on to your old CS disks, waiting for the right time to join the Creative Cloud community, that moment is here. The latest version—available today (B&H 1-Year Subscription)—is packed with new, truly inventive features that will make it easier to do your work from anywhere, help you do it faster, and let you bring all of those great creative ideas in your imagination, to life."

Monday, April 7, 2014

Announced: Sony a7S Mirrorless Digital Camera

Sony a7S Mirrorless Digital Camera

Product Highlights

  • 12.2MP Full-Frame Exmor CMOS Sensor
  • BIONZ X Image Processor
  • Gapless On-Chip Lens Design
  • 3.0" 921.6k-Dot Tilting LCD Monitor
  • XGA 2.36M-Dot OLED Electronic Viewfinder
  • 4K and Full HD Video Recording in XAVC S
  • Full Pixel Read-Out, S-Log2 Gamma
  • Expandable Sensitivity: ISO 50-409600
  • Fast Intelligent 25-Point AF System
  • Built-In Wi-Fi Connectivity with NFC

The Sony Alpha a7S Mirrorless Digital Camera features a full-frame 12.2MP Exmor CMOS sensor and BIONZ X image processor to enable notable video and still image quality with an expansive dynamic range, low noise, and extended sensitivity to ISO 409600. At the sensor level, this full-frame sensor features a unique on-chip gapless lens design, which incorporates small lenses between neighboring pixels in order to increase light-gathering efficiency and promote greater image quality across the entirety of the sensor plane. The sensor and processor combination also avails a wealth of speed throughout the camera system, including a top continuous shooting rate of 5 fps, support for 4K video recording, and a fast 25-point contrast-detection AF system with sensitivity to -4 EV.

Beyond its still image performance, the a7S is also quite adept in regard to recording video. It supports recording uncompressed 4:2:2 4K video to an optional external recorder, as well as full HD 1080 video in the high-quality XAVC S format at 50 mbps in multiple frame rates. Extending the video recording capabilities is support for the S-Log2 gamma, which helps to expand the effective dynamic range during recording, as well as picture profile options, time codes, and zebra and marker display aids. Sound can be recorded in the AAC/Linear PCM format via the internal stereo microphone, with a built-in headphone jack for on-board monitoring, or via an external microphone.

Rounding out the a7S's imaging capabilities, both a 3.0" 921.6k-dot tilting LCD monitor and 2.36 million-dot OLED electronic viewfinder are available for image monitoring and review. Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, with support for NFC, is available, too, for instant sharing of imagery from the camera as well as remote camera control from a linked mobile device.

Monday, February 3, 2014

NEW - GY-HM850 and GY-HM890 ENG & Studio Camcorders

JVC's Full HD Shoulder-Mount ENG/Studio Camcorder

JVC have launched the GY-HM850 and GY-HM890 ProHD shoulder-mount camcorders (available for pre-order at B&H), setting a new benchmark in ENG camera network capability. The company will be demonstrating them to the public at the upcoming Broadcast Video Expo show in London at the end of February. Complemented by a new interchangeable Fujinon 20x autofocus zoom lens, both cameras deliver outstanding full HD image capture and delivery, while the built-in streaming engine, FTP and GSM connectivity allows live HD transmission directly from the camera without requiring additional encoding hardware.
Both the GY-HM850 and GY-HM890 models utilise a very nicely-weighted shoulder-mount form factor, with the GY-HM890 also designed for use as an HD studio camera or multi-camera field production camera. It has a multi-pin connection that accommodates JVC fibre or multi-core camera modules and is compatible with a full range of studio components, including customised studio sled, zoom and focus controls, CCUs and 8.4-inch LCD viewfinder, as well as box-style lenses from Canon and Fujinon.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

REVIEW - SEL1018 Sony E-mount Super Wide-Angle Zoom Lens

Click here for more information about the Sony 10-18mm f/4 OSS Alpha E-mount Wide-Angle Zoom Lens
Sony 10-18mm f/4 OSS Alpha E-mount Wide-Angle Zoom Lens

It's been a while since Sony announced their new batch of E-mount lenses, but today I'm finally able to do a hands-on review of the much anticipated Sony 10-18mm super wide-angle E-mount zoom lens, compatible with the Alpha NEX cameras and NEX Camcorders. Now, I won't be doing this review from a scientific point of view. I'm a photographer and filmmaker and personally care more about how it is to work with in the field and seeing the results created with my own camera and settings, then talking about specs and lab-results. So if you were hoping to see some nice colour boards, diagrams, graphs and lab experiments, I'm very sorry to disappoint you! Luckily there are many sites out there that can show you exactly that and they can certainly be interesting to see. A comparison (with video) between this 10-18mm ultra wide lens and the Sony 16mm pancake lens with VCL-ECU1 ultra wide converter will be posted soon.

First impressions
SEL1018 in use on the Blackbird stabilizer
When I opened the box and took out the lens, I was pleasantly surprised with how light-weight the lens actually is. It weighs only 225g. This is perfect for using it on a Sony Alpha NEX Mirrorless Digital Camera and even better for using it on a NEX-FS100 or NEX-FS700 in combination with a handheld stabilizer / Steadicam.

The second surprise was the build quality. Except for the lens hood, there's little plastic parts to be found. The zoom and focus rings operate very smoothly, but unfortunately there are no markings on the focus ring and it doesn't have stops. However, it works and responds much better then the focus ring on the Sony 18-200mm NEX lens, which feels a bit more electronic-ish. When using the zoom ring to go to 10mm ultra wide, the lens will extend slightly. This is the opposite of what you might expect normally. The drawback of this, is that the lens will retract a bit when mounting the lens cap when you're in full wide. The lens is quite small when you compare it to a similar lens like the Tokina 12-24mm f/4 lens and it's only half the weight. The lens has a filter thread in front, so you can add a 62mm Variable Neutral Density filter or 62mm UV filter if you want. An option that was seriously lacking when using the ultra wide converter with the 16mm pancake lens.

Sample images
Now before talking further about specs and performance of this lens, I'm going to share some sample images I took with this lens on a Sony NEX mirrorless digital camera.

Friday, January 17, 2014

REVIEW - Radian Pro Wireless HD Video

Radian Pro Wireless HDMI Video From Camera Motion Research
Radian Pro Wireless HD Video From Camera Motion Research

A few weeks ago Camera Motion Research, the manufacturer of the critically acclaimed Blackbird stabilizer (review here), launched their professional wireless HD video set for the US market and now they also made a version available for Europe! I've had the great opportunity to try it out the last couple of days and I'm happy to be able to share my experiences with you.

Radian Pro Wireless HD Video Set

The CMR Radian wireless HD video set is manufactured with Amimon WHDI professional quality chip sets for best uncompressed resolutions and frame rates up to full 1080P(60). The system has near zero latency and line-of-sight range of over 300 feet (90 meters)! A connection between the Radian transmitter and receiver is established in just a few seconds and it automatically selects the best channel to use. Even if you have never used a wireless system before, you will be up and running in no-time.

Here's a quick video showing how long it takes for the Radian Pro wireless video system to link the transmitter to the receiver. A longer video demonstration with the system in action will be added at a later point in time.

The Radian system is available in two flavours. The Radian Pro unicast for connecting one transmitter to one receiver and the Radian MC multicast for connecting one transmitter to up to 4 receivers simultaneously. The one I'm reviewing here is the unicast version. The system is shipped with many different parts. You'll receive HDMI and USB power cables, remote, power adapter and of course the Radian transmitter and receiver. All perfectly packed with a quick start guide. In order to be able to use the system you will need some kind of power and mounting solution for your camera and monitor, and that's what we're going to discuss now. So please take some time to (re)fill your favourite coffee mug and I'll wait here for you to return.