The Camcorder of 2011…coming soon !

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For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

New 50mm f0.95 with Leica M mount due out September 2012

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Hong Kong lens maker SLR Magic has announced the HyperPrime CINE 50mm T0.95 lens for the Leica M mount. The lens, which can be easily adapted for Micro Four Thirds or Sony NEX cameras, is designed for low light and shallow depth-of-field videography and available-light photography. The lens features 12 elements in 7 groups and, the company says, is optimized to be shot with the aperture wide open. The lens won’t be available until September 2012.

Hong Kong, China (January 1, 2012)  – SLR Magic opens up the M mount lens lineup with the new SLR Magic HyperPrime CINE 50mm T0.95 ultra fast normal focal length lens. The world’s fastest interchangeable camera lens with an image circle beyond full frame coverage in its focal length, the SLR Magic HyperPrime CINE 50mm T0.95 concept lens will be publicly available for experience testing in September 2012 at Photokina in Cologne, Germany.

The field of view of this new HyperPrime Lens corresponds to a 50mm lens in 35mm format. It is optimized to be shot wide open. This ultra fast normal focal length prime lens opens up many new creative composition opportunities, particularly in the fields of available light, in portrait, and street cinematography. Built with modern non aspherical lens technology, the lens excels at defocusing busy backgrounds at T0.95. A minimum focus distance of 0.70m allows for artistic bokeh effect. A fast maximum aperture of T0.95 makes the SLR Magic HyperPrime CINE 50mm T0.95 ideal for available-light photography.

Our highest priority in the development of all HyperPrime lenses is to fulfill the demands of professional cinematographers and photographers. The design and build of the SLR Magic HyperPrime CINE 50mm T0.95 is solid and reliable.

The SLR Magic HyperPrime CINE 50mm T0.95, a concept lens, will be available from authorized SLR Magic dealers by the end of September 2012.

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

A Happy New Year 2012 to you all !

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I hope 2012 is a better year for all of us especially for our friends in Japan, so lets sit back and welcome the New Year and hope for some stunning camcorders during 2012 plus the odd firmware update for FS100, NX70 and FCP-10.

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

The late Kevin O’Malley of JVC Professional

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Such sad news, Kevin passed away in his sleep last Wednesday evening (28th December 2011) and leaves his loving wife and two very loving daughters.

I must have known Kevin for over 20 years and what a character, full of life and a good joke or two. Kevin worked for Sony Broadcast for many years before moving over to JVC Professional.

Kevin was a man who knew his cameras and was liked by all who met him in the video industry, he will be sadly missed.

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

3 Products of 2011

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I have decided this year to give three products I personally bought a special mention for their usefulness and good design qualities.

Firstly I will start off with the Manfrotto 24 LED light that I picked up for £69 in my local Jessop store, it takes two AAA batteries and has a dimmer. There is nothing fancy about this light other than its extreme portability and usefulness on corporate shoots.

This wee light is carried about in your pocket and can be a God send if you need a small bit of fill light as happened to me on a shoot only last week. On two occasions I had a need to light peoples faces and this wee chap was just the trick.

Its well made for its size 70mm x 55mm and comes with a removable cold shoe.

My second useful product was the Zacuto Z-Finder EVF Pro, this has been invaluable in many ways over the last 4 months. Picture quality is nothing short of fantastic and with firmware updates you can now see your sound levels coming out of your camera.

I used it recently when I shot a two camera demonstration of manual handling and I took a 5 meter HDMI output from my second Sony NX70 and sat the viewfinder next to my NX70 so I could monitor my sons output as he is in training.

The other thing its great for is monitoring high shots especially using the Sony FS100 as the LCD design is shockingly bad for use in high shots.

It was not cheap at $1000 but is the best of its kind to date and built like a tank.

Recently I purchased another tripod an ACE from Sachtler, I saw this at IBC 2011 and was very impressed with its overall build quality Sachtler have finally learned that not everyone can afford their £2-3K tripods and to be frank those tripods are not fit to use with a Sony NX70.

As you can guess the NX70 needed a tripod and at just over £500 the ACE with mid spreader fitted the bill. Sachtler have made a fine job with their first budget tripod and amazingly its very usable with its basic drag and tilt system.

So there you have it three tools that I have been impressed with during 2011 more often than not for their simplicity in use and size, the LED light just ticks all my boxes for filler shots, the Zacuto EVF Pro not only looks good but outperforms itself with such an accurate LCD screen and the Sachtler ACE is the right tripod for smaller camcorders like the Sony NX70 and at just over £500 performs better than a lot of tripods twice its price.

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

The Last Burning Embers of 2011

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2011 will be remembered for all the wrong reasons, a giant earthquake near Japan causing untold death and disruption to the Japanese lifestyle, then to compound things even further floods in Indonesia later on the same year caused many video and photographic products to cease production causing a worldwide shortage of cameras, lenses and media in general.

A worldwide recession didn’t help matters alongside banks not lending money for small businesses and the worst year to date for refused credit loans has hit many people looking to upgrade to new equipment.

On the other hand despite the terrible tsunami that befell Japan they still managed to their credit to export 14 new camcorders over the last twelve months so what can we expect during 2012.

Looking into my crystal ball I predict the following…

1. Panasonic : I think they will bring out a fully featured AF301 mFT camera with 10bit processing, 4:2:2 and AVC Ultra, the collective name given to Panasonic’s group of professional AVC based codecs, represents a single workflow destination for professional users working at many levels in the production cycle. As a unified, seamless group of codecs based on the H.264 standard, AVC Ultra offers enhanced flexibility for both high-end and mainstream production through its support for a wide range of data-rates from low to high quality.

2. Sony : I predict a NX7 camcorder with interchangeable lenses, 50MB/s, 4:2:2 and once again 10bit. This camera may take on the SxS media and be a direct competitor to the Panasonic HPX250 and Canons XF305. I also predict a hybrid of the F3 and the FS100 finally giving us neutral density filters and 50MB/s.

3. Canon : Will bring out their “C” DSLR dedicated to those of you who prefer the size and style of shooting the DSLR gives you. We may also see a C150 cut down C300 at the tail end of the year running at 35MB/s and XLRs built onto the camera itself.

Will we see 14 camcorders during 2012 if you want my opinion I doubt it. JVC are hoping to give us a 4K camera the size of their 150 with 4 SDHC cards but like a lot of JVCs ideas and formats its a non starter, as someone told me at IBC 2011 “what happens if one of the 4 cards gets corrupted”.

Alister Chapman predicts the demise of the shoulder mount camcorder and if you look at last years trend not one new shoulder mount camera was produced, the world of digital cinematography is downsizing, like it or not.

Canon need to get their finger out and produce a 10 bit C300 camcorder for as sure as night turns to day Sony and Panasonic are hard on their heals, 2012 will be the year of the 10bit camcorder as the 2011 Panasonic P2 HPX250 is only the start.

Many pundits are now questioning Canons decision to bring out such a relatively expensive 8 bit Super 35mm camcorder during a world wide recession when many companies are now pulling their belts in and making do with their 2 year old camcorder.

Blogging like this site  does not help matters as I love to talk new technology but if I didn’t do it someone else would. You will always get an honest opinion from HD Warrior with over 25 years in the video production business we have a lot to offer and it all comes free with NO PAID advertising, thats the one fact I am very proud of not having paid adverts as once you start getting commission from adverts your opinion on that product is never as honest and thats a fact…my blog is not here to make me money.

While we are talking about blogging how about you lads and lassies sending me your thoughts on a video camera that you bought during 2011…User reviews always go down well so why not send me an email to hdwarrior@me.com and have a Happy New Year when it comes.

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

Australian cameraman crashes during a live cricket match

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For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

A Year with Large Sensor cameras

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As I write my Sony FS100 is tucked away in her Kata bag ready for the next job, its been a funny old year and I will share my experiences with you using various large sensor video cameras.

January : My Panasonic AF101 arrived after first seeing it at IBC 2010 in Amsterdam, it was a camera generously loaned to me by H Preston Media who I work part time for as a technical consultant.

I was pleasantly surprised with the AF101, well built, great easy to understand menu system and that all important micro Four Thirds chip set, never before had I seen virtually  noiseless gain at 18dBs.

lenses…I had far to many lenses for the AF101 from Panasonics own to Canon, Nikon, Olympus and Voigtlander. The latter was the lens of the century the 25mm f0.95 Nokton lens from Voigtlander probably the best shallow depth of field lens second only to the Canon 50mm f1.2.

It was the first time in history I sold a lens for virtually what I had payed for it as the Nokton was not only scarcer than gold dust but almost as precious due to the volcanic eruption hitting Japan at the time.

My prime lens for interviews was the 25mm Nokton mFT followed by Canons 50mm f1.2 L lens with Kippon EF adapter and Panasonics 7-14mm F4 wide angle zoom for opening shots these were my main contenders.

Two things set the large sensor cameras head and shoulders above conventional camcorders and that is noiseless gain and shallow depth of field (SDoF), they are not particularly good run and gun cameras or off tripod in general due to lack of stabilisation and manual focusing.

After about 3 months I got a Sony F3 for review and used aside the AF101, the Panasonic showed itself to be a lot softer than the F3 which is not difficult as the AF101 is only 800 lines compared to Sonys 1000+ lines. The F3 was also a lot less noisy in low light and the extra resolution was also a bonus in low light.

June : I gave back my AF101 to Prestons to take delivery of the Sony FS100 now I have got to put my hand up and say I was more than a bit scathing of this camera before I actually began to use one myself. The lack of ND filters is just laziness on Sonys part and not having SDI out was also a poor decision by Sony but having lived with the camera for six months now it soon grows on you in fact I have actually bought my loan camera.

It comes with a body only or a Sony E 18-200 f3.5-6.3 manual zoom lens, personally forget the lens version and buy yourself an MTF Nikon to E mount adapter, sadly no one has yet appeared with a Canon adapter for the Sony E mount though MTF should be shipping during January 2012 but at just under £1000 its a dear alternative.

As you use Large Sensor cameras you become more savvy when choosing lenses for it so my three stock lenses for the FS100 are the Nikon 50mm f1.4 for interviews the Nikon DX 17-55 f2.8 lens for general filming and the Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 wide zoom for establishing shots.

You learn through experience that you don’t need a bag full of lenses to produce a competent job nor the extra expense that extra lenses cost, my regret is selling off some cracking Canon L glass to move over to Nikon, not because the Canon is better glass because it isn’t but merely the extra expense of buying it all over again.

At the moment I am using a new Sony A77 DSLR and what a performance choosing decent glass for it, Sony present you with three sets of glass the Sony G lens, the Carl Zeiss lens and Sonys own zooms and prime glass, in other words three levels of quality which I do not care for. The Zeiss is good but expensive, the G glass is also good depending what you buy into and the standard glass is also surprisingly good with a cheaper look and price tag.

I mention the A77 because it has a similar look and chip to the FS100 but as yet I have done no side by side comparisons, one things for sure its not as good as the FS100 in low light noise.

Fortunately I did buy a Sony Alpha to E mount adapter and tried my three Sony lenses with the FS100, a Sony 30mm F2.8 macro lens, a Sony 16-50mm f2.8 wide zoom lens as an aside I did purchase the 50% cheaper Tamaron 17-50mm f2.8 but was disappointed by its chromatic aberrations so I sent it back. I wanted a telephoto so my budget stretched for the Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 “G” lens the lenses are all very sharp though the electronic f stop thumb wheel on the FS100 makes a very steppy, clanky manual iris, definitely not recommended for use during filming. Nothing else gets transferred via the electronic pins i.e. auto focus nor auto iris which is a surprise.

Conclusion : I love the large sensor cameras they give me that look and feel that no other camcorder can touch, the extra noiseless gain is a fantastic bonus especially when you are forced to use lenses smaller than f2.8.

My recommendation is to get a prime lens that is f1.4-f1.2 for producing interviews and don’t be scared to give the subject breathing space by shutting down the iris to f2.8 there is nothing worse than a person moving in and out of focus during an interview, 9 times out of 10 you won’t know that till you have started the interview wether they sway back and forth.

The large sensor is not for everyone or every situation hence my purchase of two Sony NX70s but as long as you follow the basic rules when filming you can get some fantastic footage that only the Super 35mm sensor can produce.

 

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

The need for more cameras…Why ?

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We seem to be witnessing a new trend of having more than one camera, especially large sensor cameras, I asked Alister Chapman why he needed a Canon C300 when he already had two Sony F3s.

Alister “I purchased my first pro camera and recorder back in the late 80’s. It cost me an arm and a leg, around £50k with the lens in todays money. Until a year ago I always had a main 2/3” shoulder mount camcorder. The last one was a PDW-700, which with the lens cost about £30k. With such a large investment in a single camera, it HAD to be a jack of all trades, which in many respects it was. However when Sony launched the EX1 almost 5 years ago, I felt that the writing was on the wall for the traditional, shoulder mount camcorder.

Once external recorders like the NanoFlash could be paired up with good cameras like the EX1 to meet and even exceed broadcast requirements it became harder and harder to justify the expense of a single, bulky camcorder. Remember a smaller camcorder also means smaller batteries and support equipment, all significantly reducing the cost of ownership, size of vehicle needed, insurance etc.

Now I have the luxury of owning an EX1R for run and gun, quick and easy shooting, the EX1R works very well in that type of application. Next came the PMW-F3 for those more set up shoots, interviews, documentaries, shorts and movies. I now have 2 of them as I shoot a lot of 3D and they are fantastic in this role. However the F3 (which is my all time favourite camcorder) just isn’t suitable for some of the things I shoot, especially things like tornadoes, which are often fleeting, fast moving and unpredictable. It can be done, but the EX1R is a much better camera for this type of thing.

Now I’m planning on getting a C300. Why? Well in part it’s experimental. I want to spend time learning the menu’s and setups to see what it’s capable of. But I also think that the C300 with the EOS mount may sit somewhere between the F3 and EX1R. It’s more compact than the F3 and with an L series zoom will make a very portable system that can produce broadcast quality images without an external recorder. Perhaps not quite as quick and easy to use as the EX1R but with size and weight benefits over the F3. I still think the images from an S-Log F3 with an external recorder will be superior, but that’s a pretty bulky rig. I think it might be a good fit for some of my expeditions, I’d really like to have one for my Northern Lights trip in January, but I don’t think deliveries will be in time.

I’ve also considered a Scarlet or Epic, these are great cameras, but not suited to the kinds of productions I make. Perhaps that will change. What I really want is a 4K version of the F3!

In summary the difference today is that I can afford to have  2 or 3 cameras tailored to specific shooting styles for the same cost as what I’ve been used to spending on a single jack of all trades camera in the past.”

Alister Chapman XDCAM URER.com

Thanks Alister, last night I sat and watched Philip Blooms candid review of the Canon C300 for CVP and was rather disappointed when Philip was comparing the C300 versus the Sony F3 remembering the C300 was only 8bit and no 1080 50p or full HD slow mo, that is very limiting for a camera of this magnitude, seemingly because Canon used a current 8 bit processor they were limited to 8 bits but we all know what version 2 will have !!!

As I have pointed out before when you bring out a camera you need to equal or better the competition thats why I am still confused as to why anyone with an F3 (10 bit out) would look at a C300 (8 bit out).

 

 

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

Merry Christmas from HD Warrior

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What a year for new cameras…fourteen to be precise and what about large sensor cameras, the Panasonic AF101, Sony FS100, F3, REDs Scarlet and the Canon C300.

I think like the majority of us Canon was going to bring out a £10K and a £6K Super 35mm camera but alas it was not to be though many of us are hoping santa will drop a C300 into our wish list of presents.

News is getting slacker this time of year and with just 2 sleeps till Christmas it only remains for me to thank you all for reading my blog over the last exiting year and lets hope Japan are going to give us a further dose of goodies during 2012.

Just a note for any stray Japanese camera designer…

1. Make sure your Super 35mm camcorder has 50MB/s or better !

2. 4:2:2 or 4:4:4

3. 10 bit minimum

4. HD SDI output as well as HDMI

5. Hi resolution viewfinder

MERRY CHRISTMAS

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

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