Sony 18-105 f4 lens on the A6300

Categories: Miscellaneous 3 Comments

Sony A6300

Once again this lens performs a lot better on a camera with decent focusing, the A6300 has 425 phase-detection AF points ranged across the sensor. Remembering this is a Sony G lens so it should be a cut above average.

My A6300 arrived from Production Gear last week and the video facilities are fantastic with 4K 25p and full HD at 50p XAVC-S. You can attach the XLR unit but having no audio monitoring makes it almost pointless. This will be a feature added to the next model, though Sony have missed a trick with the XLR unit, they should have added audio monitoring on the XLR unit itself.

A6300 side

I bought this camera for its photographic and video capabilities, 24MP, 425 AF points and up to 6400ISO in low light.

6300 and me

These pictures were shot over a week apart but the real star of this shoot was my new lens.

new lens

The Sony “ZEISS” 16-70 f4 lens which can also be used with my Sony FS5

me and new lens

This time I used my Small HD monitor rather than the XLR unit.

Flori 6400

A picture of my dog taken at 6400 ISO with virtually no loss in detail.

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

micro REVIEW…NEW for GH4 owners the VARY-i (278 euros)

Categories: Miscellaneous 7 Comments

Vari v2

I have been testing a great new viewfinder for the Panasonic GH4 that fits onto the GH4 LCD itself.

Me plus VARI

You can purchase VARY-i from for 278 euros. I get to keep my review loupe which will come in very handy for filming with my GH4.


This is my first attempt at a video review since my mini stroke.

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

The final truth about the 18-105 lens

Categories: Miscellaneous 11 Comments



I was out helping my son Scott at a wedding on Saturday for the first time since my stroke (Note : I only helped him with the ceremony) and decided to use the FW updated Sony 18-105mm f4 lens and soon wished I hadn’t…it’s inferior. The last thing I need while filming a live event is extra stress and this lens gave me a great deal of stress, even using the 2x magnification punch in it was still a pain to snap the lens into focus.

I am comparing it to the Sony 28-135mm f4 which snaps into focus and is normally used with my FS7, saying that at £1,371 dearer you would expect it to be better.

FS7 and 5

It may be able to track focus from tight to wide with its updated v3 firmware but its no contender compared to the 28-135 lens.

If you have the 18-105mm lens for your FS7 the v3 FW does make it a lot better, but it truly is a poor £429 lens and Sony should be ashamed of themselves for selling it with the FS5.

Kit lens 2

So why is it so bad all of a sudden…simple I have not used for a few months and you can’t get a true focus using the lens in manual mode, it jumps in and out of focus due to its badly made electronic fly by wire focus mechanism. …you are all over the place and never use it in auto focus or it will hunt like a devil…unlike certain nameless parties the FS5 has a poor auto focus which is why its now permanently switched to manual. Sony were rumoured to have an 18-105mm at NAB but the only lens that appeared was the Canon 18-80mm t4.4.

What really annoys me is that Sony are aware of the problem with a wider servo zoom but to date have not bothered to address this.

So why did i not use the 28-135 lens…I was worried it would not be wide enough and it was back at base on my FS7 so I had no option but to continue with the 18-105 plus I did want to force myself to give it a run through after the v3 FW update.

Canon lens v2


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

How do FS7 owners update their 18-105mm lens (Updated)

Categories: Miscellaneous 2 Comments

18 to FS7

After updating this lens on my FS5 I tried the Sony 18-105mm f4 lens on my FS7 this morning and it works even better than before after the FW upgrade…But hot off the press is the dilemma for FS7 owners who own this lens…I find it astounding that Sony have left so many FS7 users with this lens with no answer.

I am reposting this because I do feel Sony have a duty to reply to this question.

I did put this question to Sony ICE expert Alister Chapman who told me “You would need to beg, borrow, scrounge a Sony E-Mount stills camera. Anything from an NEX3 to A7 would do.” So I assume the FW is not camera dependant in other words you can update the FW from the same camera time and time again.

Sony’s official site tells us “All E-mount with the exception of NEX-5, NEX-3, NEX-C3, NEX-VG10 and PXW-FS7″


If Sony could reply to this my readership would be truly grateful…Still no reply to this from Sony (Sat 30th April 2016)

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

Japans looming sensor crisis

Categories: Miscellaneous No Comments

Sensor CrisisDue to the recent earthquake Sony have written to all their UK suppliers telling them that as from immediate effect on line supply information for some categories will be temporarily subject to increased change.

This is due to the impact of the recent earthquake in the Kumamoto area and a temporary interruption of the supply information from Sony, Japan.

The same thing happened during March 2011 and caused an almost catastrophic loss to video supplies the last time.

HDW reported in 2011 “This could wipe out dealerships globally who depend on video equipment for a living, main stream video camcorders from Sony and Panasonic are already running short of stock and in some cases certain models have dried up with no lead times less than 6 months.”

No one knows if its just Sony thats affected this time but you can be sure if it uses a Sony sensor supplies are already running thin.

Q. How does this affect the UK…Simple less Sony kit to sell from DSLRs, mirrorless and camcorders across the range.

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

CAME Accordion £3,500

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came-accordion_01 copy

Here is one of the strangest items to come from NAB…the CAME Accordion seems to be a new take on extendable jibs, this was discovered by my friend Johnnie over at Cinema 5D. I am not sure if the price includes the Ronin. Read more about it here…

The CAME-ACCORDION features an extending scissor arm that puts the camera right where you need it. The accordion motion allows the arm to extend 4.7 Meters (15 feet) out and then retract back in. The drive is powered by a V-Mount battery (Not included) and is controlled by a rocker switch. The max payload is 15Kg (33 lbs) and works well when paired with our ArgoProdigy or Mini 3 gimbal. These gimbals can be remote controlled with the Bluetooth joystick providing control of the camera. The kit weighs in at 35kg (77 lbs) and includes the crane, tripod, wheels and aluminium cases…Not the lightest kit I may add.

CAME Accordion – Get Your Camera Where You Need It from cinema5D on Vimeo.

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

The Fujinon 20-120mm t3.5 $18,200

Categories: Miscellaneous 5 Comments

cinelens_mainimg_05 copy

Watch the video in YouTube at 1080..the lens is priced at $18,200. The video below does not do the lens justice in my opinion.


I know only too well how much time is lost during a shoot changing prime lenses when one decent 4K zoom would cover a larger variety of shots. The only reason we are forced to use prime lenses on a drama shoot is quality. A zoom lens up till now usually does not hold the same quality throughout the range as does equivalent prime glass at certain focal lengths. T or f stops in primes are usually better like t1.3 rather than t3.5 as seen in the fujinon lens, but with todays fast sensors I could live with t3.5.

To back this up I had another look at News Shooters section about Primes v Zooms with interesting results… NS…”Originally the results were posted for members of the Cinematographers’ Mailing List blind – without any information about which lens was which, in an attempt to get viewers to think about their preferences without any preconceptions based on brands or price. “The biggest surprise,” Geoff says, “has been how well the zoom lenses have done … received wisdom is that primes will always be better than zooms. Well, in a blind test this has been proved to be totally wrong.” read the section in full plus video footage here

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

Sony advert for the RX100mk4

Categories: Miscellaneous 1 Comment

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

NAB 2016 Final thoughts from Simon on the DJI M600

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Simon v5

Simon being a fully qualified drone pilot gives us his thoughts on the new hexicopter from DJI the M600.

Simon “DJI have once again made huge advancements in the field of 3 Axis brush-less gimbal systems, with the announcement and showcasing of their new Ronin-MX Gimbal System and the Matrice 600 hexacopter.   The Ronin-MX is a highly adaptable gimbal system, with the functionality to be used as both a stand alone handheld unit and with heavy lift areial platforms.  The new Ronin-MX features more powerful motors than the current Ronin-M unit, allowing for the stabilization of heavier payloads of around 4.5kg, cameras in the weight range of Arri Alexa Mini and Red Dragons. (suited to a payload capacity between the Ronin and Ronin-M, and so is not so much a replacement for the Ronin-M but more an intermediate between the two) these improved motors also allow the unit to counter increased G-forces during flight, and features two batteries.  The first designed to power the gimbal unit itself and the second to power the camera mounted to the system.  The Matrice 600, the latest competitively priced Hexacopter from DJI and in keeping with their innovation for aerial cinematography integrates seamlessly with the Ronin-MX,  capable of taking paylods up to 6kg, with a flight time of betwen 16-36 minutes, (depending upon payload) provided by 6 high powered intelligent batteries that not only provides increased flight time but increased insurance against battery failure.  This new Hexacopter and Gimbal set up, leaves us questioning will DJI do away with their current camera specific Zenmuse gimbals for heavy lift drone such as the S900 and S1000”.

dji-m600 copy

In addition to the Ronin-MX and Matrice 600 DJI also unveiled a series of new Osmo accessories, including the Z-Axis a stabilization system compatible with the Osmo’s X3 and the X5 camera to remove and significantly reduce vertical shaking from natural arm movements when walking or jogging.  As well as the much anticapted X5 adapter, allowing use of the DJI Micro Four Thirds X5 camera with the Osmo system.

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

Best Three bits of gear from NAB 2016

Categories: Miscellaneous 2 Comments

Canon lens v2

Number one has to be this new 18-80 from Canon a company who listens to its customer base bring out a badly needed servo zoom lens for large sensor cameras like the Canon C300 Mk11 or the Sony FS7 with Canon adapter.

AG-UX180 copy

Another well designed 4K camcorder from Panasonic the AG-UX180 with its 20x servo zoom lens.


Lastly the new HDR monitors from smallHD, they look a cracking piece of kit at a cracking price.


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