A new web site for Canon C300 Users run by HD Warrior

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The link to my new Canon C300 web site is under useful links at the right hand side of the page under C300 USER or www.c300user.co.uk

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

How does the MTF Nikon adapter work ?

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Every so often I get an email asking me about adapters and what lenses to buy, one chap wrote to me recently and although he had Nikon glass did not seem to realise the significance of the lever on the MTF Nikon adapter. Please note MTF produce various Nikon adapters this is a generic tutorial and is using a Nikon to Sony E mount adapter. As far as I am aware Mike of MTF Services does not supply instructions with his adapters it is therefore assumed that you know how to use them.

We are all sitting at different levels of technical knowledge and it seemed to me a good idea to expose the MTF Nikon adapter and how it works just in case you are to frightened to ask. Its not obvious to a non technical person exactly how the Nikon lens operates with the adapter and if the lever with the blue nob is tightened you may not think to unloosen it.

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

Review of the Canon XF100 v Sony’s NX70 (Updated with new NR number 2)

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Finally I get a chance to asses the Canon XF100 since I have just bought one. The camcorder has a lot of features packed into its small body and non more so than full broadcast CBR 50MB/s 4:2:2 (CBR=Constant bit rate), this wee chap is a lot bigger in features than at first glance.

Before we go any further the Canon out of the box is far to noisy but you can improve you pictures 100% by following my instructions below…


UPDATE : Having thought about this setting I had a look at some real life footage and setting it to 4 makes for a fair bit of NR added which is fine for still but not so good for live action so my updated setting would be setting the noise reduction to number 2. Note the different contrast and white balances can be ignored if anything it helps to exaggerate the noise problem. You can experiment yourself but in Automatic mode the camera adds a fair bit of noise.

Lets start with the lens this is one feature that left the NX70 standing, although sharing a similar 10x optical zoom the Canon is far superior starting at f1.8 at the wide end and f2.8 at the tight, this lens lets in a ton of light compared to the NX70 which goes from f1.8 wide but f3.4 on the tight end and that makes such a difference when you need that extra light at the tight end. In order to get the same exposure as the Canon I had to put the gain up to 6dBs.

Chromatic aberration is something that has not hindered any of my filming with both my NX70s but it does seem to be a problem for some shooters so here is a test I have done with this problem in mind.

Chroma fringing is part of a low cost lens I am afraid but it only happens on the outer most part of both lenses, at under £3000 per camera this has to be expected, I could do the same test with expensive Nikon glass and the results would be the similar, but its not the problem some people seem to think it is.

Zoom rocker, if you are an NX70 owner like me you will cringe at the word zoom rocker, due to the waterproofing the NX70 was fitted with a component that affected its variability giving us a fast zoom, this has been addressed and Sony will update that feature in March 2012 with a firmware update. The Canon has no such problems and even has extra menu features allowing you to get smooth starts and finishes through its very smooth variable zoom range.

The HDMI on the Canon is full size but is badly placed just under the hand grip while the NX70 has a mini HDMI socket which is more fiddly to use on a shoot if you want to use an external monitor. The viewfinder on the Canon is far to small unlike the NX70s viewfinder which is very usable in those bright sunny days.

The audio switches are far better laid out on the Canon, simple to understand with the audio pots on the top of the camera. Both cameras have professional XLR inputs but the Canon has a more robust handle and a 1/4″ screw allowing you to attach a small magic arm if needed.


Without labouring on the subject both cameras delivered very high quality footage and although the NX70 does not have the luxury of 50MB/s 4:2:2 it does have 1080 50p. The one thing that does stick out is the Canons lens having f 2.8 at the tight end of the zoom does give you far brighter pictures in low light while the NX70 is having to use 6dBs of gain to even compete.

You have to dig deep in the Canon web site to find this CF card compatibility chart.

Ergonomically the Canon is in my opinion better laid out with both gain and shutter buttons on the outside of the camera and one of my gripes with the touch screen as used in the NX70 is how grubby it gets after a days shoot.

The Canon is more expensive to run using CF cards against the NX70s SDHC cards, that said you do have 2 card slots on the Canon which you can set to record to both, that is a great feature for archiving purposes, the NX70 has only one card slot and as yet has no way of recording to card and internal memory simultaneously but will be added in a FW update in March 2012.

The Canon does have syncro scan something I have missed as both the NX70 and the FS100 do not have this feature and the Wave Form Monitor (WFM) feature on the Canon is great for exposing your shots allowing you to see if your whites are clipping.

As usual both cameras will not match as they have their own colour profiles as I have a fairly large documentary coming up about diabetes I have decided to go down the Canon route with a C300 on order from H Preston Media, the XF100 will be a good cutaway camera and be less imposing for some shots and hopefully match the C300 better than keeping my Sony cameras.

The NX70 does give a great account of itself when you consider its up against 50MB/s and the superior 4:2:2, once you eradicate the inherent noise given off by having the noise reduction switch set to automatic the Canon excels with a very solid, punchy picture, the Sony produces a more natural red with the Canon producing a more pleasing skin tone. The external gain and shutter on the Canon does it for me as the NX70 can be a bit of a pain having to access many of the cameras functions via the touch screen.

I have enjoyed my two NX70s but time to move on lets hope I get the same pleasure from the Canon XF100 six months from now !

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

Will the NX70 compare with the Canon XF100 @ 4:2:2, 50MB/s

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Finally and not a day too soon I have my hands on the Canon XF100, build quality is very good in fact having a permanently attached handle does give me more confidence that my audio is not going to fail me some time in the future, more about that in my review.

Why the 100 and not the 105, having lived with the FS100 with HDMI you learn to live without SDI, I was not prepared to add a further £300 onto the price of a camcorder just to get one SDI, timecode and genlock socket that I would never use especially when the 100 and 105 are the same apart from those 3 connectors, I only wish all other manufacturers thought the same.

“The first thing that strikes you about the two cameras is the lens itself”…just a wee teaser for my review coming soon.


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

Filming Sherlock…Interview with DP Fabian Wagner coming soon

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

JVC KY-1900 “Back to the Future” 1984

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The JVC KY 1900 was an industrial camera in fact it was one of the few cameras to be produced with a plastic orange body making it very distinctive, JVC brought this camera out during 1982.

The KY-1900 had three saticon tubes which resolved around 400 lines of resolution in their day, price was around the £4700 mark.

Weighing less than 8 pounds, this super-compact three-tube camera is designed without compromising quality.

  • Three newly designed Saticon tubes
  • High performance dichroic multi-layer mirror optical system
  • Die cast aluminum frame
  • 52dB signal-to-noise ratio
  • 9dB gain available for really low light situations
  • Optional 6:1, 10:1 or 14:1 servo zoom lens
  • Automatic iris control with weighting detection circuit
  • Automatic Beam Control, knee compression and white clip circuits for highlight processing
  • Auto white balance with 8-bit memory
  • Built-in genlock and color bar generator

The 1980s saw the introduction of the Saticon tube industrial camera like the KY1900 but they suffered from “light scaring” in other words if you were filming in a steel factory you dare not point the camera at arc welding or you stood a high chance of permanently “brurning” a hole in the tube, this was known as “burn in”. Another anomaly with tube cameras was their propensity to “stick” while panning, once again it was a simple case of overloading the tube with pin points of light and you would get a smearing affect.

Early cameras were very basic indeed with most of your controls at the front, IRIS, WHITE BALANCE and VTR on and off switch, there was nothing else other than a gain switch 0 or 9Dbs and registration.

On the side of the KY1900 you have 4 yellow pots…Blue-Vertical, Blue-Horizontal, Red-Vertical, Red-Horizontal, by tweaking each pot pointing the lens at a registration chart you were able to align the red and the blue against the green gun. What you were doing was changing a magnetic field on each Saticon tube as they were prone to shift with temperature, the earths natural magnetic field and bumping the camera itself.

Manual registration lead cameramen to become paranoid as wo-betide you if you turned out to a shoot and forgot that all important jewellers screwdriver.

Later cameras came with auto registration where you pointed the camera at a chart and pressed a button.

This camera with lead acid battery attached would sit on your shoulder at around 12-14 pounds (5.44Kg-6.35Kg) no wonder we all suffer from back or shoulder problems.

Does it still work ? After 30 years I fed it a 12volt power supply switched it on and waited…no picture…then I blasted my “test dolly” with a 600W LED light and a glimmer of hope but very noisy and the viewfinder still showed no pictures.

Remembering these cameras need some time to heat up I left it for about 30 minutes and would you believe it…pictures.

These pictures were recorded onto a Sony GV-HD700 in DV mode via the composite video input then a still was taken via the PHOTO mode on the HD700.

My hat off to the Japanese video engineering department at JVC for producing a camera that can even today produce pictures after 30 years, not only that but very accurate pictures especially when looking at the colour rendition chart.

This has been a roller coaster of a ride for me to finally own my all time favourite camera from the past and that distinctive orange body is so sexy and distinctive even after 30 years, todays cameras are somewhat boring in the fashion department but I have it on good authority that black is defiantly the best colour for cameras and tripod legs as reflections are kept to a minimum.

As an aside my late Uncle Dick was partly responsible for the invention of the Vidicon tube made by RCA. America was a major player in video technology back in the 70s and 80s, the Vidicon tube was the core of many broadcast cameras during the late 80s, early 90s and my uncle was a pioneer in its development !

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

A look back to the 1980s coming soon

Categories: Miscellaneous 1 Comment


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

The Canon C300 Open Day at Malvern

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Yesterday I took a jaunt down to Malvern to H Preston Media a company I do consultancy work for, to see the new Canon C300 Super 35mm camera.

The pictures onto a Panasonic 65″ plasma TV were stunning, especially the macro shots of Andy Guests watch, I also tried out my Novoflex EOS to Nikon adapter which works a treat on the C300.

The adapter works really well on the C300 with the blue lever adjusting the iris itself, its a very smooth action but the fly in the ointment is the removal of the adapter itself from the lens you have to figure out how to do it as there is no clear instructions showing you what to do and its a tad fiddley to say the least.

John was pleased with the turn out and said “We have a healthy list of clients interested in the new Canon C300, the 50MB/s and Canon’s EF mount is capturing everyone imagination”.

The Canon reps were on hand to show clients every last detail with a lot of interest in the menu structure, Andrew Woodfin, Pro Video Account manager was on hand along with Nick Millen and Sundeep Sohal.

Peter Novell from the Vitec Group was also on hand with Manfrotto tripods and a GenusTec rig for one of Johns customers

I had a play with the new Canon EOS-1D X, it feels like a million dollars and that 12fps shutter is awesome.

One of Johns lady customers looking for various add ons for her Panasonic AF101, we tried Panasonics 25mm f1.4 lens though I have to say the Nokton f0.95 is still the best shallow depth of field lens next only to the Canon f1.2 lens.

It was a long drive down from Glasgow over two days but as usual Mrs Preston, John and the two Andy’s are so welcoming and my favourite member of the Preston team is Bella.

Many of you may not be aware that H Preston Media has a large shop on the main Worcester Road in Malvern and its an Aladdin’s cave for everyone who loves to see cameras both new and secondhand, tripods, lenses, camera bags and the small items that you won’t see anywhere else cables, adapters, filters, video lights and glossy brochures, thats my pet hate when you go into so called camera stores these days is the total lack of glossy brochures.

Remember John was the first shop in the UK to offer trade-ins against professional video equipment and is still the fairest second hand pro video dealer today in my opinion.

Why not give John a phone on 01684 575486 or look at the web store at www.hpreston.co.uk

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

New Rode Mic with built in audio recorder

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  • Integrated digital recorder (microSDHC)
  • RF-bias, true condenser shotgun microphone
    (based on RØDE NTG3 technology)
  • Line and Mic (mixer) inputs (with ‘plug-in’ power)
  • High level headphone amplifier for monitoring
  • Three-level High Pass Filter (0, 75Hz, 150Hz)
  • Integrated Blimp wind protection and shock mounting
  • Multi mode outputs
    (Dual mono/split 0db and -10db for auto safety/dual mono + 20dB)
  • High frequency ‘boost’ switch for increased intelligibility at distance miking
  • Utra-lightweight metal casing
  • Quick release mounting system

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

Come and see the Canon EOS C300 at H Preston Media

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

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