Review: Tiffen 77mm Combination Neutral Density 1.8 Infrared (IR) Filter

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tiffen filter photos (4 of 7)ISO 1001-320 sec at f - 2.5

Editor’s Note: Big thanks goes out to Doug Guerra over at the Alternating Line; a new NYC based company that focuses on freelance camera operating and video engineering.

Filters are an interesting bunch–many photographers will say that you don’t need them but others swear by the protection that they can offer. But when it comes to the video world, they’re a necessity. While many of us on the site prefer to use Vari-ND filters for the convenience that they offer, many videographers still prefer to go with dedicated filters. Both have their advantages, but some are really designed to give an extra punch. In the case of Tiffen’s Combo IR ND filter, you might want to use this one with a cinema camera.

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Does Olympus Need to Go Full Frame?

Figosa-camera-strap-on-OMD

We’ve seen loads and loads of rumors on the web along with many clear signs of evidence pointing to something really big coming. And by really big, we mean full frame. At the time of the publishing of this piece, Olympus has just announced their OMD EM1 camera with a Four Thirds sized sensor. Besides the obvious marketing push that a full frame sensor can give a company or camera system, it only seems like a matter of time until Sony wipes the floor with the rest of the industry and releases a full frame mirrorless camera. And with that said, the mirrorless interchangeable lens camera world will experience the same shift that the DSLR world took where everyone always complained about the smaller sensors in Olympus cameras.

But in many other aspects, the company could find a home with others.

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First Impressions: Sony FDR AX1–The First 4K Camcorder With an Auto Mode

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 4K Camcorder (2 of 12)ISO 32001-70 sec at f - 3.2

To us, Sony is the company that often pushes the fold and gives us things before we even believed that it would be time for them to hit the market. And while it was obviously inevitable at some point and time, Sony is announcing today the world’s first camcorder with 4K video recording and a fully automatic mode: FDR AX1. Yes, while many cinematographers are working with really good 1080p video in manual mode, this camcorder is giving the affluent customer the power to shoot their kid’s recital in 4K or the news shooter to shoot breaking news in 4K using all the manual modes that they’re used to.

And they’re packing in a 20x optical zoom lens and a 1/2.3inch 12MP 8MP effective imaging sensor.

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Dog Schidt Lenses Beg You to Say Their Name Out Loud and ROFL

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Say it, come on–no really say it! Dog Shit Schidt seems to be a brand new company selling optics on Etsy. Here’s the weird thing about them though: Their lenses are based on a Zeiss design from the 1960’s. In fact, they’re specifically citing the 58mm f/2.0–a lens that I actually own.

Now after reading all of that, here’s the part that makes sense: the bokeh is designed to look like that of an anamorphic lens–which means that they’re targeting these lenses at the videography audience. With that in mind, consider the fact that the old Zeiss 58mm f2 has a stepless aperture ring and overall some of the most buttery smooth focusing and aperture dials to date.

You’ll be able to purchase them for Canon, Nikon, Sony, Panasonic, Olympus etc. according to their website. They have more info on this PDF. But hit the jump for some sample footage.

Via 43Rumors

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Review: Fujifilm X-E1

The X-E1 Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera is an interesting take by Fujifilm on the EVF cameras that have been dominating the mirrorless category for a couple of years now. Since the mirrorless camera by nature does not allow for a true through-the-lens viewfinder, if manufacturers wanted to put a viewfinder on the camera they had to used an electronic one. That is, until the Fuji X100 came along. (I’m leaving digital rangefinders out of this statement because they are not the same thing as a mirrorless camera although they are functionally similar).

While technically a compact professional camera, the Fujifilm X100 was such a game-changer that Fuji expanded upon that camera with a few more fixed lens models before finally releasing the Fuji X-Pro1 Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera in 2012 based on that same innovative Hybrid Viewfinder that wowed so many of us in 2011. The combination of interchangeable lenses with that unique viewfinder proved to be a mighty force in the camera world and has proved to be a decent seller despite the apparently steep introductory price tag.

With so many people crying again for a better EVF for use in manual focusing and with legacy lenses, Fuji has responded promptly with the Fujifilm X-E1 Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera. This is all very interesting of course, but the real question stands, does it hold it’s own against its predecessors and really compete with its contemporaries?

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Review: Sony A99

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We’ve been working with the Sony A99 for around a month now after having played with it a lot during the Media Excursion out in California. Though our experiences are a little different than what they were before, the Sony A99 still represents the premium of what Sony currently has to offer for the professional and high end enthusiast. In many ways, the A99 is really quite an awesome camera and even almost made me switch systems. However, it still wasn’t quite there.

 

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CONFIRMED: BBC States That Neither the Nikon D4 or D800 Are Acceptable for Broadcast

Not too long ago, everyone on the net was abuzz about how the Nikon D4 and D800 had passed the EBU Technical test, also known as the BBC test for videography capture. Originally, Nikon Australia stated it, but the page is now down though still active as one can tell by the link. Petapixel picked up on the news, and went further.

We looked at the tests and from the vernacular, it all seemed very questionable. So we contacted the EBU and recently got a hold of Andy Quested, the Head of Technology for BBC HD and 3D. Here’s his statement.

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Photokina 2012 Report — Part 5: Leica, Hasselblad and Voigtländer

Wait, what? A Ferrari? What does this have to do with photokina? Well, nothing, except that Hasselblad had one at their stand. Yup, a real, proper Ferrari.

First off, let me apologize. This post was meant to be up yesterday. However, since my laptop decided to break down, I couldn’t work on it. So it comes one day late. So without further ado, this is part five of or photokina 2012 report. Featured today: the new Leica M and Leica M-E, the Leica X2 Paul Smith edition and à la carte, the Hasselblad Lunatic Lunar and the Voigtländer 21mm f1.8 lens for Leica M.

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First Impressions: Sony A99

The very long awaited successor to the Sony A900 is finally here. After rumors circulated the web for a while, we all had lots of different ideas about what the camera could feature. But of any item I’ve seen announced today, the Sony A99 is the most dear to me. Keeping true with Sony’s new business move to go along with SLT cameras that give an electronic viewfinder, the Sony A99 is a camera that screams out to you with its modern ergonomics and functionality.

Oh right, and before we go on, I should mention that Sony now uses a standard hot shoe. Don’t believe us? Hit the jump, and behold for hell has frozen over and the devil is giving free sleigh rides.

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Canon Announces C100 Camcorders and Four New Lenses for the EOS C-System

Canon must really love videographers. How else do you explain that they just introduced one new camcorder and four new lenses to their EOS C-system? As a reminder, the EOS C-system is Canon’s videography derivative of their EOS DSLR system. Both systems share the same EF mount, so lenses made for either system can be used on the respective other system.

Previously, the EOS C-system consisted of the C300 camcorder and a five EF cinema lenses, two zooms and three primes. Today, the following new EOS C products have been announced:

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Long Term Review: Canon 5D Mark III

The Canon 5D Mark III is one of the most highly anticipated cameras ever released. The 5D Mark II has been a workhorse of a camera for many wedding and portrait photographers, but has also been maligned by these same photographers for the shortcomings. With it came some incremental upgrades to address the Mk II’s supposed shortcomings as well as adding on some other features.

In the end though, is it right for you? More importantly, is it worth the upgrade from the 5D Mk II?

Editor’s Note: This review has been done over the period of a couple of months. Additional contributing was done by Thomas Campbell and Thursten Kent.

 

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Quick Hack: Switronix Torchlight LED Bolt On-Camera Light With a Softbox

We’ve been working with the Switronix Torch LED Bolt On-Camera light for DSLR users for around two weeks now and we’ve been very impressed so far. Upon Thursten’s showing it to me, however, I immediately tried to think of other ways to make it work for his videography portfolio. Generally, these lights are often used mounted on top of a DSLR for video interviews. Indeed, we’ve found that the light is very powerful and works well for this, but more will come in the actual review.

What you see above is the light hacked into my Photogenic SB4232 Softbox with a silver beaded interior and two white diffusion baffles. To mount it on, I used the Chimera Speedring for Speedlight flashes. This all then went onto my Vanguard Nivelo tripod in order to provide direction quality. I’m amazed that the little tripod actually help up.

My new friend Jesse Brickel provided the music talent. Indeed, the video shown below is really just him tuning his guitar, but we’ve got lots more content coming on this. Take a look at how the video turned out. It was shot with the Sony NEX F3 and 30mm f3.5 Macro. The footage was slightly boosted in Adobe Lightroom 4 and then stitched together.

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The Best Budget Lenses for Mirrorless Cameras

Mirrorless cameras and their systems are very hot for the experienced users who want most of the benefits of a DSLR in a smaller package. In fact, one of staffers decided to go fully mirrorless. We’ve seen more and more systems come out of the gate and some even reach quite a bit of maturity. If you’re a mirrorless camera user, it is often an extremely good idea to invest in some better glass.

Here’s a roundup of some of the best mirrorless camera lenses to date.

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Review: Rokinon 14mm f2.8 (Canon EF Mount)

Look through YouTube, forums, and other websites asking people about some of their favorite wide angle prime lenses: and you’ll probably find out about a little known gem to many: the Rokinon 14mm f2.8. Following along with Rokinon’s tradition of creating an affordable, manual focus, manual aperture, and optically sharp lens: it is a lens that takes some getting used to. To boot, I don’t often shoot this wide: so it forces me to not only get creative with my angles, but also get super duper close to my subjects.

As a note of reference: Rokinon is the same company as Samyang (their European and Asian version of the lens). They’re also sometimes known as the Vivitar, Bell and Howell and Pro Optic brands depending on the country it is sold in.

Regardless of what name the lens masquerades as, you all want to know one thing: how does it perform?

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Everything You Really Need to Know About Canon’s Announcements at NAB 2012

NAB is right around the corner, and Canon has taken to introducing loads of new products for the videography industry. We previously saw a prototype 4K 1D camera, and it has now been formally announced. Coined as the 1D C (for cinema), the new DSLR seems to take the cake as the current king of HDSLR cameras. With a full frame sensor, 60p Full HD video recording, and 4K capabilities, this seems like a winner…if you have $15,000 to burn.

But wait, there’s more!

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Review: Rokinon 24mm f1.4 Lens (Canon EOS)

As what other reviewers have been touting as one of the most exciting lenses to be released in a while at this focal length, the Rokinon 24mm f1.4 is an extremely affordable option compared to the Canon L version or the closest Zeiss version. Granted, all three are still different lenses: with two of the previously stated products being manual focus only.

The 24mm focal length is one that has been targeted to street photographers, documentary shooters, landscape photographers, and loads of others. But does this latest addition really do the job that most photographers want?

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Videographers, Enthuse: Digital Bolex Super 16 Camera Shoots 2k Video

Remember the good old days when video was shot on film? Acually, those days are long gone. But as late as the 70ies, when VHS was not established, yet, every amateur videographer would use either an 8mm or a 16mm camera to record their holiday video. And even professionals were using the 16mm format, as it offered the best compromise between size, cost and quality. Today, most amateurs use their digital still cameras for video recording, while professionals use HDSLRs or full fledged Super 35 digital cameras like the Red system. The legacy of the age of 16mm film videography — the various lenses in 16mm format — lives on, being used for both still photography and videography on mirrorless cameras like the Micro Four Thirds models. Now comes another option to bring those old lenses back to their intended use: the digital Bolex, which records 2k HD video using a digital sensor the exact same size of the old Super 16 film format. Read on after the jump! Continue reading…

Nikon Announces D800/D800E; Relieves Angry Fanboys’ Frustrations

Nikon finally announced what all the fanboys and girls were waiting for after leaks of the worst kept secret ever: the Nikon D800 full frame successor to the D700. Sporting a new 36.3MP full frame CMOS sensor, 91,000 pixel RGB sensor (metering), and an advanced Scene recognition system, it sounds like the camera that lots of enthusiasts and pros alike have been asking for.

More images and specs after the jump; but if you want to read the press release, check out Nikon’s press room section.

Available for Pre-order at B&H Photo: D800 and D800E

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What’s In the Bag? Lester Jones: Street Style Photographer

Upon seeing all of our, “What’s in the Bag?” features, photographer Lester Jones contacted us wanting to share what he carries. Lester is the creator and owner of, I Dig Your Sole Man: a website where he showcases the some awesome street style of urban footware. “While I love the beautiful work of The Satorialist, Garance Dore, Scott Schuman, and Jak & Jill I always felt a bit alienated as I do not understand and appreciate satorial fashion that well, so I decided to fill a massive space in the street blog community by starting the world’s (to the best of my knowledge) first ever sneaker based street blog. My work looks at how sneaker style is something we can all relate to, with our footwear representing a clear story about who we are, and in a short space of time my work is developing a big global following,” says Lester. “The body of work has evolved from mere sneaker shots to become a credible destination for people who like a unique take on all forms of urban style, which includes portraiture, reportage and videography of people, events, products, places and more, and I do it all with quite a modest array of kit!”

I got to talk to him a bit about what’s in his gear bag.

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Review: Leica V-LUX 3 (Panasonic FZ-150)

When Leica announced their new V-LUX 3 (or VLUX3) digital camera, I had thought to myself that the camera perhaps incorporates all of the standard changes that their Panasonic clones have. For those of you that are confused, when Leica clones a Panasonic camera (in this case, the Panasonic FZ-150), they usually update the firmware, menu system and lens coatings to differentiate it a bit. Otherwise though, the camera functions and acts the same. This time around though, there seems to be absolutely no change except for the outside cosmetic appearance.

So does this superzoom camera meet your standards?

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