Tagged: Review

Sony a7s Smallrig build (1 of 7)

I’ve been looking for a small mounting frame for the Sony a7s and a few of you recommended I check out Smallrig’s offering. Smallrig sells a lot of bits and pieces so it can be a little confusing when you are trying to figure out what parts you need/want for a rig. It took me a little time trying to visualize the layout I was looking for on the Sony a7s and this is what I came up with:

Sony a7s Smallrig build (2 of 7)

The handle I selected has a vertical Nato clamp instead of a horizontal Nato clamp and includes a cold shoe adapter. Most of Smallrig’s handles have horizontal Nato clamps. I’m guessing this is because they were intended to slide across the top of the camera in order to balance things out, but I wanted to use the handle in a slightly different manner.

Sony a7s Smallrig build (3 of 7)
I was also looking for a compact monitor mounting option and the Smallrig 1422 EVF Nato mount seemed like a decent solution. While it is intended for an EVF, it’s also perfect for a small 5 inch monitor.

Sony a7s Smallrig build (4 of 7)

For those of you not familiar with Nato rails, they’re simply a plate with ridges on either side that allow you to clamp on extra gear. These rails were originally developed as a method for gun mounting flashlights and scopes, but companies like Smallrig and Wooden Camera have started to use them on camera rigs.

Sony a7s Smallrig build (6 of 7)

I used the Nato rails on the top and side of the sony cage. In one configuration I can hold the Sony a7s hand grip in my right hand and the handle in my left hand for an easy two handed minimalist rig.

Sony a7s Smallrig build (7 of 7)

Slide the handle off the side and move it to the top of the unit, then slide on the Smallrig 1422 EVF Nato mount and you have a nice setup for a slider or tripod. Strip the handle and EVF mount off and you are basically back to the form factor of the Sony a7s with a few extra mounting options.

Sony a7s Smallrig build (5 of 7)

Overall i’m pretty impressed with Smallrig’s system. All the parts and pieces set me back about $165 plus shipping which is a little pricy for a minimalist rig but far less than Wooden Camera’s small dslr cage system.

If I were to place this order again I think I would trade out the Nato rails I picked for the Smallrig 1409 rail or Smallrig quick release Nato rail. While the 1437 Smallrig Nato rail I choose works well on the side of the unit, I was only really able to get two of the three screws in on the top of the unit. I don’t think it’s a problem, but if you are looking to duplicate my setup, those two options are worth looking into.

I’ll post a review video on this when I get some more time this weekend. It’s not quite perfect yet, but i’m still pretty happy with how it turned out.

The post Smallrig Sony a7s custom camera cage appeared first on DSLR Film Noob.

All credit is given to author DSLR Film NoobDeejay

Sony a7s Smallrig build (1 of 7)

I’ve been looking for a small mounting frame for the Sony a7s and a few of you recommended I check out Smallrig’s offering. Smallrig sells a lot of bits and pieces so it can be a little confusing when you are trying to figure out what parts you need/want for a rig. It took me a little time trying to visualize the layout I was looking for on the Sony a7s and this is what I came up with:

Sony a7s Smallrig build (2 of 7)

The handle I selected has a vertical Nato clamp instead of a horizontal Nato clamp and includes a cold shoe adapter. Most of Smallrig’s handles have horizontal Nato clamps. I’m guessing this is because they were intended to slide across the top of the camera in order to balance things out, but I wanted to use the handle in a slightly different manner.

Sony a7s Smallrig build (3 of 7)
I was also looking for a compact monitor mounting option and the Smallrig 1422 EVF Nato mount seemed like a decent solution. While it is intended for an EVF, it’s also perfect for a small 5 inch monitor.

Sony a7s Smallrig build (4 of 7)

For those of you not familiar with Nato rails, they’re simply a plate with ridges on either side that allow you to clamp on extra gear. These rails were originally developed as a method for gun mounting flashlights and scopes, but companies like Smallrig and Wooden Camera have started to use them on camera rigs.

Sony a7s Smallrig build (6 of 7)

I used the Nato rails on the top and side of the sony cage. In one configuration I can hold the Sony a7s hand grip in my right hand and the handle in my left hand for an easy two handed minimalist rig.

Sony a7s Smallrig build (7 of 7)

Slide the handle off the side and move it to the top of the unit, then slide on the Smallrig 1422 EVF Nato mount and you have a nice setup for a slider or tripod. Strip the handle and EVF mount off and you are basically back to the form factor of the Sony a7s with a few extra mounting options.

Sony a7s Smallrig build (5 of 7)

Overall i’m pretty impressed with Smallrig’s system. All the parts and pieces set me back about $165 plus shipping which is a little pricy for a minimalist rig but far less than Wooden Camera’s small dslr cage system.

If I were to place this order again I think I would trade out the Nato rails I picked for the Smallrig 1409 rail or Smallrig quick release Nato rail. While the 1437 Smallrig Nato rail I choose works well on the side of the unit, I was only really able to get two of the three screws in on the top of the unit. I don’t think it’s a problem, but if you are looking to duplicate my setup, those two options are worth looking into.

I’ll post a review video on this when I get some more time this weekend. It’s not quite perfect yet, but i’m still pretty happy with how it turned out.

The post Smallrig Sony a7s custom camera cage appeared first on DSLR Film Noob.

All credit is given to author DSLR Film NoobDeejay

The Hedron is a new line of Cinevate camera sliders, available in four lengths from 2 to 5 foot. With a payload of 100lbs this is a heavyweight slider, I was sent the 3 foot version to check out and review.

Crafted from CNC aluminium and lighter than Cinevates Atlas 10 slider at respective lengths, the Hedron ships with all terrain adjustable legs and anti-scratch feet.

It’s compatible with Moco systems for motion control, and a counterweight for vertical slides, but the most exciting optional extra is the flywheel.

This is quite a unique feature of the Hedron, it attaches to the carriage via belt. The weight of the flywheel builds momentum as the carriage moves, providing a smoother and more consistent slide.

Pros

Strong, sturdy build with huge max payload

Flywheel produces very smooth slides

Fantastic bag and rail rubbers

Cons

Bounced with under heavy load when unsupported

Flywheel takes time to setup

Cinevate Hedron

I really enjoyed using the Cinevate Hedron, I can’t speak highly enough of the flywheel, it really does well in smoothing out human error. Cinevate market this as the one take wonder slider, and you can really see why. Just make sure you buy a bag that’s big enough to house the lot. Removing the flywheel after every shoot is cumbersome.

The size and weight was a little over board for my style of shooting, but this was good grounds for the review as it proved that this large heavyweight slider can be manoeuvred quickly and efficiently, and operable from one sturdy tripod.

Equipment used for review:

Sony A7S
Canon C100 mark I
Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 II L
Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro L
Canon 24-105mm f/4 IS
Sachtler Cine DSLR Head (now discontinued, FSB 8 next best thing)
Miller Solo CF legs
Rode NTG 3

Music: The Music Bed, “Two by Analog Heart”

The post Cinevate Hedron Slider Review appeared first on cinema5D.

All credit is given to author cinema5D » NewsTim Fok

Aspen Lav vs JK lav (1 of 1)

On the left we have the JK MIC-J lav mic and on the right we have the Aspen lav mic. They both look very similar and from a distance it’s hard to tell them apart. The included foam filters are the same for both, as are the tie clips, but there are slight physical differences between the two. I’ll start with those before we get to the audio tests.

First, look at the capsules. You can see that the Aspen lav mic on the right has a slight pinch in the capsule before it tapers off and the mic is slightly longer than the JK MIC-J lav mic. The Aspen lav mic has a slightly thicker cable which makes sense, as it’s wired up a bit differently.

MIC-J (2 of 3)

The JK MIC-J lav mic comes with a Sennheiser style “screw in” sleeve adapter, while the Aspen lav mic comes with a plain jane 3.5mm connector. The cable that comes with the JK MIC-J lav mic is a bit longer, but feels slightly cheaper than the Aspen lav mic.

Most of these are minor differences, but the wiring is notable. The Aspen lav mic and JK MIC-J lav mic are both equipped with a stereo plug, but the Aspen lav is wired so that the audio is fed to both the tip and the ring (left and right channels), while the JK MIC-J lav mic only feeds audio to the tip (left channel).

This isn’t an issue when using a wireless system like the Sennheiser G3, but if does mean that if you are recording audio directly into a Zoom h1, the JK will only supply audio on a single channel, while the Aspen will provide audio to both channels. On the flip side, the Aspen lav has a slightly weaker signal than the JK MIC-J lav mic. I suspect that the slight difference in output level is due to the wiring difference.

Above is the recording from the Aspen lav mic fed directly into the Zoom h1.

And this is the JK MIC-J lav mic fed directly into the Zoom h1.

Aspen Mic monoprice wireless (1 of 5)

I’ve listened to these two mics numerous times and other than the slightly weaker output from the Aspen lav mic, they sound basically identical to my ear. The JK is $29 and the Aspen is $54, other than the tin case and wiring difference, these mic’s are pretty much the same.

So if you want the tin case and find the wiring difference beneficial, spend an extra $25 on the Aspen lav mic, otherwise you may as well by the cheaper JK MIC-J lav mic for $29. Take a listen to the audio samples above and let me know if you disagree/agree with my conclusion. My ears are a bit older so I could be missing something, but I doubt it.

The post Aspen Lav and JK MIC-J 044 lav are basically the same appeared first on DSLR Film Noob.

All credit is given to author DSLR Film NoobDeejay

Transcend 128GB SDXC card speed test

Transcend 128GB card (1 of 1)

Right now the Transcend 128GB UHS-3 SDXC cards are down to $69. That makes them a pretty decent price for that capacity and claimed speed. The prominently displayed “ULTIMATE” logo on the package proclaims greatness and the “UHS-3″ label is supposed to guarantee a minimum continuous speed of 30MB/s. While Sandisk has taught me to distrust overly enthusiastic adjectives, I still felt the Transcend 128GB SDXC card was worth a look.

Sandisk Extreme Pro 95MBs

First let’s take a look at the competition. This is the test result in CrystalDiskmark from the Sandisk 32GB “extreme pro” SDHC card. At $39.95 a piece the extreme pro’s cost per about $1.25 a GB, which makes them substantially more expensive than Transcend’s 55 cents a GB pricing. For that price you end up with Sequential read speeds of 78MB/s and write speeds of 71MB/s. While it’s not the 90MB/s and 95MB/s that’s advertised, Sandisk does use the modifier “up to” in the description. Even though it’s a ways off from the mark, these read/write speeds are still very respectable.

Transcend 128GB Speed test 1GB writes

Looking at the Transcend 128GB UHS-3 SDXC cards, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the write speed hit 63MB/s. That’s actually higher than the advertised 60MB/s label and the 86MB/s read speed is closer to the advertised speed than the Sandisk card.

The Transcend 128GB UHS-3 SDXC cards might actually be the first card i’ve tested that surpased it’s write speed label. It doesn’t write as fast as the extreme pro, but it also doesn’t make the claim of 95MB/s writes.

I think I’ll be sliding this card into my regular rotation. If the Transcend 128GB SDXC card doesn’t fail or drop out after a few months, I might even buy a couple more. I’ve had pretty good luck with Transcend cards in the past, but I have heard a few horror stories from others. That might be why Transcend is now offering “lifetime warranties” and “free recovery software”. With these speeds, it might be time to give Transcend a second chance.

The post Transcend 128GB SDXC card speed test appeared first on DSLR Film Noob.

All credit is given to author DSLR Film NoobDeejay

Transcend 128GB SDXC card speed test

Transcend 128GB card (1 of 1)

Right now the Transcend 128GB UHS-3 SDXC cards are down to $69. That makes them a pretty decent price for that capacity and claimed speed. The prominently displayed “ULTIMATE” logo on the package proclaims greatness and the “UHS-3″ label is supposed to guarantee a minimum continuous speed of 30MB/s. While Sandisk has taught me to distrust overly enthusiastic adjectives, I still felt the Transcend 128GB SDXC card was worth a look.

Sandisk Extreme Pro 95MBs

First let’s take a look at the competition. This is the test result in CrystalDiskmark from the Sandisk 32GB “extreme pro” SDHC card. At $39.95 a piece the extreme pro’s cost per about $1.25 a GB, which makes them substantially more expensive than Transcend’s 55 cents a GB pricing. For that price you end up with Sequential read speeds of 78MB/s and write speeds of 71MB/s. While it’s not the 90MB/s and 95MB/s that’s advertised, Sandisk does use the modifier “up to” in the description. Even though it’s a ways off from the mark, these read/write speeds are still very respectable.

Transcend 128GB Speed test 1GB writes

Looking at the Transcend 128GB UHS-3 SDXC cards, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the write speed hit 63MB/s. That’s actually higher than the advertised 60MB/s label and the 86MB/s read speed is closer to the advertised speed than the Sandisk card.

The Transcend 128GB UHS-3 SDXC cards might actually be the first card i’ve tested that surpased it’s write speed label. It doesn’t write as fast as the extreme pro, but it also doesn’t make the claim of 95MB/s writes.

I think I’ll be sliding this card into my regular rotation. If the Transcend 128GB SDXC card doesn’t fail or drop out after a few months, I might even buy a couple more. I’ve had pretty good luck with Transcend cards in the past, but I have heard a few horror stories from others. That might be why Transcend is now offering “lifetime warranties” and “free recovery software”. With these speeds, it might be time to give Transcend a second chance.

The post Transcend 128GB SDXC card speed test appeared first on DSLR Film Noob.

All credit is given to author DSLR Film NoobDeejay

Azden 325 UPR stereo wireless system (1 of 6)

While I’ve been using this set for awhile, I haven’t really published any audio tests so here’s the first. The audio track below was recorded directly into the Panasonic Gh4 as well as the Canon t2i running magic lantern. I’ve noted this in the audio recording and i’ll also say it right here. For whatever reason the Azden 330LT UHF system is a bit sensitive. If you have both receiver channels turned on, but only one transmitter turned on, you’ll get a horrible crackling noise. If you have both transmitters and receiver channels turned on, you wont have an issue. If you have one receiver channel turned on and one transmitter, you’ll also be fine. So make sure you only turn on both receiver channels if you are using both transmitters.

Take a listen to the audio and what i’m saying will make a little more sense. While the Azden 330LT UHF system isn’t quite as clean and clear as the  Sennheiser G series units I normally use, the audio is still what I would consider decent to good depending on your standards. The noise floor is hanging out around -45db or so and with a noise gate or light noise filtering, it’s completely gone.

Other than converting the audio to MP3 format there hasn’t been any changes made to the Azden 330LT’s audio. Also note that this audio was recorded with the included Azden lav mics which aren’t fantastic. When I put together the full review I’ll demonstrate the unit with the nicer lav mics I normally use as well as the included lav mics so you can get an idea of the difference in quality.

The post Azden 330LT UHF Stereo Wireless system Audio test appeared first on DSLR Film Noob.

All credit is given to author DSLR Film NoobDeejay

Comment on this article at the EOSHD Forum

Click here to view the embedded video.

Ferrari have a DNA. Cinema cameras have a DNA. You have to go back decades to see it evolve into the force it is today. For Ferrari it is the very specific engine sound and the looks. Arri are that spirit to cinema cameras. The DNA of the Sony FS7 is a compromise. Half EX1 and half cinema camera, the ergonomics of the buttons, dials and menus need a complete overhaul in my opinion. So Sony haven’t got it all right yet but what they have done is put a Ferrari engine inside. The FS7 for £5199+VAT is an absolute bargain, with an ‘engine’ almost on par with a £18,000 F55 (though without global shutter). It’s a much more capable camera than the Canon C300 or Panasonic GH4.

Sony FS7

Prologue

I didn’t buy the FS7 nor is it on loan from Sony. It was on loan from my good friend Frank Sauer. This review is written for the benefit of my readers rather than for the benefit of the manufacturer.

It’s tricky at the moment to find a tone in my EOSHD reviews that is brutally honest enough to be of use critically but not too blunt that it upsets the many fine people working at the camera manufacturers. The problem is, over the years I have started to meet a few and offer feedback in private. I can now see first hand why so much of criticism online of camera gear is vague and watered down to protect that relationship. It’s a huge problem. “Why would you be vague?” – those words came from Steve Jobs at Apple in a conversation with Jony Ive who had seen first hand what Jobs’s merciless criticism (some would call it abuse) did to his colleagues, leaving some of them crushed and dispirited. Jobs’s argument is the one I subscribe to – that ambiguity was a form of selfishness, putting the selfish desire to be popular or to be liked ahead of the product.

Unfortunately for Sony, Panasonic and the rest I’m going to be stinging and not vague. I’m going to be rude about certain aspects of the product that I think are wrong. Arri have a very strong group of top professional filmmakers and DPs advising them and they are very apt at processing and filtering this feedback, since they’ve been doing for so long. With all of the Japanese camera manufacturers I think their system of feedback is flawed. A grey shade of consensus from a committee of people concerned about protecting their relationship with the manufacturer. I think perhaps the clearest flaw from looking at this camera is that vital negative criticism was given to Sony too passively.

I’d say the menu system on the FS7 is dog shit. Complete and utter dog shit.

And when I say that, I remember that even the softly spoken polite Jony Ive realised Jobs’s was right, recalling in a recent New Yorker interview – “In this deep desire to be liked, you’ve compromised giving clear, unambiguous feedback”.

*****

Can the Sony FS7 topple the Canon C300 as the most rented pro video camera in the UK?

This has to be the goal for this camera.

Power is one thing but there’s satisfaction in taming the beast. That’s the power, the spec of the camera, combined with the ability to direct that power as nimbly as possible and in a way that’s emotionally satisfying. This is the secret formula that gives a filmmaker the ability to really connect with the camera, so they can flourish creatively with it. They should not have to fight it, they shouldn’t have to fiddle or be distracted as you would by a computer. The Canon C300 got this right and that is why it is the most rented pro camera in the UK.

I really wish Sony would learn this. With the FS7 they have got a lot closer, but it’s still a camera designed with two conflicting mindsets. The control panel is designed for XD-CAM camcorder users like Alister Chapman. The rest of the camera is designed for cinematographers. It is the latter group who are now most important on the market, because if you look at the top 5 most rented cameras in the UK in 2014, not a single one had a fixed lens – Canon C300, Arri Alexa, Sony F55, Arri Amira, Epic.

Canon C300

The design of the control panel is the FS7’s biggest downfall and the only reason anyone would have for not buying it. With my Canon 1D C I have very responsive, direct button and dial placements that wrap around under one hand, whilst the other hand is on the lens to focus. Also the menus, I can get to what I want within 2 seconds and rarely more than 2 or 3 button presses. I’m going to return to the ergonomics of this camera in a later post. It’s just too much for one sitting. Just bare in mind that it’s a much better camera ergonomically than the FS100 or FS700!

There are positives to the FS7 design, and almost all of them copy the C300. The top handle, the screen mounted on rails and powered by the camera, the jutting bow of the front of the camera under the lens mount, the added handgrip and the compact (in cinema camera terms) batteries. I also like the nod to S35 film cameras with the rounded back, and the padded shoulder base built into the camera. However some of the detachable parts which should be attached by ratcheting bolts are actually screwed on, which can be a major inconvenience. Overall though this is as complete and as flexible a camera as you can get without rigging it up, and the built in ND filter dial is also much improved from terrible FS700 implementation.

Image quality (slow-mo)

In this part of the review I will focus on the slow-mo up to 180fps in 1080p, with the 4K material (and shootout with the Canon 1D C & Samsung NX1) coming later.

You can download the original 1080p footage from the FS7 here on Vimeo if you’re a member.

The codec choices are interesting on this camera. I found XAVC-L much more practical for shooting slow-mo. The file sizes in XAVC-I are enormous for 1080p and since it is conformed in-camera you end up with a LOT of data and 2 minute long clips from a few seconds of shooting. The I option of XAVC is an ALL-I codec at bitrates exceeding 200Mbit in both 1080p and 4K.

Go to the long-GOP codec XAVC-L and you get much longer recording times and I didn’t notice any loss in quality for 1080p. The 35Mbit or 50Mbit in XAVC-L isn’t spread as thinly as the 200Mbit or 350Mbit/s in XAVC-I, which compresses every frame individually. This codec is smoother to edit on a laptop but XAVC-L in 1080p was fine on my MacBook as well. 4K might be a different matter, I’ll come to that in the next article.

I was shooting in Berlin so 50hz lighting on the streets. So I had the camera in PAL and the max frame rate for slow-mo is 150fps. In NTSC you can go up to 180fps. Personally I found the sweet spot was 120fps. 180fps was just too slow for what I was shooting. The camera has a flicker reduction mode for 50hz and 60hz lights but it didn’t have an impact on the slow-mo material, due to the high shutter speeds you need for this which mainly cause the flicker. I shot 360 degree shutter (1/240 for 120fps) as it was very dark and ISO hovered around 8000 in S-LOG 3. I also shot half the footage at 150fps to produce more flicker, which I used for artistic reasons. Quite liked the pulsing of light!

For daylight shooting in slow-mo on the FS7 I’ll refer you to Philip Bloom with this rather lovely trailer for The Wonder List. As you can see the quality is pretty damned good.

The Sony FS700 was very popular for slow-mo work, but the FS7 is better. Canon really need to get these higher frame rates on their C300 Mark II at NAB.

sony-fs7-side

The camera has a ‘Full scan’ mode which bins to get you higher than 72fps. 4K goes to 60p. There’s a drop in image quality in the binning mode for 120fps, 150fps, 180fps of course – some aliasing and moire but it’s a significant step up from the Panasonic GH4’s 96fps 1080p, the Sony A7S 120fps 720p and the Samsung NX1’s 120fps 1080p. It’s only a little softer than the 24/25p 1080p mode and only a little more false detail.

You maintain your Super 35mm field of view.

FS7 - slow-mo

At ISO 2000, the native sensitivity the camera is just so clean, it’s a great low light performer though it can’t quite top the 1D C at the top ISO 12,500 in S-LOG 3 for low-noise and isn’t as clean either as the A7S, it’s very impressive.

So for the first time I could shoot at very dramatic high frame rates in such dark, drab winter light in Berlin on the streets.

In my next piece on the FS7 we’ll look at 4K, S-LOG 3 and dynamic range. This is where the camera really stuns me for the image you are getting for £5k!

Comment on the forum

The post Sony FS7 Review – Shooting 150fps in the dead of night appeared first on EOSHD.

All credit is given to author EOSHDAndrew Reid (EOSHD)

Comment on this article at the EOSHD Forum

Click here to view the embedded video.

Ferrari have a DNA. Cinema cameras have a DNA. You have to go back decades to see it evolve into the force it is today. For Ferrari it is the very specific engine sound and the looks. Arri are that spirit to cinema cameras. The DNA of the Sony FS7 is a compromise. Half EX1 and half cinema camera, the ergonomics of the buttons, dials and menus need a complete overhaul in my opinion. So Sony haven’t got it all right yet but what they have done is put a Ferrari engine inside. The FS7 for £5199+VAT is an absolute bargain, with an ‘engine’ almost on par with a £18,000 F55 (though without global shutter). It’s a much more capable camera than the Canon C300 or Panasonic GH4.

Sony FS7

Prologue

I didn’t buy the FS7 nor is it on loan from Sony. It was on loan from my good friend Frank Sauer. This review is written for the benefit of my readers rather than for the benefit of the manufacturer.

It’s tricky at the moment to find a tone in my EOSHD reviews that is brutally honest enough to be of use critically but not too blunt that it upsets the many fine people working at the camera manufacturers. The problem is, over the years I have started to meet a few and offer feedback in private. I can now see first hand why so much of criticism online of camera gear is vague and watered down to protect that relationship. It’s a huge problem. “Why would you be vague?” – those words came from Steve Jobs at Apple in a conversation with Jony Ive who had seen first hand what Jobs’s merciless criticism (some would call it abuse) did to his colleagues, leaving some of them crushed and dispirited. Jobs’s argument is the one I subscribe to – that ambiguity was a form of selfishness, putting the selfish desire to be popular or to be liked ahead of the product.

Unfortunately for Sony, Panasonic and the rest I’m going to be stinging and not vague. I’m going to be rude about certain aspects of the product that I think are wrong. Arri have a very strong group of top professional filmmakers and DPs advising them and they are very apt at processing and filtering this feedback, since they’ve been doing for so long. With all of the Japanese camera manufacturers I think their system of feedback is flawed. A grey shade of consensus from a committee of people concerned about protecting their relationship with the manufacturer. I think perhaps the clearest flaw from looking at this camera is that vital negative criticism was given to Sony too passively.

I’d say the menu system on the FS7 is dog shit. Complete and utter dog shit.

And when I say that, I remember that even the softly spoken polite Jony Ive realised Jobs’s was right, recalling in a recent New Yorker interview – “In this deep desire to be liked, you’ve compromised giving clear, unambiguous feedback”.

*****

Can the Sony FS7 topple the Canon C300 as the most rented pro video camera in the UK?

This has to be the goal for this camera.

Power is one thing but there’s satisfaction in taming the beast. That’s the power, the spec of the camera, combined with the ability to direct that power as nimbly as possible and in a way that’s emotionally satisfying. This is the secret formula that gives a filmmaker the ability to really connect with the camera, so they can flourish creatively with it. They should not have to fight it, they shouldn’t have to fiddle or be distracted as you would by a computer. The Canon C300 got this right and that is why it is the most rented pro camera in the UK.

I really wish Sony would learn this. With the FS7 they have got a lot closer, but it’s still a camera designed with two conflicting mindsets. The control panel is designed for XD-CAM camcorder users like Alister Chapman. The rest of the camera is designed for cinematographers. It is the latter group who are now most important on the market, because if you look at the top 5 most rented cameras in the UK in 2014, not a single one had a fixed lens – Canon C300, Arri Alexa, Sony F55, Arri Amira, Epic.

Canon C300

The design of the control panel is the FS7’s biggest downfall and the only reason anyone would have for not buying it. With my Canon 1D C I have very responsive, direct button and dial placements that wrap around under one hand, whilst the other hand is on the lens to focus. Also the menus, I can get to what I want within 2 seconds and rarely more than 2 or 3 button presses. I’m going to return to the ergonomics of this camera in a later post. It’s just too much for one sitting. Just bare in mind that it’s a much better camera ergonomically than the FS100 or FS700!

There are positives to the FS7 design, and almost all of them copy the C300. The top handle, the screen mounted on rails and powered by the camera, the jutting bow of the front of the camera under the lens mount, the added handgrip and the compact (in cinema camera terms) batteries. I also like the nod to S35 film cameras with the rounded back, and the padded shoulder base built into the camera. However some of the detachable parts which should be attached by ratcheting bolts are actually screwed on, which can be a major inconvenience. Overall though this is as complete and as flexible a camera as you can get without rigging it up, and the built in ND filter dial is also much improved from terrible FS700 implementation.

Image quality (slow-mo)

In this part of the review I will focus on the slow-mo up to 180fps in 1080p, with the 4K material (and shootout with the Canon 1D C & Samsung NX1) coming later.

You can download the original 1080p footage from the FS7 here on Vimeo if you’re a member.

The codec choices are interesting on this camera. I found XAVC-L much more practical for shooting slow-mo. The file sizes in XAVC-I are enormous for 1080p and since it is conformed in-camera you end up with a LOT of data and 2 minute long clips from a few seconds of shooting. The I option of XAVC is an ALL-I codec at bitrates exceeding 200Mbit in both 1080p and 4K.

Go to the long-GOP codec XAVC-L and you get much longer recording times and I didn’t notice any loss in quality for 1080p. The 35Mbit or 50Mbit in XAVC-L isn’t spread as thinly as the 200Mbit or 350Mbit/s in XAVC-I, which compresses every frame individually. This codec is smoother to edit on a laptop but XAVC-L in 1080p was fine on my MacBook as well. 4K might be a different matter, I’ll come to that in the next article.

I was shooting in Berlin so 50hz lighting on the streets. So I had the camera in PAL and the max frame rate for slow-mo is 150fps. In NTSC you can go up to 180fps. Personally I found the sweet spot was 120fps. 180fps was just too slow for what I was shooting. The camera has a flicker reduction mode for 50hz and 60hz lights but it didn’t have an impact on the slow-mo material, due to the high shutter speeds you need for this which mainly cause the flicker. I shot 360 degree shutter (1/240 for 120fps) as it was very dark and ISO hovered around 8000 in S-LOG 3. I also shot half the footage at 150fps to produce more flicker, which I used for artistic reasons. Quite liked the pulsing of light!

For daylight shooting in slow-mo on the FS7 I’ll refer you to Philip Bloom with this rather lovely trailer for The Wonder List. As you can see the quality is pretty damned good.

The Sony FS700 was very popular for slow-mo work, but the FS7 is better. Canon really need to get these higher frame rates on their C300 Mark II at NAB.

sony-fs7-side

The camera has a ‘Full scan’ mode which bins to get you higher than 72fps. 4K goes to 60p. There’s a drop in image quality in the binning mode for 120fps, 150fps, 180fps of course – some aliasing and moire but it’s a significant step up from the Panasonic GH4’s 96fps 1080p, the Sony A7S 120fps 720p and the Samsung NX1’s 120fps 1080p. It’s only a little softer than the 24/25p 1080p mode and only a little more false detail.

You maintain your Super 35mm field of view.

FS7 - slow-mo

At ISO 2000, the native sensitivity the camera is just so clean, it’s a great low light performer though it can’t quite top the 1D C at the top ISO 12,500 in S-LOG 3 for low-noise and isn’t as clean either as the A7S, it’s very impressive.

So for the first time I could shoot at very dramatic high frame rates in such dark, drab winter light in Berlin on the streets.

In my next piece on the FS7 we’ll look at 4K, S-LOG 3 and dynamic range. This is where the camera really stuns me for the image you are getting for £5k!

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The post Sony FS7 Review – Shooting 150fps in the dead of night appeared first on EOSHD.

All credit is given to author EOSHDAndrew Reid (EOSHD)

Azden 325 UPR stereo wireless system (1 of 6)

I normally use Sennheiser G series wireless units, but I’ve always been attracted to the idea of a dual channel receiver system. While I’m not as excited about the all plastic build of the Azden 330LT UHF system, it is really nice that the system only requires one dual channel receiver on camera instead of trying to find room for two Sennheiser mounts.

Azden 325 UPR stereo wireless system (2 of 6)

The Azden 330LT UHF receiver is a bit on the bulky side, but again you only have to deal with a single unit which makes setup very easy. Looking closer at the receiver it has the option to turn on/off either channel when not in use, this saves on battery power, which helps when running on 2 AA batteries. The Azden receiver can also be powered by a 6 volt barrel plug if you have a battery system and it’s nice that Azden gives you those kinds of options.

Azden 325 UPR stereo wireless system (3 of 6)

Azden’s 35BT transmitters are a pretty standard affair, plastic build, a little chunky, and the controls are only slightly easier to use than the Sennheiser G series units. The transmitters are powered by 2x AA batteries and volume adjustments are actually made with a plastic screwdriver which is a little wanky. Build quality overall is about the same as the Shure FP units that were released last year. It isn’t amazing but it isn’t horrible, just middle of the line thick plastic. I don’t think you’d have a problem with durability as long as they aren’t abused.

Azden 325 UPR stereo wireless system (5 of 6)

The included Lav mics are kind of junky and almost comically over sized. Early on I tried to use them, but honestly they kind of suck. While you can use them to record audio and they do work, the included Azden lav mics are something you’ll want to upgrade whenever your budget allows. There’s a reason you can buy these chunky lavs for $20, because that’s about what they are worth.

Azden 325 UPR stereo wireless system (4 of 6)

Azden does provide a nice case for the 330LT UHF system and plenty of connectors. The kit includes a 3.5mm to dual XLR adapter as well as a stereo cable so that you can plug it directly into your DSLR. The system is pretty handy for interviews and it’s nice that you don’t necessarily need an XLR adapter system to get this thing up and running. While I’m not a huge fan of the build quality, the dual channel capability of the 330LT UHF system make it pretty handy.

Azden 325 UPR stereo wireless system (6 of 6)

I’ve been using the 330LT UHF system for a number of jobs and I’ve been carrying it around in the provided case. You’ll notice there are no labels on the package and that’s because I took them off after the first shoot. While the box is great, have a big flag on the case that screams “dual channel wireless system” makes it an easy target for theft. I still have it, but the first project I took it on, someone got all the way to the parking lot before someone stopped them and asked them what they were up to. A black box is definitely more discreet than a brightly labeled box.

I’ll have some more on the 330LT UHF system once I have a chance to put together a full review. Spoiler, i’ve been using it for 6 months and I haven’t put it on ebay, so it’s not to bad.

The post Azden 330LT UHF Stereo Wireless system – First impressions appeared first on DSLR Film Noob.

All credit is given to author DSLR Film NoobDeejay