Tagged: Review

Mefoto Globetrotter Tripod (1 of 10)

I’ve been using the Sirui N1004 travel tripod for the last 5 years and it has been a great tripod that’s stood up to a lot of abuse in multiple countries. The Sirui N1004 even came with me to NAB this year. But after all this time, the N1004 has started to show it’s age. The foam grip is starting to come apart, legs are starting to flop around, and the aluminum isn’t as light as some carbon fiber options which led me to check out the Mefoto globetrotter I came across at NAB.

Mefoto Globetrotter Tripod (2 of 10)

The Mefoto globetrotter is about 2.5 inches shorter than my old Sirui N1004 and ruffly 1 1/2 pounds lighter. At the same time, the Mefoto globetrotter manages to stretch a few inches higher than the N1004. That said, the Mefoto globetrotter is almost double the price so what does that $399 price tag get you?

Mefoto Globetrotter Tripod (5 of 10)

First, the reduced weight of the Mefoto globetrotter includes a pretty decent ball head with an Arca style Quick Release Plate. The globetrotter also manages to support up to 26.5 pounds yet still manages to fold into a 16-inch form factor.

The included ball head provides easy to use controls and allows you to twist, tilt, and rotate in whatever direction you like. The design also allows you to invert the tripod head for low angle shots.

Mefoto Globetrotter Tripod (7 of 10)

Build quality is also top notch. The leg twist locks are very beefy and operate very smoothly on the Mefoto globetrotter. The legs also have a little more friction and tend to stay in place when you adjust them and the carbon fiber feels a bit more solid than my old Sirui N1004.

Mefoto Globetrotter Tripod (10 of 10)

Both the Sirui N1004 and the Mefoto globetrotter can be converted into a monopod, however, the Mefoto gives you an extra 14 inches of height compared to the N1004. The thickness of Mefoto’s carbon fiber legs also seems to make a noticeable difference in stability.

Does the difference between the Sirui N1004 and the Mefoto globetrotter warrant a $180 price difference? I would say it depends on what you need. As a shooter who travels almost every month, for me, the upgrade is worth it. However, if you only travel, hike, or fly occasionally, the Sirui N1004 provides a far better value.

Will I replace my Sirui N1004 with the Mefoto globetrotter? Right now it is up in the air, but I’ll be spending a lot of time with the globetrotter over the next few weeks. We’ll see which one I end up keeping.

The post Mefoto globetrotter carbon fiber Travel tripod appeared first on DSLR Film Noob.

All credit is given to author DSLR Film NoobDeejay

Sony A7s II cage (1 of 1)

If you’ve been a DSLR or Mirrorless shooter for any length of time, camera cages are a way of life. Over the years, I’ve wondered between huge bulky 15mm rail setups and shoulder mount rigs, but in the last 5 years or so I’ve settled into a minimalist approach to camera rigs. That’s why Smallrig has started to dominate my camera mounting kit.

I could use something crazy like the Varavon Zeus that literally dominates the camera frame with giant handles and mounting options. However, while a huge rig gives you a lot of options for mounting, sometimes you need to take a step back and think about what you really need to mount on your camera and how you plan to use it. Do you need more than 3 cold shoe mounts? Are 3 handles the right number or can you live with one? Do you really need a set of 15mm rails in order to survive? Do you want to carry around an extra 5 to 10 pounds of weight all day? Would you want to spend more money on mounting your camera then the camera itself? If you answered no to those questions, the $68 Sony A7s II cage from Smallrig might be the one for you.

Sony A7s II cage (6 of 10)

First of all, I like to keep the right side of my Sony a7s II clean and free from obstruction. The a7s II comes with a very nice hand grip, especially when compared to the original a7s, and all of your camera controls are on that side of the camera so why cover it up? The Smallrig cage works perfectly with this concept, leaving the right side of your camera open and clear.

Sony A7s II cage (2 of 10)

I also don’t want my camera to be able to float or spin inside of its mount. So Smallrig has designed the a7s II cage with tabbed wings and a rubber grip that presses up against your camera and keeps it held in place.

Sony A7s II cage (10 of 10)

From the base design of the Smallrig Sony a7s II cage, I’ve only made a few upgrades. First, I like to have a handle opposite the body grip for handheld shooting. With that in mind, I’ve attached the $43 Smallrig V7 handle via a $18 10cm nato rail. On top of that handle, I have a single cold shoe adapter which gives me a total of two cold shoe mounts on the handle.

Sony A7s II cage (9 of 10)

To finish things up, I’ve added a single 4cm nato rail to the top of the a7s Cage. This allows me to easily switch between top grip and two-handed control of the camera.

Sony A7s II cage (8 of 10)

Just make sure you mount your 4cm nato rail in the correct position. I’ve been shooting with the Sony k1m-xlr audio adapter so I needed to place the nato rail in a spot that allowed me to balance the camera, yet stay out of the way of the k1m’s smart hot shoe adapter.

Complete configuration:

Sony A7s II cage final (1 of 1)

So to recap, that’s just under $160 for a rig that will get you through around 80% of your shots and it requires almost zero setup. This Smallrig configuration leaves you with a total of up to 3 cold shoe mounts if you use one of these or two if you don’t. The layout also balances nicely with a monopod attached to the rig and it is actually the configuration I received so many questions about at NAB this year.

Devin and I were able to carry this around in one hand on the showroom floor, shooting a bit of B-Roll or the occasional booth interview without slowing us down or getting in the way of the constant crowds and congestion at NAB.

While this Smallrig configuration doesn’t solve every problem out there, it likely meet most’s needs (mine included) for far less than some of the other options out there.

The post Smallrig Sony a7s II $68 cage Review appeared first on DSLR Film Noob.

All credit is given to author DSLR Film NoobDeejay

Saramonic Transmitter (1 of 1)

Remember that Saramonic dual channel receiver lav kit I reviewed a few months back? First of all, Saramonic has fixed the channel mixing issue. You can now isolate the two transmitters by sending the signal to the left and right channel of your camera’s input. Which means for $399 you can buy a very decent dual channel 2 lav kit with a receiver that’s the size of a transmitter pack. Second I wanted to point out that if you’ve already bought the UWMIC10 base kit (1 transmitter and 1 receiver for $269) you can now buy a second transmitter for $129.

Devin and I used this kit throughout NAB this year and it worked great. At $399 for a dual channel wireless kit, Saramonic has one of the best value to price options on the market period and now that they’ve fixed my main gripe about the receiver unit (channel mixing), this kit is now my top pick for budget filmmakers and pretty much any filmmaker really. I’m not getting rid of my Sennheiser g3 sets but with two channels in such a small package the Saramonic dual channel system is now my run and gun favorite. I was really impressed with audio quality of the kit mics and even more impressed with how it held up throughout one of the most saturated UHF locations you could be in (NAB 2016). Great stuff!

The post Saramonic UWMIC10 Bodypack Transmitter TX10 for $129 appeared first on DSLR Film Noob.

All credit is given to author DSLR Film NoobDeejay

So, we won’t be doing a Blackmagic URSA Mini 4K review, but we have our opinions of it. Opinions that are apparently very similar to FrameFury, and they did a fantastic job reviewing it, so here it is.

It’s a pretty comprehensive review broken down into a few sections, I’ve taken the liberty of pulling those out for you below.

Blackmagic URSA Mini 4K ReviewBlackmagic USRA Mini 4K_2

0:27 TL;DR (Too Long Didn’t Read)
01:36 Background
02:50 Image Quality
06:39 Form Factor
08:07 Functionality
14:49 – Light Sensitivity
17:03 Power
18:08 EVFs
19:09 Workflow
20:22 Audio

 

 

A lot is covered, much of which we as a team we agree with, here are some pros and cons (in no particular order) I’ve pulled from the review that we concur:

Pros:

  • Great on-the-shoulder form factor
  • Fantastic OLED viewfinder
  • ProRes is a very easy post workflow
  • Incredible price>image ratio
  • Global Shutter
  • CFast Cards
  • Universal Battery Mounting Options

Cons

  • No ND Filters
  • Poor in Lowlight (anything above 400)
  • Same Sensor as AJA Cion (DR not as described)
  • No Shutter Speed (Shutter Angle only)
  • No LUT send to EVF
  • Clunky XLR ports
  • Poor Pre-amps
  • Menu On/Off behind LCD Screen
  • Clunky Touchscreen Display

For me personally, the last point is killer for me. I simply can’t own/hire a camera that I can’t operate instinctively, knowing the technology won’t slow me down on set. I became increasingly frustrated with how long it took to adjust simple procedures like switching between standard/higher framerates and audio levels in the touchscreen menu.

 

Blackmagic USRA Mini 4K_1

That said, with enough light the image is fantastic and very easy to deal with in post.

Fame Fury epitomise Blackmagic in two simply sentences:

“[Blackmagic are]…a younger, smaller disruptive company that offers powerful products with unbeatable prices”

“[Blackmagic are]… the worst company at delivering products on schedule & sometimes their products suffer from defects and glitches”

Like any camera, the Blackmagic URSA Mini is a tool that is compatible for certain roles, and not for others. This and the 4.6K would be perfect indie filmmaker tools, best bang for buck that with patience, you can get some fantastic results.

I would not trust this on a commercial shoot, one where a glitch (frame freeze, accidental power down) or slow touchscreen menu means you’re wasting a lot of peoples time and money.

Hopefully reviews like this help you decide a little more whether this is the right tool for you. But like any online content, it is not the be-all-and-end-all, it is merely a well educated point of view that should be second only to personal experience and opinion.

via/ FameFury

The post Blackmagic URSA Mini 4K Review By Frame Fury appeared first on cinema5D.

All credit is given to author News – cinema5DTim Fok

So, we won’t be doing a Blackmagic URSA Mini 4K review, but we have our opinions of it. Opinions that are apparently very similar to FrameFury, and they did a fantastic job reviewing it, so here it is.

It’s a pretty comprehensive review broken down into a few sections, I’ve taken the liberty of pulling those out for you below.

Blackmagic URSA Mini 4K ReviewBlackmagic USRA Mini 4K_2

0:27 TL;DR (Too Long Didn’t Read)
01:36 Background
02:50 Image Quality
06:39 Form Factor
08:07 Functionality
14:49 – Light Sensitivity
17:03 Power
18:08 EVFs
19:09 Workflow
20:22 Audio

 

 

A lot is covered, much of which we as a team we agree with, here are some pros and cons (in no particular order) I’ve pulled from the review that we concur:

Pros:

  • Great on-the-shoulder form factor
  • Fantastic OLED viewfinder
  • ProRes is a very easy post workflow
  • Incredible price>image ratio
  • Global Shutter
  • CFast Cards
  • Universal Battery Mounting Options

Cons

  • No ND Filters
  • Poor in Lowlight (anything above 400)
  • Same Sensor as AJA Cion (DR not as described)
  • No Shutter Speed (Shutter Angle only)
  • No LUT send to EVF
  • Clunky XLR ports
  • Poor Pre-amps
  • Menu On/Off behind LCD Screen
  • Clunky Touchscreen Display

For me personally, the last point is killer for me. I simply can’t own/hire a camera that I can’t operate instinctively, knowing the technology won’t slow me down on set. I became increasingly frustrated with how long it took to adjust simple procedures like switching between standard/higher framerates and audio levels in the touchscreen menu.

 

Blackmagic USRA Mini 4K_1

That said, with enough light the image is fantastic and very easy to deal with in post.

Fame Fury epitomise Blackmagic in two simply sentences:

“[Blackmagic are]…a younger, smaller disruptive company that offers powerful products with unbeatable prices”

“[Blackmagic are]… the worst company at delivering products on schedule & sometimes their products suffer from defects and glitches”

Like any camera, the Blackmagic URSA Mini is a tool that is compatible for certain roles, and not for others. This and the 4.6K would be perfect indie filmmaker tools, best bang for buck that with patience, you can get some fantastic results.

I would not trust this on a commercial shoot, one where a glitch (frame freeze, accidental power down) or slow touchscreen menu means you’re wasting a lot of peoples time and money.

Hopefully reviews like this help you decide a little more whether this is the right tool for you. But like any online content, it is not the be-all-and-end-all, it is merely a well educated point of view that should be second only to personal experience and opinion.

via/ FameFury

The post Blackmagic URSA Mini 4K Review By Frame Fury appeared first on cinema5D.

All credit is given to author News – cinema5DTim Fok

LX100 Wide angle adapter (3 of 3)

In the days of DV cameras, if you wanted a shoot with an angle any wider than the built in lens offered by the camera you had to use a Conversion Lens. With the advent of interchangeable lens cameras, this type of adapter has basically been forgotten. However, that doesn’t mean something like this isn’t useful today.

LX100 Wide angle adapter (1 of 3)

The $39 AG-LW4307 43mm adapter (above) isn’t needed for interchangeable lens cameras, but it is the perfect size for a Panasonic LX100. With this low price light weight adapter, you end up with some ultra wide angle option out of a camera that is otherwise limited to a 24mm focal length.

With and without (2 of 2)

Here is a shot at 24mm from the Panasonic LX100. There is nothing wrong the image and it is reasonably wide, corner sharpness isn’t bad, and center sharpness is as good as you could expect from a point and shoot.

With and without (1 of 2)

However, when you add the $39 AG-LW4307 43mm adapter, you can now see the entire bookshelf. With a 0.43x adapter at 24mm, your 35mm equivalent focal length becomes something close to an 11mm lens. Is the image even remotely sharp in the corners? Absolutely not. You won’t be using this adapter for the excellent image quality, instead, it is simply a cool effect that you can get out of an adapter that was originally meant for cameras that were manufactured 10 to 15 years ago.

LX100 Wide angle adapter (2 of 3)

It does look interesting and for $39, I can think of a few things this effect would be perfect for. It is hard to believe that I’ve been a filmmaker for over 15 years and that after all this time, I still have a use for old focal adapters like the AG-LW4307. Just something to think about, I bought this adapter for well over $200 to use with a Panasonic DV camera way back in the day. Now the AG-LW4307 43mm adapter sells for less than a 1/4 of that price.

I’ll definitely have to come up with some good excuses to bill out this adapter in the next few months. It is a cool look and I’m pretty sure it would make a very effective drunk/sick POV style image. Challenge excepted.

 

The post Panasonic LX100 Wide angle adapter AG-LW4307, old but it works. appeared first on DSLR Film Noob.

All credit is given to author DSLR Film NoobDeejay

Cheap batteries from Dot-01 box (1 of 1)

First of all, I’d like to point out that most generic battery claims are dubious at best. If you look at the labeling for any type of generic battery out there, the Watt-hour (Wh) and milliamp hour (mAh) ratings are almost always higher than their name brand counterparts.

It is easy to assume that a larger mAh (corresponds with Wh rating which is a factor of voltage x current over time) number on the back of your battery automatically means a better battery. There for any generic battery that has a larger mAh number than the OEM battery will last longer, right? The problem with this thinking is how that number is calculated.

I’m not going to work through a lot of math here because this site is not dedicated to engineering. So let’s do this the easy way. A battery’s mAh rating is derived from a calculation of the rate of discharge over time and the time limit is reached when a minimum voltage is hit as the battery discharges.

So, let’s say your camera needs an absolute minimum of 3.8 volts to operate. With that number in mind, your mAh rating comes out to a certain number. If you are a manufacturer of batteries, your marketing team says “We could sell a lot more of these if that mAh number was higher.” so what do you do? Simple, you lower the minimum voltage for your rating and suddenly your mAh rating jumps up. Now instead of 1020mAh your battery is 1860mAh. Good job team, you’ve made a better battery, on paper. The problem is that your camera can’t actually run at a voltage that low. Which means this new higher number is basically useless to the end user.

Cheap batteries from Dot-01 (1 of 2)

Now, let’s take a look at this generic Sony NP-FW50 from DOT-01. Somehow DOT-01 managed to fit a 2200mAh into this tiny form factor.  On top of that, this battery weighs about 5 grams less than Sony’s official NP-FW50 battery which is rated at 1020mAh. How can this lightweight DOT-01 battery have double the capacity in the same form factor? Is that even possible?

Cheap batteries from Dot-01 (1 of 1)

The answer is, it’s not. Either DOT-01 is fudging the numbers, or they are outright lying in their advertising. In testing, the performance results are consistent with a mislabeled battery. They seem to last a little over 25 min v.s. 50 min from the Sony and Wasabi brand.

Is it false advertising? That’s hard to say thanks to the way these numbers can be calculated and because of that, Manufactures like DOT-01 can posit claims of 2200mAh without much issue. They aren’t the only offender, just scroll through page after page of batteries on amazon for every type of camera. There isn’t really much of a solution. Be mindful of the reviews and stick to brands you’ve had good luck with in the past.

The post Blatantly miss labeled Generic DOT-01 Sony NP-FW50 batteries appeared first on DSLR Film Noob.

All credit is given to author DSLR Film NoobDeejay

Cheap batteries from Dot-01 box (1 of 1)

First of all, I’d like to point out that most generic battery claims are dubious at best. If you look at the labeling for any type of generic battery out there, the Watt-hour (Wh) and milliamp hour (mAh) ratings are almost always higher than their name brand counterparts.

It is easy to assume that a larger mAh (corresponds with Wh rating which is a factor of voltage x current over time) number on the back of your battery automatically means a better battery. There for any generic battery that has a larger mAh number than the OEM battery will last longer, right? The problem with this thinking is how that number is calculated.

I’m not going to work through a lot of math here because this site is not dedicated to engineering. So let’s do this the easy way. A battery’s mAh rating is derived from a calculation of the rate of discharge over time and the time limit is reached when a minimum voltage is hit as the battery discharges.

So, let’s say your camera needs an absolute minimum of 3.8 volts to operate. With that number in mind, your mAh rating comes out to a certain number. If you are a manufacturer of batteries, your marketing team says “We could sell a lot more of these if that mAh number was higher.” so what do you do? Simple, you lower the minimum voltage for your rating and suddenly your mAh rating jumps up. Now instead of 1020mAh your battery is 1860mAh. Good job team, you’ve made a better battery, on paper. The problem is that your camera can’t actually run at a voltage that low. Which means this new higher number is basically useless to the end user.

Cheap batteries from Dot-01 (1 of 2)

Now, let’s take a look at this generic Sony NP-FW50 from DOT-01. Somehow DOT-01 managed to fit a 2200mAh into this tiny form factor.  On top of that, this battery weighs about 5 grams less than Sony’s official NP-FW50 battery which is rated at 1020mAh. How can this lightweight DOT-01 battery have double the capacity in the same form factor? Is that even possible?

Cheap batteries from Dot-01 (1 of 1)

The answer is, it’s not. Either DOT-01 is fudging the numbers, or they are outright lying in their advertising. In testing, the performance results are consistent with a mislabeled battery. They seem to last a little over 25 min v.s. 50 min from the Sony and Wasabi brand.

Is it false advertising? That’s hard to say thanks to the way these numbers can be calculated and because of that, Manufactures like DOT-01 can posit claims of 2200mAh without much issue. They aren’t the only offender, just scroll through page after page of batteries on amazon for every type of camera. There isn’t really much of a solution. Be mindful of the reviews and stick to brands you’ve had good luck with in the past.

The post Blatantly miss labeled Generic DOT-01 Sony NP-FW50 batteries appeared first on DSLR Film Noob.

All credit is given to author DSLR Film NoobDeejay

Minolta 85mm f1.4 (3 of 3)

If you are looking to save a little bit of money on glass for your Sony a7s or a7s II body, you always have the option of buying older A-mount or Minolta glass. After all, Sony’s A-mount was purchased from Minolta years ago, which means all you really need is the proper adapter.

In this case, I have the Minolta 85mm f1.4 which can be had for under $5oo. With the correct adapter, in this case, the Sony LE-EA4, you can get this and other lenses (how does a 50mm f1.4 for under $200) up and running on your A7 camera.

Minolta 85mm f1.4 (1 of 3)

If you aren’t familiar with the Minolta line of lenses, you’ll find that they are very small compared to other brands with the same focal length and f-stop. This is because there is no internal motor, which is why the Sony LE-EA4 has a built in motor driver. This isn’t the end of the world, but it also isn’t ideal if you are looking for the fastest focusing system on the planet. That said if you are looking for fast focus and you’ve landed on Sony, you might need to reset your compass and start again.

Is a body-driven focus system like this as fast as an internal motor? No. Does Minolta glass focus faster and more accurately than adapted Canon glass? Absolutely. I would argue that Minolta glass with a Sony LE-EA4 focuses just about as fast as my native Sony 24-70mm f4 lens on the a7s II body.

Minolta 85mm f1.4 (2 of 3)

As for the Minolta 85mm f1.4, it’s an oldy but a goody. Here are a few sample DNG images you can donwload. Bokeh is nice and smooth, there isn’t much light fall off in the corners and center sharpness is great. On the downside, the focus ring is that tiny little thing in the middle so if you want to use it for manual focus you’ll need tiny fingers. Build quality of the Minolta 85mm f1.4 is mostly plastic with a metal mount and metal focus ring, the quality of materials is very similar to Canon 50mm f1.4.

Minolta 85mm f1.4 Test shot (1 of 1)

As you can see (Sample image of Hero above), the Minolta 85mm f1.4 wide open provides a very pleasing image. Center sharpness is great and corner sharpness is as soft as you’d expect from a lens of this age. I think the low price of the Minolta 85mm f1.4 reflects the build quality and lack of internal motor drive. Overall it is a great lens for the price, provided you plane to buy a few Minolta lenses to cover the cost of the Sony LE-EA4 adapter.

The post Minolta 85mm f1.4 Sony a7s II lens review appeared first on DSLR Film Noob.

All credit is given to author DSLR Film NoobDeejay

Minolta 85mm f1.4 (3 of 3)

If you are looking to save a little bit of money on glass for your Sony a7s or a7s II body, you always have the option of buying older A-mount or Minolta glass. After all, Sony’s A-mount was purchased from Minolta years ago, which means all you really need is the proper adapter.

In this case, I have the Minolta 85mm f1.4 which can be had for under $5oo. With the correct adapter, in this case, the Sony LE-EA4, you can get this and other lenses (how does a 50mm f1.4 for under $200) up and running on your A7 camera.

Minolta 85mm f1.4 (1 of 3)

If you aren’t familiar with the Minolta line of lenses, you’ll find that they are very small compared to other brands with the same focal length and f-stop. This is because there is no internal motor, which is why the Sony LE-EA4 has a built in motor driver. This isn’t the end of the world, but it also isn’t ideal if you are looking for the fastest focusing system on the planet. That said if you are looking for fast focus and you’ve landed on Sony, you might need to reset your compass and start again.

Is a body-driven focus system like this as fast as an internal motor? No. Does Minolta glass focus faster and more accurately than adapted Canon glass? Absolutely. I would argue that Minolta glass with a Sony LE-EA4 focuses just about as fast as my native Sony 24-70mm f4 lens on the a7s II body.

Minolta 85mm f1.4 (2 of 3)

As for the Minolta 85mm f1.4, it’s an oldy but a goody. Here are a few sample DNG images you can donwload. Bokeh is nice and smooth, there isn’t much light fall off in the corners and center sharpness is great. On the downside, the focus ring is that tiny little thing in the middle so if you want to use it for manual focus you’ll need tiny fingers. Build quality of the Minolta 85mm f1.4 is mostly plastic with a metal mount and metal focus ring, the quality of materials is very similar to Canon 50mm f1.4.

Minolta 85mm f1.4 Test shot (1 of 1)

As you can see (Sample image of Hero above), the Minolta 85mm f1.4 wide open provides a very pleasing image. Center sharpness is great and corner sharpness is as soft as you’d expect from a lens of this age. I think the low price of the Minolta 85mm f1.4 reflects the build quality and lack of internal motor drive. Overall it is a great lens for the price, provided you plane to buy a few Minolta lenses to cover the cost of the Sony LE-EA4 adapter.

The post Minolta 85mm f1.4 Sony a7s II lens review appeared first on DSLR Film Noob.

All credit is given to author DSLR Film NoobDeejay