[•] Frankenstein Video Rig

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A Frankenstein Video Rig consists of a mix of camera parts that are not from one specific manufacturer. Here is a Sony A7II mirrorless camera with the 28mm Canon FD lens adapted via a Metabones FD to E mount adaptor.

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On top for pro res video recording is the Atomos Ninja 2 recorder connected via HDMI cable. It is an excellent combination for video and stills and probably my favourite full frame mirrorless camera on the market.

The cage is by SmallRig and the add on is the SmallRig monitor mount that can fix the monitor in any fixed angle position.

Lightweight and very run and gun for video. Perfect for travel videography. Easy to add a couple of 15mm rods and follow focus if you wanted to expand the rig further.

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5-Axis SteadyShot INSIDE Stabilisation otherwise known as IBIS is on this camera making it a perfect combo with legacy glass. Overall performance is amazing and if you want further information on the Sony A7II just go to the home page and click the Sony A7II link.

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Regards,

[•] p 🔺 z r 🔺 h n

 

 

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[•] Building a video rig on a budget and eliminating issues Part II

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Welcome to Part II

Testing the completed build. The important part to building a video rig is testing each component either for failure or preventing breakage. You must be able to trust your gear when running and gunning. Cold weather and metal can loosen and I’ve had top lights simply slide and jump out and fall to the ground and hot weather sweaty hands can easily drop a setup. That 1 metre off the ground can do some serious damage.

I don’t know if people realise but getting into video and camera work takes a huge amount of your time and add on top of that video editing . Many years ago all you had to worry about was battery life and recording time limits. Was fun watching 45 minutes go quickly in an interview hoping the last 5 minutes people would end a sentence so you could jump and and ask for a tape change. How good are SSD’s now videographers are so lucky.

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Many years ago all you had to do was put a tape into the camera and hit record and tweak the white balance, exposure and contrast in edit. Now the whole process is much more complex with more options in the way your footage looks and feels. LUTS known as Look Up Tables offer endless styles to your footage and can be put directly via the Atomos Assassin and can save time editing if shooting in a particular LUT. The other option is to shoot in a flat profile like S-Log for Sony or V-log for Panasonic that extends your editing leeway even further.

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Cable Management – Most cables i like have a 90 degree bend to decrease the likeliness of breaking the connection. If its a straight out cable you’ll find being careful wont cut it and using gear and a combination of fatigue will result in breaking something. Also zip ties or cable holders help reduce breakage. The GH4 and Sony camera are notorious for micro HDMI ports and break very easily it was a breath of fresh air when the GH5 came out with a standard HDMI port.

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Power Supply – FOTGA DP500III V-Lock V-Mount Battery Power Supply System Plate can be found on eBay or Amazon prices vary depending on extras like a dummy battery specific to your camera. Mine came with a Sony A series dummy battery and the GH4 one is still on it way. So this issue I had was limited battery on the Atomos Assassin and the chance to set up unlimited & uninterrupted power supply is very appealing. The battery is a V – Mount Power- U 95Wh/14.4V and There are a few other choices with more ranges 130Wh 150Wh 190Wh 260Wh and they extend battery time even further. For now the 95Wh suits my needs but never worry about battery life ever again with this setup.

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Vertical grips are from a previous camera rig setup salvaged from the Edelkrone Modula 5 which is discontinued I only wish the actual ends of the grips had 15mm fixings to reduce the weight further but they are very sturdy with the whole piece connected across the two 15mm rods. Both handles can be angled back and forth or point down depending on the way you shoot. Overall the rig is quite balanced. No rattle test was done and SmallRig will win many hearts in this category. Carbon fibre 15mm rods would even take the weight down a little further.

SmallRig shoulder pad is awesome there’s two types I preferred the straight off the back as this setup reminds me of using the Canon XL2 video camera but this setup is far more comfy and well made. Really nice soft padded and fabric you would find on camera bag straps. Very clever. Only thing is don’t expect to hold this setup onto your chest if you wanted that holding position. The aluminium is like a point even though there is some padding but maybe some talk to Smallrig they might come up with another version that collapses the back with a locking mechanism that goes flat and then returns to original position if putting the camera back on the shoulder.

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Only thing missing now is the follow focus to this setup. This is a bit of a stretch as the anamorphic focusing is at the very end of the lens. Using the SLR Rangefinder is another hurdle but hopefully the Fotga DP500III QR A/B Hard Stop Follow Focus works as it is possible to switch the wheel on both sides of the unit. Maybe a Part III will be added and include filters.

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The tripod I’m using is pushing the limit with weight so I can only recommend stepping up to something bigger like the Manfrotto Nitrotech N8 Video Head with 535 Carbon fiber tripod. but if you have to get a tripod its at the top of the list to not skimp as you want to be confident it wont tip over when working in the elements.

If this has helped give some insight into the joys of video camera work feel free to comment. If you have found a solution to this never ending problem give a shout out below in the comments.

 

 

Regards,

[•] p 🔺 z r 🔺 h n

 

 

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[•] Building a video rig on a budget and eliminating issues

 

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The main goal of any video rig is definitely the budget. There are other challenges to mention but lets find out the issues of building such a rig.

So far I’ve been hit and miss but hopefully after you read this you’ll be pointed in the right direction for your own build.

Doing a test build helps prevent you going too far back to the drawing board. You can learn a lot from watching TV shows like American Chopper when you see them build a bike. In some ways it makes sense to do a test build in my case for a camera rig but if you get it too wrong would you punch through a wall like on American Chopper 😉

Starting with the Panasonic GH4 currently in my opinion the best 4K video camera/recorder for value. The problem is utilising the HDMI output with a recorder which will add to the cost. Lucky the prices of external recorders have come down a little and for me I was lucky to pick up a discontinued Atomos Assassin for $895 on the Christmas sales. (Previous Post is available for reading on Atomos Assassin)

Here are some of the hiccups I have found along the way. Cages.. Cages have become maybe my nemesis. Since hitting the scene the last few years SmallRig offer a range of cages but for every camera upgrade you will have to upgrade the cage to suit. In the test build I did start with a C- cage that SmallRig used to produce/manufacture but I found out the hard way it didn’t work. The problem was that the cage twisted with the added weight so it was shelved and replaced with the proper GH4 SmallRig cage. I do like this cage setup and as full coverage allows for rosettes and handle mount to both sides.

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The SmallRig handles are excellent I can’t fault them and they make a range that are fully CNC machined to a premium version with leather grips for added comfort. Some bolt on top of the cage for a permanent build and some use like I have with a clamp making it quick and easy for removal and great for packing up a kit for travel.

The Matte box on the end of a kit is the most difficult to choose. Bright Tangerine make the best that I’ve seen but the premium price will push many of us out but if you get the chance have a look at their selection online website they look amazing. After some more searching I stumbled on the JTZ DP30 Carbon Fiber model and its worth a look and prices are not insulting. Build quality is very good and they offer the swing away mechanism for lens changing in the way its constructed. There’s a few options and I wanted to future proof my build by choosing the “4×5.65” version or you could go with the “4×4” version to lower cost even further. I went with the wider filter as I didn’t want to be restricted with using wide angle lenses.

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The main reason I choose the JTZ matte box was the top handle as I have not seen any other matte box on offer that has an ergonomic edge over any other brand. I just see myself holding the rig more from the top.

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If you are wondering what the lens setup i’ll start with the Metabones FD to MFT mount adaptor then Canon FD 35mm concave lens and then the SLRMagic x50 Anamorphot adaptor and last add on the end the SLRMagic Rangefinder.

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Anyway for now the next step is power setup/management and to eliminate potential follow focus issues and find the right filters to install into the matte box.

This for me is a bit like building a motorcycle. Would you watch a TV show with cameramen building a camera rig in a garage all sweaty and covered in tattoos? Maybe.. Maybe not. lol

Prices as of Jan 2018

Panasonic GH4 Body: $1220
SmallRig GH4 cage: $115
SmallRig Handle: $118
SmallRig Rods: $19
JTZ DP30 Carbon Fiber 4×5.65″ Matte Box: $666

 

Regards,

[•] p 🔺 z r 🔺 h n

 

 

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[•] Atomos Assassin with SmallRig Monitor Case

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Successful anamorphic video test with Panasonic GH4 and Canon FD with Anamorphot X50 adaptor. The colours are rich and vibrant and the added bonus of monitor mode in HDR with scene brightness range adjust is very cool.

Custom LUTs (Look Up Table) with Panasonic VLog is such a great feature in the Atomos menu it makes creating video footage a dream in the field. I’ve always said setup in the field is the best way to produce your content and if done correctly minimises the amount of work done in the edit suite.

As a side note I removed the red bumper cover supplied buy Atomos. It is great that they offer the cover but it was loose and fitting wasn’t as neat or professional looking. SmallRig do a great job and the mounting rail is just excellent. So many options with this cage design making the rig setup endless possibilities.

The Atomos Assassin improves video quality out of the camera via HDMI cable and offers 10-bit colour resolution, 4:2:2 colour accuracy and visually lossless ProRes video codec. Other features include No record time limit as you can record to SSD drive and extra bonus of Focus Assist and Exposure tools.

If there was any recommended tool for the videographer an external recorder/monitor is considered an important piece of kit.

 

Regards,

[•] p 🔺 z r 🔺 h n

 

 

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[•] The Infamous Peacock

[•] The Infamous Peacock

[•] The Infamous Peacock

I’ve been about 10 times to Symbio Wildlife zoo to try get a photo of this Peacock. He is either hiding or on roof tops and near impossible to get a decent photo. Today was scorching hot and summer is truly here. It must of been a tad hot on the tin roof with him hiding under this arena. Still I haven’t got him with his feathers out being a true peacock but did have on hand the Canon 5DIII with EF 50mm 1.2. Every other time I have taken the Fujifilm GFX50s as I really want a medium format photo of this bird doing his thing. Maybe next time ; -)

Camera Settings:
Aperture: 1.8
Shutter 1/800 Second
ISO: 640

The Canon 50mm still has a well held reputation as an excellent lens. Many say shooting at F1.2 is very tricky and depth of field will be very tricky to get spot on. I tend to close down 2 stops to F1.8 on some subjects especially on the peacock to show his beautiful feathers and let the rest of the lens blur out the unwanted background.

 

Regards,

[•] p 🔺 z r 🔺 h n

 

 

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[•] Finding a Minolta TC-1 film camera in today’s world.

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Look what I found today. On a day out in the corner of my eye I saw a lovely gentleman named Andrew snapping away with his Minolta TC-1. Often the best conversations are started with people holding a camera and today was the day.

Over the years many of us have seen interviews on YouTube with Bellamy Hunt from Japan Camera Hunter talk about camera’s like the infamous Ricoh GR1 but there is also another small camera that’s very very cool. For me its the Minolta TC-1. It’s an ultra rare occasion as I live south of Sydney and we just don’t see people shooting with film especially with this type of camera.

Not only does Andrew have this beautiful camera but as a surprise he pulled out a medium format Hasselblad 903 SWC with a Carl Zeiss 38mm f4.5 SUPER WIDE from his bag. That’s was in excellent condition and you will have to take my word for it. From one photographer to another and talking I found out he was a massive Leica collector right up to owning a Leica M9 that doesn’t get much use as he is an avid film photographer. This really made my day and hope he says hi on one of my pages.

So if your out and about and you see some one with a camera it is always worth it just to say Hi because you never know where the conversation will take you..

On writing this little story I wish I took picture of his Hasselbald to compliment the photo of the Minolta TC-1. On another note what is your favourite camera the Minolta TC-1 or the Ricoh GR1?

Note: Photo taken with Oppo A57 Phone (As the best camera is the one that’s with you)

 

Regards,

[•] p 🔺 z r 🔺 h n

 

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[•] Fujifilm GFX50s Medium Format Camera Vs Oppo A57 Phone Review

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Yes you read the title right and its not click bait some people really really want to see how a smart phone can stack up to the lastest professional camera. The ever evolving technology in a smart phone can it go toe to toe with a newly released medium format camera the Fujifilm GFX50s.

Now lets talk about specifications Fujifilm has 54.1 Megapixels (43.8 mm x 32.9 mm Bayer CMOS sensor) combined with the GF32-64mmF4 R LM WR Lens and the Oppo A57 with front camera (For Selfies) 16 Megapixels and a rear 13 Megapixels supported with f/2.2 lens

Both have Sony sensors just the size comparison is like a midget verse a giant.

Now I have to say the convenience of a smart phone must not be dismissed. Walking around the Australian Reptile Park I noticed this very cool snake in his exhibit. And having the Oppo phone in my pocket makes it such a simple task to snap a quick pic of either myself for the ultimate selfie to post on Faceback, Instagram, Twitter or any other social media platform for instant gratification. But no this was for the snake and Fujifilm verse Oppo A57 and not for me as selfie time is pretty much non existent in my work as I have a face for radio and not for television 😉

The first photo is hands down taken with the Oppo A57 and honestly I like it more than what I captured with the Fujifilm.. Many key factors involved and i’ll explain.

Focal Length is probably the biggest thing and the Oppo allowed me to get in nice and close as with taking the photo with the GFX50s the 32-64mm lens forced me back 50 cm. The phone I could hold it directly on the glass and minimise the reflection of light and with any slow settings in low light I was able to minimise the shake as well.

Analysing in photoshop you can see that one photo from the Oppo phone can fit four times into the one medium format. cool eh.

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Sometimes we get lucky with how we take a photograph and that is the most important thing when it comes to photography.

See in this whole process I prefer the result from the Oppo phone over the Fujifilm. The snake position plays in another factor 😦 but what impresses me the most it the out of camera the colours are richer and how the Oppo did extremely well in low light. On the lower part of the image the blacks are fantastic. yes there is substantial degradation in the pixels zooming in. And I’m not knocking the Fujifilm as it is no slouch. I have said in a previous review that the GFX50s is perfect example of future proofing your work in terms of quality and knowing years down the track the images will enable you to go back and work on them with no fuss and comfortable know the quality is there.

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The beauty of 100% crop in photoshop.

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Which one do you like best?

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Fujifilm GFX50s with 32-64mm F4, Aperture: F4, Shutter 1/50Sec, ISO: 3200 resulted in a 18MP Jepg.

Maybe it would be a different story if I had used a different lens but for this its just example and I’m not working for a client that demands the best in regards to high megapixels or for use on a billboard. What I’ve learned most from these little experiments is that every time it doesn’t matter what camera you have or use as long as you get the photo you like best. I just think its fantastic the convenience of a smart phone and the ability to quickly take a picture in a crowded space is an added bonus too.

If you found this informative useful and interesting feel free to leave a comment below. If you have an Oppo A57 phone high five me as I love it and its is substantially cheaper than the latest iPhone and that money saved can go towards a decent camera or lens if your new to photography and want to build a kit 😉

More here: <a href=”https://steemit.com/photography/@pazrahn/fujifilm-gfx50s-medium-format-camera-vs-oppo-a57-phone-review” rel=”nofollow”>steemit.com/photography/@pazrahn/fujifilm-gfx50s-medium-f…</a>

 

Regards,

 

[•] p 🔺 z r 🔺 h n

 

 

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