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



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.


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.


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.


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.





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



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[•] Atomos Assassin with SmallRig Monitor Case



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.



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

Minolta TC-1

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)



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


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.

Screenshot (219)

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.

Screenshot (222)

The beauty of 100% crop in photoshop.

Screenshot (221)

Which one do you like best?


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>




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[•] K&F Concept Camera Bag Review



With a new bag comes a new bag review. For a long long time well 12 years in fact I have used a LowePro version camera bag in the same style as this K&F Concept bag.


The K&F version has two plastic pads on the base for when you put the bag down on the ground to protect the base and the fabric of the bag including the gear inside which I really like. The outside front has clips for a tripod to hold centre of the bag while walking. Balance in a bag is the single most important feature.



There are some details I like about the bag including the cute little embroidered tripod symbol. LowePro as a camera bag is a forgotten dream the prices are just sickening when you can purchase this bag for $75 and the build quality I would consider substantially better. The shoulder straps are firm and hold their shape and on the back feels very comfortable. The front pocket holds a Surface Pro tablet with ease.


The zippers can be undone with one hand so if your a one handed photographer this will definitely cater for you.


The bones of the bag allow for two decent DSLR’s. In the photo you can see with a little customisation of the support pads you can fit a Fujifilm GFX50s with 32-64mm lens. Up top is a Sony A7II mirrorless for the little projects along with two primes lenses. And other sections hold a dust blower, Lens hood and SD card holder case.



Extras include waterproof dust cover and would you believe a gift zip bag containing a dust blower, spray bottle for lens cleaning and cleaning cloth. Such a thoughtful well presented bag for any photographer.


Overall Rating 10/10

This is one of the best bang for buck bags around including build quality compared to any other bag on the market.

If you get this bag you will be filled with joy.

Disclosure: I am not funded by this camera gear company. Just a one man band doing the far and in between gear reviews on items I have purchased.


Bag Here: https://www.kentfaith.com/camera-backpacks/USKF13.051_professional-dslr-camera-backpack-waterproof-11-81-6-3-16-54-inches



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You have a chance to win 1 Million Dollars using your camera.

Do you know you have more of a chance to win 1 Million Dollars by taking a photograph with your camera than you would if playing Lotto.

The odds of winning Lotto are 100,000,000 to 1 and the odds of capturing a million dollar photograph are much closer than you think.

I am a very strong believer if you carry your camera with you everyday and an event happens or somebody super famous happens to walk by doing odd you can easily capture a frame with your camera and that split second of luck could bring you a windfall of something big.

Part of this principle is based on the saying the best camera is the one that’s with you but say you get a photo with your smart phone that image is less likely to get a good offer of dollars compared to a digital SLR photograph.

After many years of shooting I still believe that it is possible to take a million dollar photograph (It hasn’t happened yet for me but it might happen to you) and I’ve thought carrying that camera by my side everyday increases those odds.

As far fetched as it sounds to take a million dollar photograph have you ever heard that one photographer sold a picture of a potatoe for a large sum of money.  I’ll admit I have never photographed a potatoe but after hearing that story it is definitely at the top of my list to photograph one or maybe two 😉

Now if the odds of winning Lotto are 100,000,000 to 1 then the odds of taking a million dollar photograph surely has to be 500,000 to 1.

Here is the key to taking a million dollar photograph with 5 simple variations to help calculate your odds. They come down to your actions and a few factors;

1) How often you leave the house.
2) How many photographs you take per year.
3) The type of camera and lens combination you use.
4) Location of where you take the photograph. i.e outback of Timbuktu would decrease the odds Verse someone smack in the middle of a specific city.
5) A blessing of good old Irish Luck.

As funny as this all sounds if you were in Timbuktu you might get a photo of a Yeti and win big or you could be in the city and capture a famous person but at the end of the day just remember having that camera with you everyday could pay off big time or just pay off your camera.

Now where are the potatoes in the pantry.

Oh your still here: Write down below in the comments what you think your odds are.

Matchbox 20

Matchbox 20



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Fujifilm Promote Manipulated Image to Sell GFX 50s Camera.

Over the years nothing makes me more angry than photographers swindling people with fake photographs. But whats worse is to then see it done to fool people for the sake of promoting camera sales is a whole new level of low.

I’ve lost count of how many photographers out there that have been caught entering photography competitions with fake images and then win the competition. Same old story photographers at times should produce the RAW with advertisers and show that the original photograph is like the original capture.

Fujifilm I am calling you out on the images you publish or at least ask you to state the real facts in the description box next to the photograph whether it is a photo-shopped composite (Manipulated Image) or state that it is as a photograph (Exif Data with Camera Settings) in Instagram portfolio . This can be seen as unethical and or are you promoting manipulated content for camera sales. The truth of the image “in one photo” is that it was photo-shopped to hell with five images that were fudged into alignment and advertised as one photograph. The end result image was not stitched as a single image as the alignments were out significantly so the five total photographs were layered to look like they are in alignment. Any professional would tell you this was done incorrectly. photographing that way was a big no no.  A panoramic head on a tripod is the correct technical way of photographing a scene to achieve true alignment and then using Photoshop in combination with PTGui will give you satisfying results. As a pro photographer I would not of been content with the results of the Milky way and Opera House. 

This travesty could of been avoided by Fujifilm vetting the content they uploaded and a clearly state the facts.

Photographing multiple images takes real skill and as a professional photographer I value photographers that can do it right using a panoramic head on a tripod in the field. Its a dying art photographing panoramic’s properly but with software inbuilt in cameras today I often see terrible images because of lazy practices. This is becoming the norm with the younger generation and a prime example of how not to use the Fujifilm GFX 50s and falsify content. 

The GFX 50s is a great camera no doubt I’ve read the specifications but will you need a copy of Photoshop CS6 to accompany the camera for producing images that Fujifilm promote?.

I’m not interested in companies when they are unethical, dishonest and fraudulent. But how many images displayed in @fujicamerasaus Instagram portfolio are fakes, real photographs or composites.

An audit of such photographs would be a good start to find out or an update to the description in the postings would help protect the consumer.

This article is about highlighting the ethics of camera companies posting manipulated images to sell cameras and to make people aware of this fact.. Nikon was recently caught in a photography competition and it looks like Fujifilm are now doing this to boost sales. As a consumer I feel like we are being swindled by the performance of what a camera can really produce. Sony recently run test events with huge lighting rigs for the A9 under controlled conditions. I thought Fujifilm was better than that only time will tell if they clean up their act.

I will now have a long and hard think before purchasing the GFX 50s. #Don’tBeMissLeadingFuji

Fujifilm Fake

“in one photo” Fake NEWS by Fujifilm.

Original Description: “In One Photo” Incredible shot by (@PhotographersNameRemoved) captured using the Medium Format Fujifilm GFX 50S.


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