When you're looking for effective light diffusion while keeping things simple and fast check out the new D-Fuse Instant Pop Up Softbox for LED light panels. Like many softbox kits, the D-Fuse uses rods to create a structure and hold the diffusing material a distance away from the source. Using a unique (patent pending) design, the length of the rods found at each corner setup and break apart through strong Magnets, and the rods remain as part of the Softbox when folded up. No no loose parts to lose or misplace!
I highly suggest diffusers like this for anyone using LED Light Panels during interviews that are facing directly towards your subject. Bare LED Bulbs are pretty hard on the eyes, and the last thing you want is your subject squinting or ending up with a headache. You'll immediately see a difference in how soft the shadows are which is also more flattering for many subjects.
The current D-Fuse Pop Up Softbox for LED Light Panels is designed for popular 1x1 LED Panels, but they will be releasing additional sizes and adapters to fit other popular sized LED Panels as well. But seeing how it's mostly a Velcro fit, i'm sure this current version can easily be modified to use with just about anything if you can't wait for the other sizes to become available.
Updating a tried-and-true optical design for use with full-frame E-mount mirrorless cameras, the Batis 85mm f/1.8 Lens from Zeiss is a portrait-length, short telephoto lens featuring a fast f/1.8 maximum aperture for greater focus control and enhanced low-light shooting. The innovative design of this lens features an OLED display that highlights the focus distance and depth of field range for quickly recognizing your focusing parameters, and its autofocus performance is benefitted by linear motors for fast, smooth performance. Pairing the Sonnar concept with a floating elements design, this 85mm f/1.8 is also particularly adept at controlling aberrations throughout the focusing range, while a T* anti-reflective coating minimizes flare and ghosting for ensured color accuracy and heightened contrast. Rounding out the feature-set, this lens incorporates optical image stabilization to minimize the appearance of camera shake when working with slower shutter speeds and a dust- and weather-sealed construction lends itself to shooting in less-than-ideal environments.
Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 Lens for Sony E Mount B&H # ZE8518B
Pairing the tested Distagon concept with contemporary functionality, the Batis 25mm f/2 Lens from Zeiss is a wide-angle prime designed specifically for full-frame E-mount mirrorless cameras. The innovative design of this lens features an OLED display that highlights the focus distance and depth of field range for quickly recognizing your focusing parameters, and its autofocus performance is benefitted by linear motors for fast, smooth performance. Four double-sided aspherical elements within a floating elements design help to control aberrations and distortions throughout the focusing range and contribute to even edge-to-edge sharpness and illumination, and a T* anti-reflective coating reduces flare and ghosting for increased contrast and color neutrality. Ideal for architecture, landscape, and interior photography, this lens' 82° angle of view pairs with a 7.9" minimum focusing distance for producing creative perspectives and unique close-up imagery. Additionally, for working in inclement conditions, the lens also features a dust- and weather-sealed construction.
Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 Lens for Sony E Mount B&H # ZE2520BFE
Pairing a versatile range of telephoto focal lengths with a fast constant maximum aperture, this 50-100mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art Lens from Sigma is designed for APS-C-format Canon EF-mount DSLRs, and provides an 80-160mm equivalent focal length range. The bright constant maximum aperture offers consistent low-light performance throughout the zoom range and also affords greater control over focus placement for shallow depth of field and selective focus applications. Complementing the versatile telephoto range is a sophisticated optical design that incorporates three F Low Dispersion elements, one Special Low Dispersion element, and one high-refractive index, high-dispersion glass element. This combination of low dispersion designs works to noticeably reduce chromatic aberrations and color fringing throughout the zoom range, as well as deliver a high degree of contrast and clarity. Additionally, a Super Multi-Layer Coating has been applied to lens elements to reduce lens flare and ghosting to benefit working in strong lighting conditions. An unprecedented combination of focal length and speed, this 50-100mm f/1.8 lens offers a variety of favored telephoto perspectives in combination with a flexible maximum aperture.
1920 x 1080 Touchscreen LCD
Records UHD 4K/HD Up to 30 fps
10-Bit, 4:2:2 ProRes or DNxHD
HDMI and 6G-SDI Video Inputs
Dual SD Media Card Slots Supports UHS-II
Two Mini XLR Inputs with Phantom Power
On-Screen Histogram and Audio Levels
Focus Peaking & Zebra
Dual LP-E6 Hot-Swappable Battery Slots
AC Adapter Included
This is pretty big news for those looking for the smallest combination of ILC and 3-Axis Gimbal. But with a bigger camera this means shorter battery life. So DJI has also announced an OSMO external battery extender. The battery extender allows for a DC input, or you can get an optional cable to connect directly with one of your DJI Drone batteries.
I'm prepping for my trip to NAB, but I thought I could squeeze in this quick test of the new Aputure DEC LensRegain vs the Metabones Speedbooster S Version. Both of these adapters offer a wider field of view when used with smaller sensor cameras (i.e. Micro Four-Thirds cameras or Sony E-Mount). Since they concentrate more light to your sensor, all of your lenses will end up having faster apertures as well. For instance my Canon EF 100mm F/2.8L Macro shows as an F/2.0 when using the DEC LensRegain.
Besides the slight difference in field of view, the Aputure DEC LensRegain in my opinion performed very well. Lines look straight, image seemed sharp from middle to corners. There's a good number of cheap focal reducers on the market that can't seem to get the optics right. I can't say it's any better than the Metabones Speedbooster S Version, but I can say that the DEC LensRegain performed far better than some cheap adapters i've tried.
And while certainly cheaper than a Metabones adapter, it does have a trick up it's sleeve. The DEC LensRegain is actually a wireless follow focus system for Canon EF Lenses too. And If you've never heard about the DEC Lens Adapters, take a look at this video I made from the original (non focal reducer) version.
After using it for a while (and after the NABShow) i'll do an official review of the DEC LensRegain, but if this was something you were already looking for and were just waiting for some samples, I can say the optics itself look really good.
Heads up readers, during the NAB2016 Show next week keep an eye out on these particular IndiPRO Tools power cables for an additional discount. These cables offer a custom Mini-Tap to Dummy battery that can keep your Canon or Sony cameras powered up from a V-mount or Gold Mount battery. The cable is regulated inline to ensure your camera is operating at the correct voltage (as v-mounts are typically 14V+ out).
The difference between these cables as opposed to a standard D-Tap is the custom Mini-Tap which splits into two additional power option. (Other cables pretty much hog the entire D-Tap port). Once connected to your v-mount battery, you will still have an option for an unregulated D-Tap out to power up an additional accessory + a USB 5V out. That's three possible accessories you can power from a single battery without an expensive distribution system.
Now FilmPower has added new features to the ROXOR and also new gimbals in this line of handheld stabilizers. One interesting product is the new 360VR Camera + Gimbal. For anyone looking to dive into 360 VR Videos, this camera could be a fun start while at the same time adding stabilization. The second ROXOR added is now a 'Pro' version which has more manual controls over exposure along with a 3.5mm mic input. These new products will be shown at NAB2016, and we'll be stopping by to get hands on with these new products soon.
If you're not a fan of the new BlackMagic Design Micro Cinema Camera, this video is most likely going to bore you. So you may want to skip this post. But if you're currently shooting with the BMMCC (and as obsessed as I am), i'm pretty sure you'll find this post super helpful - especially the part where I share a little of my DIY Remote Handle setup.
First let's talk a little about 'Why this BlackMagic Design Micro Cinema Camera?'. Simply put, it's under $1K and offers RAW video up to 60p. And it's incredibly tiny! No other camera offers this, and I love the color science. But it's not an easy camera to operate handheld as there is no screen and the menu is deep for changing small settings.
Originally frustrated with the handling and controls of this camera - my combination of parts and custom button mapping has allowed me to just grab this camera and shoot. It's now a camera I can enjoy shooting with. There's obviously no right way to rig a camera, and this is just how i've assembled it for my personal taste. For those asking, the 15mm rod above my BMMCC is held in place with a Pico Plate (below).
If you're looking to really run small, you can opt for using native Micro Four-Thirds lenses (instead of my Full Frame Rokinon Cinema lenses) or even the Veydra MFT Cinema Primes. You can also shrink your monitor down with something lighter, thinner, and smaller like the SmallHD 501. That would really make this BlackMagic Design Micro Cinema Camera a super portable system.
Rigged BMMCC size compared to Panasonic DVX100a
There are some benefits to using the BlackMagic Design Video Assist as a monitor though. I can set the internal recording to RAW, but if I decide to shoot in a lower format like ProRes, I can do that from the BMVA (without having to change in camera). Or I can record simultaneously RAW (in camera) and ProRes LT (in BMVA) for some quick proxy files to share or have a backup.
By the way, the Video Assist monitor doesn't add any controls with it's touch screen. It simply works as a Monitor and an HDMI Recorder. You can't communicate with the BMMCC.
Obviously they wanted to use small batteries on this camera to minimize the weight for Drone use, but I'm very happy with my Sony to Canon LP-E6 mod. It's a great way to add extra run time without adding an external battery system like a V-Mount. And I would hate to have to use their breakout cable which is a mess, and then have to input a 12V source. With my mod, it feels like i'm just using a bigger Canon battery, and i'm still using 7V.
The battery mod also allows me to power both camera and one extra accessory at 7.4V using my SWIT battery. Instead of using the 12V input on the Video Assist monitor, i'm using a Canon LP-E6 dummy battery to use basic 7V. (I really did put a lot of thought into this setup).
Hopefully the video explained how i'm creating changes in the camera in a way you can understand. When you join the two wires together from the analog PWM input, it sends a signal to change a setting. This works on many of the options, but not everything. For some items (like iris, focus) you'll need true PWM. The other 'con' if you will is that you can't go backwards. Not really a big deal as it's still much easier than diving into the menu for every small change.
I really wish BlackMagic Design would expand these PWM options to include changing FrameRates and changing from RAW to ProRes. That would really complete this camera, and many companies can create simple remote handles to control almost every aspect. They allow the use of S.Bus which means you can expand even further from the 4 basic analog inputs and control up to 18 more settings through a single channel input.
In any case, i'll stop rambling and hopefully this post has been helpful to other BMMCC shooters. If you're thinking about picking one up, it would be great if you consider DVEStore.com as they were the ones who put this camera into my hands to study, spend countless hours on, and share this information with you guys.
Oh and BTW, i'm far from done. I'm already designing an entire rig around this camera based on my setup, including a remote handle to operate some of the settings i've show in this video. A complete rig that will allow other BMMCC shooters to just add a camera + monitor and start shooting with similar ergonomics as a camcorder. So if this is something you're interested in seeing, simply like or share this post. It will let me know if it's something I should spend some time on.