Monthly Archives: February 2012


Excited about the new Canon 5D Mark III announcements? It's been rumored all over the web that they may have an official statement by end of the week - possibly this Friday. Although I might be excited about better video quality, I have to admit there's a part of me that already knows this new camera will still have it's limitations around video. Canon makes no secrets about purposely limiting their DSLR line of cameras so that it doesn't cannibalize their true high end video line.

Still waiting for this final camera to be released from Canon, i'm on hold about the FS100. Once I know the specs on the Canon 5D Mark III, i'll have a better idea on which direction i'll be going for the next year. With Canon's EF or EF-S lenses, aperture needs to be controlled electronically. Having invested in so many Canon EF lenses, if you wanted to adapt it to the MFT cameras, you could use something like the RedRock Live Lens adapter (seen here).

Sony FS100 Super35 Camcorder
find-price-button NEX-FS100UK Super 35mm Sensor Camcorder

One solution to using Canon EF lenses on a Sony E-Mount is the Metabones adapter. This adapter translates the controls in a Sony camera to communicate with a Canon lens. The first release of this adapter had issues with cameras like the Sony NEX-7, so I held off until things got squared away. The latest firmware version 2.0 in the adapter now supports the NEX-7 so you'll be able to control the aperture values in the lens direct from the camera. It's a rare piece right now, and are constantly out of stock over at their website (found here).

If you're trying to adapt lenses to a smaller Micro Four Thirds or Sony E-Mount there are cheaper Fotodiox Adapters (like these), but you might also want to consider the slightly more expensive Metabones, as they make some great quality adapters to fit Nikon, Canon, Leica lenses, etc. (click here).

find-price-button Metabones Lens to Camera Adapters


Who doesn't love the Sony HX9V? It's a fairly small pocketable camera that provides a full 1080/60p and probably the best image stabilization you'll find in a point and shoot. The Sony HX9V was such a great camera, that we decided to use it for our entire coverage at PMA at CES2012.

Hard to believe, but Sony has made a good thing even better with the announcements of a few new cameras including the HX10V and HX20V. The HX9V had 16x Zoom, while the new HX20V has an incredible 20x zoom. They've even managed to make upgrades to the already impressive Image Stabilization, and enhanced Digital Zoom quality. You'll have to skip towards the end of the video (above) to get information about the new cams. Both HX10V and HX20V digital cameras are already available for Pre-Order.

find-price-button Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX10V Digital Camera

find-price-button Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V Digital Camera


If all that is not enough for you, they're even throwing in an HX30V camera with 20x Optical Zoom and built in Wi-Fi. While most camera phones lack the features of a solid Point and Shoot camera, the Wi-Fi addition in the HX30V lets you take advantage of all it's features and then sync up with your smart phone so that you can immediately share it through your Photo Galleries and Social Networks (Instagram?).

find-price-button Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX30V 20x Zoom Digital Camera


Did Tascam just drop a bomb on the Zoom H4n? The more affordable Tascam DR-40 is a great little recorder, but fell short when people realized you didn't have the same independent audio track levels like a Zoom H4n. The new firmware released today (found here), now adds that functionality to the Tascam DR-40. It still may not be as full featured as the Zoom H4n, but it has enough features for the average shooter, and this little recorder is $100 dollars cheaper than the Zoom H4n.

find-price-button Tascam DR-40 4 Track Digital Portable Audio Recorder


Gini Non-Standard CagesGini Non Standard DSLR Cage
Click image for other Gini DSLR Cage designs

The very early DSLR Cages from Gini supported standard 15mm rods, and basic 1/4 x 20 threads. In the last few weeks, there's been dozens of comments regarding some major changes in his designs that no longer support Industry Standard mounts. WTF Gini? There's no real rhyme or reason, other than he might be working on future 'proprietary' accessory mounts that you'd probably have to pick up from him. So I would stay clear from any of the cages, but luckily his DSLR rigs are still the best deal for the quality and Industry Standard. (Click here to see Gini DSLR Cage Designs)

Ironic that something like this could happen, because I have had in my hands the final designs for the new PNC ( DSLR Cages. I posted an article about these cages earlier here: These new cages (industry standard of course) will have be offered in very affordable version, and one with a little more machine work and feature set.

If you're shopping for a nice quality affordable DSLR cage, you might steer clear of the Gini (non-standard) designs, and hang tight for the new PNC stuff coming out soon. Make sure to follow me on Twitter when that's announced...


Varavon Slidecam Lite (2)  Varavon Slidecam Lite (3)

Varavon Slidecam Lite (4)  Varavon Slidecam Lite (1)

I shoot a lot with smaller cameras, and i've tried plenty of small camera sliders. The IGUS was the best thing working for me when I cut it down to about 24", but now it's all about Varavon's new Slidecam Lite. This thing is very light, but solid. I'm very pleased with the overall build and finish of the product. The only thing I wished they would have provided is a seperate pouch for the legs. Everything is placed inside the slider bag, but once you unpack the bubble wrap you'll be putting the legs in with the slider. I feel like the aluminum legs will be scuffing together. It would have been nice to see separate pouches for the legs like what Konova provides.

Adjust Varavon Slidecam Slider Friction Bearing
[Update] Here's a link to the Slidecam Lite manual on how to adjust Friction with the Bearings (click here).

I don't plan to use it for much more than my small vacations and casual travel plans, but it feels like it slide a normal sized DSLR with a wide lens pretty good. This thing is not too short, not too long, and easy to hang on my camera backpack. I'll have a video up soon where I show what's in the bag and have it next to the larger Konova K5 Slider for size reference. If you like shooting with smaller cameras, but still want all the creativeness a slider, this Varavon is definitely a must have in the gear bag and it only took a few days to get here.

Varavon SliderVaravon Bearings
find-price-button Varavon Slidecam Lite Video Camera Sliders


2000 LED V-Mount BatteryCamtree 2000 LED video Light kit

Mike writes in and asks if anyone has any feedback on a couple of Camtree 2000 LED video light panels. The lights can be powered optionally through a set of V-Mount batteries, are dimmable, and come with a few of colored gels. I don't know anyone who uses any of the Camtree stuff, so I can't really speak to the accuracy of color, build quality, or light output. Maybe you guys can chime in.

Camtree 2000-LED-Video-Light-Dimmable2000 LED video Light
find-price-button Camtree 2000 LED Video Lighting Dimmable V-Mount Battery Compatible

These look like (2) 1000 LED panels sandwiched into one housing. Personally I don't know if that's a good thing if you're trying to travel and pack down small. It's almost the same as buying two separate 1000 LED lights and mount them to one stand. If it were up to me, i'd stick with getting two 900 LED light panels which can also be powered via V-Mount batteries and can pack up easier. I've pretty much abused a few sets of the lights and only experienced one broken power cord. I guess the wiring inside the cable must have broke, but for the 600 and 900 panels, it's just a basic 14V DC (laptop type) power cord. Very common to find on eBay.

find-price-button 600 Led Light Weight Studio Photo Light Dimmable Video Photography Lighting Sony V mount Battery adapter 14.8V DC 110V-230V

find-price-button 900 LED Dimmable Photography Video Camera DSLR 5400K/3200K Lighting Light Panel Sony V Mount battery Adapter INCLUDED 14V OUTPUT 110V-230V

They do have a 1200 LED light panel version, but unlike the 600 and 900 it requires 24V. This doesn't make it compatible with V-Mount or any average battery power. I like the option, so I stuck to several 600 and 900 LED panels. The 600 and 900 LED panels are also a bit smaller making them easier to pack in common sized luggage when traveling. All of the lights still work great, so I can safely recommend these over other lights in it's price range.

find-price-button 1200 LED Dimmable Video Light Panel Still Photography Studio Portrait Lighting 24V DC, 110V-230V



The cheap Speed Crank came in the other day. It's a perfect fit on the Gini iFocus Follow Focus which is pretty standard 12x12, so it would work well on other FFs too. It does have a retro '1980's PacMan Arcade Joystick Red' color, but can easily be coated. The Red knob actually screws off if you wanted to mount something else, like say Dice or a Skull. LOL. The rest of the unit is all black anodized aluminum, not cheap plastic. For the price, i'm not complaining, quite happy actually. You can push or pull the FF with a single finger, and feels like there's a bit more control. I guess it's just more leverage with a longer lever.

find-price-button 12x12 Follow Focus Speed Crank Lever

find-price-button Gini Rigs Follow Focus Shoulder Rigs DSLR Cages

If you need to have your hands further from a Follow Focus, there are a number of whips available now too. These whips vary in lengths from short to very long, and are slightly flexible so that you can turn the follow focus from different positions around the camera. Helpful for someone who's managing a shoulder rig alone, or if you have someone pulling focus for you.
find-price-button Flexible Follow Focus Whip


There were a few questions on whether or not the Varavon Slidecam Lite had a brake system. Although the video always shows such a robust setup, the Slidecam Lite is a completely new slider product for Varavon targeting lightweight cameras. The more affordable Slidecam Lite is offered as small as 24" for the growing market of people who travel with small lightweight cameras. This new video just posted today, shows a bit more of the features including the brake and how the legs are assembled. This new version is the smallest of several different Sliders from Varavon, and they can be found via eBay (click here).

Varavon SliderVaravon Bearings
find-price-button Varavon Slidecam Lite Video Camera Sliders


One of the great things about shooting with a Sony NEX-7 or Micro Four Thirds camera is the ability to use just about any lens on the market. Not having autofocus in a lens is one thing, but without Image Stabilization, those adapted lenses can be tricky to shoot hand held.

The new Olympus OM-D EM-5 solves that by offering what they call a 5 Axis IS at the sensor (not the lens). Unfortunately in order to get the aperture working for my EF lenses to an M43 body, the expensive solution is the RedRock Micro Live Lens EF Adapter (seen here). Along with what could be the best EVF available on the market today, and all starting under $1K (body) this will be a very very popular camera. In fact it's already at the top of the Amazon new camera list (seen here).

Olympus OM-D-EM-5Olympus-EM-5-OM-DOlympus OM-D EM-5
find-price-button Olympus OM-D EM-5 Digital Camera