Monthly Archives: March 2015

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Just about every single person I know who travels with equipment has at least a Pelican 1510 Rolling Hard Case. It's Carry-On size makes it perfect for bringing your gear onto a flight without having to risk damage or having it lost from baggage handlers.

A while back I purchased some pluck-foam inserts for my Pelican cases, but noticed I was not using them as much. Once pluck-foam is customized, you really can't make use of the hard case for an entirely new set of equipment - unless you purchase new pluck foam.

I love my Pelican cases, but they are too expensive to just be laying around and dedicated to one thing. I needed a better, easier, more modular organizing system. Of course there are padded dividers which use velcro to move around, but there's something far better out there and it's called TrekPak. Check out the video below.

So while I can't say it's cheap, the value is what you get in the long run instead of having to buy endless amounts of pluck foam. You'll most likely end up using your cases more often and the inserts are easier to reconfigure than velcro organizers. The TrekPak inserts are incredibly modular allowing you to utilize every possible inch of storage in your hard case. Right now TrekPak has complete kits available for a variety of Pelican | Storm Hard Cases. You can find a full list of TrekPak Kits available via B&H (click here).

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find-price-button TrekPak Hard Case Organizer Insert Kits

If you're looking for a rock solid rolling hard case to take on a flight, you gotta take a look at the Pelican 1510.

Pelican 1510 Case
find-price-button Pelican 1510 Carry On Size Roller Hard Case

Now someone mentioned about 'loose articles' floating around the bag. Don't forget you can always get cheap plastic Plano tackle boxes for small batteries and media cards, or even Padded Lens Cases to house and protect your small items like wireless receivers, cables, etc.

padded-camera-lens-pouch
find-price-button Padded Lens Bags for Canon Nikon Sony Pentax Panasonic DSLR Lenses

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This package arrived earlier today. So far i've had the chance to unbox the CAME-MINI 3-Axis Gimbal and balance a Panasonic GH4 + 12-35mm F/2.8 OIS Lens. I've also managed to balance out my Rokinon 7.5mm Fisheye lens which is my personal little compact setup with this camera. I'm still working on a video about my first initial impressions, but if you have any questions, now is the time to ask.

The CAME-MINI feels solid, and you'll immediately notice the excellent build quality. To balance a camera on the CAME-MINI, it requires a hex tool for almost every adjustment, and the small frame means this will not work with heavier camera setups. Example: If you're thinking speedbooster and a Canon EF lens with a Sony A7s, this is not going to be the gimbal for you.

On the flip side, if you plan on using this with a GH4 and a small Lumix Lens like the 12-35mm it will work perfectly. Hopefully i'll have a video up after the weekend, but for more information take a look at the CAME-TV.com website (click here).

CAME-Mini Mini Gimbal 3 Axis StabilizerCAME-TV CAME-Mini Mini gimbal sony a7s
find-price-button CAME-TV CAME-MINI 3 Axis Gimbal Stabilizer

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If you haven't heard about the Kingjoy VT-3510 Video Head, it's a damn close version of Manfrotto's popular 701HDV (now discontinued). So much that the pan handles are interchangeable between the two heads, but of course the best part is that the Kingjoy is VT-3510 is compatible with Manfrotto's 501PL QR plate. Here's a closer look at this video head in the video below.

I've also included a gallery of images comparing the Manfrotto 701HDV next to the Kingjoy VT-3510 Video head so you can see the close resemblance.

While this head may not be as smooth as the original 701HDV, the build is sturdy and perfect for tripods that are often set aside for a static angle, mounted to the end of a jib, used on a skater dolly, or even placed on a slider. All while still offering the compatibility of a Manfrotto 501PL plate.

You'll typically find the Kingjoy VT-315 for over $100 dollars or sometimes listed as a Kenro Video Head (as seen here). The big news here is that the one I received was from a listing for JUST $55 Dollars + FREE Shipping. There's only just a couple left, and I think it's safe to say that after this blog post it will sell out quick. Most likely they won't be available for this $55 Dollar Price again (find it here).

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find-price-button KingJoy VT3510 Pro Video Fluid Head w Manfrotto 501PL Compatible Plate

If that item has completely sold out, here's an eBay link to more VT-3510 Video Heads, though I don't think you'll find quite the deal I got.

kingjoy vt3510 vt-3510 kenro pro fluid video head manfrotto
find-price-button More KingJoy VT3510 a.k.a Kenro Pro Video Fluid Heads

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Remember the versatile Z1 Rider GoPro Gimbal I shared a short while back? Well, the other day I had the opportunity to test it out while mounted to one of my Carbon Fiber Audio Boom Poles. Here are a few examples.

So while the footage may not be perfect, I think the results came out pretty well considering it only took a very minimal set of tools. The GoPro HERO4 is a camera small enough to fit in your shirt pocket, and the versatile design of the Z1 Rider Gimbal allows you to mount it almost anywhere you can mount the GoPro itself.

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find-price-button Z1 Rider Mini 3 Axis Gimbal Stabilizer for GoPro Cameras

The original shots were done with a DJI Ronin Gimbal and Sony A7s (not seen here). Needless to say the footage captured from the Ronin was better, but with that heavy setup comes additional effort and risk.

Being able to move a tiny GoPro around at the end of a stick while having full three axis stabilization was both easy and fun. About 2:17 in the video even looks like
Aerial Drone footage. Something i'll definitely be experimenting more with, though next time i'll probably choose a different framerate and turn ProTune On for best quality.

The Audio Boom Pole I used could have easily been replaced with a broom stick or cheap Painter's Pole. If you need a rock solid camera tripod mount adapter for a Painter's Pole, make sure to check out the adapter from SeaPort Digital (found here).

painters-pole-adaptersa1501-view-2-2
find-price-button Seaport Digital Painter's Pole Adapter with 1/4-20 Male Thread

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Rik Cordero of RunPlayBack.com gives us a little insight on the latest Atomos Shogun Firmware Update that now offers downscaling to 1080p on the HDMI output. The Atomos Shogun is primarily a video recorder mounted with the camera, and so this downscaled output feature is especially handy when you have to share the feed to a director's monitor (most people aren't working 4K monitors yet). The Shogun also now supports previewing 3D LUTS which allows you to get a better idea of your final grade so that you can set better color and exposure while recording.

While I think very highly about the Atomos Shogun as a 4K Video Recorder, Audio Preamp, and high resolution Monitor, the unit was designed with a plastic exterior. It certainly is lightweight, but also feels fragile (it's probably very sturdy, but feels fragile). Other Atomos products such as the Ninja or Samurai Blade have Aluminum housings.

Atomo Shogun 4k Recorder
find-price-button Atomos Shogun 4K HDMI/12G-SDI Recorder and 7" Monitor

Most of the cameras i'm capturing 4K from outputs via the HDMI port. Obviously, a few things I'm always worrying about is cables being pulled loose during production, or possibly even damaging the HDMI port. I've managed to do this on a few monitors already (including a SmallHD, and on a
GoPro HERO3). I'd feel more comfortable if the Shogun HDMI had some type of protection.

The Shogun is still fairly new, but fortunately two companies are already working on Cage solutions for the Atomos Shogun. Any person who currently owns or plans to own the Atomos Shogun 4K Recorder should be interested in these new products.

Shape has teased a few images of their new Cage for the Shogun via Facebook. There appears to be something setup for the HDMI Cables (possibly locks) and a ton of threaded areas for mounting. Optional handles for possibly holding as a Director's monitor. The additional 15mm Clamp would come in handy for mounting power options as the Atomos seems to eat through batteries pretty quick. Not much more information, but Shape says they'll be showing this at NAB 2015 and i'll make sure to stop by and have a chat. [Visit ShapeWLB.com for more news]

Shape Rigs Shogun Cage

Shape Facebook Page Visit Shape Rigs Facebook Page

PVGear has also announced a metal Cage for the Atomos Shogun. Also with HDMI locks for both Input and Output HDMI ports, and a separate protection block for the XLR Audio Cable which also locks down the DC Cable. Pricing has not been announced, but expected to start shipping in April.

Atomos Shogun Cage PVGear HDMI Locks
find-price-button PVGear.com Full Metal Cage for Atomos Shogun 4K Recorder

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We've seen $500 dollar rebates on the DJI Ronin Gimbal (normally $3K), but the recent sale price at just $2249 + FREE Expedited Shipping is the lowest price i've ever seen it. That's a huge -$750 savings off normal retail price right now.

I'm not a fan of this gimbal for anyone working with smaller cameras, but for those who have bigger camera setups or attempting to stabilize your cameras in aggressive situations this current price is a steal. SALE ENDS TODAY via B&H (click here).

[Update] Sale has ended. It's now back to a -$500 off price.

DJI Ronin Gimbal 3 Axis StabilizerDJi Ronin Product Highlights
find-price-button DJI Ronin 3 Axis Gimbal Stabilizer w/ Hardcase Remote and Stand

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A short while ago CAME-TV sent over an upgraded version of their 7800 Gimbal. Now that the gimbal has officially been released on their website, here's a closer look at some of the improvements and optional accessories that now come with the Ready-To-Run 7800 Gimbal Kit.

The 7800 has seen many iterations, and even my last video with a 7800 does not even include half of the changes they've made available now. The 7800 model now comes with a Travel Case and a Gimbal Stand. These may be small items, but essential pieces that you no longer need to buy (or make). You can get started balancing your gimbal and flying as soon as you receive the item.

My obvious favorite is new Black Rubberized Hand Grips. Not only does this feel better but it really steps up the aesthetic of the product making it appear much more professional. The top handle has the same design that is easy to remove with a single socket cap screw, and each side handle is clamped on, and can simply be twisted to release the clamp.

handles gimbal rubberrubber handles gimbal 1 inch clamp tool less
New Rubberized Handles

The biggest addition that many should be excited about, is a tool-less adjustment knob that allows you to easily balance the YAW and another tool-less knob to easily balance the Roll. Combined with the sliding quick release plate in the camera frame, swapping lenses should now take seconds instead of minutes.

tool less adjustment roll bar gimbal
yaw toolless adjustment gimbal 7800
New Tool-less YAW and ROLL Adjustments

So while the system is not 100% tool-less, the areas that do require tools to balance may not be used often once you have the proper alignment for your camera body. Common adjustments when swapping to a longer or short lens will be easier and faster at the Roll, Yaw, and Pitch thanks to the new too-less adjustment knobs. CAME-TV now offers Six (6) Different Gimbal Kits and you can find more information about those products at the website (click here).

CAME-TV 7800 Gimbalcametv came-tv 7800 3 axis gimbal stabilizer
find-price-button New Upgraded CAME-TV 7800 3-Axis Gimbal Stabilizer

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When you have to shoot video and move fast, the last thing you're thinking about is a Tripod. If you have to move fast with some type of stability, maybe you're thinking more along the lines of a good Video Monopod. In this video i'm showing you why I personally think the latest version of Sirui Video Monopods are at the top of my list, and how it offers more than other Top Brands.

Sirui video monopod 129 sale[Update] The Sirui P-204S Aluminum Video Monopod Shown In Video is Just $129 + FREE SHIPPING (HERE)

[NOTE:] Because we have readers from around the world, we often provide various links to products. For USA buyers purchasing a SIRUI Product from an Authorized USA Retailer qualifies the product for a 6 YEAR WARRANTY. USA buyers purchasing overseas products will not qualify for the 6 Year USA Warranty.

The moment you pick up a Sirui Video Monopod you'll notice the build quality. Every moving part is precision made and the feature set is well thought out. The monopod can be detached from the feet for more compact travel, yet you can still use the Monopod without the feet, and you can use the Feet without the Monopod (as a small Tripod | Hi Hat).

A locking base prevents the Sirui Video Monopod from swiveling and panning, and a variable drag adjustment at the base allows fine tuning to the operator. Panning can be achieved from the fluid column, or you can lock down the panning feature. Check out the variety of Sirui Video Monopods.

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find-price-button Sirui Aluminum and Carbon Fiber Photo|Video Monopods

Other Products Mentioned in this Article

Benro Video Monopods
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Benro Video Monopods
Manfrotto Video Monopod
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Manfrotto Video Monopods

Sirui Monopods Also Available At:
sirui photo video monopod bhphoto
find-price-button Sirui Photo|Video Monopods via B&H USA

Sirui Photo Video Monopod Amazon
find-price-button Sirui Photo|Video Monopods via Amazon USA

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So yesterday I spent a little time testing the Aputure DEC Remote Wireless Follow Focus Canon EF Lens Adapter. Keep in mind that all of the units that other reviewers have (including mine) are just prototypes. So everything that you see could change when they go to final production.

As mentioned in my earlier article, the prototypes available today can attach a Canon EF (autofocus) Lens to a Sony E-Mount or Micro Four Thirds (MFT) Camera and allow you to change aperture values and remotely change focus via a wireless remote. Here's a little video showing the Sony E-Mount DEC Adapter in use.

Since the Aputure DEC Lens Adapter relies on the internal motors of the lens being used, each lens may provide a slightly different experience. Some lenses may offer a smoother transition, while others may have a more prominent stepping motion moving from one focus point to the next. During slower focus movements some lenses will have a louder 'stepping' type noise, while other lenses may be a bit more silent. This is all based on the lens, and at this time not a lot of testing has been done.

In the 'current user manual' it lists several Canon EF L Series lenses, but I decided to try a few different ones such as the Sigma, the Canon 40mm STM, and a 50mm F/1.8. All of the lenses worked flawlessly to adjust iris and I could control focus. I was a bit worried the system would be buggy using random lenses, but so far it's taken everything i've thrown at it.

canon stm 40mm lens follow focus aputure dec
Canon 40mm STM Lens Aputure DEC
Canon 40mm STM Pancake Aputure DEC Wireless Follow Focus Lens Adapter

So while this is still a prototype, so far I think the Aputure DEC is an awesome product for anyone who needs to adjust focus on an adapted Canon EF Lens in situations where you can't normally reach the focus ring. For example when mounted on a Jib/Crane, Steadicam, or even a Gimbal.

Typically on any of my stabilizers i'm settled in with a very wide lens with the aperture stopped down and everything in focus. With the Aputure DEC I would be able to use a Gimbal with a Shallow DOF and focus from an object in the foreground to possibly a distant subject in the background. The focus changes can be quick, or they can be slow.

Will this replace all Follow Focus systems? Obviously not as it only works with Canon EF (autofocus) Lenses, and not manual focus Cine Lenses. The DEC (prototype) also uses a stepping motion which dependent upon the lens may or may not be smooth. There are still a few things that I think still need to be refined and changed on the DEC prototypes, which i'll be sharing with the Aputure company. One suggestion is having a more traditional wireless follow focus remote as the current one could be tricky tracking a subject back and forth if they move quickly.

Sony A7s Shogun 4K Aputure DEC Wireless Follow Focus
Sony a7s Aputure DEC Sigma 18-35mm Atomos Shogun

Once a product like this becomes available on the market, I really think this will really impact how many consider changing focus remotely on Canon EF lenses today. It certainly opens up 'options' in the industry that were never available before. Maybe not so much Hollywood, but consider the large market of event, wedding, news, or other video shooters that don't need the precision of a high end WFF system and are shooting with Sony E-Mount and MFT cameras. Compared to other Wireless Follow Focus systems, the Aputure DEC is incredibly simple to use while offering the smallest and lightest possible footprint.

Aputure DEC Lens Adapter Canon EF Wireless Follow Focus Cheesycam
NAB2014 Aputure Announced DEC Lens Adapter Remote Follow Focus

I'm going to continue testing these DEC adapters and hopefully more focusing examples. The next one i'll set up is the MFT Mount which can Start/Stop video on cameras with a LANC connection. If you have any questions so far, leave them in the comments.

Aputure DEC Lens Adapter wireless follow focus
find-price-button Aputure DEC Lens Adapter + Wireless Follow Focus - Available NOW