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Aputure has released several versions of their DEC Lens Adapters, but in case you're not familiar with what they are and how they work, i've put together this Product Overview video. This video specifically focuses on the brand new DEC Vari-ND Model (available in MFT and E-Mount), but is very similar to the other models - especially the LensRegain version which is a Focal Reducer (a.k.a Speed Booster) Lens adapter.


Who's it For?
The way the product DEC Lens Adapters are designed, I think primarily it should really appeal to camera operators that need the ability to adjust focus with a wireless remote. Obviously it's not at the level of a professional Wireless Follow Focus system, but it at least offers decent focus controls at a minimal cost in an incredibly compact form. Even cheap wireless follow focus systems can still run well over $1200 dollars and require additional rods to mount, and additional power to run the focus motors.

The wireless remote and clamp can be attached as a handle to your gimbal, on a Steadicam, end of a Jib, or even to just the Pan Handle of your Tripod. Additional features such as iris adjustment on your Canon EF (or compatible) lenses can be handy when you are transitioning a camera movement from indoors to outdoors, or to just change your DOF. But now with the new Vari-ND version (electronic variable ND Filter) you have another dimension in which you can control your exposure and all through a wireless remote.

About the Vari-ND Filter
Traditional Variable ND Filters placed on the front lenses use two rotating pieces of glass that cancel out light as you rotate. While this is simple and effective, there are some drawbacks to how much variation you can have, how much color shift happens, and most importantly how much softness occurs because of how the two additional pieces of glass affect the incoming light (image).

The ND Filter inside of the DEC Vari-ND Lens Adapter is NOT using two pieces of polarizing glass. and is instead using a single sheet of glass (with liquid crystals) and uses electricity to adjust and vary the amount of ND. This is similar to the technology found in the new Sony FS5 camera. Aputure also claims that there are no color shifts happening during the process of varying the amount of ND applied.

At the minimum ND8 you're looking at about 3 Stops of ND Applied. The darkest ND applied on the Vari-ND is about 11 stops. ND8 (3 Stops) is pretty dark and something you won't be using indoors. Outdoors, you'll find the the Vari-ND useful especially when shooting at F/2.8 or wider. You'll notice in my video test there are steps between what i'm actually calling out (stops between ND8 and ND16, etc). Aputure claims they may be able to add a firmware update that allows smooth ND transitions instead of the stepping it has now (similar to how the Sony FS5 operates).

Summary
The line of Aputure DEC Lens Adapters are certainly very unique and offers features in a form factor and price that can't be found in any other tool. You can visit their website for additional information about the complete line of Aputure DEC Lens Adapters (found here).

aputure dec vari-nd lens adapter lensregain
check latest pricing Aputure DEC - Lens Adapter + Vari-ND + Lens Regain

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Quick Gear Tip - At less than 3", these compact Mini Double Ball Variable Arms are a great versatile tool for mounting camera accessories such as monitors, led lighting, wireless TX/RX systems, etc. They offer a bit more range in positioning than a standard mini ball, but are much more compact than your typical Magic Arms.

The double 1/4" male thread is especially helpful if you work with cages and rigs, but they can also be adapted to shoe mounts if necessary with these little female adapters. You can normally find these Mini Double Ball Variable Arms for about $10 dollars (below).

mini-double-ball-arm
check latest pricing Double Mini Ball Compact Variable Arm with 1/4 threads


Female Coupler Shoe Mount Adapter

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ProAM USA wants to Giveaway 1 FREE TigerTilt Remote Joystick Motorized Pan Tilt Head. Complete the form below to enter. Enter once a day to increase your chances, and this offer ends March 24th. Good luck!

proam usa motorized joystick control pan tilt proam usa tiger tilt remote joystick pan tilt head proam usa tigertiltProAm USA MOTORIZED JOYSTICK REMOTE CONTROL PAN & TILT HEAD - TIGERTILT
Product Description:
TigerTilt is a full function remote controlled pan & tilt head by ProAm USA. This is an affordable motorized panhead which is controlled by a single, pressure sensitive joystick remote. The construction is strong, yet lightweight aluminum allowing it to support up to 8 lbs. We recommend that off camera audio recording be done to eliminate noise from the motors.

Power
It's a fully portable unit, powered by the included LPE6 battery and adapter plate. For studio use, it also includes a 12V AC Adapter.

Cables
The TigerTilt uses a 10 foot, 4 pin XLR cable to transmit power through the joystick remote. The included 10' cable can be daisy chained for longer reach.

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The Shootools AutoPan is a clever product from Shootools that adds a motorized second axis to any linear slider (or crane). A simple device that has it's own built in rechargeable battery and can quickly be setup and programmed to repeat keyframe positions.


My video only shows the basic use of the Shootools AutoPan, as their Wireless App is not yet available. Once it becomes available you'll be able to remotely control and configure the AutoPan and perform more advanced Timelapse movements. There is even a Table Top that can be added on the AutoPan transforming it into a Motorized Rotating Product Table.


Now as I have mentioned in my video, there is noise when the AutoPan is tracking. So for audio sensitive projects like 'sit down interviews' this is probably not ideal. But for certain types of projects focused mainly on imagery such as Products, Food, Car Shows, Weddings details, Real Estate, Architecture, and Music Videos, I can really see the Shootools AutoPan adding a lot of benefit simplifying tracking and that unique parallax effect. These types of moves on a slider certainly add a bit more production value to your final project.

You can get additional information about the Shootools AutoPan over at their website http://Shootools.com (here).

The AutoPan is also available at B&H Photo (below).
shootools autopan motorized panning
Learn-More-sm Shootools AutoPan - Universal Panning Tool

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It's actually a bit more than 50% OFF for this Benro TMA18C, and a pretty good deal if you're specifically looking for a Carbon Fiber Tripod. Carbon Fiber is typically more expensive as it is rigid but lightweight compared to metal tripods - which make them appealing for travelers and hikers. Another benefit (especially for outdoor and landscape shooters), Carbon Fiber doesn't get quite as cold on the hands when working in sub zero temps. 50% Off is a great deal, but think quickly as Sale Ends Today (found here).


Product details:
Support up to 22 lb worth of gear with the TMA18C Series 1 Mach3 Carbon Fiber Tripod from Benro. Made from 9-layer carbon fiber, the 4-section legs are secured via twist locks and extend to a maximum height of 57.3". The center column can be replaced with the included short column to allow the tripod to reach a minimum height of 11.8". One of the legs unscrews from the tripod, attaches to the center column, and with the addition of an optional head converts to a monopod. The rubber feet can be swapped out for metal spikes so that the tripod can be used on hard surfaces, such as ice, or soft surfaces, like carpeting or a lawn. A ballast hook on the center column allows for the addition of stabilizing weight, and the included carrying case protects the tripod during transport. A 3/8"-16 threaded stud on the mounting platform lets you attach a head of your choice.

benro tma18c carbon fiber
check latest pricing TMA18C Series 1 Mach3 Carbon Fiber Tripod


Quick Tip:
This Special Tripod Leveling Adapter Can save you hours and speed up your workflow.

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I picked up a few of these Flexible Gooseneck Adapters mainly to use as a simple and flexible way of positioning a microphone at my desk while i'm doing screen recording tutorials on my computer. These Gooseneck type Adapters can also be used on top of light stands to adjust something like an LED Light to hang over head when doing product photography.

While these 10" Light Stand Adapters are labeled as flexible, they do take some force to bend over. This is probably not ideal for very lightweight use, but is perfect if you plan to work with heavier equipment. What I love about them is the 1/4" thread mounted at the tip which is very standard to mount accessories (can be adapted to 3/8"), and also that you can stack them together (chain up) for a longer flexible arm.

When you combine these Flexible Light Stand Adapters with a Super Clamp and Pin (as found here), you can get a lot more use out of by clamping to tables, chairs, poles, tree branches, fences, etc. I was lucky to grab a few at $8 bucks, but I think it's still a good deal finding these Flexible Stand Adapters for around $10-$13 dollars.

flexible light stand adapter
check latest pricing 10" / 25cm Flexible Light Stand Adapter

Super Clamps:
manfrotto super clampsuper clamp with light stand pin
check latest pricing Super Clamps with Removable Light Stand Pin

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Starting 03/01/17 - 03/02/17 you can score the Brightcast Bi-Color LED Panels at Group Buy Pricing for just $350 US when using Coupon Code: GroupBuy03 during your checkout.

These lights are Bi-Color with two different power options choosing V-Mount or Sony U-Mount. If you choose to go with the U-Mount version, the U-Mount battery must have D-tap out port (like this one).

For technical specs, video reviews, color metrics, and additional information, visit the the Kamerar Brightcast Flexible Water Resistant LED Panels page (found here).

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Learn-More-sm Kamerar Brightcast Flexible Bi-Color IP67 Rated LED Panel

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Here's a new (optional) V-Mount Battery Adapter for the CAME-TV Prodigy (and ARGO) Gimbal that I believe will really help improve the overall efficiency of the Prodigy system when used with large cameras. First benefit is that V-Mount batteries can offer larger capacities than the 18650 batteries the system normally uses. This means longer run time and higher sustained voltage. Instead of having to charge individual cells and carry several loose spares, v-mount batteries are much easier to manage.

Secondly, with the new Gimbal V-Mount Battery Adapter you'll be able to power many cameras from the D-Tap out on the V-Mount battery which means you can relocate your power, free up more space in the frame allowing you to slide your camera back a few more inches to support heavier or longer lenses. By relocating the battery to the rear, I believe this also offers better YAW balancing of the system. With a proper D-Tap splitter, you can power other accessories as well (i.e. monitor, lighting, etc).

One caveat of the CAME-TV Gimbal V-Mount Battery Adapter is that it requires a compact v-mount battery which have a smaller physical height than your average v-mount. There is not enough clearance on the CAME-TV Prodigy and Argo Gimbals to support tall v-mount batteries. CAME-TV offers a number of different Compact V-Mount Batteries (found here) available in 65wh, 95wh, 120wh, and 130wh. They are very much the same size with slight differences in weight depending on the capacity you choose. I personally would suggest going for something like the 120wh or 130wh compact v-mounts.

CAME-TV_Compact_V-Mount_Li-Ion_Battery_65Wh_largeCAME-TV_Compact_V-Mount_Li-Ion_Battery_120Wh_largeCAME-TV_Compact_V-Mount_Li-Ion_Battery_130Wh_large
check latest pricing CAME-TV Compact V-Mount Batteries

Of course there are other brands that make compact v-mount batteries which may work. Some models of the CORE SWX and IDX Cue are around 15cm in height, but I haven't been able to test (yet) this to confirm if it will actually work. The overall height of a CAME-TV Compact V-Mount battery is 14cm. So if you find a battery that is the same (or smaller) in height, I feel it should work as well. You can find the new Prodigy / ARGO Gimbal V-Mount Battery Adapters via CAME-TV.com (here)

v-mount-battery-plate-suitable-for-our-came-prodigy-and-came-argo_01v-mount-battery-plate-suitable-for-our-came-prodigy-and-came-argo_02v-mount-battery-plate-suitable-for-our-came-prodigy-and-came-argo_03v-mount-battery-plate-suitable-for-our-came-prodigy-and-came-argo_04
check latest pricing Prodigy | ARGO Gimbal V-Mount Battery Adapter

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There's a dozen or more things you'll often consider when purchasing a Tripod. Weight, Folding Size, Overall Height, Payload, Flip-Locks vs Twist Locks, Aluminum vs Carbon Fiber, etc. etc. In this article we're just going to point out quick differences between a Flat Base vs Bowl Mount and how you might be able to get the best of both worlds using a Manfrotto Tripod Leveling Base.


If you're shopping for a Tripod, want having the ability to adjust height with a center column, but want the ease of leveling with a Half Ball, then check out the Manfrotto 755 which is available in Carbon Fiber or Aluminum (found here).

manfrotto 755 with Fluid HeadManfrotto 755CX
Learn-More-sm Manfrotto 755CX 755XB Half Ball Tripods

If you already have a tripod in mind, you can add a Leveling Base. There's a number of different types out there, but over the years, I still think the Manfrotto 438 is the more robust one available. But if you're working with a smaller tripod, smaller camera, then the smaller leveling bases would be a better fit (seen here).

camera tripod half ball levelingmafrotto 438 leveling basetripod leveling base
Learn-More-sm Half Ball Tripod Leveling Bases

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