Equipment Reviews

13 Comments

Lately i'm hearing about many videographers investing in LED lighting especially to add a bit more light during dimly lit wedding receptions. Wedding Photographers are probably quite familiar with CheetahStand Light Stands, but young video shooters may not be as aware.

To understand why these light stands are so special check out the old video below from the CheetahStand company, and another product overview from YouTube member Shuttertastic.

In a crowded event where you need to setup a light (or two) and quickly move around, you can see how beneficial these stands could be. If your work does not require you to setup and move light stands very often, it's probably not worth investing in as the prices start close to $90 each for the C8 (8ft) version. You can find CheetahStand light stands sold via Adorama (found here).

Adorama Cheetah Light Stands
CheetahStand C8 & C12 Light Stands via Adorama

16 Comments

If you're shooting video with the Panasonic GH3, I highly advise you take a look at the Fhugen GH3 Video Cage. It's compact enough that you can leave your camera in there the entire time, and will give you more mounting points for adding on those necessary accessories. One question that comes up often is 'How do you add rails to the Fhugen Cage?'.

Although there isn't a dedicated 15mm rod adapter for the cage, the design is straight forward much like the tripod mount under your camera. You can mount it to a variety of baseplates that support 15mm rails (and yes it will be optically centered).

In the example above i'm using the PNCGear MP-2 dual rod baseplate (found here). There are height adjustments on the MP-2 if you need to make your rails slightly higher or lower. The baseplate can be used in any direction, but here I have the logo on the side of the LCD screen. Under the baseplate is enough tripod mounts to add your quick release plate of choice for tripod mounting.

fhugen_honu_cage_gh3_hero
Fhugen Honu Video Cage for Panasonic GH3 Cameras
Dual_Rod_Camera_Mounting_Plate_w_Tripod_Mount_large
MP-2 Dual 15mm Rail Baseplate
15mm rails
(2) 15mm Rails for Baseplate

10 Comments

Apparently this does happen, and it could happen to you. Right now, i've lost two of the locking knobs which fit the pan handle on the Manfrotto Video Heads 701HDV, and the one found on the 561BHDV-1 Video Monopod.

Manfrotto Knob Locking Pan Handle Video Head replacement Video Head Replacement knob for Manfrotto Video Head 701HDV 561BHDV

Luckily they do carry Manfrotto replacement knobs at B&H in case you happen to run into the same problem.

Manfrotto Replacement Pan Handle Locking Knob Video Fluid Head
find-price-button Replacement Pan Handle Locking Knob Manfrotto Video Head

If those little buggers are out of stock, you can always go for the entire Pan Handle part via Amazon (found here).

replacement pan handle manfrotto 701hdv
find-price-button Manfrotto Replacement Pan Handle for 701HDV Video Fluid Head

10 Comments

Recently we had the opportunity to take the Senna One Minute XL Crane out for a spin. The XL version can be used in a shorter configuration (approx 10ft) or with the full length extension (approx 14ft). The name is derived from the fact that one person can literally setup the entire crane in one minute.

There's a very small learning curve during the first assembly, but your second time around should be a breeze. For many large cranes, you may end up spending extra money on a solid tripod or a very large fluid head. One benefit is the Senna One Minute XL Crane comes with it's own custom tripod with panning base and custom tripod dolly.

The system is ready-to-run (minus counterweights). Every single piece on the Senna One Minute XL Crane serves a very specific purpose which makes for a very straight forward assembly and tear down - without the need for tools.

For more information about Senna products, check out their website at http://www.Senna.hr (click here).

Senna One Minute XL Crane Video Jib
find-price-button Senna One Minute XL Crane

8 Comments

Here's a look at two new Edelkrone Products to compliment SliderPlus+(v2) video sliders. The first new product demonstrates Target Module which can track a subject as the camera moves across the slider.

Target Control SliderPLus Edelkrone
Edelkrone Target Module

Next is the Wizard Module that adds motion control to the SliderPlus+(v2) with the ability to record and replay your movements.

Edelkrone Sliderplus Wizard module Motion Control
Edelkrone Wizard Module

For more information on these Edelkrone products, check out the website at http://Edelkrone.com

19 Comments

Here's something fun I was playing with earlier, which could be of interest to those who travel with small cameras but want a little more out of them. In this setup, i'm adding a Raynox Ultra Macro Adapter to the RX100 Mark II. Since this version has a hot shoe, why not throw on a Macro LED light? Here's the results from my setup.

This is the closest the Sony RX100 Mark II can focus on a US Quarter.
quarter

Here's how close I can focus with the Raynox Macro Adapter.
quarter-macro

Now i've tried a variety of other Macro filters (diopters), and various techniques, these Raynox Adapters I feel have the best quality smallest, and simplest setup. FYI, In order to use this Raynox adapter it needs to attach to a 'zoom' lens with a threaded filter. You need to zoom into the adapter to get the macro effect.

RX100 Filter Holder Adapter Macro Raynox
find-price-button Raynox Super Macro Lens Adapter

The Sony RX100 does not offer a threaded filter, so to mount the Raynox you would need to grab the PNC MagFilter. The MagFilter can be used on virtually any point-n-shoot camera that lacks filter threads. A very thin metal ring adheres to the camera's lens and a special Magnetic Filter Holder quickly snaps in place. The design keeps your compact camera 'compact' as it should be. Not only handy for this Macro adapter, but to also add CPL, ND, or other creative filters.

MagFilter_Threaded_large
find-price-button PNCGear MagFilter System 52mm, 5mm, 58mm Threaded Adapter

The camera is literally on top of the quarter so it blocks light, plus it's a good idea to stop down your aperture in macro mode. Adding an LED Macro light helps shed light on the subject. It's a bit spotty, but i'm using this super cheap flexible LED Macro light (found here).

LED Macro Light Flexible
find-price-button Flexible Shoe Mount LED Macro Light

26 Comments

Here's a side by side video test showing samples from a Panasonic GH3 with and without the new Lens Turbo Focal Reducer. We used a newer Rokinon 85mm T/1.5 Cine Lens [Nikon Mount] + and old Nikon 50mm Pancake. With the Lens Turbo adapter we were able to achieve a wider field of view and an increase in exposure.

Obviously YouTube has added compression to the video, but if you want to be a pixel peeper, you can download a better version of this edited video from my Vimeo Channel (here).

I think the image quality achieved from this (Speedbooster alternative) adapter delivered decent results for the price. The Metabones Speedbooster will run about $489 dollars (here), versus this Lens Turbo which can now be found under $139 US (here).

Of course we're just using a consumer grade Rokinon Cine Lens, and an old $50 dollar lens from eBay. There's no doubt this adapter won't match up to the quality of the Metabones products. Anyone using serious glass worth thousands of dollars might as well pony up the extra cash for the Metabones MFT M43 Speedbooster (found here).

Metabones Speed Booster MFT M43 Nikon Adapter
find-price-button Metabones SpeedBooster Nikon to M43 MFT

If you're a casual video shooter looking to get a wider field of view and increased light through your common glass, I think you'll be happy with the Lens Turbo. I'll probably go out and take a bunch of high resolution still images on the next outing, but for now let's hear a few comments about these first video test results. What did you guys think so far? [Comment]

For more info, you can find the Lens Turbo MFT Focal Reducer adapter available now via eBay (click here).

Mitakon_AI_m43_MFT-Nikon_Focal_reducer_speed_booster
find-price-button Lens Turbo Focal Reducer Nikon to MFT Micro Four Thirds Adapter

44 Comments

I've had this Mitakon Lens Turbo MFT Adapter for a almost a week and I am just getting ready to publish a video showing some examples from this. Recently I noticed an increase of questions and the amount 'buzz' picking up around the Internet, so I wanted to quickly provide some additional important information. THIS ADAPTER WILL NOT WORK ON THE #BMPCC BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera. It simply will not fit or attach to the camera.

If you're not familiar with this adapter, it's similar to the Metabones Speed Booster (found here) (but less than half the price). Always a concern on smaller MFT cameras is the cropped sensor. The Lens Turbo adapter offers a wider field of view on these smaller sensor cameras and also increases your Aperture by 1 F-Stop. Your lenses are now wider and faster!

Metabones Speed Booster MFT M43 Nikon Adapter
find-price-button Metabones SpeedBooster Nikon to M43 MFT

Right now the Lens Turbo MFT / M43 adapter fits Nikon (F, G, Ai, Ai-s, E) manual lenses and should work perfectly on your Panasonic GH3 or BlackMagic Cinema Camera MFT mount (not Pocket Cinema). How well does it actually perform? Give me a few days, and you'll see a video with a variety of examples.

For more info, you can find the Lens Turbo MFT Focal Reducer adapter available now via eBay (click here).

Mitakon_AI_m43_MFT-Nikon_Focal_reducer_speed_booster
find-price-button Lens Turbo Focal Reducer Nikon to MFT Micro Four Thirds Adapter

11 Comments

Earlier I tested the CAME 5000 stabilizer with a Panasonic GH3 (found here). These new stabilizers work best when your camera is perfectly balanced. There was no instruction manual on how to properly balance a camera on this stabilizer, but I think i've figured it out.

So here's a very quick follow up video on how to balance a camera on a 3 Axis Brushless Motorized Gimbal Stabilizer. I'm just using a DIY Frame with a bunch of 15mm Rails, clamps, and friction arms to hold up the Gimbal. However you manage to hold up your stabilizer, try to keep it as level as possible before starting your balancing steps.

Now that I think my camera is balanced much better, i'll have to take her out for a spin again. In case you're just dropping in on this article, you can see my first test run (with an imbalanced camera) at the following article: First Impression – CAME 5000 3-Axis Brushless Motor Gimbal Video Stabilizer

[Tip] This tutorial is not limited to these motorized gimbals for video. If you're a photographer working with a large lens, the procedures found in the video can also be used to balance Photography Specific Camera Gimbals (found here via eBay).

Photo Lens GimbalCamera Gimbal