Ryan writes in and shares another Video Matte box with dual 4x4 filter trays that has become available for budget shooters [Thanks Ryan]. It's listed as a 'Pro Compact Matte Box', but it should probably be re-named to 'Very Basic Matte Box'. On higher end Matte Boxes you will at least find a quick release clamp system or even swing away arm to make lens changes easier.
The inexpensive matte box comes with 15mm rail clamp, removable top and side flags, and various neoprene donuts. One listing states that at least one of the filter trays is rotatable for a polarizer, but it's hard to tell from the generic photos online. The matte box starts from $140+, found via eBay (click here).
Opteka just released a new Matte Box called the MBX. Product description states All metal construction, Folding french flags and adjustable side wings; Flattened shade for wide angle lenses, Fits industry standard 15mm supporting rods, Two 360-degree rotating filter trays support 4x5.65" filters, and Swing-away design to provide easy access to lenses.
I'm sure people are hoping to hear good things, as there are not many Matte Boxes out there to come in under the $250 dollar mark. You can find more about the new MBX MatteBox product via Amazon (Click Here).
Opteka MB-X Professional Matte Box Kit 15mm Rod System
It's a larger sized Matte Box but provides many more features over the D100 that some people might require. There's not much more I need to say as the video is pretty detailed in all the specs. [Thanks Joel] Trusmt video gear can be found on it's eBay store (click here).
A few days ago I posted about using Rubber Hoods as an inexpensive solution to shading your glass (as opposed to Matte Boxes). The LCW - Light Craft Workshop Digi Pro ND Filter starts with a 77mm thread and cones out to an 82mm thread. Since these ND filters can be pretty expensive, you can adapt one ND to several lenses by using cheap step up filter rings. The same idea goes for other filters like a CPL - Circular Polarizer. If you plan to do this, you want to make sure that you get the largest ND filter available to cover all your lenses. The one problem you'll run into is that you can no longer use the stock lens hood, so a cheap fix is to use these folding rubber lens hoods. Here's a look at how it all comes together.
When shopping for Step Up filters, make sure the first number is smaller than the second. There is such a thing as 'Step Down Filters' which you probably won't have much use for. Not sure about the thread size of your lens? Normally you'll find the information on the lens itself, but another tip is to look carefully for tiny numbers on the back of your Lens Cap. Rubber lens hoods can be for under $5 bucks (click here).
I don't suggest stacking a step up on top of another step up. This could work in a pinch, but it will have a slimmer profile if you use just one. I'm using a 77mm LCW Digi Pro Variable ND filter, so to save myself the headache, I ended up purchasing (2) of every filter size up to 77mm. There's only about 7 common sizes to cover most DSLR lenses you'll come across from 49mm-77mm, 52mm-77mm, 55mm-77mm, 58mm-77mm, 62mm-77mm, 67mm-77mm, and 72mm-77mm.. Depending on the size of the ND or CPL you're trying to adapt to, you might want to do the same. For Step up filter rings, they run as low as $1 dollar + Free shipping.
Here's a closer look at the TrusMT DSLR Follow Focus from Vimeo member HDSLR EQUIPMENT REVIEWS [Thanks Joel]. Looks like a solid build with adjustable hard stops, comes with different sized lens gears, an additional focus gear (possibly different pitch size), and the new version is designed with a better quick release 15mm clamp. You can find a variety of TrusMT equipment including cages, rigs, matteboxes, and of course the follow focus following the link (click here)
Hey remember that plastic MatteBox / Sunshade I mentioned about two months ago and said 'Don't do it!'? Still for only about $65 dollars, there were many people who picked up on it and said it served a purpose for what they needed it for (aesthetics?).
Well here we are just 60 days in from it's initial release and now it's received a major price slash, we're talking about half price plus FREE Shipping [Thanks Kenrik]. Some people charge just that on the 15mm clamp alone. I'm still not a fan of the thing, but to each their own. Now you can now find these plastic sunshades through a variety of sellers for the price they were first meant to be released at (click here).
Alright, when I see an item that's super duper crap not good stuff, it's not mentioned on this blog. Unfortunately I think i've received a hundred emails about RJ's new 'cheap' matte box and everyone seems so excited about it. So I feel I need to throw out a word of warning. I'm here to tell you it's terrible! not very good. Don't do it!
This is literally the first time i've posted a blog about something to say that it's a total waste of money (ok maybe my second time). In fact, I've seen this thing up close and personal and my suggestion is to try to avoid it at all costs. I don't think it should even be considered as a 'Matte Box'. It's barely even a decent sun shade. The plastic designed panels could reflect light back into the lens. It holds no filters so what's the use? The clamp will fall apart on you the first day with plastic knobs. There's my personal input and for those who might have bought into it, you might want to ask for a refund. Currently it's being sold pretty cheap through a seller jinfinance found below. Avoid buying is my take....
Wondlan's earliest DSLR products were pretty blah, but when they started pushing out their 'sniper' or 'target shooter' type rigs, they started making a bit of noise in the scene. My guess is they are doing pretty well since they are now expanding their lineup of previously only small parts. In 2011, here's one of their latest Full Shoulder rigs. Yes, everything you see above (except camera & battery pack) is part of the package including shoulder pad, extended handles, matte box, battery mount, top handle, LCD Monitor, and follow focus w/ whip. I personally don't think it's very aesthetically appealing in turquoise/silver, but Wondlan's new rigs are often being compared to Gini's quality. Current price not so exciting...
Another new product for Wondlan is their 'Leopard Vest system' (happy it's not in actual leopard print). The cheapest off the shelf vest systems still run over $1200, but are pretty much crap. If Wondlan's latest vest system is anything like their shoulder rig quality, the price doesn't seem too overkill.
It almost comes close to the total price of my Hybrid system using a Steadicam Vest & Glidecam HD4000. Wondlan's Leopard Vest system is spec'd out to handle 10 pound loads, comes with a Monitor and Matte Box (most likely does not come with a V mount battery). It will probably be a while before we see any video reviews on this, but if you happen to run into something, leave them in the comments.