Disclaimer: I help to design products for PhotographyandCinema.com. The article below is information about the new P&C GearBox. There are many other great DSLR style cages available within articles of this blog that you may also want to consider.
There are many High End, Super Heavy, Robust video cages available for the Professional market, but we found a lack of more affordable options for smaller style video cameras such as the Sony NEX-7 or Popular GH2. The P&C GearBox is designed to be simple, lightweight, modular, and of course - affordable.
The GearBox has a solid metal bottom and top bracket with several 1/4-20 mounting options for your accessories such as an LED video light, Portable Recorder, HDMI LCD Monitor, Microphone, Wireless Receivers, etc. To take up minimal space in a bag when packing up or traveling, the GearBox can easily be disassembled with a single Hex driver.
The GearBox will support a quick release plate underneath if you want to mount the rig onto a Tripod. Extension adapters are provided to support taller cameras, or if you want to add a quick release system into the cage unit allowing you easy removal of your camera body. The rubber coated side handles provide a non-slip comfortable grip and are spaced further apart to add stability for hand-held shooting styles. Interested in a Rail System? Soon to be released is the 15mm Rod adapter (sneak peek here).
NAB2012 - SmallHD announces 2 new DP7 LCD Monitors to add to their lineup and also a very clever molded 5D Mark II HDMI lock that attaches to the D-Ring (normally where the camera strap resides), and still provides access to all your other inputs. Currently I have the SmallHD DP4 (EVF) and the DP6 which works perfectly in our workflow. I don't know if i'll be able to afford the new DP7 LCD monitors, but i'm sure in for the HDMI lock. The information will be available at SmallHD.com
Finally! The focus assist on the SmallHD DP4 caused the screen to go fairly dark, and although you could see the focus assist lines, you couldn't really see what you were focusing on! They made the feature much better in the DP6 through a recent firmware update, and now they've made it available for the smaller DP4. Information below, but as usual check with the SmallHD website for any known issues about upgrading your firmware.
SmallHD is happy to announce the release of DP4 Firmware Update V1.2.
This is our latest effort to add more value to your investment and provide the tools to help you do your job even better.
New Features and Fixes
* Focus Assist + has been added to replace Focus Assist (Menu>Advanced>Focus Assist) While the old Focus Assist worked well to achieve critical focus, it darkened the image beyond comfortable viewing levels. The new “Focus Assist+” enhances the in-focus areas even more while retaining the image much more than the original Focus Assist. This is an excellent new tool to help you achieve accurate focus quickly and efficiently.
* Improved accuracy of the Nikon Preset (Preset>N DSLR REC) Enjoy the benefits of a full screen image while recording with your Nikon camera.
* Custom Scales will now be saved after using 1:1 Mapping (Menu>Advanced>Custom Scale. Menu>Advanced>1:1 Mapping) Use 1:1 Mapping confidently knowing that the Custom Scale settings that you have set will still be there where you are done.
* Menu Flip function fixed (Menu>System>Menu Flip)
Some BTS of a DIY stabilizer we put together last minute. Working with the GoPro 3D Rig we wanted to get an unusually low tracking shot. A wheeled dolly would have a hard time in the urban streets, so a slightly modified Flycam Nano was the solution. The Flycam Nano received an extension below to hold the GoPro 3D Rig, and an extra GoPro was used to output the video up to the SmallHD DP6 monitor. A few counterweights taped to the top was added to balance it all together. I need to get the awesome footage from the GoPros later..it was quite amazing to get flying shots at that super wide low angle..
First look at the two most popular EVFs on the market side by side. Surprisingly not a 'major' size difference, nor a huge weight difference. The Z-EVF is super lightweight, but when used with the Zacuto Z-Finder it adds on a bit. Note: I have no affiliation nor have I ever received any items from SmallHD or Zacuto. Now that the SmallHD DP4 was available, I purchased both the DP4-EVF and Z-EVF Flip to see which of these would best fit into my workflow. Whichever I choose would be my personal opinion on what works best for my situation. These are just my initial thoughts while I piece these two together for a more thorough review. More to come soon enough..
Now that the SmallHD DP4 and Zacuto EVF have made electronic viewfinders for DSLRs (somewhat) affordable, you'll see some popularity around straight inline shoulder rigs. Popular DSLR rigs used an offset to place the entire camera in front of the operator. Although DSLRs are light weight, once you add a few items like recorders, lights, microphones, and follow focuses, you're managing a few pounds over the hands. Pretty tiring and less stable.
Like conventional video cameras, the straight inline rigs align all of the heavy weight over the shoulder (better on your back) and less outwards over the hands. Only the EVF needs to be positioned in front of the operators eye. Straight inline DSLR shoulder rigs + an EVF can help you towards building a more balanced, stable rig, not to mention overall lighter on the hands. If you're not looking into an expensive EVF, you can still offset an inexpensive small LCD monitor (as seen above).
Instead of dropping a few grand with a Redrock config, there's a few similar rigs you might want to look into over at Express35. These straight inline shoulder rigs are bundled with a comfortable contoured shoulder pad and counterweight. These are well designed for EVF or small LCD monitor use. (seen above). You can find those rigs at the site (click here). If all you're looking for is a DSLR baseplate, Tripod Mount, and a basic rail set for your Follow Focus, there's also a weekend sale on the basic rail set going on right now too found here.
First look at what's in the box with the Small HD DP4-EVF. First impression, this thing is much bigger than I anticipated. It's a very nice external monitor, and sadly it might be enough to replace my DP6 (might be up for sale soon?). The menu with the click wheel on top, is the same as the SmallHD DP6 allowing you to change through a variety of features. Also included is the Focus Peaking and False color to help you with exposure. If you're familiar with the SmallHD DP6 features, you'll fall in love with the DP4 as both an external monitor solution and as an EVF. So the question on everyone's mind is, how does the Small HD DP4 hold up to the Zacuto Z-EVF? I don't have a Zacuto ZEVF to compare it to right now (yet), but i'll leave the comments open if someone has something to say, and i'll have more of my opinions in a bit. You can find more about SmallHD DP4-EVF following this link.
Oh and the Diopter for the Small HD DP4 question? Thanks for the comments, The SmallHD DP4 uses 46mm thread on 'Close up' Filters a.k.a Macro Filters (like Cinevate's Cyclops). These Close up filters come in a variety of magnifications like +1 to +4 or more. Found below.