We just received our Canon Cine Zooms back from Matthew Duclos of Duclos Lenses and we have to say these mounts have exceeded our expectations.

Whilst having the notion of interchangable mounts is not a new idea, for example the Zeiss CP.2 range of prime cine lenses. What is somewhat new is the ease of interchangeability from one format to another. The process is as literal as unscrewing a cap on a coke bottle. If you have ever changed the mounts on the Zeiss CP.2′s you will know this is a stark contrast. Going through the pain staking process of trial and error to conform the back focus adjustment using the colour coded shims, a calibrated torx wrench, so that the focus markings on the barrel are meaningful is just the start.

Duclos have engineered not only the technical specification of making these interchangeable mounts work, but also integrated the practicality of the mount changes.

These Canon Cine Zooms should be sold with these MultiMounts as standard in our view (hint hint Canon!), it would make a perfect marriage.

 

MultiMount Procedure

Duclos MultiMount Install Process

Another amazing feature which was important to us when we decided to proceed with the Duclos MultiMount’s is that the entire transformation process is non-destructive.

The process can be reversed back to Canon standard specification. I’m not sure why you would want to, but this option is available.

Canon Cine Z MultiMount

Canon Cine Z MultiMount 2

 

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Today we’ll be doing a little test of the two Canon 135mms; the Canon EF 135mm f/2 L USM and the Canon CN-E 135mm T2.2 L F Cinema Prime Lens. I’m a big fan of the 135mm f/2 L USM having replaced my 70-200mm F2.8 IS, favouring it for its’ compact size and brilliant optics. Shooting wide open still yields super sharp results, especially for my full body automotive and wedding portraiture shots. This is something that I wouldn’t normally do with an EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM for example due to its slower focusing speed and softer image quality when wide open. But that does come down to personal preference and there are some who can master the little glob of silicon and fluoride.

Canon has since released the Cinema range of lenses, with primes coming in at around $5k a pop each, which begs the question; how much better are the cinema lenses compared to the normal L series and is it worth it?

First lets compare the builds of the two.

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One is skinny.

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And one is fat.

The EF 135mm f/2 L USM is obviously designed for photography featuring a mostly plastic construction and a non-stopping focus ring which may make focus pulling more difficult. The CN-E 135mm T2.2 L features a full metal body construction and the weight difference is quite apparent coming in at 1.4kg vs the 750g of its smaller brother. Smooth mechanical focus and aperture rings also complement the build of the cinema lens making iris and focus pulling a breeze. The bright markings and the anodised finish on the cinema lens also ensures that you’ll be able to read markings easily and also lets you stand out in the crowd.

Is it better optically?

Center Test

 Center @ 100% Crop

A little. Looking at some optics testing charts, both are razor sharp in the center and the EF 135mm f/2 L USM falls behind a little in the corners as the CN-E 135mm has a bit more resolution over all. Aberrations were also much less noticeable in the CN-E 135mm compared to the photography equivalent. That said I’d be comfortable with the image quality from both lenses with any production.

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 Corner Test Shots @ 100% Crop

So why shouldn’t I save my pennies and go with the little guy?

Because you want the very best. Even if you are paying 1000% for a 1% improvement, the CN-E has a certain charisma about it. Operating the CN-E lens is also much easier in terms of iris and focus pulling as the mechanical build gives much finer control and feedback. Since the EF 135mm f/2 L USM was designed for photography, the focus ring does have a bit of play with it and so getting spot on focus with wide open apertures can be a bit finnicky. Testing was also limited to a very controlled environment so real world conditions may also vary, either way, you shouldn’t be disappointed by either.

Another issue to look out for is when focus pulling, frame shift is minimal on the CN-E range of lenses, hence the higher price tag due to the design of thee optics. Since photography lenses were designed to capture a single frame, frame shifting whilst focusing isn’t a priority.

 

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Shooting a lens with a lens; Canon EOS 1D-C w/ Canon CN-E 135mm T2.2 @ 1/80, F2.0, ISO200

In the end, the smaller Canon EF 135mm f/2 L USM is a great choice for those who want something fast and crisp whilst on a budget, but when you’re given a blank cheque, there’s no going past the Canon CN-E 135mm T2.2 L F Cinema Prime Lens.

The Arri Alexa has long been one of the kings of the professional cinema camera world, ever since its release back in 2010. It also has a huge number of films under its belt such as The Avengers and Skyfall. 

However, according to Moore’s laws, we should have a camera that’s about two and a half times more powerful by now. Well, Arri is proudly introducing the AMIRA, a versatile documentary style camera designed for the modern shooter to deliver the best possible image quality in the shortest and efficient time possible.

That said, the Amira isn’t quite an Alexa replacement as Arri will continue to support their flagship for some time. The good news is that the Amira is a very capable camera in itself with preloaded 3D LUTs, in camera grading and a framerate of up to 200fps. Great for filming your mates stacking in the snow; which the camera can handle of course thanks to a more ruggest construction.

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Today we have in store the IDX CW7 Uncompressed Wireless HD Transmission System  which allows full uncompressed HD outputs wireless from your camera to a recorder or a monitor.

As you can see, the kit itself is pretty simple. Just two slabs of plastic, each with a dial, some HD-SDI ports and IDX’s signature V-Lock mounting plates.
Yep. That’s about it. So simple, you can operate this thing without even looking at the manual. Not that many men do so in the first place anyway.

 

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Ok if you’re still confused by its simplicity, all you do is mount a V-lock battery or a 4 pin XLR to power the unit, plug your SDI inputs and outputs to the respective transmitter and receiver and you’re done. The system has 4 channel selections or a dynamic frequency selection mode and both units will automatically communicate with each other and link up. A simple LED interface also shows whether the units are connected or not.

Once hooked up, you’ll be able to transmit up to 50 metres line of sight of full uncompressed HD footage.

 

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Another great feature is the follow through system for power. You can hook it up between the camera and the V-Lock battery as picture which eliminates the need for messy cables or complicated rigging setups.

A couple of short BNC cables is all that is needed to output from the camera into the transmitter and another output from the transmitter into an external monitor should you need another viewing option.

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The receiver also features a similar system as the transmitter. We’ve hooked it up to a Marshall 8.4″ LCD monitor which also has a V-Lock port on the back so we can power both the monitor and the receiver with just the one battery. And a short BNC to output from the receiver to the monitor.

 

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The unit itself can be a little pricey but you are paying for a well thought out piece of kit, resulting in cleaner setups and better peace of mind. If you also have one of these on set, you’ll certainly stir up some jealousy amongst your mates (the camera geek ones anyway.)

 

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Ok so we’ve just gotten this trippy little device in. What is it you might ask? Is it a geiger counter? Or is it an electric shaver?

 

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Actually it’s the Zoom H6 audio recorder and fans of the Zoom H4n will rejoice at all the new improvements and features that have been introduced. First up we open the neat little bento style box packaging to reveal the H6 unit and a bunch of attachments.

 

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Immediately you’ll notice the unit it self is microphone-less as one of the biggest changes is the interchangeable microphone system. The old h4n featured an in built stereo microphone which was handy for those who needed some quality audio on the go. Zoom has taken it a step further by allowing users to outfit the H6 to their specifications with different attachments such as the traditional dual X/Y microphone or a shotgun unit. There is even an attachment to add two more XLR ports so you can capture 6 channels of audio at any one time.

 

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The H6 unit also improves upon build quality such as the brushed aluminium front fascia and a more solid and moulded rubber body. One little niggle would be the slightly weak SD card flap, similar to the old H4n, but hopefully won’t see any problems unless treated roughly.

 

NT__3506Power options remain the same, using four AA batteries to power the unit and Zoom claims to to squeeze out at least 20 hours of continuous recording from the AAs. There is also the option for phantom power on the unit but this will no doubt affect battery life depending on the setup. Nonetheless, it’s always good to have a decent set of AAs ready just in case. Along with the AC adaptor, there’s still the option to power the H6 via a mini USB port which can come in handy if you happen to have a laptop nearby.

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Other improvements also include the colour LCD display, providing a more user friendly GUI. I also came across a neat little function which can test the performance of your SD card. It does take a little bit of time to test a card but it does help to give peace of mind by removing the possibility of corrupted data on a bad card. It would also be nice to see the inclusion of a dual slot recording for back up reasons.

 

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There are four built in XLR ports, two on each side of the H6 and each with matching volume control dials which makes adjustments a breeze with the onscreen levels. Each of the external microphone attachments also have their own control dials which makes logical sense when operating the H6.

 

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The Zoom H6 brings along a lot of welcome improvements to anyone’s arsenal of equipment and we can see this unit hanging around for a while.

Check it out instore today or on our store website here!

 

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Along with our Canon Cine Zooms lenses as seen here, we’ve added a couple of new Canon cine primes to our family, increasing the range from 14mm to 135mm. 

The Canon CN-E 14mm T3.1 is an ultra wide angle prime lens which can cover the full frame format, making it ideal for a story telling or establishing lens. The CN-E 14mm T3.1 also features 11 diaphragm blades to produce a smooth aperture circle, ensuring beautiful bokeh circles. The front barrel also features a petal type cut since the lens is so wide.

 

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The Canon CN-E 135mm T2.2 L F Cinema prime also shares the same design standards with the other lenses in the range to match gear positions, diameters and rotation angles. The CN-E 135mm in conjunction with its super wide T2.2 aperture will produce superb portraiture, isolating the subject with a creamy smooth bokeh background.

 

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The lenses in conjunction with a 4K capable camera will produce spectacular images that are certain to wow your audience.

Check it out in store today or give us a call for a quote for your next production!

 

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Introducing a couple of new additions to our family. We’re yet to put them through its paces but, for the moment, let’s enjoy a little eye candy while it’s all nice and fresh.

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 The Canon CN-E 30-105mm PL Cine Zoom lens and Canon CN-E15.5-47mm PL Cine Zoom lens both feature a nice and bright f2.8 aperture for those low light situations along with the latest in optics technology to deliver sharp, crisp consistent images throughout its focal range.

 
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 Bright markings are used on the lens for easier reading and operation. They’ve also been designed on an angle so that it’s easier to read them from behind the camera.

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A precisely engineered mechanical design also ensures for smooth pull focusing and zooming.

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Check the Canon CN-E 30-105mm here and Canon CN-E15.5-47mm here on our store website!

 

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It’s not the size that matters…. it’s how you use it. Right? Well actually size does matter when it comes to sensor sizes and one of Canon’s latest offerings is the Canon 6D which packs a full frame sensor into a smaller and more affordable form factor.

Previously, if you want a full frame digital camera, the Canon 1Ds and 5D series and Nikon’s D3 and D700 had dominated the market, featuring price tags that would discourage some enthusiast and most amateurs. Now manufacturers are recognising that photographers and videographers want the awesomeness of a full frame camera but still want to keep the other kidney when it does come in handy.

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To sum up the differences between the Canon 6D and 5D mark III quickly, the Canon 6D has two less megapixels, has 11 AF points compared to 61, a relatively crippled AF system, uses SD cards instead of CF, has a “right hand” only button layout, a smaller and not as vibrant screen and it’s packaged into a smaller lighter body.

In a sense, it’s a cut down 5D mark III with all the bare essentials plus a gizmo or two.

Gizmos? Why yes indeed, my mysterious reader friend. The Canon 6D introduces a built-in GPS and WiFi system. The GPS allows for geotagging which is great for keeping track of your travel photos or if you want to let people know your last whereabouts when they find your body 50 years later because you took a adventurous leap in a canyon and got your hand stuck under a rock.

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The WiFi system is an interesting new feature which allows for connectivity to WiFi networks, tablets and smartphones. This opens up a new workflow for untethered setups. You can even monitor a live feed and shoot remotely using the EOS Remote app for iphone and android. There’s still a little bit of lag when shooting via a wireless feed and it’s limited to photos only but its a start to something really cool in the future.

The Canon 6D delivers virtually identical levels of image quality compared to the 5D mark III which is quite impressive. Some high ISO tests show a slight improvement in  performance from the Canon 6D over the 5D III but when it comes to real world usage the difference is negligible to the human eye. Most of these high ISO shots are at insane levels such as 51200 and 102400 which normally don’t see much usage.

The autofocus system is an improvement over the 5D mark II but after using the 5D mark III, sometimes you can’t really go backwards. As a photographer, you’d prefer the 5D mark III for the extra AF cross points for improved focus lock in darker areas and for composition whereas most of the time you’ll be stuck on the 6D’s only cross sensor; the center point. It’s not to say that you can’t focus, lock and recompose but the extra AF points does improve accuracy and speed where it’s needed. Cinematographers need not stress too much since a lot of focusing is done manually. Besides you’ll probably be using some delicious Canon Cine primes on there.

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The Canon 6D features a smaller form factor and a simplified build to help keep costs down. The smaller form factor makes it ideal for those who like to travel while the moulded grip still offers good ergonomics. Great for run and gun moments where you’re blasting along shooting one handed. In fact, shooting dangerously out the side of a three wheeled tuktuk was a great way to test the rolling shutter which was virtually non-existant.

The LCD is also slightly smaller at 3.0″ versus 3.2″ which isn’t too bad, especially if you’re used to the 5D mark II. The extra resolution is welcome but the colour space isn’t quite so. On one shoot, I panicked a bit when the images weren’t quite turning out on my 6D. However I noticed when switched the card into my 5D mark III the images were fine. This is probably one of the areas that Canon had skimped on a bit in order to keep costs down. This is fine as you can still review whether your shots were in focus or not so you can keep shooting first then cry later when you get home when you realise how awesome you really aren’t.

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Oh and about the crying, I’m finding that cameras of this generation from both the Canon and Nikon camps are getting better and better. You really can’t go wrong and it’s getting harder and harder to blame the camera nowadays. Not that I needed to in the first place…

The guys at Freefly Systems (http://freeflysystems.com/) have developed a new tool for the cinema industry called the ”MōVI.” What is it you might ask?

It has to be the coolest thing ever. Kinda like when the segway first came out. Actually the game changer back then was expected to be a cold fusion device… but we’ll make do. Well now we have a mobile gyroscopically stabilised platform for digital cinema cameras. In other words, a steadicam system that anyone can use within minutes. Yes, minutes. True story.

Don’t believe me? Well have a look at this short clip.

 

 

Yes, it is someone performing some sort of sorcery with a Red Epic and a Canon Cine lenses attached to it. No doubt you have the urge to now perform some of this sorcery.

Vincent Laforet got his lucky paws on a kit and filmed a short, entirely handheld with the MōVI, a Canon EOS 1D-C, a Canon Cine 24mm 1.3 Prime and a Zeiss 18mm CP.2.

 

Here is also a behind the scenes look at the making of the short

As you can see, the MōVI is a super versatile rig with it uses only limited by the imagination. Does this spell the end of Steadicams and Glidecams? I don’t think so… traditional steadicams will still have their place in the industry for those who need those extended shots. Unless Freefly comes out with a vest for the MōVI, steadicams with vests are still a much better option for those who needed to operate something as heavy as a fully rigged Alexa or bigger.

At the moment, the MōVI does command a fairly steep price tag but hopefully we can grab a kit or two in the shop for some affordable rentals ;)

My boss loves to go on shopping sprees. And he somehow ended up with this. A Lowel Creator DV kit. You know when you open up a treasure chest and this mystical golden glow comes out of it? Well this doesn’t happen in this kit. Unless you plug it in and light it up.

The Lowel DV Creator kit mainly consists of three sets of lights; a 250W, 500W and a 800W. Stands, filters and diffusers are also provided in the kit which gives a great array of setup options.

The great thing about this kit is that it’s neatly packaged into a small form factor, making it ideal for on location shoots or when the idea of lugging around the mythical 4K Tungsten is daunting enough. One small tradeoff though comes with the lightstands, sufficient in most situations but when you need height above 2.4 metres, it’s ideal to pack your own just in case.

Now the lights. Interestingly you get three differently designed lights. The first is the smallest 250W I-Light which features a small steel frame. I like to use this as my main spot light, usually on the main speech giver or on a bridal couple’s first dance. Oh and this is used for both photography and videography. It’s so much easier to see what I’m shooting rather than trying to guess where a flash bounce might end up.

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Then there’s the 500W Omni Light which is a bigger flood light. Packing almost the same punch as the Arri 650Ws but again in a much smaller package. This is great to tuck into a corner somewhere just to give a bit of ambience or secondary fill when a room is a little under lit. The Omni Light can also be focused into a beam for bouncing onto ceilings, to give some nice ambience. Maybe Lowel should make a Batman filter for it… you know to make a portable bat signal…

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Finally the 800W Tota Light which is almost skeletal in design but outputs the brightest light. In fact a cage is provided which should be used in most situations in the event it does blow as the the bulb itself is exposed. This light is ideally used for larger fill or bounce situations. As the light itself is very bare, care should be taken when striking as it can really pack a punch.

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The Lowel DV Creator kit can be hired here! At just $50 a day ex. GST, it’s an absolute bargain for budget shooters who want some quality lighting gear.