Category: Latest News

Sony FS700 Mk II

The image leaked by a Chinese site (Filmaker.cn) shows what looks like a 4K XAVC recording FS700 successor. Via RedShark News

Leaked blurry smartphone images are all over the web yet again!

This could be the FS700 successor, although in reality we don’t know anything beyond that it records 4K to an internal XAVC codec and appears to use E-mount lenses, the leak offers some tantalising prospects…

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Speed Booster ULTRA

The Speed Booster ULTRA features the latest evolution of optics from Caldwell Photographic USA and is available for E-Mount and Fuji X-mount cameras (to cover APS-C or Super 35mm recording areas).

The new glass brings with it an increase in performance – sharper corners and better contrast. The increase in performance over the original Speed Booster is made possible by the use of cutting edge high index tantalum glass, in 5 elements in 4 groups; the old version of Speed Booster will be phased out.

I currently have a review sample of the ULTRA, I’ll publish some sample images later today!

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Sony RX10 / A7R

When I reviewed it earlier this year I found the RX10 to be an excellent shot getter – but it was also a shot loser as well due to the weak AVCHD implementation. Many of my images suffered from too much mud and a break-up of detail in certain situations. So this is very welcome news from Sony. The V2.0 RX10 firmware adds 50Mbit/s XAVC-S codec and just as excitingly 120fps for slow-mo, making the RX10 a very interesting creative prospect because of the very effective stabilisation, long lens range, built in ND filter and a sensor with a full pixel readout.

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View the Sony F5 ‘out of the box’ specs at B&H here (and add 4K for free)

Paul Ream (Twitter) has spoken about his simple unlocking technique for the F5 to unlock 4K XAVC recording.

It doesn’t even require a firmware update.

Via Philip Bloom on Facebook and Paul Ream on the ExtraShot Podcast

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First impressions review

The long awaited active Canon EF mount Speed Booster adapter for Micro Four Thirds is finally here. I have a review sample, currently putting it through a few shoots to see how it performs. This is not the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera version but the general Micro Four Thirds mount adapter, so fully compatible with all Panasonic and Olympus cameras including the GH4 and E-M1. Finally you can use all your Canon lenses with full electronic support for aperture control and stabilisation.

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OM-D E-M1

Sometimes the rumour mill is just so outrageous. I am not talking about the site admins (don’t shoot the messenger) but rather some of the sources who feed absolutely made up information. You may have heard the rumours of the Olympus E-M1 getting a 4K video firmware update, but 4K video on the E-M1 is a technical impossibility and here’s why…

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Iscorama anamorphic

An Iscorama owner and interested in joining this project? Simply email me here

The Iscorama is a wonder of vintage optics. No focus breathing, a unique patented focus mechanism, small size and sharp at fast apertures. The beauty is the sheer number of primes you can use it with. Whilst an Iscorama may look expensive at $3000 a pop (used!), a full set of Zeiss master anamorphics cost an eye watering $305,000 ($43,600 per lens).

Now it’s about to become even better, but only if we club together as Iscorama users to make this happen…

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A7S with Metabones Smart EF adapter

Update on the update: Firmware update app is currently Windows only, Mac version available within the next 24hrs

Metabones have announced a firmware update for their Smart EF Mark IV adapter (E-Mount). This is a must-have update for A7S users who have experienced buggy behaviour with their camera using Canon lenses.

The firmware update is available from Metabones here along with full instructions.

If you have the earlier Mark III version of the adapter the firmware update must be done back at base. To do this users should contact Metabones to arrange the return.

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On a trip to Pinewood Studios I saw for the first time Sony A7S 4K footage projected in a theatre. The surprise was just how well the 1080p held up for cinematic projection. I also had my hands on the Atomos Shogun 4K recorder / 7″ monitor, the new Sony PXW X70 1″ camcorder with 10bit XAVC codec and more…

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I shot ‘Nomad’ with my friend Susanna and the Sony A7S a few days ago, in 120fps slow-mo mode.

Light sources were only a candle, iPhone torch and an old industrial German desk lamp with red filter on the front. I am amazed at the clean results. ISO levels were pushing on for 12,800 in most of the shots.

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I’ve had the A7S for over a week now and can share my initial thoughts, even some firm conclusions. Here’s one I’ve come to already – the Sony A7S is the best consumer camera Sony have ever made.

For $2500 the video performance of the A7S sits between the FS700 ($8000) and F5 ($17,000) yet the full frame sensor lends more character and allows for groundbreaking low light performance.

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Only a few years ago S-LOG was a $3800 upgrade for the Sony CineAlta F3, itself a $15,000 camera. S-LOG made its debut on the Sony F35, a workhorse of Hollywood.

Now Sony have put this on a $2500 consumer camera along with the best full frame sensor I have ever used for video. How good is it? Very!!

I am sharing a pack of LUTs for the A7S which can be applied in Premiere, Resolve, etc. for an instant cinematic look to your A7S S-LOG 2 footage.

Download

Three LUTs are provided in the zip. Dynamic – for best dynamic range, will suit a low contrast shot requiring high dynamic range and plenty of shadow detail. Also good for low light. Vivid will give a punchier look to those shots that benefit from it like a sunset and where some dynamic range can be scarified for higher contrast and saturation. S-GAMUT is for when shooting S-LOG with the Color Mode of S-GAMUT and compensates for the purple tint to reds I find I am getting in this mode. For the Dynamic and Vivid LUTs you must set the camera colour mode in PP7 to ITU709 Matrix.

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Sony A7S with Atomos Ninja Star

The A7S is so close to being a ‘complete’ system for high end video quality in a small prosumer camera, but there’s one issue that has quite rightly been highlighted by filmmakers such as Andrew Wonder and that is the rolling shutter distortion. The A7S actually has a very fast sensor with high efficiency made possible by the latest technology but because it does not skip any lines when reading out the image the net result is a scan that takes roughly as long as the older 5D Mark II, which does line-skip.

Sony plan to fix this by introducing a new sensor technology which can read entire lines of pixels in batches of 4 simultaneously.

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Picture (“Buddy”) courtesy of James Miller, inset – the CYP 4K HDMI scaler

The picture above (click for 1080p original) is from the 4K full frame sensor inside the Sony A7S (ISO 3200, S-LOG2).

Internally the camera does a simple downscale of the 4K signal to 2K for standard 1080p XAVC or HDMI recording – but James discovered adding a hardware scaler on the end of the 4K HDMI signal results in a more detailed 1080p image which is light and day different. The great news is this scaler is only £167 in the UK.

Add to that an Atomos Ninja Blade or Ninja Star for taking the image from the scaler and recording it to ProRes – and you have one of the best 1080p images available at any price.

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a7s-metabones

Slashcam have chart tested the A7S internal recording modes and the results for the regular frame rates 24-30p are incredibly positive.

However it seems that in 60p the camera cannot utilise the full pixel readout of the sensor, which results in a worse image with moire and aliasing.

You can read my take on this below or head over to Slashcam to read the original piece (Google translated)

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All footage by Ed David on the EOSHD forum

I’m surprised at how nice the quality is from APS-C (Super 35mm) mode on the A7S. I expected it to be a lot softer! There’s no signs of significant moire or aliasing either.

The smaller window from the sensor allows the shutter to expose the whole pixel readout more quickly than in full frame 12MP mode, so less jello for us.

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Though the Shogun has not yet been released you can still obtain one of the best HD signals available on the market from the GH4′s HDMI port. This is 10bit 4:2:2 and oversampled internally from 4K, a bit like on the Sony FS700 but for only $1699. The video above shows how to setup the camera for recording 10bit 1080p onto the Atomos Blade.

In the next few days I should receive my Atomos Ninja Star which is a tiny low-profile recorder with no screen, for when you want to use the screen on the camera but benefit from the higher image quality of 10bit 4:2:2. Check EOSHD soon for a review.

Just how is the rolling shutter exactly on the A7S - intolerable or similar to what we’re used to on other DSLRs?

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Canon C300

View the price drop on the C300 at B&H here
View the price drop on the 1D C at B&H here

C300 and 1D C drop $2000

This is an interesting move by Canon. The 1D C I expected really to drop further in price because of intense competition from Panasonic and Sony at much lower prices. The C300 however has been selling very well but now apparently Canon want to shift stock faster. Is this to make way for a replacement? Based on specs alone it is certainly due one. Based on the real world and how this camera has been accepted by videographers and filmmakers, people seem pretty happy with what they have!

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Don’t fancy the GH4? Then the full frame Sony A7S is now in-stock at B&H

Philip Bloom has his take on the Panasonic GH4 ready, the highlight for me is the footage – it simply looks superb. Great job on the grading as well.

Reviewing cameras is a difficult business at the moment with so much choice, so many variables and so many different needs. However Mr Bloom does a good job in putting the strengths and weaknesses out there for your consideration. The final decision is up to you!

Head over to Philip’s blog for the fully evolved review

Meanwhile Steve Huff has his Sony A7S review out – in short he loves it but did not test video fully


The EOSHD Panasonic GH4 Shooter's Guide
The EOSHD 5D Mark III Raw Shooter's Guide
The EOSHD Sony A7 Series Guide to Full Frame Lenses
The EOSHD Panasonic GH3 Shooter's Guide
The EOSHD Anamorphic Shooter's Guide - Second Edition
More EOSHD Guides