Category: Technology

d800-1

The D800 has re-emerged!

We have the Mosaic Engineering VAF-D800 filter, CFast $299 Atomos Ninja Star ProRes recorder coming soon and now even a hack project based around the camera.

So I’ve picked up a D800 and plan to see what I get out of it.

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All tests based on pre-production model

Here we come to some areas which aren’t perfect on the GH4, but which nevertheless are both a step forward from the GH3. I like what Panasonic have started here with 96fps slow-mo. This is the first consumer camera to deviate from the video standard of 60p to give us a genuinely useful creative tool which sets the ball rolling for improvements in future models.

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gh4-vs-a7s

It looks like the story of 2014 is taking shape in the form of very high quality 4K on large sensor mirrorless cameras. Last year for me it was raw on the 5D Mark III which excited me the most and before that it was the Blackmagic Cinema Camera. This year is more exciting on the tech and creative front than any I can remember.

Here’s my look at how the GH4 and A7S compare in detail for 4K cinematography…

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The Digital Bolex has stumbled into the world. It is alive. Now it must find a place for itself. Most importantly of all – is this new replicant Bolex actually convincing?

Time to find out.

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YouTube Preview Image

The Sony AX100 takes the relatively large 1″ sensor from the RX10 and puts it in camcorder form factor with built in ND filter. However it appears that in reading out all the pixels on a 20MP sensor, Sony have created a skew-monster in rolling shutter teams. What’s remarkable about this video is that the panning and trains aren’t even moving very fast. This is some of the worst rolling shutter I’ve yet to see on any camera available on the market.

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Panasonic GH4 4K

Pros are wondering what the benefit of 4K is to them in terms of overall image quality, when mastered and delivered for 2K / 1080p. A lot of work is still shot in 1080p and cameras like the Canon C300 are the workhorses of the moment.

In the case of the GH4 it may appear from the specs that it’s just an 8bit 4:2:0 camera internally.

Actually the theory is 8bit 4:2:0 4K material from this camera can be taken through a workflow in post that converts it to 10bit 4:4:4 1080p – with all the smoother tonality, better colour and workflow advantages that format brings. This is a big leap for 1080p based on the much more expensive C300 which only does 8bit 4:2:2.

I asked Go Pro’s David Newman (Sr. Dir. Software - follow on Twitter) whether this theory was correct…

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Above: interview with Illya Friedman of Hot Rod Cameras, by Dan Chung

The GH4 is a consumer camera but one which has the most pro-camera leanings I’ve ever seen from a consumer or even prosumer model.

Because of that many professional shooters are considering the GH4.

Here then are some of the remaining questions from pros on the EOSHD forum answered…

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GH4 vs BMPC

Already we have 2 affordable 4K interchangeable lens cinema cameras due and we’re only a month into 2014. Red Dalsa created the first 4K cinema cameras and these were first shot with on set in 2006 (The Dalsa Origin – Wikipedia)

Since then the rate of progress needed to commercialise such powerful hardware and sell it to consumers for $2000 in the case of the GH4 and $4000 for the Blackmagic Production Camera has been relatively speedy. Quicker than the time taken for full frame DSLRs to break the $2000 price barrier. Red never did succeed in making an affordable 4K cinema camera for the masses or a DSLR replacement.

Neither camera is entirely finished yet but I’ve seen footage from both the new cameras and shot with their predecessors for much of 2013. Here’s my opinion on how their strengths and weaknesses are going to work out…

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gh4 and external HD-SDI XLR unit

Based on a pre-production model

Since the GH1 I have been shooting with Panasonic’s mirrorless system for video. Without this series of affordable cameras my early work as a cinematographer and filmmaker simply wouldn’t be the same. The GH4 marks a much needed major leap for the line, the first to shoot 4K to an efficient internal codec AND output 10bit 4:2:2 1080p over HDMI to an affordable external recorder like the Atomos Ninja!

On a visit to Panasonic I got to see the camera, see 4K sample footage and give my feedback. Here’s an account of what I saw…

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Canon 1D C

This blog has been going 4 years now and to be honest I have run out of interesting things to say about the current DSLRs. It’s time to upgrade.

2014 will be a big overhaul for image quality on DSLRs. Even those who don’t need the extra resolution 4K offers will change their minds when they see what’s coming.

You see, 4K isn’t really about resolution at all… It is the catalyst for a massive leap in overall image quality, especially on consumer cameras.

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Panasonic GH4 4K sensor

The recent rumours surfacing of Panasonic releasing an AG-GH4 around the $3000 mark have been given a boost. Panasonic have now officially announced the existence of a 16MP Micro Four Thirds sensor which is capable of 4K video at up to 30fps, matching the rumoured specs of the GH4.

Tantalisingly this sensor is even available as a customer part on the open market, making it available to Blackmagic Design.

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Download the LUT now

For the full guide to the world of raw video on the 5D Mark III – order the EOSHD Shooter’s Guide book by Andrew Reid

With the new version of Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve (10.0) you can grade and edit 5D Mark III raw DNG sequences, with image quality at the Adobe Camera Raw level for the first time and performance through the roof.

EOSHD Film LUT is an instant cinema style which quickly and easily improves the look of 5D Mark III raw video in Resolve 10. No grading skills required.

This LUT gives you a more film-like image, a less harsh electronic look compared to the standard Rec.709 colour space and default settings. It gives you more detail in the highlights and a smoother more natural feel to colour.

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5D Mark III raw tonality

To learn more about using raw video on the 5D Mark III, get your copy of the EOSHD 5D Mark III Raw Shooter’s Guide here

What is the real advantage of installing Magic Lantern for raw video on your Canon DSLR, specifically the powerful full frame 5D Mark III?

Is it possible to finally SHOW it? Yes it is.

Here is the most in-depth comparison yet between the standard video mode and raw and why the image quality is worth your attention.

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Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera

Camera supplied by CVP who came through and fulfilled my pre-order from NAB in early April. Personal note: I was saddened to learn of the death of CEO Phil Baxter earlier this month and in Phil’s memory a fund has been set up which will donate a pot of cash to the Make A Wish Foundation UK charity. This charity helps fund memorable experiences for young people fighting life threatening illnesses. Donate here even just a small amount helps further the dreams of those kids.

The Blackmagic Pocket Camera is finally at EOSHD HQ, and comes from one of the first new batches to ship since the white orb sensor calibration issue was resolved. Have they fixed it? Let’s not get too caught up in things like that for the moment. For me this camera is all about the lenses.

I’ve been a Micro Four Thirds shooter since day one with the G1 back in 2008. This was the first camera to tempt me away from Canon and over the last 5 years I’ve been building a rather ridiculously obsessive collection of Micro Four Thirds glass for my GH1, GH2 and lately the GH3, as well as c-mount glass.

The best c-mount glass is mainly vintage Super 16mm from the 60′s and 70′s. Classics like the Kern Switar 26mm F1.1 for instance, which an ex-BBC cinematographer once described to me as being “made by spacemen” such was the performance before the technological era of computer assisted optics design.

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Here’s a new technique executed to perfection…

Amazingly what you see isn’t CGI added to the scene in post but a live set of visuals.

The technique uses robotics, motion control and projection, all filmed in-camera.

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Canon 5D Mark III and Sony RX1 size comparison

Canon’s competitors are waging a miniaturisation war against DSLRs. The Sony RX1 is not a DSLR replacement but Sony’s same technology is building towards a full frame mirrorless system.

This mouthwatering prospect may well turn up in Berlin this September at the IFA show where the NEX 7 was launched some years ago.

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Magic Lantern’s raw recording module for the 7D is a perfect illustration of why colour depth and dynamic range are more important than resolution.

It’s also a huge step up for Canon APS-C video shooters and free.

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Andrew Reid shoots KineRAW MINI

Thanks to Michel and Ludwig at HD Videoshop in Berlin for the test unit. Essential primer details on the MINI are here.

The KineRAW Mini is a very cool option in the emerging raw market. With an almost identical range of features and the same 4K Super 35mm CMOS sensor found in the larger, more expensive KineRAW S35, this baby version has a form factor I absolutely love. It is not just small but light as well – very suited to the kind of art-film-on-location shoots I love.

EOSHD takes a brief hands-on look at what the camera offers.

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EOSHD 5D Mark III Raw Shooter's Guide, Cover

Dispelling the myths – optimising performance – never read another endless forum post again!

Payment via PayPal, just $19.99 (usual price $29.99)

My third book launches today. It is available to download immediately and for the first week you can get 33% off the usual price making it just $19.99.

It is an enormous 12 chapters and 106 pages.

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Magic Lantern 50D C

Avoid the inevitable price rises and buy your 50D now on eBay

It seems the 50D is the best Super 35mm DSLR for raw video from Canon.

The sensor resolves very clean highly detailed raw video with hardly any moire or aliasing, at a higher quality than the Rebel lines does.

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The EOSHD Panasonic GH3 Shooter's Guide
The EOSHD 5D Mark III Raw Shooter's Guide
The EOSHD Anamorphic Shooter's Guide - Second Edition
More EOSHD Guides