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BrooklynDan

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Everything posted by BrooklynDan

  1. It's tied with the Sony FS5 mk. I as the worst built camcorder I have ever handled. Absolutely a wonderful image. Varicam 35 quality in a compact form factor. Plenty of warm color rendering and lively skintones. It eats the FS7's lunch in this department. But the thing was built like a fortune cookie and the EF mount was non-sensical. Panasonic has all the ingredients available for a top-tier modern cinema camera. 6K full frame sensor. Dual native ISO. 10-bit codecs. Refined RAW workflow. L-mount with an evolving lineup of lenses from quality manufacturers. Decades of broadcast camera experience and reasonable ergonomics. All it takes is the will to put it together in a compact modular package. $8K or less. Do it, Panasonic. Do it.
  2. I wonder if you can actually bring a set of Gs to TLS to get rehoused?
  3. A line of Nikon cine primes would be an instant hit. Nikon manual focus glass has always been popular for filmmaking going back to the days of Vistavision, but their latest generation of still glass just has hopelessly crunchy and awkward mechanics that make smooth focusing impossible. Which is a shame since the glass is magnificent, with warm, beautiful skintones, smooth fall-off, subtle vignetting, and some of the best bokeh around. It looks like a mix of Cooke and Leica, but with a little Panavision character tossed in. If they rehoused their existing high speed G-series lenses into a sturdy cinema housing (like Zeiss does with the Compact Primes) with interchangeable mount, DPs would be all over it. As far as cameras go, trying to compete in the mirrorless arena is a waste of time for them, in my opinion. Too late, too crowded and always stuck behind Sony thanks to their sensors being inside Nikon cameras. Would rather see them release something more niche and out of the box.
  4. Other cameras have rivaled the Alexa for dynamic range. Even though Red loves to exaggerate its DR figures (18 stops my ass!), the Monstro has a comfortable 13.5 stops in the right hands. The Venice also rocks at least 14 stops in X-OCN Raw. What the Alexa has that no other manufacturer seems to get right is the highlight roll-off. Every camera, no matter how many stops of dynamic range it has, will eventually have to photograph pure white. Whether it's the harsh glare of a set of headlights or the shimmering heat of a desert at noon, at some point, the image will burn out. The Alexa does it better than anyone. Highlights are a clean white, no tints, no fringing. That's really Arri's real achievement, even above the dynamic range. That's why people keep shooting Alexa Minis, even at 2K despite all the choices available.
  5. Different cameras work differently in different markets. Nobody rents an Alexa 65 to shoot Super 35 on it. It has the same exact pixel pitch and density as the other Alexa cameras. The standard Alexa sensor is 3.4K wide at 28mm open gate. You can upscale to UHD in camera and this is enough for most. It fudges the numbers a bit compared to true DCI 4K, but Arri gets a pass because they're Arri and they still make the best performing digital cinema cameras on the market. But we still live in a 4K world, and more importantly, a multi-format world. And that special pass that is granted to Arri is not gonna be given to Canon. Compare the new C700 to the Sony Venice. The 6K full frame sensor is much more useful across a range of crops and formats. It's a true 4K in Super 35 mode, which is useful for slow-mo, anamorphic, and 4:3 photography. A Canon camera is never going to be in the same high-end market as the iconic Alexa 65. It's playing in the middle ground where the Venice and the Monstro live. And those cameras have 6K and 8K sensors and are incredibly flexible with resolutions and formats.
  6. Really, really hope that they skip that C700 sequel. The original was one of the biggest flops in camera history. Almost no one bought it and everyone who did lost money on it. Regardless of the sensor in it, that form factor is severely antiquated. That dull gray bread loaf shape is from the last decade. The C500 MK II and C300 MK III with the modular extensions are actually some of the most nicely designed cameras on the market right now. Also, I don't know who needs a 4K full frame sensor at this point. A $30K+ camera cannot have a 4K full frame sensor when many people are gonna put Super 35 and anamorphic lenses on it which will only cover 24mm worth of sensor, forcing you to shoot 2K.
  7. Medium format video will arrive in the mainstream soon. Arri got there first with the Alexa 65, which is of course a pricey and exclusive camera, but it amassed a huge and devoted following among cinematographers. I think that Red will get there next. They've been teasing a 645-sized sensor since day one. The existing Vistavision Monstro sensor is already pushing the FF boundary at 40.96mm horizontal. I think that there needs to be a distinction drawn between the incorporation of medium format still sensor sizes and 65mm sensor sizes in video, because they represent two entirely different things. The various 120-film-based formats offer a much squarer frame and bring a history of association with portraiture and fine art photography. 65mm (52x23mm gate size) is a wide, panoramic format that brings to mind classics like Lawrence of Arabia or 2001: A Space Odyssey. It has the same nostalgic, instantly cinematic effect that draws people to shooting anamorphic. I personally love the look of medium format and never miss an opportunity to take some pictures with a Phase One or Hasselblad camera. When you point them at your figure, they instantly make the subject look iconic. It's an effect like shooting full frame at f1.3, but you don't have to be wide open to get it. An 80mm at f4 is actually preferable, just to get enough DOF to cover your subject's face. It's quite lovely, and I can't to explore this more when true medium format video cameras start coming down the pipe.
  8. Yes! This is exactly what I want. Handicam form factor with large sensor and interchangeable lenses. EVF on the back, flippy screen on the side, handstrap for comfort. Winning combo.
  9. My biggest problem with modern cameras is the form factor. Besides the profusion of buttons all over the damn thing, there isn't really any way to comfortably handhold the camera for smooth shots without having to put it on a gimbal or a Frankenstein shoulder rig The FX6 actually makes sense for me since the LCD is upfront on an arm. You press the camera to your chest and keep a hand on the lens. I hate shooting with cameras that have the LCD on the back (i.e. all mirrorless cameras). You wind up hovering the camera in front of your face which makes it difficult to maintain a steady frame. IBIS is not a replacement for having multiple points of contact. Also, if you've ever shot a documentary, you would know that supporting a camera in your palms for hours at a time is very hard. A properly balanced shoulder-mounted camera is invaluable in these situations. I just feel like there is no reason to cross-pollinate video camera design with mirrorless ergonomics. There needs to be a bit more consideration for how the camera fits the human body. I wish that makers would revisit the way cameras looked twenty or thirty years ago. Yeah, I mean VHS camcorders and Super 8 cameras. Those were actually built to be used by humans, not vloggers. You held it up to your eye and moved it like it was attached to your head.
  10. IBIS is not a substitute for a properly shoulder-mounted camera. It tunes out micro-jitters, but it doesn't help you when you're trying to shoot handheld with longer lenses because the lack of inertia causes the frame to swing around when you're trying to move. Also, digital stabilization is a machine interpreting human input. It always looks artificial to me somehow, ever on high-end gimbals and stabilizers. When you have a properly shoulder-mounted camera, you can press it into your shoulder and into the side of your head, which creates far more stability. I've been shooting with a Canon C100 on a rig with an external monitor and heavy counterweight, and while it's doing my back no favors, I can shoot long takes at 35mm and up with no problem, and even 50mm and up with minor shake. Try that with your mirrorless camera hovering in front of you.
  11. I shot documentaries on one in film school. It was a heavy, unwieldy beast. I preferred the Arri SR and especially the Aaton. Aaton was actually formed by ex-Eclair engineers, and you can see a rational progression from the NPR to the ACL and finally to the XTR. As far as a modern equivalent, it's obviously 2/3" shoulder-mounted broadcast ENG cameras, both in terms of sensor size, form factor, lens range, and intended purpose. There's really nothing in the modern landscape of Super 35 and full frame cameras that comes close in terms of shoulder-mounted operability. The Amira and original Alexa come close. Camera design has moved overwhelmingly towards compact, box-shaped cameras that are configurable. I think it's a shame and I hope that someday camera manufacturers return to the splendor and comfort of an ergonomic shoulder-mounted camera.
  12. The Nipponscope was a different system. Nipponscope was the other widely used anamorphic system in Japan. Early versions utilized a front anamorphic group that could be attached to a number of different prime lenses (mainly Canon rangefinder glass). The focus ring was on the taking lens and the focus on the anamorphic was effected by lining up the slot and the pin in the mount. Later versions incorporated a variable diopter system so the focus ring was on the anamorphic group. This system was later exported to Europe and became the basis of the Technovision system, as well as (in more refined form) JDC Xtal Express. The Kowas were evolved from the early NAC prime lenses which used a similar arrangement as the early Nipponscope. Dual synchro focus and interchangeable taking lenses. Later on, when block lenses became standard, the familar Kowa Prominars arrived. Your adapter is probably from this era. It does not seem to have any provision for synchronized focus and the pin is probably to keep the lens probably aligned. Go to Instagram and search #nipponscope if you want to see a bunch of other examples of funky and weird old 'Scope lenses like your own.
  13. This was obviously focused separately from the prime lens. There doesn't seem to be any mechanism for synchronizing focus with a prime lens. Dual focus didn't die out until the late 60s, especially in Japan. I remember seeing an interview with Kurosawa's DP talking about how they had to have two ACs pulling focus on Yojimbo because of the double focus set-up. This lens was probably used with 50mm lenses and up. Probably 75mm and 100mm too, but not too far beyond that. European attachments like Franscope and Totalscope functioned the same way.
  14. I know that there were different series of the Kowa anamorphics with the designation 35-X. The most common series is the 35BS, but there was also 35B, 35BR, and 35BE. The housing on this lens resembles the early 35B series, so this was probably an additional adapter that was used for B-camera and second unit photography on Japanese films. It's double focus obviously, and at the time (circa 1964), combined block lenses were almost universal, so this probably wasn't used much.
  15. Analogy time: If you paid half a million for a Lamborghini that was advertised as having a 200+ top speed, but could not actually maintain that speed for more than a few minutes and in fact couldn't go more than 100 MPH most of the time and would overheat constantly and leave you stranded on the side of the road, would you be satisfied with your purchase? Your expensive italian supercar just fried its own V12! That's basically what's happening here. There's a considerable gap between what's advertised and what was actually delivered. This didn't happen overnight. The fact that people kept using Red and Black Magic cameras despite serious reliability and built quality issues has emboldened companies like Canon to overpromise and under deliver. The difference is that the aforementioned companies are upstarts and Canon is a 100-year-old imaging behemoth. People expect industry leaders to put out solid products and not pull shenanigans like this. Oh well. There's still Sony, Panasonic and Fuji. Oh, and Arri for the folks with deep pockets.
  16. This camera is such a colossal failure, even if the issues get miraculously fixed somehow, I would not touch it with a ten foot pole. Not even for personal projects. There are way too many good options out there to justify spending $4K on a glorified hand warmer. I honestly think that one of the reasons for this debacle is the entire marketing culture than has sprung up that demands flashy specs over rock-solid reliability. I also think that the race to miniaturize cameras has created new challenges for engineers, and this in turn creates conflicts. One of the reason why the Panasonic S1H is so good as a professional tool is the sheer size and heft of the thing. It doesn't feel like a toy that can be slipped into a pocket. Professional tools should be built like hammers. A little bit of weight is not a big deal. It's still a far cry from a 16mm film camera or a Betacam. Get a bigger gimbal and a beefier tripod.
  17. Color really does look nice with lovely skin tones and separation. Can't really judge 12K sharpness and resolution on my 1080p computer screen, but I'm sure it's all there. I really hope that BMD seriously upgrade their reliability and build quality. If they want to compete with the big boys, they need to make cameras that rental houses can buy and rent to customers. A lot of rental houses, particularly the bigger ones, won't go anywhere near Black Magic because the bodies simply don't hold up to on-set use. They need to move away from chintzy plastic to durable aluminum and magnesium. This is not going to put a dent in Arri's armor. Crews love the Mini LF and it's going to keep working for the next five years at least. Red is gonna see a bit more of a hit, but they're on their way down anyway. I doubt that they're going to make it to the end of the 2020s unless their attitude and business practices change considerably. What I would REALLY love to see is how the Ursa 12K holds up on an IMAX screen. Now that is one area where the full 12K resolution will come in handy. Somebody send one to Christopher Nolan, LOL.
  18. I want Sigma to go all the way and build a dedicated cinema camera. They already have a complete line of full frame lenses which have developed a cult following among young DPs. No other lens set comes close in terms of speed and quality for the price. A medium-sized modular box ( think Kinefinity/Komodo/Alexa Mini) with full frame sensor, internal RAW, built-in NDs, SSD media slot, XLR audio, SDI out, compact EVF, accessory power outputs, and of course, an L-mount. Under $10K of course. And if they manage to put in a Foveon sensor and make it work for video with a fast read-out, they'll have the best digital cinema camera out there for any price aside from the Alexa 65.
  19. Speaking of Lomos, there's a guy who did a group buy on Reduser for newly manufactured front elements for the 35mm Squarefront. Once he got enough people to commit, he got a Russian lens factory to do a run. He was quoting around $2000 a piece. Now let's say that you wanted to mass produce Lomos again. The squarefront has four cylindrical elements in 2 groups. Let's figure $1,500 per element since the higher the number, the lower the piece. That's $6K just in anamorphic glass. Add another grand for a simple spherical group in the back. The original was a copy of a Zeiss Distagon. Plus a rugged housing with synchronized dual focus mechanics in PL mount. Van Diemen Optics quotes 6300 pounds for a squarefront housing. Let's just call it $4K which is the lowest conceivable sum for a sturdy lens barrel with two different focus movements. That's $11,000 for a brand new Lomo Squarefront, and I'm being extremely conservative here. And you're still getting a lens with poor close focus, severe breathing, mumping and considerable falloff on the sides. Multiply by three for a complete set of 35mm, 50mm and 80mm lenses and that's $33,000. Now how much is a set of used Squarefronts these days? The economics of anamorphic at work.
  20. I think that both the Aivascope and the Vazen are fantastic value for money. The Aivascope in particular is the closest thing we will see to an Iscorama this century. That 70s/80s mojo is not going to come to consumer-level glass, ever. Contrary to popular belief, it's not just in the coatings, it's also due to the shape of the glass, something that modern, mass-produced, computer-designed glass simply cannot easily replicate. The actual examples of vintage glass that I posted above were hand-ground in limited qualities by master opticians and were (and and still are) extravagantly expensive. Even the Atlas lenses, which are $8K a piece and are marketed as having an old school look are missing a little warmth in my eyes. The reborn Kowas by P+S Technik are a little closer on the money, but come with a load of distortion. It's very hard to isolate the good and eliminate the bad, which is why Panavision and Hawk glass costs what it does.
  21. Previous generations of cinema lenses (Cooke Speed Panchro, Zeiss/Arriflex, Schneider, Kinoptik, etc) used variations on simple double-gauss lens designs with few elements (lens than ten for most focal lengths) and deep meniscus surfaces on the inside. Modern cinema lenses contain many more elements in multiple group with aspherical optics to control aberration. If you have 13 or 14 elements, you don't need to grind them into deep shapes, except for very wide angle lenses. To use an example from the anamorphic world, one of the reasons why Master Anamorphics are so flat and free of distortion is because the cylinders are spread out throughout the lens, there are more of them, and they have a shorter radius, i.e. curve. Previous generations of anamorphics had three or four steeply curved cylinders at the front of the lens which, while supplying the look we all know and love, also added a considerable amount of distortion and aberration to the optical system. I think I misspoke a bit when I said "vintage" character. It's a such a catch-all term that it's impossible not to use. What I meant was having a pleasing character, as opposed to clinical boring sharpness. Pleasing character includes flattering skin tones, roundness of faces, smooth bokeh, gentle focus roll-off. Not necessarily vintage traits, but traits we all recognize as being preferred. And it is even more desirable that a lens reproduces these traits while being very sharp wide open, because everybody needs that shallow depth of field to be "cinematic". My point was that the combination of strong technical quality, fast speed, and pleasing character is the purview of the top dog cinema lenses. Zeiss goes more towards clinical sharpness and neutral color, but Cooke, Leica, Vantage (and pretty soon Angenieux as well) are all very good at supplying fast lenses that look great and don't fall apart. Panavision is the best at this. Their Primos and Primo 70s are amazing glass that's both very sharp and packed with character.
  22. I played with Xtal Express and Technovision Cookes at my previous job. They have nothing in common with the new Cooke Anamorphics. The Cookes have pin-cushion distortion. The vertical lines bend inward. The older lenses have classic barrel distortion. Also, they were converted from spherical lenses, whereas the modern Cooke Anamorphics are purpose-built. And some of the cylinders are rotated 90 degrees which stretches the image out vertically, in addition to it being squeezed horizontally. They are also fairly consistent from focal length to focal length and color matched. JDCs were notoriously inconsistent. Top one is Zeiss SS. Bottom one is Speed Panchro.
  23. I would like simpler lens designs to make a comeback in the cinema world. The large size and complex mechanics of most cinema glass is mainly to prevent breathing and chromatic aberration. Breathing correction accounts for half the size of the Master Primes for example. I find that unless you're shooting for a massive cinema screen, breathing isn't really too much of a problem unless you rack from infinity to close focus on a static shot. If you're shooting with a lot of camera movement, it's barely noticeable at all. And hell, considering how much is shot on older anamorphics these days, even big-budget blockbusters, breathing is clearly not the issue it used to be. Also, I disagree with the tact many manufacturers have taken with adding "character" to their lenses after the fact. They build hyper-modern, ultra-sharp lenses and tweak the coatings for more flare and ghosting. The result doesn't look "vintage" to me at all. It's looks like a modern lens with flare superimposed on the image as if it was done in After Effects. Sigma is especially guilty of this. Their "Classics" are duds in my opinion. The Cooke Classic Panchros are much more successful in this aspect. They actually replicate the small dimensions and steeply curved surfaces of lenses past and the result is much more pleasing. Hell, even their Cooke S4s are practically vintage now, even though they set the standard for cinema glass just 10-15 years ago. Compared to the new Zeiss and Leica glass, their fall-off, vignetting and flaring appear to be from a different era. I also think that the obsession with fast apertures is driving the direction of lens design towards a clinical direction. Having a lens that's usable but pleasing at T1.4 requires twice the engineering, twice the size and twice the price as one that's T2. It's actually easier to build a lens that's clinically sharp at that stop (and much much easier to build a lens that's useless at that stop) than one that maintains focus while supplying an image with character and charm. See the Leica Summiluxes, Cooke S5is, or Vantage Ones. Previous generations of high speed primes (Zeiss Super Speeds, Canon K35s) were mush wide open. Basically lens design = A. Pleasing, vintage-style character B. Crisp sharpness at WFO C. Price Pick only two. You can't have all three.
  24. Very promising camera. Love the specs, the technical design and layout. Really wish that sales and support was up to snuff. Really can't look at a pro cinema camera without a robust worldwide support network.
  25. I work (and have worked) in multiple rental houses that have rented to all types of productions. Easyrigs get rented a lot, but mostly to commercials and branded content. They work great for getting that spontaneous, free-floating handheld look, shot-from-the-hip style that's prevalent now in ads, both on TV and stuff that get's aired on Youtube. It's also great for documentary work, since it allows to hold the camera for much longer periods of time. 20, 30, 40 minute handheld takes become much easier with an Easyrig. For actual dramatic, narrative material, easyrigs are used much less. Dramatic cinematography relies on the ability to control your frame and land precisely on marks. This is really hard to do with an Easyrig because it tends to swing the camera when you turn. Also, extended handheld tracking shots are impossible because when you walk with an Easyrig, the motion from your hips gets transmitted through the arm and is visible in the footage. There is a use for the Easyrig for helping with low-angle handheld shots with really heavy rigs (such as Alexa 65, or Venice with certain anamorphic lenses), but the standard in handheld cinematography is a well-balanced camera on the shoulder and a pair of strong hands either holding grips, or the mattebox.
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