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  1. Yeah. Pretty crazy deal. Wish I worked for Sony this month. That discount is certainly an upside to shooting on the Sony lot. Of course, you pretty much have to shoot on Sony cameras there, so no Alexas, etc. But who can blame them? If I were Sony, I'd do the same thing.
  2. Agreed completely with jax_rox: test cameras and lenses to inform lighting. My students do camera/lens/noise tests for their story/scene/lighting situations. They also test different lights for look, too. For example, one of the a7s shoots is night interior and they want to use practicals with "moonlight" coming in the window, so they will likely bounce an HMI fresnel in through a window to replicate moonlight and bring up the level in the room, and then have 100 watt bulbs in the lamps on dimmers to help create pockets of light and shadow. But they could use LED panels coming in, or gelled tungstens, or even a kino-flo, depending on the final location/block. In their case, the noise/lens/camera tests are to see which cameras/lenses let them get everything they want in the shot: especially readable shadows and highlights because they are going to be moving the character from shadow to light, and from warm to cool look. For schedule/talent reasons, they will not be able to re-light for every set-up beyond flying a small light to help fill in for MCU/CUs, and there again, they'll be testing lights for look: china ball, led, kino-flo, lowell, etc. It's not the ideal situation, but the schedule of the talent is beyond their control. They will have hair and make-up, fwiw. All our shoots with professional actors do. That said, these are high school students, so they don't all care enough to do the work to test these things, and most shoots aren't using professional actors. Many are just happy to grab a 70D, a couple reflectors, a couple friends, and a variable ND filter. Their look "choices" are pretty much limited to picture profile: neutral, standard, cinestyle, etc. But for the three projects I've mentioned, the students are very serious with great ambitions, so I'm trying to help them get the most professional look possible while preparing them for the real world of filmmaking as much as possible. Of course, for my own personal work filming family and friends on outings, at parties, etc, I don't have time or interest in lighting the scene; I want to capture the moments. Because many of these moments are low light -- dinners, parties, evening walks, etc -- I love what the a7s lets me capture that the GH4 and a6000 don't. (And by don't, I mean I can't capture a look I find enjoyable and acceptable due to noise in low light.) All that said, if you happen to work on the Sony lot, Sony is running a sale until the end of march where most things are 50% off (actually, 25% in addition to their normal 25% discount). So the a7s is $1250, the 55 1.8 is $500, etc. The new lenses aren't discounted. I know DPs, directors, and producers shooting at Sony who have grabbed the a7s this month. I know one DP shooting there who bought two and insisted they be consecutive serial numbers, so the sensors match as much as possible because he might do 3D work with them. Again -- none of this means the a7s is "better" than another camera for anyone else or that it is without challenges. And ideally, people can light their shoots when they want to. But that isn't always possible or desirable or necessary, either. When I watch Kendy Ty, I don't find myself thinking, "If only he had lit this, it would have worked." I'm pretty much just caught up in watching the film. But again, other people might not dig his work, just like others don't dig the a7s. It's all good. Just shoot.
  3. j_one -- sounds to me like you made the right call. there are too many cameras around to have to fight with one too much. yes, there's always a learning curve, but for me, cameras pretty quickly get fun or not. if they are, the work is a passion. if not, the work is a fight. and Wulf -- just to be clear, I didn't shoot that video. Not really a look I love, either -- i agree: clinical, but solid -- but I think it would work for a lot of things/people, so I wanted to bring it into the conversation. personally, I'm loving the a7s with a Pentacon 135, Jupiter 3, and the Sony FE 55. Those three lenses are just so much fun on the a7s camera for me, in ways they weren't on either the a6000 or gh4 (obviously, the FE has never been on the GH). Of course, they need very different profiles/color tweaks, but I'm really enjoying finding those, too. My students are across the board with a7s color/lenses. I've got one project leaning toward our Pentacon set (135, 50, 29), another leaning Jupiter (180, 135, 85, 50, 35), and one deciding between more modern nikon and canon glass. Interestingly, none chose sony/zeiss. It's fun watching them have to figure out what works for their visions and stories. And I like seeing them do the work of testing and trying to match color/look in pre-production. for what it's worth, they have access to 5D III and 70D every day with canon and rokinon glass, and they are choosing a7s and older lenses. Doesn't make it a better camera in any way. Just a better camera for them, now. for what it's worth -- and this is totally irrelevant but shows how personal all this is, I guess -- I never cared for olympus lenses on the gh4. I know many people who swear by those Olympus 1.8 primes. And I hated the panasonic 25/1.4, but I love shooting with the panasonic leica 15mm, which is strange because it's not a focal length I usually enjoy, but I love that lens on that camera. and the helios 44-2. and a cosmicar 8mm 1.6 (in etc mode). great looks when there was enough light. but I like shooting with low/available light too much. (for personal stuff). all that said -- it's a great time to be into cameras and gear because there are so many great options. I mean, kendy ty and seb farges use totally different gear, but when I'm watching their stuff, I'm not thinking about their gear; I'm just digging their stuff. I think about their gear later, out of curiosity, and that's fun, but I think too many people get caught up at seeing the work of artists they like and trying to get the same gear to replicate that work instead of finding the gear that best helps them express their thing. best of luck j_one with the hunt. let us know when you find the one you love.
  4. Oh, and about a7s colors. Obviously, the profile/settings depend in part on the lens, but if you like this look/skin tones for corporate: password= sony28135 The guy who shot it says he just turned the picture profiles off, chose 'standard', dialed contrast down to -3, then used a custom LUT in premiere. If you like those skin tones, check the shooting with 28-135 thread at dvxuser. I can't say if you'll find it easier to get the skin tones you want on an NX1. It didn't leap out to me as a particular strength, but then I wasn't looking for them. I did like the images it makes, but I very much enjoy the GH4, and the NX1 didn't make me want to give up that camera. The a7s does.
  5. For what it's worth, my students and I tested the a7s, GH4, 5D MKIII (h264, not Raw), NX1, A6000, 70D, and BMPCC for low light noise + color performance, and all three projects chose to shoot with the a7s. Two of them are low-light night shoots, but one is day. For low light, obviously the a7s wins by a long way over the others -- in noise and color. (Once you start digging into the picture profile menus, you can really carve into the color.) 5D was closest, of course. The rest were just painful in low light (when compared with a7s). We even tried a Voigtlander .95 wide open on the GH4 to see how it would compare to the a7s with a Jupiter 9 at 2.8, and it wasn't close (for noise); the a7s/jupiter won by a mile. In daylight, they were all nice in their own ways. Dynamic range of a7s and BMPCC is nice, all things being equal, but when money is tight, I'd personally take the cheaper camera and spend the extra on lenses and kit. I think they're all capable of good color. Different looks, and different paths to get there, but I've gotten images I like out of all of them. In good light, NX1 and 5D probably take the least effort to get good color, but that h265 on the NX1 isn't a lot of fun right now. It is less work than 5D Raw, but still a big pain compared to other cameras, IMO. Personally, if I was going to go through the pain of converting every shot, I'd probably choose 5D ML Raw right now. I think that gives the best color of the lot, but you gotta really want it. That said, the whole thing is so personal. What works for you -- the camera, ecosystem, and workflow that you will enjoy -- is so different from anyone else. I tried shooting the NX1 for a week and sent it back, preferring to keep my GH4 and a6000. It's a nice camera, but it didn't really speak to me. I felt like I kept having to talk myself into loving it, and then I realized that I just didn't love it. I tried the a7s for a week, and now I'm going to sell my GH4 and a6000. I am truly loving this camera, for both stills and video. It's brought a joy back to the art and craft of image for me. Are there better cameras out there? I don't know, and I don't care any more because I'm loving what I can do with it. So I say, if the a7s isn't bringing you that joy of shooting, sell it and find the camera that does. Regardless of specs and features: if you love shooting with a camera, you'll shoot with it and find ways to make it work. It doesn't sound like the a7s is that camera for you.
  6. Hi all, Long time reader, first time poster. I have a question about Jupiter lenses. My students love the look they get from our Jupiter 11 and (just received) Jupiter 9. We also have a Helios 44 and a Mir 1B, but I was wondering if the other Jupiters would be better color/look matches. My students aren't now (and probably never will be) great at color correction, so getting the best match possible in camera would be great. We're considering the following: Jupiter 12 - 35mm 2.8 Jupiter 3 - 50mm 1.5 Jupiter 6-2 - 180mm 2.8 Has anyone used any of these? I bought Andrew's A7 lens guide, and it mentions the Jupiter 9 and Jupiter 8 (50), but it doesn't mention the 12, 3, or 6-2. At the moment, we have a GH4, but we might be looking into an a7s due to many low light projects coming up. (And we don't have a ton of lights, so lighting up big exteriors is impossible.) Thanks in advance for any insights/advice.
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