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Everything posted by MrSMW

  1. Modular. That’s my answer! Start with a cube and build everything off that. Want a battery grip, add that option. Want a side (either or both) or top handle, add it. External SSD, top, side or below, you choose. External monitor, top or rear. Some kind of rifle stock? Add it. Then if the camcorder thing is your jam, a power zoom. The only thing about the available box style cameras is the lack of IBIS. Are there any? I really wanted to build a hybrid set up off the Lumix BS1H but quickly discovered that for hybrid use, too many compromises. I could probably live without the IBIS as OIS lenses are available, but the number available already limits things massively. Add the monitor OK, but then no mech shutter which with Z8/Z9 sophistication is OK, but not with 4-5 year old Lumix. Ditto Sigma FP. Not quite a box, but so close and yet so far from my needs which to this day, are still best served by the MILC. I really would like to see more innovation in this regard rather than ‘spec’ and the MP arms race.
  2. Maybe it’s my photographer roots, but I am the other way and don’t like the camcorder. Never have and I have had several. The best of these was the Sony FD-AX700 which are still holding their price well on the used market. I built a system around that same 1” sensor with the camcorder static for all my long duration stuff, the RX10ii ‘bridge’ camera as my main unit, plus the RX100v as my literally in my pocket 3rd unit. The output was OK, but ultimately was not overly keen on it and found that for my kind of work, not robust enough, especially if shooting in low light. And as for the handling, the camcorder I always found the most awkward in hand. But each to their own and all that!
  3. I thought it was longer but maybe not and the Z6ii itself is about 3.5 years. I don’t mind too much but I wish companies would give a little more advance warning for business users. Not specifically of course as that would be unrealistic, but a projected timeline at least. So many launches are initially based on rumor and then suddenly bam, here’s our new camera! And it’s not all about upgrading to the latest & greatest every time just because, but more a case of strategic planning. I have had several seasons where something was no longer doing what I wanted it to do as in technology had marched on and for the following season wanted the ability to do that next ‘thing’…only for my brand to be the one that did not jump aboard that ship forcing me to continue for another season compromises, or switch brand. Nikon traditionally have been one of the slower brands, but as with all things, pros and cons! Fortunately, there are several options for me now re. ‘Peak Camera’ and these days it’s more a case of glass and finances…
  4. The OG X100 had that for me and was the first camera for me that had that factor, despite already having been pro for a decade, but everything previously was just a tool for the job. Almost the same experience with the X Pro1 and 2…almost. I think the single last element that was missing there for me was changing lenses and at the time I wished for 2x X100’s, one with a 28mm equivalent lens and the other with a 70mm equivalent. XH1 similar to the Pro1/2 feeling, - really enjoyed and wanted to use it even when I didn’t need to. S1H, kinda, but too big as an every day tool so more a case of extreme admiration. But in 20+ years, nothing has come close to the OG X100 other than the Nikon Zf which I use as a fixed prime unit. My only criticism of the Zf…well two criticism actually is A. I wish they had gone for a tilt screen over a flip out and B. that is was slightly smaller. How does it compare with the X100V and VI? Well obviously not had the VI in my own grubby mitts but have had the V and for me personally, the V vs the Zf is a tie with one a little more ‘personal’ (the V) and the other a little more ‘pro’ (the Zf). Zf vs VI, I’d give the nod to the VI now that it has IBIS and that 40mp sensor. Coupled with the two convertors and the increased ability to crop, it’s close to being a system for me (I would have to chuck in an XH2S with a zoom for some stuff) but work aside, I think Fuji have just taken the original X100 ball and run with it with each iteration but for me, the pick of the bunch are the original (for it’s time) and the new boy.
  5. This is veering somewhat off topic so all I will say is I operate within a niche within a niche. I have worked very hard for over a decade to be in this position. I'm not being bigheaded about it, but I'm not going to give or piss it away for either nothing or a fast buck. And I have no obligation to share that knowledge, paid or otherwise. As above, way off topic so I'll shut up about it 😘 But no John, it's terrible!
  6. OK, too late for me for 2024. I was going to hold on until the end of March (and suspect it will be announced some time next month) but in the end… A. I have some engagement type portrait shoots coming up in March and my Zf is not a long lens camera. OK I could manage a couple of shoots with my 70-180 on it but these shoots are a warmup exercise for the coming season so would kind of defeat the object of the exercise. B. Do I actually need any of that spec? In answer to B. maybe 🤔 probably yes…if I go over to Nikon 100% for both my video and stills needs, but as that cannot now happen in 2024 due to time constraints, it does not matter. So I bought a mint used Z6ii with battery grip for 1600 euros. Does exactly what I need it to do which is primarily be a lens platform for principally the 70-180 and the 20-40 option lenses, stills only, but ability to pull video duty in an emergency. Compared with the S5ii, arguably it’s most direct rival, without grip, it feels a fraction smaller but with better grip, has my preferred tilt screen, has much better shutter feel and sound, identical stills capabilities but the S5ii edges it in the video department. I’m still interested in the Z6iii as a possible contender next year to replace my entire existing L Mount and go back to a 3 body hybrid set up rather than my 2024 2x video + 2x stills set up, but not actively seeking to do so. And interested to see how it fits into the marketplace as a whole. Still not 100% on the e:shutter only Z8 and Z9’s…
  7. I have not watched the video but am a fully paid up member of the club ‘Of Course Gear Matters You Moron’ or we’d all be out using the potato camera. New memberships accepted on passing a very low bar series of tests.
  8. I’m admiring the juxtaposition of the pine cone to the left, complementing the wooden handle and the silver tap behind, the metallic lines of the camera. I see stupid shit like this 😉 But the cage/cinema camera…?? Of course it’s not going to compete with an Alexa or any half-decent ‘cinema camera’, but could you should clips even up to a couple of minutes with it? Sure and if using either the tele or wide angle convertors, open up some other focal length options, basically 28-50mm. And it will handle much better for video (or stills) with that grip. It might not be my first choice for video, but now it has IBIS, I could make that work as part of a kit.
  9. Au contraire… The largest ‘English Speaking Wedding Directory in France’ posted on social media the other day about the 272,000 weddings per annum in the country and without saying so, implying that by advertising with them, you would be tapping into this market. Balls. Yes, that figure may very well be the official figure, but for our Anglophone destination wedding market, there are no official figures but I would estimate that we could realistically remove 270,000 from that figure. So now we have a market of approx 2000. Based on feedback from planners, we lose around 50% of our potential work to couples importing a photographer or videographer from their own country, usually the UK or US. Available jobs now down to about 1k. How many expat photographers/videographers or English speaking natives chasing this market? Again, impossible to say, but a few hundred for sure… Call it 200. The math now doesn’t work as that makes an average 5 jobs per annum. Of course life and work is not fair like that and does not work on averages as some starting out (and as with most industries, more than 50% fail within 1-3 years but during that time, suck work out of the marketplace) are happy with just 3-5 jobs PA, but anyone full-time, depending on pricing etc, needs 15-30 jobs to earn a modest income. Getting ‘your share’, just as it is in many industries, is no simple task and it’s those with a point of difference that tend to do best. My POD (or USP) has been that I am ‘The Guy That Can Do Both’. If my USP is removed or becomes the norm, I just become another everyday fish in what is a very small pond. Just 1 year would kill my business, never mind 5, so appreciate the sentiment, but nah, surround yourself with monsters without any big guns and plenty of ammo and you die. Very quickly. And folks are monsters in business as we all know and will step over their dying granny for a few quid. I like to think I operate with integrity and 99% of the time I do. I’m not mercenary by nature and neither am I ruthless, but when it comes to protecting my business interests…which my life outside of business depends on, I’m…well not charitable shall we say 😜 So training… After 20+ years I’m the business, I’ve seen them come and I’ve seen them go. I was once the wide-eyed newb, but I’m one of the older dogs. But an older dog that still has all of his marbles and 20+ years of business experience. What has always made me laugh over these 20+ years is the folks who gave it all away for a fast buck…and were shortly after pissing & moaning at the same folks they gave it to. Dr Frankenstein, you gave life to the monster. How did that work out for you? So the S5ii. Great for video but still hate that shutter feel and sound for stills. Vindicated by the arrival the other day of the Z6ii which also has my preferred tilt screen over the flip out. My verdict S5ii vs Z6ii = Lumix for the video win, Nikon for the stills.
  10. Maybe… I get around 1/2 a dozen asking every year but when I mention the info they are asking about has a value, every single one says, “err, no thanks, I just wanted a free info dump”. It’s not like there are a million folks offering grading tuition but there are near zero offering it regarding hybrid so it’s a rare bird indeed. My issue is, unless I am making it VERY worth my while, I would just potentially be feeding my direct comp. Unless I only sold my services to folks who don’t or won’t be offering the services I do in France… That could be viable. I’ll think on it…
  11. Yes, 100% L Mount for video and 100% Nikon for stills in 2024. Both are also set up to shoot the opposite in an emergency. Very rarely, like 1/20 times, I might just be doing only video or only stills in which case I'd just take the 2 appropriate units. It's quite liberating actually to only do one or the other, but not that much different as in I don't really get much more from doing only video or only stills over hybrid. Any difference is really just off the bottom end, ie, slightly less quantity rather than any less quality, ie, there is no real compromise in doing both at the same time. But that is possibly because I have been doing both at the same time since 2010 so have had a bit of practice, ie, 300+ mostly multi-day events shooting hybrid. I'd write a book or offer training, but no one wants to pay for anything these days so I'll take my secrets to my cardboard coffin incineration day 😉 I would rather be only shooting one brand for everything because obviously it makes things easier with cross compatibility and a better partner for Nikon stills would be Sony for video as with the excellent adapters, Nikon users have access to the full range of E Mount glass...and I considered it, but cost. I sold off some L Mount gear which mostly paid for the Nikon gear so the transition from 2023 gear to 2024 kit has cost me basically nothing. So a sideways move financially, but a pretty fundamental ergonomic / real world use advantages. I could do it all with Nikon and next season, maybe I will, swapping the L Mount video gear for Nikon. Or if L Mount come good with the bodies and glass, I could ditch the Nikon stills. The full Nikon system is most likely however, but who knows... One other 'bonus factor' of switching from Lumix to Nikon stills is that it's the same sensor, so I can keep using my same custom Lightroom import settings, though they may need some very minor tweaking for any minor differences. That custom import has been 2 seasons of micro tweaking to get it just how I wanted it so great I can keep it. I could easily flip to full Sony, but the cost prevents me. I would if I could, go Canon, based around R3's and one day I may, but only in 2-3 years when the costs of used bodies and lenses has come down considerably. They have the lenses and the R3's are 'peak camera' for my needs for now and the rest of my career. And in 24 years of being a full-time pro, I have never owned a Canon camera, but based on handling one and the specs, no question in my mind, the R3 is 'peak camera' for me.
  12. Caveat: If it is going to be printed large or requires further extensive editing such as the skin tones are way off with your baked in Jpeg. If it is just for social media, the web or small print, it might be fine….
  13. I don’t know about Sony but Panny definitely does and…meh. The issue is, it’s all baked in and for many, this might be OK, but as a photographer, I would much rather shoot Jpeg + Raw where the Jpeg is an in camera and reference at the culling stage. I have done various tests over the years with many Fuji cameras comparing the baked in Jpeg with the final Jpegs I created from the same image using the raw and about 9/10, I (much) preferred the raw conversion. On the back of the camera, the baked in Jpegs look great. On social media, ditto. But take the same properly edited image on a large screen or large print and it’s not even close. The baked in look is a hype job…UNLESS as above, it’s at social media / lower res levels when it can look great. And then some hate editing images which is also fine, but the reality for any serious photographer is a baked in look and a Jpeg image is ALWAYS going to be a compromise compared with a raw file. With the S5ii specifically, I loaded up several of my favourite personal custom LUTS, but again, nah, could not get close to the quality never mind the consistency, I could get out of doing my own process in LightRoom. The reality of it all however is most of my clients probably rarely print anything. This is the society we now live in… They have a wedding, spend as much as they ever did on the capture, but instead of receiving anything physical such as an album as 100% did when I started out, 100% today simply download their files. Ask them what they have done with their 500+ highly curated and individually hand edited files 1,2,5 years later and the response is, “our parents printed a couple for their mantelpiece but we ourselves have not got around to doing anything yet”. And most never will and one day, their kids and grandkids will ask about these ‘photos’, but these digital files will have been last to time in most cases. Industry / social rant over 😜
  14. Always. It’s a very straightforward, relatively lightweight set up, unlike the heavier and bulkier (per unit) 3 cam set up I had last year. I have simply ‘de-complicated’ my set up from the 3x aforementioned hybrid units to 2x designated sets with the bulkiest/heaviest unit being static. I tried EVERY possible option with L Mount only and could not make it work.
  15. And while I think of it, the only other lens that really stands out for me in L Mount land is the Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 which of course is crop mode only so more like a 27-52 which for those not really requiring anything longer than 50mm, IMO is a gem of a combo. I came very close actually to doing just this and opting for it’s forgotten brother, the 50-100mm f1.8 other than for the fact that the S1H AF is not as good as the S5ii and the 50-100 has shit AF AF! Maybe…just maybe, if the ‘S2H’ is the absolute dogs for stills and video, I might be tempted next season, but then again, that ship may already have sailed and I might consider replacing my remaining L Mount gear and going all in on Nikon next year with Z6iii…
  16. The perfect lens IMO, at least for my needs, whether 28-70 FF or 42-105 in crop mode, stills or video. Personally, I always shoot stills FF and use longer lenses for reach with say 24mp, but with something 60+ like some of the more recent Sony’s, I’d be quite happy to keep my lens sizes down and crop instead. In fact, I am fairly sure that the Sony A7RV in crop mode is 26mp so a little bigger than the native 24mp FF sensors. But the Sigma. Perfect size, weight, reach for me. I’m not much of a wider angle shooter and if so, I have a 20mm for that very limited (but still needed) requirement and prefer to shoot slightly longer lenses so 28 over 24, 40 over 35, 90/105 over 85 and rarely (but do need) anything over 150 and for that I have 180. I shoot this combo crop mode all the time now as whilst I don’t need every bit of footage slow mo, some bits I do want to slow to 75% and other stuff to 50% and remembering to change back and forth between 25p and 50p when also shooting stills has caught me out too many times and the quality difference is marginal. In fact, if you want better AF, shoot cropped. Liked the 20-60 that came with my original S5, but really only used it as a day time wide, otherwise a bit slow for my needs and tastes, so sold it. I’m an f4 day, 2.8 night, at their slowest kind of guy. I will generally shoot video wide open, but not always and stills generally the same or stopped down a bit, but a lot of my work can be low light and slower than f4 is a hard no from me. That little Canon is a great lens. I had that adapter on my Fuji XT3 as a ‘75’ and it was a great cheap workhorse. I do prefer primes in principle and would shoot them exclusively if it was practical for me to do so, but being able to be shooting at 180mm, rotate to 70mm and then flip (camera) to 40 and then 20, over 2 bodies, well it would need 4 bodies + 4 primes or a very handy assistant to do that otherwise! But the Sigma 28-70mm f2.8 is a 💯% from me. The Sigma f2 and f2.8 Contemporary primes are also A Grade as far as I am concerned with better build, feel, style and character over the Lumix f1.8’s plus have aperture rings and AF on/off switches on them. It’s above 90mm where L Mount loses me…
  17. The final line up for the 2024 season. From left to right… S1H with battery grip, 70-200 f4 (not shown, Rode WG2) permanently on tripod shooting static full length ceremony & speeches, manual focus, 4k 25p. Z6ii + adapted Tamron 70-180 f2.8 (not shown battery grip arriving tomorrow) with option Tamron 20-40 f2.8, stills only but can do video in an emergency. Sling on shoulder. S5ii + cage + Sigma 28-70 f2.8 + Rode Micro as my all day run & gun, gimbal ready, 4k 50p unit (so 42-105mm equivalent). Right hip. Zf + 40mm f2 candid stills but can also do video in an emergency. Left hip. Single backpack with all lighting, all other audio, all spare batts, cards, power bank, chargers, gimbal etc, but actually lives in my cart along with the 2 big light stands, 40m extension reel and 500W portable power bank.
  18. Oops I did it again…or rather Lumix and Sony did… I don’t want to rail on L Mount because for me, it’s so close to being the outright ‘best’ all round system, but once again, it’s the lenses that are letting it down. Again, for me and MY needs. My YouTube feed was flooded the other day with the announcement of the new Sigma 500mm lens. Bravo, looks relatively compact for a 500, but at 3x longer than I will ever need, utterly irrelevant. Then we get Lumix launching the 28-200mm f4-7.1 and that is relatively compact (unzoomed) for what it is, but again, completely irrelevant for my needs. Hailed by some as turning your camera into a camcorder. Not quite and if that’s your thing, great…but not for me. Then Sony announce their 24-50mm f2.8. Hello. Arguably not something the world was exactly asking for, but for those wanting a smaller more compact & lighter lens vs the trad 24-70… Especially on a higher MP body with more latitude to crop… Having flipped to Nikon (back to after 12 years away from) for stills, I would seriously consider this lens for both stills and video, but as I already have the excellent Tamron 20-40mm f2.8…which is actually a more useful focal range for me, the new Sony lens is not going to be one for me….but it’s another example of at least the type of lens that does interest me. I could really see it on something like an A7RV for 90% of my needs 90% of the time. I do hope Lumix announce their S1 replacement soon and suspect they will in March, but it’s the glass that for me is letting the system down, primarily fast more compact zoom lenses. I put my new (used) Z6ii with adapted Tamron 70-180mm f2 against my S5ii with native 70-200mm f4 yesterday and it’s not significantly smaller or lighter, but is both and a full stop faster and for my work, the difference between f2.8 and f4 is significant. Never mind if I actually had an L Mount f2.8 either from Lumix or Sigma which would then match the faster aperture, but be significantly larger, heavier and ergonomically less good to use. So not a rant against L Mount but rather a wish and a hope that they can come good, at least on paper, but I fear it’s too late for me for stills at least… Just some musings over coffee 😜
  19. Probably 2 principle reasons. Reason A. You enjoy using it so use it more than you would another and that in itself leads to self-improvement. Reason B. Fixed lens. You learn to see at that focal length and that leads to another kind of 'improvement'. I used the fixed 35mm focal length for almost an entire season of wedding photography and it was both a joy and a compromise. For work/clients, probably too much of a compromise and I would not ever go back to that but I use my Zf as a fixed lens camera, just with a 40mm glued on, but with my second unit with either 20-40mm or 70-180mm as required.
  20. If I had not gone back to Nikon (Zf and Z6ii) for my stills needs, I would almost certainly have gone back to Fuji for all my needs, photo and video. X100vi as my candid stills and C roll video unit, XH2 for secondary stills/longer/wider lenses and B roll video, XH2S as my primary video I'm not a fan of what has happened to the V model due to TikTok/social media etc and all the availability/price nonsense, but it was and still is a sublime bit of it. Not sure I'd pick the new vi over my Zf as a pro tool though... As an every day walkabout, vacation etc, sure, but love me my Zf.
  21. Yep. At the end of every season, I keep saying to myself this will be the year I trawl through the dozens of productions I have made that year, making notes which clips to then hunt for and then splice it all together to make some whizz bang promo that all those folks with the attention spans of goldfish, will be falling over themselves to contact and book me over. Never happens. I then get some inspired thought about editing it to a specific track...and then remember it's copyright protected and I don't have the BBC or Hollywood budget to spend on licensing it. And I am just a lazy arse in my off season... Maybe next year...
  22. He knows and he weeps for and with you. Still good with it. What I meant was if Covid had not come along, I would have progressed from XH1 (one of my fav cams of all time) + XT3 to all XT4’s instead of S5. Then I would have moved on to XH2S’s for video and XH2’s for stills with some hybrid crossover between the two otherwise identical cameras. Spits loudly in the corner.
  23. Probably what I'd be using if I wasn't using what I am now.
  24. Have you tried using a 1/8th mist? That has been my go to throughout ‘23 on the S5ii and no issues. The S1H does just have a (slightly) nicer image but the 1/8th evens it up a little and seems to fix most if not all moire issues. I might just get a battery grip for the S5ii and sell the S1H battery grip and then I can flip around their use ie make the S1H my run & gun workhorse and the S5ii can do static and gimbal. That should fix my use case dilemma of having them currently in my non-preferred roles…
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