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I just picked up the updated Cavision 3x3 matte box to use with my GH2 (website image below; pictured here with a T2i): [img]http://www.cavision.com/pictures/T2i/MB3485&T2IWITHLEDP.JPG[/img] It's a compact, fully-featured swing-away mattebox for about $350 that is compatible with high quality filters that seem to go for 30-40% less than the 4x4 filters. Cavision had to modify their swing away to work with this smaller matte box but it works well. I also ordered the 52mm to 85mm Deep Offset Step-Up Ring (AR85M52), and extra filter trays. Here are some first impressions:[list] [*]Quality is okay but not spectacular. I would never stand on one of these things like they do in some of the tests. It's a bit plasticy -- on par or slightly better than the DMatte. [*]I am concerned about build quality of the hinges that attach the flags to the matte box. They consist of plastic shafts that house long tightening bolts. It feels to me like that kind of plastic that may crack easily with repeated use or age. I have removed them for the time being because they add a lot of bulk. [*]The filter trays that come with the matte box are very lightweight plastic. I am not sure that I'd trust them with my expensive Schneider 3x3 filters (which fit perfectly). However, the extra filter trays that I ordered separately are aluminum and feel much better in my hands. I'll be using them primarily and keeping the plastic holders as backups. [*]The rear rotating stage kept getting stuck the first couple of times that I used it (I think that there was a stubborn ball bearing in there somewhere). But after I broke it in, it works very well and turns pretty smoothly. [*]The swing away is all aluminum and feels well-built. It works well in this setup. The 15mm bracket that hugs the rods sits 2.5" or 3" behind the matte box, meaning that I am attaching my Edelkrone FocusOne Pro follow focus [i]in front[/i] of it. I am very glad that I have this follow focus with this matte box, because with its one point of contact I can slip it onto one of the rods and then slide it underneath the matte box before righting it. [*]With the deep offset ring, this matte box does NOT vignette with my SLR Magic 12mm on my GH2. [*]This whole setup will be greatly improved with a sleeve (i.e. "nuns knickers") to keep it light tight. Cavision is working on one but I may rig together something myself in the meantime. [/list] Though the build quality could be better (especially the flag hinges), this matte box is the perfect size for the GH2 and any other DSLR. I have always felt that 4x4 matte boxes were too big for small cameras. I have assembled my kit to be lightweight and functional with nothing extra, and this matte box fits right in. Here are some snapshots: [font=inherit][size=3][img]http://www.eoshd.com/comments/uploads/gallery/album_14/gallery_18451_14_40366.jpg[/img][/size][/font] [font=inherit][size=3][img]http://www.eoshd.com/comments/uploads/gallery/album_14/gallery_18451_14_113892.jpg[/img][/size][/font] [font=inherit][size=3][img]http://www.eoshd.com/comments/uploads/gallery/album_14/gallery_18451_14_143404.jpg[/img][/size][/font]
In my quest to find the perfect matte box, I have been doing some research that I will share here in the hope that someone else may benefit from it (this is a cross-post, there is also a thread on Personal-View: [url="http://www.personal-view.com/talks/discussion/2876/matte-boxes-and-filter-thickness/p1"]http://www.personal-...er-thickness/p1[/url]). Not all matte boxes on the market will take Tiffen or Schneider filters. Take for instance the DMatte from DFocus. It's a bargain for the price, but when I finally brought one home, I couldn't support my Schneider filters because they were a millimeter too thick. I've since returned it and resumed my search. It looks like these are my options at this point:[list] [*]Arri (confirmed by forum member) [*]Chrosziel (personal test) [*]LockCircle (manufacturer confirmed) [*]Lanparte (confirmed by forum member) [*]Cavision (personal test) [*]Cinematics (confirmed by forum member) [*]Cokin (website info) [*]Vocas (manufacturer confirmed) [*]Genus (manufacturer confirmed) [*]Movcam (manufacturer confirmed) [*]Century Optics ["Sunshade Filter Holder"] (confirmed by forum member) [/list] I have no confirmation, but I'd be surprised if the matte boxes from O'Connor, Bright Tangerine and TLS Raven could not hold 4mm filters. If you know of any others, please comment and I will update the list.
I came across a new mattebox from a company called Lock Circle that offers an impressive solution to address the main problem associated with using still photography lenses for video production: [media]http://vimeo.com/41414067[/media] (Skip to the 3:50 mark for the matte box demo). I already own a mattebox and looking at this clever sliding design, I am trying to think of a way to accomplish the sliding motion by modifying one of the many 15mm rail blocks like this that are available on eBay: [img]http://i.ebayimg.com/t/M6-Thread-Rail-Block-Rod-Clamp-fr-15mm-Rod-DSLR-Rig-Rail-System-Follow-Focus-/00/s/MTAwMFgxMDAw/$(KGrHqN,!nUE-wmo(CICBQBYwE0efQ~~60_35.JPG[/img] This would be a universal solution that could be adapted to any existing matte box (as far as I know, there is no rail block on the market with rod holes lined with ball bearings). With no modifications other than to loosen the thumbscrews that tightens the metal around the rods, there is already a promising range of movement. But it still needs a reduction in friction to be truly useful. My first thought is to pour some lubricant on the rods. This would allow your matte box to move around easily. Unfortunately, it would also cause everything else on your rods to slide around like an ice rink full of kindergarteners. Second thought: buy some of that padding that people put on the feet of their chairs and couches to keep them from scratching the floor, cut it into short, thin strips, and then line the rod holes. This could possibly work, but it also might not leave enough room for the block to slide freely around the rod. Also, I could see it easily becoming unstuck after just a little friction. Then there is something like this, which could be left disengaged for maximum rod mobility: [img]http://i.ebayimg.com/t/Fotga-Quick-Release-Slide-Slot-Block-Clamp-for-Ffollow-Ffocus-15mm-Rail-Rod-Rig-/00/s/NDAwWDQwMA==/$(KGrHqV,!q0E+og)2RDkBQJNNUtGEg~~60_12.JPG[/img] But there is no front-facing screw hole to accomodate a standard-type matte box riser. I'll continue to think about this, and if I have any findings, I will share them here. In the meantime, please feel free to share your own ideas and solutions as well.