DV expo; DIY Steadi; EF adapter for Micro 4/3; inside a Zeiss compact prime

DV Expo 2012 in Pasadena:

DV Expo was pretty small. The big manufacturers weren’t really showing their new stuff. Canon didn’t have a C100, even though RedRock Micro did somehow! Panasonic didn’t have their new GH3, which was released at Photokina on the 18th.

Sorta-Steadicam

This guy makes a pan-stabilizer for the well-known bottom weighted monopod style of handheld shooting, the very-poor/DIY-man’s steadicam. This is his site. I love his rig!  It’s a weighted wooden bar at the bottom of a monopod.  Since it extends a good ways to the front and back, it adds a lot of inertia to the pan axis of movement. If you’ve ever tried handheld walking shots with a weighted monopod, you know that it’s easy to get a little pan “twitch” with each step, since the weight at the bottom only adds inertia to the tilt (or up-and-down) axis of movement. This super simple rig solves that problem. He does make and sells these for 60$.3

 

Smart Lens Adapter

A Smart Lens adapter for Canon EF lenses to be used on Micro 4/3 cameras, allowing electronic iris control. Apparently RedRock Micro has had this for a while, but when you search for m43 lens adapters, it certainly doesn’t come up in the top 10. 4

 

Here it is.  Next post I’ll show you more video detail on this gizmo. I want one.  Pricey, but if you’ve already got some good EF mount glass, spending 500$ on this adapter will buy you proper use of your thousands of dollars worth of lenses. I have the Kipon ef-M43 adapter, and it’s basically crap.  It’s got a manual iris that goes in between the rear element and the focal plane, so what you get past about a 5.6 is shadowy vignetting around the edge of your frame.  It also has a lot of wiggle in it, causing your frame to change when you rack focus.  Not good.

Inside a Zeiss

Ever wonder why lenses are so expensive? Wonder what’s inside? Well have a look.  This is a Zeiss Compact Prime sliced in half. Rather a lot of moving parts… Notably, they do have Compact Prime Superspeeds that open to a t1.5.  A good bit better than their not-so-fast Compact Primes line, which range for t2 to t2.8. But they get a bit more spendy too, more like just buying actual PL mount Superspeeds. Since the Compact Primes are trying to be a budget option for serious pros, it sort of seems like a compromise to me.  Fast Canon EF mount Primes sound pretty good to me for a semi-budget option, since EF mount primes are all pretty much under 2000$ each, compared to upwards of 4000$.  It seems like a straddle option- expensive enough that you don’t really want to own them unless you’re buying them to rent them out, but if people are renting, they’re not going to want the budget Zeiss glass, they’re going to want to top-notch stuff like Ultra Primes or Cooke Series 4.5

 

The Panasonic GH3

Panasonic didn’t bring a GH3 to DV Expo, sadly, but here’s what I gather about this much-anticipated release. The important improvements as I see them on the excellent GH2 are:
-1080p60 frame rate.  While 60 frames isn’t all that slo-mo, it’s still something everyone expects now, and being able to shoot 60 fps at 1080p is a big improvement over just 720p on the GH2.
-better build quality: my GH2 is a little plasticky and flimsy. The GH3 is made of magnesium alloy instead of plastic, and is weather sealed. That’s a bid for the more pro users.  I do wish my GH2 felt a little less like a consumer toy, given that I shoot with it professionally.
-normal 3.5mm microphone input: I have no idea what they were thinking using a 2.5mm input on a semi-pro camera.
-headphone jack. About time.
-natively being able to record at 72 Mbps, with all I-frames. What Vitaliy Kiseyev and the personal-view.com loyalists have been able to do with the GH2 firmware hacks, now Panasonic offers natively. If you don’t know about the GH2 hacks, you should. What VK did was write software that enables users to adjust many parameters previously only accessible to the manufacturers, most importantly the bit rate. What this did is it gave people a 700$ camera that had a fantastic image quality. 72mbps with all I-frames is very good, but not even as good as you get with the GH2 and certain hacks.  Let’s wait and see if VK hacks it and what he can make it do.
-More expensive. 1200 clams for just the body, which is a pretty big leap from the 700$ GH2.

 

by Airbox lights

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