Blackmagic Design really rather deserve their own individual
blog as, true to form, they came out with some show stoppers!! We’ll throw in a bit of AJA and RED as well
at the end just for good measure.
It is interesting to note that after the announcements were
made yesterday morning first thing, the immediate feedback on Social Media was
that they should perhaps work on getting their existing products right before
jumping in with even more – it’s an interesting but increasingly frustrating
game they are playing with existing owners desperately shouting out for
So, putting that issue to one side for a brief moment, what
did they have on show? First up is the Blackmagic Studio Camera.
It features a huge 10” viewfinder, 4 hour
battery, talkback, tally indicators, phantom powered microphone connections and
built in optical fibre and SDI connections.
It’s available in both HD and 4K models, both featuring a new one inch
Mount wise it’s Micro Four
Thirds. So there’s no option to record
internally – it’s just live feed out – it’s designed to be tethered to one of
their switchers but there’s nothing stopping you using the SDI feed to
We’re not planning to stock
them as I don’t think our customer base would have any use for them. If you are interested, please do let me know.
So we then move onto the biggie (in more ways than one) –
the Blackmagic URSA. They claimed it’s
designed for feature films and commercials – you can decide quite who is going
to use it for yourself!!
There’s no questioning it’s quite impressive with a HUGE 10”
fold out monitor, two extra 5” touch screens for adjusting settings, controls
or monitoring, upgradeable 4K global shutter Super 35mm sensor (yes it’s the
same one as in the Production camera) and internal dual RAW and ProRes
You noticed I mentioned that the sensor was
upgradeable. Here they have been quite
clear as – as and when Blackmagic produce a new improved 4K sensor, all you
need do is remove 4 bolts and replace the front module! The dual recorders is a little misleading really as what
we’re talking about is hotswapping of card slots – when the first is full,
recording will immediately transfer over to the second slot. On the subject of cards, the camera uses the
new CFast format.
It’s hard not to be overwhelmed initially (and quite
impressed) with the 10 inch screen – it’s a bit bonkers but there’s no denying
it’s effective. How good it is in direct
sunlight, no-one knows. Nice to see a
simple zoom button on the side for expanded view. The two touch screens can not only be used as
additional monitors but also for controlling all the settings and things like
Connection wise, the camera is pretty well catered for. You get 6G-SDI out that can be converted to
HD and hurrah, XLR connections with phantom power. Timecode in/out and LANC control are also
there. Power wise all I can say is hallelujah – external power in
the form of either V-Lock or Anton/Bauer.
There’s also a 4 pin XLR 12V input. Initially the camera is available in EF and PL mounts.
We have an order on an EF mount one. Whether we’ll stock it really does depend on
feedback so please please, do let me know what you think.
Prize for the most unexpected camera has to go to the AJA CION. I really don’t think anyone expected
It’s got a 4K APS-C sized CMOS
sensor with 12 stops of dynamic range (pretty similar to the Blackmagic
Production camera and the new URSA). It
can record 4K, Ultra HD, 2K and HD.
Frame rates up to 50 and 60p are supported, even at 4K. Codec wise, it records internally in ProRes
4444, ProRes 422 (HQ), ProRes LT and ProRes Proxy. Lens mount is PL.
The camera includes a Optical Low-Pass Filter
to reduce moire and also a built in IR Cut filter. As it’s PL mount, it’s not really for our traditional customer
base but it seems a very nicely sorted bit of kit and is pretty good value. We will look at it more closely once available.
Finally a mention of RED.
It was really interesting to see a large portion of their stand was
devoted to pulling stills from the cameras.
This has always been of interest to me as ultimately this is the way I see
the high end stills market going. Just
interesting that there were doing this at a Broadcast Show that deals with
motion more than stills.
Sony have been busy people over the last year or so and the
fruits of that labour were there for all to see at NAB yesterday.You would have to have been living on another planet not
have heard by now about the a7s.
video guys, the BIG news is a full frame 4K sensor with no moire, XAVC-S codec,
optional S-LOG 2 gamma and astonishing low light performance. There’s no internal 4K recording – this would
have compromised the size and battery performance of the camera. You can still take 4K out through the Micro
HDMI. What do you record with? Well Atomos had the answer in the form of the
Shogun but more on that later.
For the stills world, that low light performance has to be
seen to be believed. It’s a cracking
addition to their line up and we can’t wait to get them in stock for you to
From the world go yesterday, the Sony stand was buzzing
around the a7s area and it’s easy to see why – finally something has toppled
the 5D Mk III.
If you don’t believe me,
try watching the comparison videos that Den has done (once they are available
I’ll put a link here). There are issues that need to be sorted such as securing the
Micro HDMI as it’s very flimsy. Sony had
a locking mechanism on the a7s on their stand and I’m still trying to get to
the bottom of who made it! I did have a
chat with Jens from Zacuto who will be looking to see what they can produce –
I’m sure we’ll find a solution by September when the Atomos Shogun is due to be
Sony were also showing two accessories for the a7s. The first was an XLR adaptor – very similar
to the XLR-K1M we already stock but without the extension lead.
They also were showing a dummy lens sample – this will be a 28-135mm
When we’ll see this and
other lenses, afraid I can’t say at the moment.
Onto the new AS100VR bullet camera. I’ve been using two of these now for a while
and they really are rather good. The
Steadyshot on them is superb, as is both the image quality and the codec
(XAVC-S). Using them does take a bit of
getting used to and I’d love the ability to vary the angle of view but it’s
without doubt the best bullet camera Sony have ever produced. I have several thousand jpegs of timelapse to
put together. Once I get back to the UK,
I’ll put it together.
It’s interesting to see that DJI have produced a gimbal
mount for the AS100VR. The low weight,
remote wrist monitor and small form factor will no doubt lend itself to that
Moving on we come to the new Sony PXW-X180.
Confused by all the camcorders out
there? Well frankly there’s just too
much choice but Sony have now come to the rescue. This three 1/3-inch type Exmor™ CMOS sensors
camcorder records Full HD XAVC Intra and XAVC Long GOP, as well as MPEG HD 422
50 Mbps, MPEG HD 420 35 Mbps, AVCHD and DV, making it ideal for a wide range of
applications from education/videography to news and broadcast production. Put simply, it covers all bases!!
It sits in Sony’s XDCAM range as it
predominantly uses dual SxS slots for recording but also it can record proxies
onto SD card. Lens wise, it’s a 25x HD
zoom lens with 26mm wide angle and 4 stage ND filter. We’re just waiting for pricing but I think we will replace
all the NX5’s and Z5’s with this camera.
I would be interested to hear if people still want us to stock more
NX3’s - clearly it does depend on how
keenly we can offer this camera.
I am hoping to get a sample when we get back to the UK so I
can have a really good play with it.
So I mentioned the Atomos Shogun earlier. Well we all know much as with the Ninja Blade
that something along these lines would come out – was just a question of
The Shogun offers 4K ProRes
recording using 12G-SDI and 4K HDMI 2 connections. The unit is bigger that what we’re used to
(but also pretty slim) with the screen now measuring 7” in size – it’s a true
1920x1080 touchscreen with 325PPI and 179 degree viewing.The Shogun can record in 24,25 or 30p from the camera but
can also record up to 120fps (if the camera can do it – the a7s can record up
to 120fps in crop sensor mode). For the
audio side of things Atomos will include a Lemo breakout cable for XLR audio
(including phantom power). Naturally all
the great features of the Blades will be there such as waveforms and monitor
assist but having spoken to them yesterday, I understand they are working hard
to add more features before the launch.We should have them available at launch around September
Last but not least, Atomos also showed the new Ninja
Think of it as a Ninja without the
screen. If you’ve already got a monitor
or need to record ProRes on onboard camera rigs, this will prove very useful
indeed. It’s only 100g so can be mounted
pretty much anywhere. It records to
CFast media cards (we’ll be including cards and reader) rather than SSD’s. The great news is we should have them up on the site by next
week and in stock for hire by end of May!!
So no-one was expecting this one! Say hello to Sony's new PXW-X180, a
three 1/3-inch type Exmor™ CMOS sensors camcorder that records Full HD XAVC Intra and XAVC Long GOP, as well as MPEG HD 422 50 Mbps, MPEG HD 420 35 Mbps, AVCHD and DV!
Sony has billed it as the successor to the HVR-Z7E, HXR-NX5E and PMW-150.
The camera includes dual SxS memory card slots, proxy recording on SD card, a G Series fixed 25x HD zoom lens with 26mm wide angle and variable ND filter, that provides four conventional mechanical 4 ND filter positions or a linear switch dial for more control in changing light conditions. The camcorder also has wireless functions and NFC (Near Field Communication) capabilities.
So finally I can say welcome to the new Sony a7s. It's with huge delight as here is a camera that has the 5D Mk III licked in terms of image quality. Moire? Nope - it samples the whole 12.2mp sensor. Low light performance? Absolutely gobsmaking - you'll be able to see some comparisons that Den Lennie has done with this camera and the 5D Mk III and it is just night and day difference.
So let's go back to the start. The camera has a 12.2mp sensor with ISO up to 409600! I saw movie footage up to 25600 and you really could use it if you had to. So the sensor's good in low light. What really impressed is the dynamic range it was providing - quite incredible - all the footage I saw had been shot using Sony's S-Log 2 gamma.
Recording format is XAVC-S at 50mps. For those that have already had a snub at this being half the bitrate of the GH4, take a look at the footage before you start making opinions - it really is good.
Another interesting add-on feature is slow mo recording in HD using APS-C crop mode at up to 120frames per second.
Everything else is pretty much normal a7 territory. So yes, there will be those that have a moan about the AF and those that don't like the design/form factor but just wait until you see what's been shot on it. Honestly, if you'd said it had been shot on F5/55, you wouldn't have questioned it.
Cameras already on order - as soon as we know more, we'll let you know.
Get up to 6 days for the price of 2 or
up to 4 days for the price of 1!!!
Last year's Easter Offer was so popular we thought we'd do the same again. If you book now, subject to availability, we will send out your goods on Tuesday 15th April to arrive with you on Wednesday 16th. We will then pick them up on Tuesday 22nd April. THAT'S 6 DAYS FOR PRICE OF A NORMAL WEEKEND HIRE CHARGE!
That's not all - book before the end of March and we'll throw in a further 10% off!There's more! Those looking for a real bargain and willing to take a chance might like the next option. As of 2pm on Tuesday 15th April, any equipment still in stock can be booked to be dispatched on Wednesday 16th April for a SINGLE DAY'S HIRE CHARGE - THAT'S 4 DAYS FOR THE PRICE OF 1!!
Normal courier, insurance and minimum hire charges, equipment deposits and delivery conditions apply. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer.
It's hard to believe that it's now two years since the D4 came on the scene. If we're honest, it wasn't the huge leap over that D3S that that was over the D3 but that hasn't stopped it being a very popular camera for rental.
The D4S is once again more of an evolutionary jump rather than a radical change over the D4. The D4S has a 30% increase in computer power over the D4 - this allows more noise reduction and pushes ISO levels up to a frankly daft 409,600. It will also now shoot at 11 frames per second with full AF and metering (over 10 with the D4).
There's now a group AF selection with five points that give you better control over the AF area. Battery life is said to have vastly improved (new battery time!) and is said to be 3x better than the Canon 1DX!
On the back of the camera, the selection buttons have a different texture and the design has been changed with that area being raised - presumably making it easier to press with gloves on.
We've been huge fans of CSC cameras and already stock a pretty good range of bodies and lenses. There's always been a hole in our range that customers have been nagging at us to fill. Well finally we've sorted it - we now have both the Olympus OM-D E-M1 and the E-M5 models.
The E-M1 we're offering as body only as we've had quite a few enquiries for E-M5 owners who want to give it a go and already have lenses.
So what's new? The clue's in the name Blade! We've already been stocking the Samurai Blade for a while and now the Ninja Blade offers the same 1280 x 720 SuperAtom IPS touchscreen offering 325ppi and a 179 degree viewing angle.
The great news is you can truly use this as a monitor with focus peaking, false colour, zebras and most importantly waveforms and several colour tolls.
We are shipping it out with a 1tb HDD but we also have the option of a 480gb SanDisk Extreme Pro II SSD for those applications where vibration might be an issue.
We're still going to be hiring the Atomos Ninja 2 as it offers an excellent value option for those not needing the extra capabilities of the Ninja Blade.
We've already heard about the Canon C100 getting the new Dual Pixel CMOS AF functionality (DAF) - in fact that's due to happen in the next few weeks (we'll let you know as soon as it does).
Canon have today announced that the Canon C300 will now be given the same functionality. No exact date was announced but I was told yesterday that we're really looking around June. As as soon as it's available, we'll get ours updated.
Canon also announced a free firmware update to the C100 allowing Continuous Recording. What is this? I'm still not too sure (and neither were the two Canon people I quizzed yesterday!). So here's Canon official wording -
"Continuous Recording functionality will soon be available for the EOS C100, thanks to a free firmware update that will permit uninterrupted recording1 and the ability for users to set in and out markers directly, in-camera. Selected moments can then be instantly accessed during editing, saving time and effort. Furthermore, the ability to record in full, particularly when shooting significant moments such as weddings or important events, allows users to access moments that might not have been spotted on the day, or to adjust the marked shots for the best possible end result. Compatible NLE software is required to take full advantage of Continuous Recording; at launch the feature will be supported by EDIUS Pro 7 from Grass Valley."
I will get to the bottom of it and work out exactly what it is!
Once again the Blackmagic Design brand has caused a stir. Why? Last week they announced off the back of the Panasonic GH4 launch that they were dropping the launch price of their 4K Production Camera by £1k! That's a huge drop and suddenly makes it a lot more attractive to some.
We needed to get some experience with what it's like so headed out to play with our friend James Miller. This wasn't a scientific test - more of trying to get a feel for the camera and importantly, understanding the workflow involved.
I think the biggest problem with the BMPC (as we'll now call it) is the fact that it's identical to look at as the Cinema Camera. In reality it's a different machine and really aimed at a different purpose. When the BMCC came out, we had a mad rush of production customers wanting to try it, only to complain about its handling and usage issues and the small sensor - they were really missing the point. The BMCC even in ProRes offers an exceptional image for the money as long as you were willing to put up with its 'issues'. The sad reality is for a great deal of paid work, the client couldn't tell the difference between 8 and 12 stops of dynamic range so why not just use something better suited to your workflow?
The Production Camera is somewhat different. Very simply, if you want a 4K camera with a painless workflow, there is NOTHING to touch it for the price. So how is that different from the BMCC? What we're talking about here is something that is marketable to a client. Sure, most won't ever take you up on 4K output but this camera does allow you to produce very good 4K ProRes which if archived is future proof for the client yet easily converted down to HD.
Soon Blackmagic will offer a RAW update but in all honesty I can't see more than 5% of our customers going down that route as the simple fact is the customer won't pay extra for it. If you're doing your showreel then fair enough but for paid work, it's hard to justify.
So it all sounds like the next Messiah. Surely there must be issues? Well yes, there are. Any BMCC users will be well aware of their idiosyncrasies. The iris control is fiddly using the forwards and back buttons (if you can use lenses with manual rings, it does make life a lot easier). Having to access the menu for changing the ISO is also a chore. The screen on the back isn't bad until you show it some sunlight and then it's of little use - a viewfinder is then essential and you'll need to make sure it's got an SDI input (or least use a SDI-HDMI converter).
We know the battery life is limited on the standard camera but be prepared for worse with the BMPC - we got 25 minutes from full charge recording in 4K with an IS lens!!! Having external power options are essential.
The last point is one of my biggest bugbears of most low-end 4K offerings so far - this camera is lousy in low light. 200ASA and 400ASA are usable but don't bother using 800ASA as it's very noisy - you're better off using 400ASA and pulling it up in post. For most productions, this won't be a problem - you just have to light them properly!! But for doco run and gun work, this won't will any friends at all.
Now onto the good stuff! It's really cheap, the workflow's a breeze and the quality is excellent. Sounds a bit daft but it really is that simple. Taking the ProRes into either Premiere or FCPX was so very simple. Cutting on the timeline was done on my MacPro in realtime with no issues at all. Only when adding any colour processing did my machine start to complain (and it really did). I've yet to try exporting the edited 4K timeline to Resolve - something for another day. If you're after producing something on the fly quickly, set the camera to Video mode which gives very accurate colour rendition that will allow you to push something out pretty quickly without much post... in 4K! If you've sat there waiting endlessly for the computer to finish transcoding before you've even started, you'll know how useful that is.
We're still testing the imagery but so far it's holding up pretty well. Dynamic range seems to be okay (not near the BMCC though) and the camera certainly seems to have a 'look' to it. Pulling focus is pretty important in 4K and the peaking can be a little enthusiastic to select some softer edges as well making it hard to nail. Why oh why can't there be an expanded view - frustrating.
Tomorrow we head off to London to do some side-by-side testing against the Canon 1DC so we'll see how it does. In the meantime, feel free to have a look at James Millers quick short we shot down by the beach. This was the first time he'd touched the camera and our tests ground to a halt once we'd run out of power but at least it gave us an idea.
One quick final note - we used a Tiffen Variable ND throughout the filming and we noticed issues with varying colour balance. Usually I had the guys from Tiffen here today so brought up the issue. They are fully aware of it and producing an IR filter which will sit on top of the variable ND to prevent this.
Sony today announced the new a6000 (or ILCE-6000 to give it its formal name). You'll firstly notice that these APS-C mirrorless cameras are no longer called NEX - from now onwards they will be under the Alpha family. Now we'll be totally honest, the NEX-6 and NEX-7 are not the most popular models on our hire fleet but that probably says more about our customer base and their needs than the cameras themselves as they are very good.
Sony's new full frame a7 and a7r models have been incredibly popular since their launch and I think the reason for this is two fold. Firstly they are very good full frame cameras and secondly people are starting to embrace the idea of mirrorless cameras as they continue to improve.
One complaint always pointed at mirrorless cameras is the speed of them (or rather the lack of speed), not only in terms of AF but also continuous frame rate. As little as a year ago, really only Olympus and Panasonic offered anything approaching real speed but given they use a Micro 4/3rds sensor, they did have an advantage. Fuji was continually improving with every firmware update but it took the launch of the recent X-T1 to show what could be achieved with an APS-C sensor.
Well Sony has gone one step further and produced a camera capable of focusing in 0.06 seconds and not only that but it uses 179 hybrid AF points covering nearly 90% of the sensor using phase rather than contrast detection. This is really significant as this is truly fast and it allows the camera the ability to shoot at 11 frames a second with AF tracking. All this is possible because of the new Bionz X processor found in the A7/A7r. That AF can also be used for video and you have the ability to change the focus speed and tracking delay.
The new 24.3mp Exmor sensor matches up with the Bionz X processor to offer shooting up to 25,600 ISO. That doesn't really matter - what matters is there's better image quality and lower noise between 1,600 and 6,400 ISO where we really need it.
The body is now mag alloy so it feels a great deal sturdier. It's not weather proofed but we have to bear in mind the pricing of this camera (it's half the price of the X-T1). There are other niggles from the video side as there are no mic or headphone sockets either.
The reality is that there will be another model along to sit above this camera that WILL have all these things. I suspect it will also record in XAVC-S rather than the AVCHD codec that the a6000 uses.
If you're not that worried about video but do events which require a fast camera, this could be an ideal backup. However you feel about it, it does show that the limitations of mirrorless cameras are getting smaller and you ignore them at your own peril.
The camera is due to be launched in April and we will have it in stock from launch.
So we all knew this was coming as Panasonic has been showing dummy cameras for a while. Well now it's officially launched - the new GH4!
The GH3 has never really been hired for stills so let's focus on the GH4's video capabilities. Big news is it's 4K (well we already knew it was going to be!). So it can capture video at 4K (3,840 x 2,160) at 23.98, 24, 25 and 29.97fps or cinema widescreen (4096 x 2160) at 24fps. Both these formats record at 100Mbps. HD recording at 1080p is offered at with a 200Mbps All-Intra or 100Mbps IPB bitrate. Rather than go through everything, Panasonic have made a table explaining it all that is shown below!
As you can see, the camera is now global - no longer do you need to choose between PAL or NTSC - great news for those that travel and film abroad a lot. Panasonic has included a Variable Frame Rate that enables slow motion capture up to 96fps in full HD. A Time Lapse function is also included within the camera.
The GH4 has a micro HDMI port that outputs a 4:2:2 8 bit or 4:2:2 10 bit (only possible if not recording in camera at same time) clean feed. It's also got full size 3.5mm connections for an external mic and headphones.
Peaking and zebras are now available - you've also got the option of exporting the zebra via the HDMI to an external monitor as well. Time coding is provided in Rec Run or Free Run methods.
Body wise, it's much the same as before with a weather-proof mag alloy body. There's a 3 inch variable angle OLED touch screen (great for selecting AF points) on the back and new 2.36m dot OLED viewfinder which boasts virtually no lag at all.
We've then got the optional AG-YAGHG Interface Unit that can be bolted on the bottom of the camera. This provides a 4K 10 bit 4:2:2 feed via quad SDI connections. Importantly for audio, it provides two XLR balanced inputs with phantom power, audio dials and a levels meter. There's also a external timecode input and a 12V DC input allowing external battery support.
There's no polite way of putting it, the interface is hardly small and it will be interesting to see what the camera feels like with it bolted on. But it does at least give the GH4 users more options for using it.
Want to see what the 4K footage looks like? Well here's Panasonic's official video -
Our order's already in - we're expecting to see the camera sometime in April. As we know more, we'll let you know!
This list is being sent to 'Offers' subscribers exclusively first! You have the first chance to book equipment. Non subscribers will not be able to book until 12.30pm so that gives you a head start! If you are a non subscriber and are reading this as a result of linking from our Facebook page, subscribe now to be eligible to book early!
Back to the offer - hire anything we have in stock for this weekend and you'll get the weekend's hire for a day's hire charge! Better still as we're all a bit depressed with the daft weather, to cheer you up, if we've got it here today, we'll send it out a DAY EARLY!
Please do call us if something you want is not listed as we do get last minute cancellations!
Better still, if you're a loyalty card member you CAN use this offer with your discount!
All you need to do is quote our Flyaway Offer when booking!
Normal courier charges, insurance, our minimum hire charge of £30 and deposits apply.
As always, it's first come - first served. We know the phone goes a bit crazy once this newsletter goes out now so don't delay!
Sigma 50mm f1.4
Nikon 50mm f1.4
Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VR FX Mk I & II
Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 OS
Sigma 120-400mm f/4.5-5.6 OS
Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 OS
Various Zeiss and Samyang mount lenses - call for details
Sony Alpha mount lenses
Sony 16-35mm f2.8
Sony 24mm f2
Sony 24-70mm f2.8
Sony 35mm f1.4
Sony 50mm Sony 85mm f1.4
Sony 135mm f1.8
Sony 500mm f4
Sony E mount lenses
Sony 16mm Pancake
Sony 10-18mm f4
Sony 16-70mm f4
Sony 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 Sigma 19mm f2.8
Many expected the next X series camera to be a successor to the X-Pro1 but it would seem we were wrong - say hello to the rather gorgeous X-T1! From the moment you see the photos, you can work out where this is going - Sony a7r and Olympus E-M1 come immediately to mind! The styling is just beautiful but it's also practical. The die-cast magnesium camera body is dust and water resistant - it's also freeze resistant down to -10C. Fujifilm is going to be launching three weather-resistant zoom lenses this year to complement the X-T1 - a XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R OIS WR launching in June and then the XF16-55mmF2.8 R OIS WR and the XF50-140mmF2.8 R OIS WR following later in the year.
There are five mechanical dials on the top-plate (including shutter speed, exposure comp, ISO, metering and drive modes), two command dials on the front and rear and then six fully customisable function buttons - it sounds like Fujifilm has found a pleasing middle ground to keep everyone happy and it should be a joy to use.
You can help but notice the housing for the newly developed electronic viewfinder which Fujifilm claim is virtually indistinguishable from an optical viewfinder thanks to the ultra fast display speed with a lag time of 0.005 seconds, one tenth the speed of conventional cameras. The 2.36m dot OLED display also has a unique wide-angle view with the world's highest magnification for a digital camera at 0.77x.
Fujifilm have also been very clever with the information displayed in the viewfinder with four different display modes including a Dual mode that adds a second small screen for checking focus point with Focus Peak Highlight or Digital Split image. When shooting in portrait mode, the screen will automatically rotate the shooting information!
Sensor wise, it has the same X-Trans CMOS II sensor as the X-E2 which we know is brilliant - it uses Fujifilm's own randomised pixel arrangement to eliminate the need for a low-pass filter and so offers incredibly detail. The X-T1 includes a Lens Modulation Optimiser that matches to individual characteristics of each Fujifilm lens exactly to the camera.
Fujifilm have been getting better and better at AF speeds and the X-T1 is apparently the quickest yet with a response time of just 0.08 seconds thanks to new phase detection. Okay so we're only dealing with an APS-C sensor rather than the full frame one in the Sony's but that's still pretty impressive (and it's one of the Sony's achilles heels). Thanks to the EXR Processor II, the camera has a 0.5 second startup time, 0.05 second shutter time lag and 0.5 second shooting interval (giving you up to 8 frames per second with AF tracking). The camera is also Fujifilm's first to be compatible with the SDXC UHS-II format allowing writing speeds up to twice that of conventional cards. Plenty of SLR users have taken issue with the fact that smaller mirrorless cameras are just too slow to use - perhaps this will change a few people's minds?!
Other points worth mentioning include enhanced wireless functions using a phone or tablet through the Fujifilm Camera Remote App and an interval timer for Time Lapse with intervals of 1 second to 24 hours although at present this is limited to 999 frames.
A Vertical Battery Grip will be available for the camera (shown above) which will also be weather resistant along with four different flash models, dependant your requirements (we're probably only stock the EF-42).
Hopefully we'll have the camera available to hire from in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, here's Fuji's official launch video!
We all knew it was on its way. The question was when. Here's Nikon's press release...
London, UK, 7th January 2014
Nikon today announced that it is preparing for the release of its next-generation flagship model, the Nikon D4S D-SLR camera. The camera, designed for the world’s top photographers, will be exhibited before it is officially released at the Nikon booth at the 2014 International CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. International CES is one of the world's largest consumer technology exhibitions and runs from 7th to 10th January 2014.
As Nikon's new flagship model, the D4S will offer significant advances over the Nikon D4 D-SLR camera that include even better image quality through the adoption of a new image-processing engine, and more advanced autofocusing performance.
The Nikon D4S represents a combination of Nikon's advanced camera development technology heritage and years of experience working closely with photographers. Designed to expand the possibilities for professional photographers who require the best possible performance in extreme environments, the Nikon D4S will particularly benefit those in the fields of sports, press, and nature photography.
Nikon began as an optical device manufacturer developing and manufacturing optical lenses. This year marks the 97th anniversary of the company's establishment. Nikon will continue to develop high-performance, highly functional products based on the optical technologies it has cultivated over its long history.
Our order is already in. As soon as we know more, we'll let you know!
Sony entered the action camera market with the AS15 Action Cam. In all honesty, its timing couldn't have been worse as within days GoPro announced the Hero 3 Black Edition that firmly showed Sony the door. It was a shame as in some ways, Sony was onto something. The design lends itself to applications where the GoPro was bulky but it still required a waterproof housing. The AS15 had Sony's superb SteadyShot which undoubtably made a big difference but the fact was, the image quality just couldn't begin to compete with the GoPro. Such a shame. I saw its replacement, the AS30 and my heart sank as in reality it wasn't going to be enough improvement to even justify stocking.
Then last night we learnt of this - the HDR-AS100VR! Whilst it may look the same (albeit it's white), it's a whole new animal.
So let's start with the body first of all. Very simply it's splashproof so unless you're planning on going underwater, you don't need a housing. If you're going underwater, you can still get a housing (shown at the bottom of this blog). If you need to mount the camera sideways or upside down, no worries - you can flip the image accordingly.
On the front of the camera, you'll spot a Zeiss lens - that's a Zeiss Tessar 170 degree wide angle lens. Behind it is a 13.5 megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor backed up by the powerful new BIONZ X image processor. All bodes well for what should be good image quality. But it gets better as due to that processor, the ActionCam can record at up to 50 Mbps using the new XAVC S video format (50p). Want to shot faster? It will record 120fps at 720p or 240fps at lower res with full sound.
The ActionCam can be controlled wirelessly with the wrist band Live-View Remote which is supplied with the ActionCam. In fact this unit can now control up to five AS100VR units. Features include stop/start recording, viewing shots and adjustment of modes and settings.
The AS100VR features a new Interval Still recording function that automatically shoots a sequence of still photos at a selectable interval (between 1 and 60 seconds). It will then replay them in sequence.
Interestingly for pro users, the camera features colour profiles so you can choose a neutral image profile for grading later in post. Also this camera features time coding!!! There is a new function called 'User bit' that can record information such as date/time/scene number - useful when using more than one camera.
Connectivity wise, you'll find it now surprise to see NFC and Wifi so connection and remote control from phones and tablets is a given. Have to say that PlayMemories App is not quite as slick as the GoPro App but bear in mind you don't really need it when you've got an LCD on the wrist remote - that's a bit advantage over the GoPro.
We'll be expecting to stock these around March 2014 but hope to get our hands on one to try in the next month or so. You can find out more details about the camera on our detailed page.
Sony have announced today the new AX100E, their smallest 4K camcorder yet, recording in XAVC S format.
Anyone familiar with Sony's smaller camcorders like the NX30 and NX70 will be firmly at home with the AX100E.
Those that follow Sony's 4K history will know that they announced the AX1E (or Z100 for pro users) last year at IBC. Thing was, in all honesty it wasn't really ready to go as it could only record in XAVC (S for the AX1) - AVCHD recording is still yet to come with a firmware update and you're confined to using XQD media which is pretty expensive, certainly compared to SDHC. We were also not hugely impressed with the low light performance but then think back to the good old HD/SD debate some 9 years ago. The FX1 and Z1 were rubbish compared to the good old PD170 simply due to fact you were cramming more pixels into the same space and expecting them to be sensitive enough to overcome their smaller size. Wasn't going to happen.
So is the AX100E any different? Well it uses a new backlight 1 inch Exmor R CMOS sensor which is good news as at least it's starting off with a reasonably sized sensor. It would be interesting to find out if this is related to the one in the RX10 as we know that is already pulling all the info off the sensor and then digitally downsampling to HD (although this one is backlit). The AX100 features the new BIONX X image processing engine - it's this that's allowing that 4K processing power (once again something that the RX10 possesses). So could the RX10 be already capable of filming in 4K? Question for another day!
Back to the AX100E, size wise it's in between the NX30 and NX70 which equates to being some 75% smaller and 66% lighter than the AX1/Z100. So small enough to be reasonably compact but big enough to at least handle.
The BIONZ X processor uses area-specific noise reduction and detail reproduction processes to offer the best possible image in compromised conditions. We know Sony's good at low light performance so it will be interesting to see how this compares to the AX1 (which is disappointing).
Lens wise, there's a newly-developed Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens with 12x optical zoom with 11 groups & 17 elements. It features Sony's brilliant Optical SteadyShot. It's good to see Sony's included 3 ND filters built into the camera.
Handling is pretty good with a large lens ring that can be allocated to focus, zoom or exposure. You've still go the side-mounted dial that you can also the assign to things like gain.
Sony's has given the AX100E Dual Video Recording so you can record on XAVC S (at up to 4K/60Mbps or HD/50Mbps) or AVCHD formats whilst at the same time recording a lower resolution MP4 format which can then be transferred wirelessly to a tablet for either review or sharing! Connectivity is provided by WiFi and NFC so you can download to a tablet or use it to remotely view and control the camera.
Audio is handled either internally on the built in 5.1 system or there is a stereo minijack input. You do have the option of attaching balanced XLR inputs via the hotshoe. Media is either SDXC Class 10 or above or Memory Stick PRO Duo (Mk 2) or above.
Sony have mentioned that the camera can capture at a high frame rate at 720p. Still trying to get to the bottom of what that frame rate is - bear with us!
We're still not quite sure whether the camera will be Global or not as Sony's press release spec is rather confusing. As soon as we know, we'll update this.
The camera should be with us in May. Expect Sony's PSE division to come out with a Pro version using the XAVC codec which offers even higher bit rates.
Sony have released some sample footage, shown below -
Fuji have announced today the arrival of the new XF56mm f/1.2R lens. This is going to really appeal to portrait photographers with a 35mm equivalent of 85mm and a very fast max aperture of f/1.2.
Like the XF23mm f/1.4R, the 56mm is constructed from metal (including the aperture and focusing rings) to give a nice quality feel.
Optically the lens features 11 elements in 8 groups to deliver excellent results. Fuji have included their HT-EBC coating to reduce ghosting and flare whilst the seven blade rounded diaphragm ensures a creamy smooth bokeh effect that most will be buying this lens for.
So say hello to Sony's new AVCHD camcorder - the HXR-NX3.
Look familiar? Well it should as visually it's pretty similar to the good old Sony HXR-NX5. We're a great fan of the NX5 as for video journalism it's perfect - good quality and nice and easy to use. The NX3 differs in using AVCHD 2 which allows full 1080 50p recording at 28Mbps. The camera also features Slow & Quick Motion - available without any extra processing - which allows the frame rate to be set between 1fps to 50fps. The three CMOS sensors are all new at 1/2.8inch in size boasting good dynamic range and excellent low light performance.
You've got dual media slots so you can record either in simultaneous or relay modes. Interestingly enough, you can also configure different start/stop buttons for each card slot!!
The lens looks the same as the NX5 but nothing wrong with that - a 20x optical zoom. There's a larger 3.5" LCD display (up from 3.2"). There's a built in LED light - yes, it's not huge but better than nothing, putting out 200 lux at 1m.
You've got Wifi/NFC for remote control from a tablet. It is also supposed to transfer MP4 video to a smartphone via Wifi. Both of these functions are accessed through the Sony PlayMemories app - we've had varied success with different models so will be interesting to test this.
We suspect that this camera will just build on the NX5's demand as a surefooted performer than can cope with most scenarios and provide even the beginner shooter with excellent footage.
We should have the cameras in stock Jan/Feb 2014. Until then, feel free to have a look at Sony's official video, DP'd by our good friend Den Lennie. After that, have a look at the BTS video - some interesting tips for you!