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August Newsletter

Posted on: 06/08/2013 08:45:00 under News » Website 
Bank Holiday Offer - UPS Access Points - Fuji X Series - Sigma Global Vision
Bank Holiday Deals

It's Bank Holiday Offer time!

We're hoping for yet more sun to come for the August Bank Holiday but even if it doesn't, we'll do our best to put a shine on things!!

As with previous years, we're offering our normal 3 days for the price of 2.  Hire for the weekend and we'll throw in Monday 26th August for nothing.

But that's not all - if you order by Wednesday 21st and we have the equipment in stock, we'll send it out early.  That means you could have up to 5 days for the price of 2!!!

The earlier you book, the more chance you have of securing your kit!

* Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer, discount or loyalty scheme.  Minimum hire charge of £30, normal courier charges and deposits still apply.
UPS Access Points

Drop back to UPS Access Points!

Whilst we have always upgraded our delivery service to a pre-12pm level, having to wait around for collection all day has always proved an issue for customers and up to now, we have been powerless to solve this unless the customer was willing to take the packages to a depot.

No longer!  UPS have introduced local Access Points that allow you to drop equipment off as and when you want.  Most are open early and late so even if you work, you should still be able to drop back out-of-hours.

To find your nearest Access Point, feel free to have a look at the UPS locator!
Fuji X Series range

Fuji X Series range expands!

We've been keen on the Fuji X Series since the X-Pro1 was first released (and we're not the only ones!).  Since then, two new cameras have been added, including the just-released X-M1.  

We now stock every Fuji lens available and will be adding to this range as and when they are released.  
Zeiss Touit

Zeiss Touit now available

Available for either Fuji X or Sony E mounts, the new Zeiss Touit lenses are now with us.  Initially available in 12mm f/2.8 and 32mm f/1.8 sizes, this range will be expanded further later this year and again next year.

As the new models arrive, rest assured we'll be one of the first companies to stock them!
Samyang Lenses

More Samyang Cine lenses.

The Samyang Cine lenses have proved incredibly popular with customers in both Nikon and Canon mounts.  It's easy to see why - they offer the filmaker a great value solution.

Samyang have now released these lenses in Sony's E mount and we're now stocking them.  
Sigma Global Vision lenses

New Sigma Global Vision lenses


Sigma have been on a bit of a roll since they announced their Global Vision plans and new lens releases.

The 35mm f/1.4 (available in Nikon and Canon mounts) has received global praise and well deserved it is - they are proving very popular with customers!

Recently we have taken delivery of their 120-300mm f/2.8 OS DG (Nikon & Canon mount), 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC (Nikon & Canon mount) and the incredible 18-35mm f/1.8 DC (Nikon & Canon mount).  

Don't take our word for it - try them for yourself!
Tiffen filters on their way!

Tiffen filters are on their way!


We have very busy working with Tiffen to put together a very comprehensive range of filters for not only stills but also video.

The list of kits include Variable ND's, Location Exterior and Contrast kits, Interview kits, White Wedding kits and Skin Softness kits.  These will be offered to fit lenses from 46mm to 82mm.
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Canon announces EOS 70D

Posted on: 02/07/2013 07:05:00 under News » General 
Canon EOS 70D

When Canon announced the Live View AF feature in the Canon EOS 650, we got very excited. Had they really produced a DSLR that could rival a camcorder for Autofocus? Sadly the answer was no - it's a cracking camera but just don't expect its AF to work that quickly.

Today the new Canon EOS 70D has been announced and this time it appears that Canon might have cracked it.

So what's changed? The EOS 70D's new 20.2MP APS-C sensor now features Dual Pixel AF technology. Two photodiodes are mounted in one pixel, both of which can read independently to achieve AF or be used together for image capture. This Dual AF technology covers 80% of the sensor meaning exceptional AF and image quality can be achieved and very importantly it will work with a very large number of current EF and EF-S lenses.  In essence what this all means is that autofocus is live view is hugely quicker than previously possible.

To handle the sensor's power, it has been combined with Canon's DIGIC 5 image processor which we know is very impressive and together they give the camera an ISO range of 100-28000 expandable to 25,600 equivalent.

It gets even better as the new 3in rear LCD is now touch sensitive, allowing touch AF in Live View for shooting stills or video. It's a Vari-angle screen, allowing tilting and swivelling.

Continuing on the AF theme, there is now a new dedicated AF area selection button next to the shutter release. This ties in with the 70D's intelligent viewfinder to allow focus modes to be changed without having to pull the camera away from the eye. AF modes can be toggled through using the top dial.

Burst rate is set at 7fps and Canon reckon that with a very fast SDHC card, the camera will take 16 RAW or 65 large JPEGS before it hits the buffer.

Movie frame rates at full 1080 HD include 24,25 and 30fps. 50 and 60p are available but only at 720. Videographers get a mic input but sadly no headphone monitor. We're still not quite sure if you can control mic gain yet and as it hasn't been mentioned yet, we're assuming the HDMI feed is not clean (we'll check this out as soon as we get our hands on it).

Wifi is built in allowing control using Canon's remote app.

The camera will be available towards the end of August - we have already put our order in! We've also ordered the 18-55mm STM and 18-135 STM lenses as well.


Sony announces PMW-300 camera

Posted on: 14/06/2013 14:02:00 under News » General 

So everyone's question over what's going to replace the Sony PMW-EX3 is finally answered.  Say hello to the PMW-300

It's very similar to the older camera in using 1/2" Exmor CMOS sensors but there's nothing wrong with that - the EX3 was always very good.  Low light performance is said to have been improved.

The big (and most obvious) point here is the important 50Mb/s 422 broadcast codec (Sony promises the 10 bit XAVC codec will be available for the camera next year).

Mount wise, it's the same as the EX3 so you can use the same lenses and adaptors.  The camera is available at launch with either a 14x or 16x zoom lens.

The design of the camera is quite different to the EX3 - no more upward slanting at the rear - the body is very much more rectangular.  For shoulder mounting, there is an extendable shoulder pad that you can pull out.

The 3.5 inch LCD viewfinder is all new and to look at it looks very similar to the one of the PMW-F5.

Interface wise, the camera comes with both HD/SD-SDI and HDMI connections.

It is due towards the end of the year and we will get the camera up on our website once we have the full details.


New Sigma lenses added to the website

Posted on: 07/06/2013 09:37:00 under News » General 
Sigma is continuing to launch its new range of lenses and we have two new ones to add to our stock list in both Canon and Nikon mounts - the 17-70mm f2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM and the 120-300mm f1.8 DG OS HSM.

Sigma 17-70mm f2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM

Let's talk about the 17-70mm f2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM first. We've had its successor on our hire stock since 2010 and very popular it has been too as a general kit lens for APS-C camera users. This new lens was announced in 2012 at Photokina and is a completely new optical construction - not just a reskinned lens. Firstly you'll notice that both the weight and size of the lens have dropped. The outer casing is very stylish and gives off a feeling of good build quality. Closest focusing distance is 22cm. The silent HSM focusing motor works quickly and effectively. The optical stabilisation is great for producing sharp hand held shots and allows you a shutter speed around 4 stops lower.

Anyone looking at getting a quality general purpose zoom for their APS-C camera should have a look at this lens - great value for money.

Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 OS HSM

Next to move onto the 120-300mm f2.8 OS HSM. Again we have still got its predecessors on our hire stock, the Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 EX DG HSM and the Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 DG OS HSM. Great lenses they are too offering superb image quality for the price along with giving you that useful focal range.

This new lens caused a stir at Photokina 2012 due to its ability to plugged into an optional USB docking station allowing customisable AF speed, focus limiter and OS function. So what's different? The first thing you'll notice is the matte black casing which is now dust and splash resistant (something our customers have been shouting out for). Focussing in incredibly quick and is usually very accurate. If you want to make any adjustments manually, you will be pleased to find the manual ring is nicely damped.

Hand held shots are possible with the optical stablisation enabled, giving you roughly 4 stops advantage. However, it is still a heavy lens at around 3kgs so you do need to bear this in mind (a monopod would be a useful accessory).

Is it as sharp as Nikon or Canon's more expensive 300mm f2.8 fixed lenses. Nope. But the reality is that it isn't that far behind and for some, the flexibility of the focal range will make it an ideal choice.


Come and see us in Windsor!

Posted on: 05/06/2013 12:35:00 under News » General 

Can't quite believe it's been a year since we were last at Windsor Racecourse for the Photovision Roadshow but sure enough it's here on the 19th June.

We'll be there with a selection of equipment.  If you fancy having a look at something, do get in contact with us.  If it's not booked out, we'll happily bring it along!


Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x - Official

Posted on: 14/05/2013 14:54:00 under News » General 

So that's it - it's now officially available (although we can't get any idea of allocation as yet!).    The EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x, to give it the its full name, has been around since last summer when pre-production units were used for the Olympics.  Indeed we had one on our stand at the SWPP Convention in January.

What's it like? Quite heavy - if you're expecting it to be as light as a 400mm f2.8 Mk II, you'll be disappointed but then you do have to remember that this lens does have a 1.4x extender built in and it's got a variable focal length from 200mm to 400mm (600mm with the extender).

Here's Canon's official launch blurb

Get closer to the action with superior image quality
The reach of the EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x is boosted by its internal 1.4x extender, which is engaged or disengaged at the flick of a lever to provide an extended focal length of 280mm to 560mm – allowing photographers to get even closer to distant action. Ensuring the highest image performance, the optical design includes both fluorite and Ultra-low Dispersion (UD) lens elements, which help minimise chromatic aberration and eliminate colour blurring. Advanced anti-reflection SubWavelength Structure Coating (SWC) and Super Spectra Coating also reduce ghosting and flare. Thanks to the use of the latest optical technologies, image performance is unaffected when the integrated extender is used. 

With a fixed f/4¹ aperture the use of high shutter speeds to capture fast-paced action or a low-light scene is possible. A newly designed optical Image Stabilizer, which provides users with a four stop advantage, while IS ‘Mode 3’ applies image stabilisation only at the time of exposure – ensuring that photographers can pan with fast-paced action without IS overcompensating for movement. This feature is ideal for sports photographers, who typically have only a split-second to capture a subject in front of them. 

Powerful, flexible focusing 
The EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x features Canon’s pioneering ring-type Ultrasonic Motor providing fast, silent autofocusing. For those who prefer to fine-tune focus themselves, full-time manual override allows photographers to manually focus at any moment when using AF. The Power Focus (PF) mode also increases versatility during movie shooting with the EOS-1D C or EOS-1D X, enabling photographers to achieve an accurate pull-focus effect at one of two speeds, simply by twisting the focus recall ring and stopping at a pre-set distance. 

High-performance design for professional demands
Designed to answer professional demands for superior image quality and versatile zoom range, the EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x a boasts a premium-quality design befitting Canon’s industry-renowned L-series lenses. 

The tough magnesium alloy chassis ensures that, despite the inclusion of the 1.4x extender, the lens is a similar weight to lenses of comparable focal length. Fluorine coatings on the front and rear lens elements also reduce the ability of dirt to cling to the lens surface, while a dust and water-resistant construction allows photographers to shoot in challenging weather conditions. The combination of outstanding optical performance, versatility, weight and tough construction will make it an essential part of any professional sports or wildlife photographer’s kitbag. 

EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x key features:
Built-in 1.4x extender, for extra magnification when you need it
Shoot in low light with four-stop Image Stabilizer
High image quality using Fluorite lens elements
Fast AF with USM technology
Robust design for use in the toughest environments¹ F5.6 aperture when the internal 1.4x extender is activated


Guide to sound recording with D-SLRs

Posted on: 14/05/2013 10:45:00 under News » General 
Talking about the latest and greatest kit is all very well but it's easy to forget all about the basics so we've teamed up with our friend Den Lennie from The F-Stop Academy to bring to you a number of videos stripping things down to the very basics.

The first of these is all about recording sound on D-SLR's. We find people are always picking the very best cameras and lenses they can afford, only at the cost of recording good sound - madness really as you forget sound at your own peril.

Getting good sound need not be hard or expensive. What we have tried to do in the following two videos is show you how easy it can be.

DSLR Audio - Part 1 - recording sound on camera

DSLR Audio - Part 2 - recording sound off camera


We're in Manchester!

Posted on: 14/05/2013 10:36:00 under News » General 

Today sees us at the Photovision Show at Old Trafford in the Manchester Suite.  If you're planning on coming along, please do feel free to pop along and say hi!


Zeiss high-end Distagon T* 1,4/55 explained

Posted on: 02/05/2013 11:54:00 under News » General 
Over the last few weeks, touring the Photography shows and workshops, one lens has come up quite a lot in conversations - the Zeiss Distagon T* 1,4/55 which is due to be launched late this year in both Canon and Nikon mounts.

The lens is the first member of a new high-end family of SLR lenses which will offer uncompromising image quality. It will be perfect for high-resolution, full frame digital cameras such as the current Nikon D800 (and of course anything that Canon choose to launch at some point!). The combination should produce results approaching that of medium format systems.

So how much better will it be compared to a decent existing 50mm prime? Well, we'd advise you watch this video and see the results for yourself!

We'll be stocking the lenses from launch, initially in ZF.2 mount. ZE mount will follow dependant on launch of a hi-res Canon D-SLR.


It's official - Zeiss' new Touit range of lenses

Posted on: 02/05/2013 11:10:00 under News » General 
So it's finally official - we can reveal that Zeiss' new range of lenses for initially Fuji X Mount and Sony E Mount are to be called Touit.

Already it would seem discussions are forming as to the marketing validity of the new name which is a shame because surely it's the lenses we should be worrying about!!!

So to the first two focal lengths that will be available in May - the Touit 2.8/12 and 1.8/32.  The first thing people will notice is that are not made entirely of metal.  Zeiss decided that for this range of lenses, where parts did not require metal for accuracy, solidity and durability, plastic was to be used in an effort to keep the weight down.  Whilst not mentioned in their names, these lenses feature Zeiss' T* anti-reflective coating on all surfaces.

The Touit 2.8/12 is bound to become popular due to its wide angle.  This is giving you a 35mm equivalent of 18mm with APS-C sensored Fuji and Sony cameras.  Fuji already have a 14mm f2.8 but nothing as wide as this (they do have a 10-24mm f4 OIS in their roadmap for later this year).  Sony already have a 10-18mm with OIS but this is an f4 (it's actually a very good lens and brilliant for video work on the FS100/FS700, especially for Steadicam work).

We're really looking forward to also getting our hands on the Touit 1.8/32.  Do the maths and you'll have already worked out that this makes a whisper away from being a 50mm in 35mm equivalent.  Zeiss say it has been optimised for APS-C format sensors - combined with something like the Fuji X-Pro 1, it really should produce some stunning shots.

Still to come in around November is a Touit 2.8/50 makro.  We've ordered 3 sets of each mount and will have the lenses in stock from launch.  Details will be up on the website as soon as we're allowed which will be after the launch on 15th May.

Looks like we'll be getting a sneaky play with them next week as Zeiss are coming to see us so we'll let you know what we think of them - can't wait!


Clean HDMI for the Canon 5D Mk III

Posted on: 02/05/2013 07:50:00 under News » General 
The Canon 5D Mk III, since its introduction some 13 months ago, has been an instant hit on the video side. It vastly improved things over its predecessor, the 5D Mk II and immediately set the new standard for D-SLR video. Nikon were hot on their heels with the Nikon D800 and this offered something the Canon didn't (and something we all wanted) - clean HDMI output.

Well, it's finally here! If you have your own 5D Mk III, you'll find the firmware available to download from Canon's Support Page.

So what does it give you? Just starting with the photo side first, the main news is the centre AF point will now autofocus up to f/8 when used with a len/extender combination. The speed of the AF has also been improved when using a Speedlite's AF-assist beam. Autofocus was hardly slow on the 5D Mk III (especially when compared with the 5D Mk II - it's one of the main reasons for wanting to upgrade) but now it really flies.

So let's get onto the video side. The uncompressed clean HDMI output gives you an 8 bit 4:2:2 output that can be used to feed an EVF (now fills the screen properly!), a monitor or perhaps more interestingly, an external recorder such as the Atomos Ninja 2.

Den Lennie from the F-Stop Academy was over with us yesterday so we quickly shot this shot piece outlining some of the things to note.

Now once thing we omitted to mention in the video that I realised when looking at the footage from the Ninja 2 this morning is there is no audio. Unlike the camcorders, the 5D Mk III does not transmit the sound information through the HDMI. The solution to this is to link straight from the headphone socket through to the din input on the recorder. We're going to do some more investigating on this to see if there is a better way. Whilst it won't produce the best quality sound, it should be more than enough to sync with an external recording device.

In the video Den pointed out the vulnerability of the exposed HDMI connection and we will be looking at stocking the Zacuto Pincher to help ensure that these HDMI ports last!

EDIT - after this posting we found out that the sound didn't pass through the HDMI to the Ninja 2 but we did find a solution. I have put together the following video to show you how it's done.  One thing I do need to point out is that there is an issue with syncing of the audio and video using the method shown below - at present the two are about 5 frames apart.  Hopefully Atomos will be able to sort this in the same way they dealt with a similar issue with the D800.  Until then, you'll have to split them on the timeline and adjust (not the end of the world).

We've already updated all of the bodies we had in stock yesterday and as the others come back from hire, we'll get them updated as well.


May Bank Holiday deals!!

Posted on: 29/04/2013 13:14:00 under News » General 

It's Bank Holiday time again and we're back with our well know offer, only this time we've made it even better.  We had so much positive feedback from what we did at Christmas time, we're doing it again for both Bank Holidays.  

Book at ANY time before the weekend and if we have the equipment in stock, we'll send it out that day, pick up on the Tuesday after the Bank Holiday but you'll only be charged for 2 days hire.  So if you book on Monday morning and we have the equipment in stock, we'll send out the equipment to arrive with you on the Tuesday, 4 days before the actual weekend!!!  We'll do the same thing on Tuesday and Wednesday morning.

Come Wednesday afternoon, any remaining stock can be hired for a one day hire price for the Bank Holiday weekend (all equipment will be sent out on Thursday for arrival Friday morning).  Obviously there will be less chance of what you want being available by then but it does give people the chance to try equipment they couldn't otherwise afford.

So get up to 7 days for the price of 2 or 3 days for the price of 1 - choice is yours!

All offers subject to stock.  Normal insurance charges, deposits and courier charges apply.


Come and see us in Woking and Eastbourne this week!

Posted on: 15/04/2013 10:14:00 under News » General 

The Bigger Picture Roadshow 2013 kicks off this week with two shows.

Tomorrow, Tuesday 16th April, sees us in Woking at the HG Wells Conference Centre.  More details on the venue can be found here.

On Wednesday, we head not far down the road from the office to sunny Eastbourne (actually looks like it might be warm as well!).  The show will be held at the Kings Conference Centre.  You can find out more about the venue here.

Both days start at 10am and run through to 4pm.  Hope to see you there!!


Blackmagic announce Pocket Cinema Camera

Posted on: 09/04/2013 08:23:00 under News » General 

Whilst a lot of noise is being made about Blackmagic's new 4K offering, it would seem that this little pocket camera is further along in development and should appear first.

So what is it?  The camera contains a Super 16 sensor (it's between a 1 inch sensor and Micro 4/3rds in size - so around 3x crop factor) offering 13 stops of dynamic range.  Recording is done in lossless CinemaDNG RAW or ProRes.  Recording media will be fast SD cards.

The mount is Micro Four Thirds and unlike its 2K bigger brother, it's an active mount so you will be able to use Lumix lenses.  Obviously with adaptors, you have a huge range of lenses that can be used but it's important to remember that crop factor.

Body wise, the camera is made from mag alloy so should be pretty tough but light (weighs 355 grams).  On the back of the camera is a 3.5" LCD (expect a Zacuto Z Finder solution coming along pretty quickly!).  You can zoom in to 1:1 which should make focusing even with just the screen as easy as with a DSLR (whether you can do this whilst recording is not clear).  Powering the camera is a removable battery - yes, you'll be able to charge multiples and swap them out!  Nikon uses may recognise it as that's what it is - a Nikon EL-EN20 - should give around an hour's recording time.

Connections comprise of mini jacks for mic and headphones, 12V DC input, micro HDMI and LANC control.

Delivery is supposed to be around July and yes, we've already put our order in.  When we will actually see them is another thing - fingers crossed!


Blackmagic announce new 4K Super 35mm camera

Posted on: 08/04/2013 09:30:00 under News » General 

We're all still catching up with the shortage of supply of the Blackmagic Cinema Cameras and just when we thought we were getting somewhere, Blackmagic announce another new camera at NAB!

Details so far are still a little scarce - no doubt we will find out more at the press conference tomorrow but this is what we know so far (mainly because it's on a stand roll-up!).

Super 35mm image sensor
Global ShutterHD and 4K support
Compressed Cinema DNG, RAW and ProRes recording
Thunderbolt i/o
EF / mFT lens compatibility

Not sure how it will have Micro Four Thirds capability yet but all with become clearer in the next 24 hours.  Naturally we've already put our order in!


4K recording for the Sony NEX-FS700 - the HXR-IFR5

Posted on: 08/04/2013 08:21:00 under News » General 

We've already seen the new HXR-IFR5 (or at least a mock up of it) at BVE earlier this year, indeed I 'stole' it off Sony's standard for a live interview with Jon Pratchett at Broadcastshow.

Why is this important for us?  Simply because it offers cost effective (relatively) access to useable 4K footage using the excellent Sony NEX-FS700.  We'll be offering this unit with the AXS-R5 recorder either to use with our own cameras or as an option for those with their own cameras to try.  We may well have some interesting news on what might be offered - we can't say yet but watch this space!

So back to the details of the unit.  Sony have officially launched it at NAB in Las Vegas this week.  Below is their press released shortly ago - 

Las Vegas, April 7, 2013: Sony today announced the interface unit HXR-IFR5, which will connect the NEX-FS700 and the RAW recorder AXS-R5, enabling 4K RAW recording bringing high quality future proofed 4K RAW acquisition to a wider range of applications than ever before.

By applying an upgrade on the NEX-FS700, 4K/2K RAW output via 3G HD-SDI terminal will be available. The new interface unit HXR-IFR5 is equipped with a SDI terminal that can be used to input RAW data from the camcorder and pass the data to the RAW recorder AXS-R5. AXS-R5 is able to record RAW data onto an AXS memory card.

The frame rates at 4K (4096x2160) recording mode are 24p, 30p, 60p. In 4K mode 120fps high speed recording will be available for a limited time, approximately 4 seconds. In 2K (2048x1080) recording mode, continuous 240fps and 120fps shooting is available with unlimited time.The workflow to process RAW data will be exactly the same as the RAW workflow used in the combination of the existing CineAlta 4K camera PMW-F55/F5 and the AXS-R5. The HXR-IFR5 makes the NEX-FS700 one of the most cost effective 4K camcorders on the market - making it an ideal B camera for the F5 or F55, as well as the primary 4K camcorder for more entry level users.

The expectation of 4K is growing bigger and bigger also in the low cost content creation market. The combination of HXR-IFR5 with the NEX-FS700 and the AXS-R5 will be a perfect choice, expanding the possibilities of content creation.Basic Features of HXR-IFR5

External RAW recorder for NEX-FS700 via SDI
AXS-R5(*1) docked onto the HXR-IFR5 will become an external RAW recorder for the NEX-FS700(*2). The connection with the NEX-FS700 will use a single 3G HD-SDI cable, therefore various shooting styles can be realised. The NEX-FS700 can become a camera head when used separately, and it can also be used like a camcorder if the whole set is mounted onto a rig. We have prepared a 1/4 inch screw hole for those kinds of rig solutions. HXR-IFR5 will use the power source on the AXS-R5. AXS-R5 can be powered by a lithium ion battery pack BP-FL75 or a external DC12V power source using the XLR 4 pin power input.

*1: AXS-R5 will need a updated firmware version which will be provided by the time of HXR-IFR5’s sales start*2: NEX-FS700 will need a service upgrade (paid option)

16 bit linear RAW recording onto the AXS memory card
The combination of HXR-IFR5 and the AXS-R5 can record 16 bit linear RAW files onto an AXS memory card. Thanks to the 16bit linear RAW recording, full potential of the 4K imager on the NEX-FS700, meaning the broad latitude and the high colour resolution, can be captured onto the recorded RAW files.

Using the AXS-CR1 recorded RAW files can be easily transferred to a PC and the “RAW Viewer”(*), software provided by Sony, can be used to view, process and also do some simple colour grading. Not only high quality movies, but high resolution 8.4M still pictures can also be captured.

(*) version 1.1 or later is necessary.

4K/2K high speed shooting
Other than 4K (4096x2160) recording at 24p/30p/60p, 120fps recording in 4K resolution is available for approximately 4 seconds. Also, in 2K (2048x1080) recording mode, 240fps/120fps high speed continuous recording is available for unlimited time. These high speed recording modes are only possible with the combination of NEX-FS700, HXR-IFR5, and the AXS-R5.

*: Audio is not recorded in high speed RAW recording modes

AVCHD simultaneous recording on NEX-FS700
Even in the RAW recording mode, the NEX-FS700 can simultaneously record AVCHD onto the camera’s memory card. Since the recorded AVCHD files will have the same time code as the RAW files, the AVCHD files can be used as a proxy file for off line editing.

*: AVCHD cannot be recorded in high speed RAW recording mode

HD output for monitoring
HDMI/Component/Composite video outputs on NEX-FS700 and the AUX OUT of the AXS-R5 can be used for monitoring purposes. In order to achieve accurate monitoring of the wide dynamic range RAW recording, we have added S-Log2 setting onto the picture profile of NEX-FS700.

*: The gamma setting cannot be set individually for each video out/LCD panel/AVCHD recording. 


Canon announce the new XA20 and XA25 camcorders

Posted on: 03/04/2013 17:38:00 under News » Website 
We've been huge fans of the Canon XA10 camcorders since their arrival some two years ago. Canon have chosen just before NAB to announce two new camcorders to their range - the XA25 and XA20, the difference between them being the HD-SDI output available on the XA25.

They don't seem to be much different in design to the XA10, which is a good thing.  The XLR handle assembly is exactly the same in how it mounts onto the camera.  Both AVCHD and MP4 recording are available with AVCHD recording up to 1080/50p at 28Mbps and MP4 up to 35Mbps.

The touch screen is now OLED rather than LCD.  This is great news from what we've seen of other OLED screens, they offer far greater contrast and colour reproduction and are easier to view in daylight.

The last big thing is the inclusion of wireless connectivity with the camera supporting dual band WiFi.  Camera Remote support give you wireless adjustment of settings and Remote Browser allows you to review recorded footage on smartphones or browsers.  FTP File Transfer allows transfer of the footage at up to 150Mbps via a wireless access point.

We'll look forward to testing all this when we get our hands on one!

Canon XA25

Below is Canon's release -

Canon has expanded its handheld video camera range with the launch of two class-leading compact models – the XA25 and XA20 – which feature a completely redesigned Canon HD Video system, from the lens through to the image sensor and processor, to provide new levels of imaging performance.

The two new professional X-series models – the XA25 and XA20 – combine the powerful, all-new imaging system with professional audio and WiFi connectivity in a versatile, compact package that fits neatly in the palm of a hand.

Developed using Canon’s industry-leading imaging technologies, the cameras include powerful specifications to deliver outstanding quality and operability. A range of advanced shooting features and connectivity options make these cameras ideal for either professional or amateur use, and are suitable for shooting everything from news and documentaries to weddings.

Canon XA25
Canon XA25

The XA25 benefits from a completely new imaging system, which has been engineered to provide outstanding image quality and versatility. A groundbreaking 20x zoom wide-angle lens offers a 26.8-576mm focal range (*1), employing optical technology found in Canon’s top-of-the-range XF305 digital camcorder. An enhanced 3-mode Optical Image Stabilizer (IS) system (*2) incorporates a Dynamic OIS mode to further reduce the effects of camera movement during shooting. The 8-blade circular aperture also provides enhanced ‘bokeh’, using Canon’s unique Electro Magnetic Diaphragm technology – developed for the Canon EF lens range – to ensure beautiful background blur in shots with a shallow depth-of-field.

A newly designed 1/2.84-type 2.91 Megapixel HD CMOS Pro sensor provides outstanding dynamic range and low-light performance. The increased sensor size maximises photosite area, combining with a highly sophisticated image processing system to reduce image noise and increase sensitivity in low light environments.

The outstanding processing capability provided by a DIGIC DV 4 processor provides enhanced image reproduction, supplementing the strengths of the DIGIC DV family – such as smooth gradation and faithful colour reproduction – with support for recording at higher data rates. The sensor and processor work together to eliminate more camera shake, augmenting a highly effective Optical IS system with electronic stabilisation that detects and compensates for movement in a larger number of directions.

Designed to provide maximum flexibility, the XA25 supports multiple recording formats. AVCHD (up to 28Mbps) and MP4 (up to 35Mbps) provide high bitrates suitable for many professional applications. Video is recorded to dual SD (*3) card slots in a range of resolutions and frame rates up to 1080/50p, with slow and fast motion options supported in MP4 mode – providing greater freedom to choose an appropriate setting according to creative requirements.

The XA25 also supports simultaneous recording of different formats to each card – giving users the ability to capture high-quality Full HD footage in the desired format, and smaller MP4 files at the same time (*4). Delivered by the power of DIGIC DV 4, the smaller files can be shared more quickly and easily for time-critical applications, such as reporting breaking news, whilst the high-quality copies are retained for later use.

The XA25 features the same removable handle concept launched with the popular Canon XA10 camcorder. Easily attached or removed to suit the shooting situation, the top-mounted handle houses a range of additional controls, including XLR inputs for capturing professional quality audio from external microphones. The handle also integrates an IR lamp to enhance the shooting capabilities of the XA25’s infrared mode – ideal for recording night-time documentaries or nocturnal wildlife.

The XA25 has a compact, ergonomically designed body that offers outstanding handling and control during use. A new 8.77cm (3.5”) 1.23million-dot Organic LED (OLED) touch screen panel provides greater resolution, contrast and improved colour reproduction during recording and playback. Users have full manual control over exposure: a combination of the touch screen and a customisable control dial allows for adjustment of aperture, shutter speed, iris, gain and exposure.

Zoom or focus can be adjusted via a switchable ring at the front of the camera lens. Additionally, a new zoom rocker integrated into the camera body is ideal for shooting when handheld or tripod mounted, offering the fine control and convenience typically found on larger professional cameras. An improved 1.56 million-dot 0.61cm (0.24”) electronic viewfinder (EVF) can be tilted up to approximately 45°, providing outstanding detail and comfort for effective handheld or tripod shooting.

The new XA25 camera offers an advanced selection of interfaces, with physical inputs conveniently grouped together and designed to keep connections in place during handheld use. The XA25 includes integrated HDMI, microphone, USB and headphone terminals, plus HD-SDI output – offering the high capacity, uncompressed connectivity useful for many broadcast applications.

PLEASE NOTE - the XA20 does not have HS-SDI output.

The camera also features newly integrated dual band WiFi support (2.4GHz and 5GHz), providing a range of capabilities for use during or after shooting. Camera Remote support allows wireless adjustment of settings via a web browser (*5), and Remote Browser allows users to review recorded footage from the camera in smartphone or tablet browsers – with no need for playback software.

FTP File Transfer allows users to transfer footage to FTP servers at up to 150Mbps via a wireless access point, and with Media Server, WiFi can be used to play back videos stored on a camera on supported TVs or computers, without the need for cables (*6). Direct movie uploading is also supported for iOS devices using Canon’s Movie Uploader application, allowing the upload of videos directly to YouTube or Facebook at bitrates of up to 24Mbps.

  • 26.8mm, f/1.8-2.8 lens, 20x zoom, Dynamic OIS.
  • 1/2.84” HD CMOS PRO sensor.
  • 8.77cm (3.5”) OLED touch screen.
  • Dual-format recording; DIGIC DV 4.
  • HD-SDI output. (only on XA25)
  • 1.56m dot EVF, 45° tilt.
  • Fast/slow motion.
  • Built-in IR lamp.
  • 2x XLR inputs.
  • Built-in WiFi.

(*1) 35mm equivalent.
(*2) Standard, Powered and Dynamic modes.
(*3) SD, SDHC and SDXC formats supported.
(*4) Dual recording not supported in AVCHD 28Mbps or MP4 35Mbps modes.
(*5) Rec Start/Stop, aperture, shutter, focus, zoom, white balance and shooting modes supported in Camera Remote.
(*6) Wireless network and DLNA support required.


Come and see us in St Albans!

Posted on: 02/04/2013 17:48:00 under News » Website 

April 23rd 2013 sees us in St Albans at the next Photovision Roadshow.  If you're attending, please feel free to pop over and say 'Hi'!  We'll have a selection of camera bodies and lenses on show.  More details can be found above.


Come and see us in Edinburgh!

Posted on: 22/03/2013 11:47:00 under News » General 

Next Monday sees us jumping on a plane, heading up to Scotland.  On Tuesday 26th March, we'll be at the first Photovision Show of the year, held at the Royal Highland Centre round the corner from the airport.  Opening hours are 11am to 5pm with seminars starting at 10am.

For more information, click on the image above to download the PDF.  Look forward to seeing you there!


Canon announce EOS 100D and EOS 700D

Posted on: 21/03/2013 12:29:00 under News » General 

Canon have just announced two new SLR's to their line-up - EOS 100D and EOS 700D.

Let's start with the EOS 100D.  This becomes the world's smallest and lightest DSLR on the market.  Compared to something like the old EOS 650D (now replaced by the EOS 700D), it's 25% smaller and it is nearly 30% lighter.  

The EOS 100D contains a new 18mp APS-C Hybrid AF II CMOS sensor which combined with the DIGIC 5 processor is said to give excellent results.  ISO range is 100-12,800 (expandable to 25,600) with Canon claiming excellent image quality.

As with the EOS 650D, the EOS 100D has built in phase-detect AF for focusing when in Live View and for Video.  I have to say that it wasn't that impressive in the EOS 650D and I am hoping for better things with this new sensor - certainly it was way behind mirrorless sensor cameras such as the Fuji's.

One thing it doesn't have is Wifi which to be honest is a bit of shame.  Movie wise, the camera offers 24,25 & 30p at full 1080 with 50p and 60p available at 720.  It does have a mic input and we're assuming the HDMI output is not clean.

The creative filters will no doubt appeal to the target audience and include miniature and fish-eye effects.

It's fair to say that this camera is very much aimed at a new SLR user stepping up from a compact and it features good Auto modes and has a built in guide.  Because it is so much smaller than a normal SLR, could you consider it as an alternative to a CSC camera?  Possibly but do bear in mind that with the EF-S mount, the lenses will still be pretty big in diameter.

Next up is the EOS 700D.   The EOS 650D has hardly been with us a year and along comes its successor.  So the EOS 700D has the same 18mp Hybrid AF sensor as the EOS 650D along with DIGIC 5 processor which gives an ISO range from 100 to 12,800 (expandable up to 25,600).

To look at it has the same 3in Vari-angle touchscreen.  But there are differences.  If you stand the cameras side by side, you notice the finish of the body is different - Canon claims it is more robust and durable.  The mode dial now rotates 360 degrees and the modes are embossed rather than stuck on the dial.

So what else?  You can now preview filters in real time before shooting and just as backup, the camera can also record the original image (the EOS 700D can only capture the altered image).

Everything else, from what we can see, is pretty much the same which is no bad thing as, Hybrid AF notwithstanding, the EOS 650D is a very good camera.

So overall, the EOS 100D is the more significant release with its smaller body and it's a clever move on Canon's part as you might be swayed over by an SLR where you were considering a mirrorless compact.  Why anyone would buy a Canon M is beyond us.  One thing that is interesting is that the cheaper EOS 100D now has the newer sensor (from what we can read from Canon's release notes) so we'll be interested to see how the Hybrid AF performs and whether it is any better than in the EOS 650D.

The EOS 700D seems to be just a cosmetic update and perhaps a missed opportunity to add features such as Wifi.  Quite why the new sensor wasn't put in as well is a mystery (though we do want to confirm this with Canon).

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