News Shooter: Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Review (lite)

https://www.newsshooter.com/2019/08/22/blackmagic-design-pocket-cinema-camera-6k-review-lite/

“This is a ‘lite’ review of the Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera (BMPCC) 6K. I say lite because there is no way anyone can do a proper, in-depth review of a camera in a few days or even a few weeks. To properly review a camera you need to spend a lot more time with the camera than I have so far….”

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Heavily-rigged Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K (EF).

Commentary

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Paul Leeming of Leeming LUT Pro’s Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K rig ready for shooing a feature movie. Paul says that “
The new Blackmagic Pocket 6K is a game changer. This truly is the realisation of 6K for $6K 😮 Lens aside, this setup cost less than $6K, and for that you have a full Super35, RAW 6K shooting package with batteries, rigging, timecode sync, follow focus, monitor/recorder and more. Just nuts!”

Australian cinematographer Matthew Allard ACS of video industry bible News Shooter has just published a lengthy, in-depth though “lite” hands-on practical review of the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K and it makes for useful reading especially for those who own a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K and are considering replacing it with its Super 35 sibling.

Blackmagic Design has pulled one out of the hat with both cameras, making them the currently most affordable cinema cameras, but not without a number of compromises.

Mr Allard has the longterm experience as an on-location news and documentary cinematographer working around the globe to write well-qualified reviews like this one and I look forward to the non-lite version of this review for even more invaluable insights.

Meanwhile Australian cinematographer/director Paul Leeming has obtained his own BMPCC 6K and as a seasoned BMPCC 4K owner is even better qualified to opine on both cameras.

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Australian cinematographer/director Paul Leeming of Leeming LUT Pro in footage from his Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K. NOTE: this is an uncompressed still frame from the BMPCC 6K and so will take a little while to download on some Internet connections.

These are some of Paul’s initial thoughts on the BMPCC 6K:

Let me say right off the bat, this camera is going to be my A cam simply for the fact that there’s no Speed Booster glass to degrade your lens!!! No matter how good the Speed Boosters are from Metabones (and the new BMPCC4K one is quite good), it just can’t hold a candle to the quality of the lens on a native mount. Not to mention that the 6K is smooth and sharp across the entire frame, and downscaling that to 4K is going to give incredibly clean images. Look into the very corners of this frame and you can clearly see the benefits.

This still only has my Blackmagic V4 1.5 LUT applied, plus a small amount (25%) chroma noise reduction done in Resolve to get rid of some of the tiny BRAW fringe issues that that format seems to have. Hopefully, being their own format, they will eventually figure out how to do that better without NR being required. The clip was shot 6K at Q5 quality.

Some out of the box things I like – the screen is more neutral (second gen I’m guessing, same as the later 4K’s) and I like the locking body cap which I haven’t seen anyone mention before anywhere.

Paul shared some notes on the rig illustrated above:

  • [Blackmagic] Pocket [Cinema Camera] 6K
  • 8Sinn Pocket 4K cage, rod riser and handle
  • Shoot35 Cine Follow Focus
  • Ultrasync One timecode generator/receiver
  • Atomos Ninja V 4K monitor/recorder
  • Smallrig arm for Ninja V
  • Hawk-Woods Mini V-Lok 98Whr battery and plate
  • Sigma FF Cine 50mm T1.5 prime lens (EF mount)
  • Samsung T5 SSD 1TB

Links

  • Leeming LUT Pro – “Leeming LUT Pro™ is the world’s first unified, corrective Look Up Table ( LUT ) system for supported cameras, designed to maximise dynamic range, fix skin tones, remove unwanted colour casts and provide an accurate Rec709 starting point for further creative colour grading.”
  • News ShooterBlackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Review (lite)

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  • Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K (Canon EF) B&H
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No Film School: Why I Switched to Final Cut Pro X After 25 Years of Working on Avid

https://nofilmschool.com/switched-final-cut-pro-x-after-25-years

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“I spent a quarter of a century editing on Avid and several years on Premiere Pro, so why did I decide to ditch them both and go with Final Cut Pro X? I’ll tell ya….

There’s a small but growing number of editors who have made the jump. The process is fairly predictable.  Surprise when we first hear a fellow editor rave about FCPX. Followed by a willingness to give it a shot.  And then two weeks of massive discouragement and frustration, because it’s unlike any other edit system we’ve used before. And finally, the lightbulb moment, the “NOW I get it” realization that comes with understanding the radically different workflow….”

Links

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PhotoJoseph: LIVE UNBOXING: LUMIX 10-25mm f/1.7!! + Live Q&A

*my precious*…  itshereitshereitshere!! (And the ONLY reason I’m not unboxing it before the show is because I HAVE to finish something else first… and if I open this box… GAME OVER)

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Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 Aspheric wide to standard zoom lens, equivalent in 35mm sensor terms to 20mm to 50mm, excellent for documentary moviemaking and stills photography.

Commentary

“Five prime lenses in one”, stated a Japanese Panasonic executive when announcing the unique Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 Aspheric onstage a while back and I am hoping he was right about that.

If Panasonic has managed to achieve top-end prime lens quality and lack of optical distortion right throughout the Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 Aspheric’s focal length range, especially at its wide end, I will be well-pleased.

Lenses equally useful for stills and video work need to permit attaching screw-in fixed and variable neutral density filters and protective UV filters, which this lens permits via its 77mm filter diameter, easily stepped up to 82mm via a step-up ring such as the excellent knurled brass step-up rings made by Breakthrough Photography.

Ultra-wideangle lenses need to be distortion-free when tracking subjects walking through cityscapes and interiors packed with parallel horizontal lines to avoid the sometimes comical but mostly annoying, visually cloying, effect of those horizontals bending and unbending as the camera follows the figure.

Shudder.

Cameralab’s review of the Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 Aspheric seems to indicate some degree of barrel distortion but I want to see more analysis and examples of the lens at its wide end, especially when shooting amongst skyscrapers and interiors.

I look forward to PhotoJoseph and other well-qualified reviewers looking into this soon.

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  • Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 ASPH. Lens B&H

Blackmagic Design Shares Downloadable Movies and Camera Original Files from Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K and 4K

Blackmagic Design CEO Grant Petty continues to make good on his promise for professional-quality moviemaking to become accessible and affordable for all who want it and has raised the bar even higher with his surprise announcement of the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K and its Super 35 sensor and even more firmware and hardware features than its older sibling the Super 16 sensor-equipped Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K. 

The affordability and cinematic feature-film quality achievable with the raw-shooting BMPCC 6K and BMPCC 4K and their associated editing and colour grading software package DaVinci Resolve have bumped high-quality moviemaking out of the longtime death-grip of the rich WASP boys’ club into the hands of self-funded independent documentarians like myself and I am beyond chuffed at this excellent development. 

The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K comes with Canon EF-mount for the vast array of Canon and other brand cinema and stills photography lenses out there and supplements the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K’s Micro Four Thirds mount that accepts M43 and adapted larger sensor format lenses.

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Blackmagic Design’s Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K with Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM lens.
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Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera rigged for heavy-duty moviemaking.

In order to demonstrate the high quality, similarities and differences between the two cameras’ output, Blackmagic Design is sharing a number of movies in various genres at its Workflow and Gallery pages, with the files viewable in-page or downloadable as camera original files and finished products.

Blackmagic Design’s absence from the recent SMPTE Australia METexpo conference and trade show in Sydney was disappointing but the announcement and imminent release of the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K takes some of the edge off that.

Priced at US$2,495.00 compared to the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K’s US$1,295.00, the BMPCC 6K is the most affordable cinema camera in its class with both BMPCC models usable stripped-down and handheld as well as heavily rigged and tripod or gimbal-mounted for Hollywood quality feature film production of documentary and narrative movies.

What next for Blackmagic Design and its noble quest to make high-end moviemaking accessible to the rest of us?

Perhaps Grant Petty might consider creating a second version of the BMPCC 6K with a shorter lens flange depth and a set of adapters permitting attaching a broader range of lenses such as those made by Fujifilm, Nikon and more.

Fujifilm’s Fujinon lenses are of particular interest given that Fujifilm’s X-mount cameras use APS-C/Super 35 sensors, the same size as the one in the BMPCC 6K.

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Fujifilm X-T3 with Fujifilm VG-XT3 Vertical Battery Grip and Fujinon MKX 18-55mm T2.9 cinema zoom lens. Imagine a possible variable-mount adapter version of the BMPCC 6K allowing for use of other mount lenses such as X-mount cinema lenses like this and the very affordable X-mount MicroPrime cinema lenses made by SLR Magic.

Fujifilm’s Fujinon MK 18-55mm T2.9 and MK 50-135mm T2.9 cinema zoom lenses would be terrific to use natively with the BMPCC 6K as would SLR Magic’s X-mount MicroPrimes which now come in 12mm, 15mm, 25mm, 35mm, 50mm and 75mm focal lengths.

Imagine ever-increasing numbers of hybrid photography and video shooters relying on Fujifilm XF cameras and X-mount lenses for stills work then being able to use the same lenses on a possible future variable-mount BMPCC 6K camera.

It seems unlikely that Fujifilm would provide raw video capability on its cameras any time soon, whether via Apple ProRes Raw or Blackmagic Design’s BRAW, but Fujifilm and Blackmagic Design cameras would complement each other nicely if the latter takes up this suggestion.

Adapted lenses have their pros and cons given the variable feature sets and quality of currently available third-party adapters, but the BMPCC 6K now makes Sigma’s Canon EF-mount 18-55mm and 50-100mm zoom lenses even more appealing in their stills and cinema versions.

Pity Metabones has not seen fit to make an EF-to-X-mount Smart Adapter and a Speed Booster given the proven quality of their other adapter offerings, and the reason remains a mystery given the high potential market for them.

The same thoughts above apply to the short flange distance L-mount lenses made by Sigma, Panasonic and Leica – imagine being able to use them on a possible BMPCC 6K variant as well as L-mount cameras.

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Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art zoom lens for APS-C sensors and for adapting to M43 with Metabones SpeedBoosters, lens available in Canon EF or Nikon mounts. This Super 35 lens may be a great choice for the Super 35 BMPCC 6K unadapted, and for use on the BMPCC 4K adapted with the recently-released Metabones SpeedBooster for BMPCC 4K.

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  • Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4KB&H
  • Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K (Canon EF) B&H
  • Canon EF mount lensesB&H
  • Fujinon MK18-55mm T2.9 cinema zoom lensB&H
  • Fujinon MK50-135mm T2.9 cinema zoom lensB&H
  • L-mount lensesB&H
  • Metabones lens adaptersB&H
  • Micro Four Thirds mount lensesB&H
  • Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art Lens for Canon EFB&H
  • Sigma 50-100mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art Lens for Canon EFB&H
  • SLR Magic MicroPrime ciné lensesB&H

Booray Perry: Why I WON’T be switching to the Fuji XT-3. REAL WORLD TEST!

I’ve had a week to shoot with the Fuji XT-3 and I love this camera… but I WON’T be buying it because there is just one think I can’t get past. Maybe it doesn’t affect you but it’s the one thing that is holding me back. This video will walk you through the things I love and explain in detail why I just can’t make the leap to the Fuji XT-3.

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Fujifilm X-T3 with Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 R LM OIS kit zoom lens.: bigger and easier-to-grip dials meaning far less diving into the multi-level menu system.

Wedding photographer Booray Perry recently tried out a loaner Fujifilm X-T3 mirrorless camera and decided that, though he likes much about the camera and the image quality from its APS-C sensor, he will not be investing in a higher-end Fujifilm camera just yet, especially given he relies on on and off-camera flash and long lenses for much of his professional work.

I have been trying out a Fujifilm X-H1 camera body lately in combination with my own and a couple of loaner Fujinon XF prime lenses, and I agree with much of what he says including that the X-T3 produces excellent images in general.

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Fujifilm X-T3 with Fujifilm VG-XT3 Vertical Battery Grip and Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 R LM OIS kit zoom lens: although the much-improved NPW-126S lithium battery delivers more stills shots than its predecessor, video drains the battery faster so I recommend the vertical battery grip for its two extra batteries.

I have used some of the larger Fujifilm zoom lenses on loaner X-T3 cameras, as well as a number of Fujicron and non-Fujicron prime lenses, and have concluded that the X-T3 benefits from almost permanently attaching a Fujifilm VG-XT3 Vertical Battery Grip to it whether shooting documentary stills, documentary video and especially portrait photographs.

My preferred Fujifilm camera form factor for documentary photography remains that of the X-Pro2 digital rangefinder given my extensive background with analog rangefinders of all film formats, but have found that the X-T3 makes an excellent on-location documentary companion camera when using wider focal lengths than 18mm and longer focal lengths than 56mm.

But not too long.

Ungripped, the X-T3 is about the same size as the X-Pro2 and fits neatly with the latter into a small shoulder bag with four or so lenses, aiding in retaining a large degree of invisibility.

Passers-by rarely if ever take any notice of either camera and I have shot stills and video extremely up-close in a way I would ever have gotten away with if using larger cameras such as my Canon EOS 5D Mark II.

The X-T3 has proven to be an excellent handheld portrait camera, benefitting from its tilting LCD monitor, small size in the hand whether gripped or ungripped, and however large the lenses used on it.

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Fujifilm X-T3 with VG-XT3 Vertical Battery Grip. The 3×4 aspect ratio of Micro Four Thirds is much better than the 2×3 aspect ratio of APS-C and 35mm sensors for vertical portraits and is close to the aspect ratio of magazine pages. We need 4:3/3:4 added to aspect ratio choices in all APS-C and 35mm sensor cameras via firmware, and possibly also the A4 aspect ratio.

For all-day work on location or in the studio, though, I found the X-T3 more fatiguing in whichever grip and lens configuration than my X-Pro2 and I would much prefer a camera of the shape and size of the Fujifilm X-H1 for that type of work.

The X-H1 has a surety of grip and a smooth shutter release button that I would love to see on the X-T3, and there is nothing so reassuring as always having the option of the X-H1’s in-body image stabilization given that none of my current Fujinon lenses come with optical image stabilization.

The X-T3 outstrips the X-H1 in every processor and sensor-based firmware feature, hardly surprising given the X-H1 contains previous generation internals as well as firmware features moviemakers and photographers have been requesting for ages now.

The lack of IBIS on the X-Pro2 and X-T3 will soon be met with up to six stops OIS on the coming Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom lens, easing my trepidation when needing to shoot in available darkness but I am keen to see what the X-H2 offers when it hopefully appears sometime early in 2020.

And then there is the X-Pro3 reportedly coming later this year and whatever new features may appear thereon.

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Fujifilm Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom lens with up to six stops of stabilization, equivalent in 35mm sensor format terms to 24mm through to 120mm focal lengths.

If the X-H2 matches and preferably outstrips the X-T3 in its internals, then it will be a shoo-in for professional video production, studio stills and large lens work on location as well as documentary work in available darkness.

If the X-Pro3 gains the features I have long been wanting to see in Fujifilm’s digital rangefinder cameras, especially in a radically improved electronic viewfinder, then I will be glad to add one to my documentary stills kit.

Meanwhile the X-T3 is a fine candidate for top-quality non-raw Super 35 video in HLG or F-Log, and an excellent stills camera for portraiture and as a second available-light documentary camera whose APS-C X-Trans sensor matches as near as damn it to the image quality from my 5D Mark II and subsequently released DSLR cameras.

Fujifilm X-Pro2, X-T3 and X-H1 APS-C/Super 35 mirrorless hybrid cameras and lenses at Compact Camera Meter

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Footnote

The term “Fujicron” refers to the Leica Summicron-like compact prime lenses made by Fujifilm including the Fujicron XF 16mm f/2.8 R WR, XF 23mm f/2.0 R WR, XF 35mm f/2.0 R WR and XF 50mm f/2.0 R WR. Fujifilm needs to release a Fujicron version of its XF 18mm f/2.0 R prime lens in response to the longterm barrage of requests from the army of documentary photographers who rely on its 28mm equivalent focal length in the 35mm sensor format, but who find the operational speed and other quirks of the current, ageing 18mm lens irksome to say the least.

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Fuji Rumors: Fuji Guy Billy: APS-C Crop Factor Cheating? :: f/2 X Mount Zoom Lenses? :: Fast G Mount Lenses Potentially Coming :: And More

https://www.fujirumors.com/fuji-guy-billy-aps-c-crop-factor-cheating-f-2-x-mount-zoom-lenses-fast-g-mount-lenses-potentially-coming-and-more/

… XF16-80mm f/4

  • XF16-80mm f/4 is going to be an all in one beautiful lens, great for stills and video
  • coming later this year [September]…
  • Billy loves images with blown out background, and subjects to stand out, hence he brings prime lenses. Prime lenses also are sharper
  • Often Billy does not bring a zoom lens
  • Slowing down with primes, gets him more keepers
  • with zoom lenses he tends to get too lazy, just stand, zoom, and snap images
  • He would sacrifice primes to get 1 zoom for long hikes or so
  • He looks forward to XF16-80. Sharp lens, great all-rounder…
  • Zoom lenses can make things “easy”, but if you stick to constantly choose the frame, to work on the picture, you can get great images with zooms
  • If you struggle to find your frame, set your zoom to one focal length, and shoot only with that, so you start to take pictures more consciously…
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Fujifilm X-T3 with Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom lens.

Commentary

Although I am primarily a prime lens user in whichever camera system and sensor size, zoom lenses containing just the right focal lengths are invaluable when the two-camera, two-primes solution or swapping prime lenses from camera to bag and back again is out of the question when shooting documentary video and stills in fast-moving and intensive, highly immersive situations.

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Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 with Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 Aspheric wide to standard zoom lens.

The Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR for Fujifilm’s APS-C/Super 35 cameras and the Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 Aspheric for M43/Super 16 cameras including those made by Blackmagic Design, Olympus and Panasonic are two such zoom lenses and both have been highly anticipated since their in-development announcements a while ago.

Fuji Guy Billy is a respected in-house commentator on Fujifilm’s hardware and firmware, and it is reassuring to read his own assessment of the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS W, supported by videos featuring photographers working in different genres while using the lens.

I look forward to the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS W’s arrival in-store and into the hands of well-qualified independent reviewers soon.

Fujifilm Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR

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  • FUJIFILM XF 16-80mm f/4 R OIS WR LensB&H

Gerald Undone: Exposure Tips for the BMPCC4K & Why I Don’t Use ProRes

Discussing Blackmagic Pocket 4K exposure complications, ETTR vs middle grey, what Highlight Recovery does, and why ProRes isn’t good for low ISOs.

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Blackmagic Design’s Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K aka BMPCC 4K.

Commentary

With Blackmagic Design’s Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K being a reasonably recent release in short supply in many parts of the world, high-value information on how to get the best out of it also remains in short supply so Gerald Undone’s data on the two best ISOs is particularly welcome.

Instead of the more commonly used base dual native ISOs of 400 and 3200, Mr Undone recommends ISOs of 400 and 4000 and supports those numbers with a thorough set of tests.

Using these preferred ISOs on your BMPCC 4K in conjunction with the expose-to-the-right aka ETTR principles espoused by Australian cinematographer/director Paul Leeming of Leeming LUT Pro will provide optimum exposure and the most suitable footage for grading.

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  • Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4K B&H

Matt Seuss: Goodbye Sony! It wasn’t you, it was Olympus. Why I Switched, Part 1

https://mattsuess.com/goodbye-sony-wasnt-you-was-olympus-why-i-switched-part-1

…So I’ve been shooting with full-frame cameras for 17 years now and here we are in 2019, when full-frame cameras are taking over the popularity contest and Sony in particular has been killing it in well earned reviews, why would I even consider switching to micro four-thirds – a sensor size that is tiny compared to a full-frame sensor? Why would I leave the Sony a7R3 with it’s 42MP (and just announced Sony a7R4 60MP camera) and switch to the Olympus OM-D E-M1X and it’s tiny 20MP sensor?…

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Olympus OM-D E-M1X Micro Four Thirds mirrorless digital camera with Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro zoom lens, equivalent in the 35mm sensor format to 80mm to 30mm.

View this post on Instagram

And so it begins – my switch from Sony full-frame to @getolympus micro four-thirds – with the arrival yesterday of just the beginning of my Olympus collection. First up – the awesome OM-D E-M1X camera and M.Zuiko 12-100mm f4 Pro lens. In addition to the great features and image quality of this camera, the ergonomics and feel of this camera body are the best I’ve seen in many, many years – probably going way back to the film days with my Nikon F4. It is a far better feel than any digital camera I’ve used or owned, and there are lot of cameras on that list since I switched to digital full-time back in 1999! A lot of people have been asking me why I’m switching, and I’ll be going into depth on that in blog posts coming later this month so stay tuned! But in the meantime scroll through my Facebook posts through the beginning of April to get an idea 😉. #getolympus #omdem1x #micro43 #micro43rds #micro43photography  #m43 #bozemanphotographer #mzuiko12100mm #mzuiko12100mmf4ispro

A post shared by Matt Suess Photography (@mattsuessphoto) on

Commentary

The Micro Four Thirds sensor system co-founded by Olympus and Panasonic over a decade ago is particularly well-suited to documentary photography and moviemaking as well as to the wildlife photography practised by Matt Seuss.

Recent M43 cameras like the Olympus OM-D E-M1X and Panasonic’s DMC-G9 with their multi-exposure high-resolution modes have become attractive to landscape photographers needing to produce big, really big, prints and I look forward to high res evolving rapidly so it is more applicable to in-studio and on-location portraiture as well.

Meanwhile I applaud Mr Seuss’ choice to invest in Olympus’ excellent M.Zuiko Pro prime and zoom lenses for M43 cameras including those made by Olympus and Panasonic as well as Blackmagic Design on its Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K.

Olympus’ M.Zuiko Pro lenses are excellent for stills and video, especially due to their manual clutch focus mechanism with hard stops at each end, a feature I wish to see on all lenses for cameras in all sensor formats from now on.

It has been good to see Panasonic finally get the memo on manual clutch focus with their first M43 attempt at including it as a key feature on the Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 Aspheric zoom, a lens I have been hoping would eventually appear ever since I invested in the Micro Four Thirds system.

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panasonic_leica_dg_vario-summilux_10-25mm_f1.7_aspheric_01_1024px
Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 Aspheric wide to standard zoom lens.

Clicking on the links and purchasing through them for our affiliate accounts at Adorama, Alien Skin, B&H Photo Video, SkylumSmallRig or Think Tank Photo helps us continue our work for ‘Unititled’.

  • Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4KB&H
  • Olympus Mirrorless Digital Cameras B&H
  • Olympus Mirrorless Lenses B&H
  • Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 ASPH. LensB&H

Exhibitors at the Media + Entertainment Tech Expo 2019, Wednesday 17 July 2019, ICC Sydney, Darling Harbour, Sydney

I dropped into the Media + Entertainment Tech Expo 2019 trade show component on its first day to catch up on recent developments in hardware and software from the point of view of the self-funded independent media producer that I am. 

METexpo, for short, is the rebranded and relaunched biannual conference and trade show exhibition formerly referred to as SMPTE, not to be confused with the Australian section of the organization known as SMPTE standing for Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers. 

Although METexpo 2019 aimed to be more inclusive than previous SMPTE conferences and exhibitions, by  “focusing on all aspects of the industry that drives the ‘creation, distribution and consumption’ of media, entertainment and technology”, this year’s version was a much smaller affair than all the previous ones I had attended and many Australian and foreign brands and retailers were missing in action. 

Problems with the METexpo ticketing computer network meant that my exhibition pass could not be printed and thus could not be scanned. I got in the door by photographing the QR code in close-up and the door person scanned that successfully to her surprise. NOTE: Further captions for the images below coming soon.

Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 Aspheric zoom lens, equivalent in 35mm sensor terms to 20mm through to 50mm. This is the zoom lens I wanted when I invested in the Micro Four Thirds system but nothing like it existed back then. This lens can pretty much do it all for most documentary stills photography and video.

Andrew Chan of SLR Magic with one of the company’s MicroPrime cinema lenses for X-mount and M43-mount cameras variously made by Blackmagic Design, Fujifilm, Olympus, Panasonic and others. SLR Magic also makes an excellent 1.3 to 10 stop variable neutral density filter solution perfectly suited to the MicroPrimes with their 82mm filter diameter as well as adapted to smaller filter diameter lenses via step-up rings.
SLR Magic MicroPrime Cine 25mm T1.3 M43-mount lens with SLR Magic 82mm Self-Locking Variable Neutral Density 0.4 to 1.8 filter.
A luvverly collection of SLR Magic MicroPrime Cine lenses and SLR Magic anamorphic lenses, with admirers. Please make mine a complete set of MicroPrimes in Fujifilm X-mount, comprising 12mm, 15mm, 18mm, 25mm, 35mm, 50mm and 75mm focal lengths. In 35mm sensor format terms, a set comprising 18mm, 22.5mm, 28mm, 37.5mm, 50mm, 75mm and 112.5mm, a near-perfect set of lenses for feature-style documentary and narrative moviemaking as well as stills photography in manual focus.
A luvverly collection of SLR Magic MicroPrime Cine lenses and SLR Magic anamorphic lenses, close-up.

Sigma stills and cinema lenses at the CR Kennedy section of METexpo 2019.

While previous SMPTE trade shows demanded at least one full day to get through all their exhibits, I found I could see everything of interest in the space of a morning due to the many no-shows this year.

I hope that future METexpos will see their exhibitor numbers climb back up but am wondering at the wisdom  of staging it every two years given the high pace of change within all the categories covered this year – “Audio Mixers, Audio Processing & effects, Audio Production, Cameras & Lenses, Capture Devices & Software, Cloud Technology, Delivery & DistributionDigital Solutions, Esports, IP Broadcast Solutions, Lighting, Microphones, Mobile/Vehicle Production, Motion Picture/Virtual Production, Motion Picture/Production, Networking Technologies, Post Production, Set Design/Props/Furniture, Workflow Solutions”.

Two important global Australian-based brands missing from METExpo 2019 were Blackmagic Design and Miller Tripods while the long list of other absent long-established and breakthrough companies in the media and entertainment technology aka MET space included Adobe, Canon, Dedolight, Dell, Dolby, Fujifilm, Hewlett-Packard, Pelican, Think Tank Photo, Vitec Group and its many brands, while Rotolight’s only inclusion this year was one boxed-up product on display in a vitrine in the CR Kennedy stand, a Rotolight Neo 2 HSS and continuous LED light unit.

I had particularly hoped to see, touch and try Blackmagic Design’s breakthrough Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K along with a range of suitable accessories, lenses and rigging, but was disappointed.

Meanwhile other brands of interest had much smaller displays of their products than usual and were minus the on-floor speakers and try-out displays of previous SMPTE trade shows.

A sad loss given the lack of all-in-one retailers in this country and especially Sydney, places where one can see, try and buy items of interest rather than going by word-of-mouth or Youtube reviews before placing back orders or ordering online from overseas.

One long-established MET trade show tradition that remained in full force is exhibitors’ tendency to ignore females on the show floor in favour of almost exclusively paying attention to the males of the species.

Useful if one is going about making documentary photographs as I was, standing up close to my subjects while they engage with each other and ignoring me as if I am invisible, but not so great if I wanted directly engage with exhibitors to ask questions and try out new items.

The METexpo 2019 modus operandi as I and a number of attendees I watched experienced it was essentially one of being left to our own devices to gaze into display cases or accost passing floor staff in search of answers about the items within.

I enjoyed a little face time, though, with Andrew Chan of SLR Magic, discussing his company’s range of MicroPrime cinema lenses in their Fujifilm X-mount and Micro Four Thirds mount versions as well as its apparently excellent SLR Magic 82mm Self-Locking Variable Neutral Density 0.4 to 1.8 and 86mm Solid Neutral Density 1.2 Image Enhancer Filter Kit (pardon the long-winded product name!).

With Fujifilm taking Super 35 video production more seriously with its X-T3 and X-H1 cameras, and hopefully even more so with possible successors X-T4 and X-H2, the need for geared cinema quality prime lenses like SLR Magic’s MicroPrimes can only increase.

As a documentary person, 1.3 to 10 stops variable neutral density solutions like this one by SLR Magic are a must and even more so with recent cinema and video cameras having higher base ISOs than on previous generation hardware.

Given my other duties as a carer and limited funds I was unable to attend the METexpo 2019 conference and had to miss out on the Women In Industry Function and Women in Media and Technology Breakfast but hope that they may prove to be turning points for female inclusion and visibility in the MET industries and especially METexpo itself.

Tech Notes

I made all the photographs illustrating this article with my Fujifilm X-Pro2 equipped with a Fujinon XF 16mm f/2.8 R WR “Fujicron” prime lens kindly loaned to me by Fujifilm Australia’s PR consultancy, and also carried a loaner Fujifilm X-H1 and Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R prime lens as well as three of my own Fujinon lenses.

The 16mm lens’ fast back button focus and autofocus proved more useful in the circumstances than the much older 18mm lens, despite the 28mm equivalence of the latter being my all-time favourite focal length for immersive in-situ documentary photography and video.

I found that the 16mm “Fujicron” allowed me to quickly lean forward and back, left and right, in order to reframe my images as human elements constantly moved position relative to each other, and it proved quite a pleasurable experience.

Normally I would reserve the 24mm equivalence of 16mm for superwide establishing shots though I much prefer 21mm equivalent focal lengths for that purpose.

However, the Fujinon XF 16mm f/2.8 R WR’s width proved an asset under the trade show floor’s oftentimes difficult lighting and limited space and I rarely needed to crop my images to exclude extraneous details.

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