“Flashback to 2014 and the headlines in the mirrorless filmmaking world was that of the LUMIX GH4 being the very first hybrid mirrorless camera capable of recording in UHD 4K, without the need for an external recorder – how times have quickly changed. With the recent release of the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K, and now the official release of the LUMIX S1H, it looks like 6K video within these compact camera bodies is now a thing. Panasonic LUMIX did of course share some of the top headline specs of this new camera a few months ago, teasing us filmmakers with what was promising to be the most powerful hybrid camera for filmmaking to date – and it seems like they’ve delivered. In this video, Kriss runs you through the main features of the S1H and shares his thoughts on how he found shooting with a pre-production model in the HD, 4K and 6K recording modes.”
This is one of the best Panasonic Lumix DC-S1H review videos so far with excellent sample footage and plenty of insights from a working cinematographer, hopefully with in-depth follow up videos to come.
“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….”
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.
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
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.”
There’s no doubt that the Fujifilm XF 8-16mm F2.8 is a beautifully built lens. It’s also quite heavy, and at £1750 / $1900 it’s a pretty serious investment. Is the expense worth it? Chris and Jordan take to the hiking trails of Alberta to answer that question….
Fujifilm X-T3 with VG-XT3 Vertical Battery Grip and Fujifilm XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR lens.
Fujifilm Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR wideangle zoom lens on Fujifilm X-H1 with VPB-XH1 Vertical Power Booster Grip.
Fujifilm’s Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR ultra wide-angle zoom lens is beautifully built and delivers beautiful results, but it may not be the best solution for everyone needing ultra-wide focal lengths.
Its size and weight demand mounting it on a vertical battery-equipped Fujifilm X-T3 at the very least with the now-discounted Fujifilm X-H1 providing better balance than the slightly smaller and lighter X-T3.
If the X-H1’s OIS-equipped replacement, the X-H2, is in Fujifilm’s production pipeline then it may be wiser to wait for that to appear sometime late this year or more likely early next if the Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR is an important lens in your gear kit.
My experience with the XF 8-16mm f/2.8 proves it to be an excellent solution for architectural photography where street furniture, trees and other buildings dictate using the widest focal lengths to get closer to your main subject and bypass non-removable visual noise.
I have used it successfully for documentary photography in the middle of dense crowds, though there were times I would have preferred the lens had optical image stabilization built-in for when the light dropped and slow shutter speeds were necessary to support deep focus via smaller apertures.
In bright sunlight, photographing landscapes was a pleasure and the lens lapped up fine detail but its lack of provision for attaching screw-on filters meant I was unable to try it out as a video lens and I am not in the market for large, heavy and expensive third-party filter adapters or even larger and costlier matte boxes.
If you need an ultra-wideangle for documentary photography and video then I highly recommend the Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R which is small and light enough for use with an ungripped X-T3 and would work well on an X-Pro2 with a Fujifilm VF-X21 external optical viewfinder sitting on its hotshoe.
If a range of wide-angle focal lengths is necessary as well as portability and stabilization then I recommend the Fujinon XF 10-24mm f/4 R OIS lens especially it is stopped down below f/5.6 and preferably f/8.0, and this lens will not eat into your savings anywhere near as much as the otherwise excellent Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR.
Panasonic has chosen a new high-resolution 47.3MP CMOS sensor for the Lumix DC-S1R—one that challenges the class-leading sensors in the Sony A7R III and the Nikon Z 7. Intriguingly, it combines attributes of both of its rivals (with some nuances) and achieves near-identical performance results overall.
With its combination of high pixel count, low noise, and exceptional color sensitivity, the Lumix DC-S1R is likely to appeal to the most demanding studio photographers….
“The S1 and the G9 Panasonics are a truly unique digital double act. How do the Full Frame S1 and Micro Four Thirds G9 stand up against one another? Is bigger better? Or is nimbler nicer?”
Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 with Panasonic DMW-BGG9 Battery Grip and Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 Aspheric Power OIS zoom lens.
Panasonic Lumix DC-S1 with Panasonic DMW-BGS1 Vertical Battery Grip and Panasonic Lumix S 24-105mm f/4 Macro OIS lens.
Top video reviewer David Thorpe always cuts to the heart of the matter when it comes to mirrorless digital cameras and lenses, a trait no doubt formed by decades in the trenches as a Fleet Street photographer.
In this video review comparing Panasonic’s Lumix DC-G9 Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera with the recently-released Lumix DC-S1 35mm sensor mirrorless camera, Mr Thorpe opts to continue daily carrying his G9 but appreciates the differences and similarities in both.
“How does the new Panasonic S1 stand up to its mirrorless competition? Does ‘animal-AF’ work on dinosaurs? Will Jordan curl up on the ground in the name of art? We answer the tough questions. Shot entirely on the Panasonic S1 in the Canadian Badlands….”
DPReview’s Calgary-based DPReview TV team has created one of its signature video reviews of Panasonic’s Lumix DC-S1 35mm sensor mirrorless camera equipped with the Panasonic Lumix S 24-105mm f/4 Macro OIS standard zoom lens, and I am hoping they will soon be following up with a similar review of the Lumix DC-S1R.
My own first impressions of both cameras and two of their native Lumix lenses garnered during a couple of public launch events in Sydney are that both are serious competitors to recent 35mm mirrorless releases and appear designed and manufactured well enough to make a dent in the field where I most relied upon 35mm format cameras in the past – magazine editorial photography and newspaper photojournalism.
Provided, that is, Panasonic does something to improve both cameras’ autofocus capabilities and replaces their Fujifilm-style three-way tilting LCD monitors with the fully-articulated monitors that work so well on Panasonic’s professional-quality GH5, GH5S, G9 and GX8 Micro Four Thirds mirrorless cameras.
I suspect that we may only see that occurring on next generation Panasonic Lumix S Series cameras given both problems are hardware-based, but we can hold out hope that a possible future S1 and S1R firmware update will see radical autofocus improvements.
Meanwhile I hope to dig deeper soon into both cameras’ feature sets and suitability for stills photography and video, with a special personal interest in the S1R for large-enlargement exhibition prints and emotionally-intense portrait photography.
Two big points in the S1 and S1R’s favour for both applications – Panasonic’s vertical battery grip and optional video-style rubber eyecup, both accessories having proven themselves necessities on other camera systems, with vertical battery grips being essential for best grip when shooting portraits in vertical aka portrait orientation.
Panasonic may have taken its time launching a full-frame mirrorless cameras, but the new Lumix S1 can definitely hold its own. It’s rugged, well designed, easy to use and produces wonderfully sharp images with excellent color rendition. Its Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) Photo Mode also adds natural-looking high dynamic range to stills, which looks fantastic when viewed on an HDR screen….”
“… Neutral Density Filters are a necessary tool for exposure control, but does their price tag really affect their quality? Today Griffin sits down with 23 ND filters that range in different price tiers from $5 all the way to $580 to see! Today we hard tested 23 ND filters for their color and image quality, flare resistance, and their usefulness in timelapse situations. We test a range of ND’s [sic] from a set of general purpose ND3 filters, to Variable Density Filters, to heavily graded ND10 filters for their use in time-lapse photography. While every type of ND filter has it’s own use, we mainly set out to see if the price tag really affected image quality, and whether variable ND’s were much worse than single glass ND’s. …”
Independent moviemaker and Panasonic Lumix brand ambassador Griffin Hammond’s documentary production insights and training have proven invaluable over the years since I invested in Lumix Micro Four Thirds cameras primarily for video.
The previous incarnation of the recently rejuvenated Indy Mogul YouTube channel not so much but that looks set to change now that it has been taken over by Ted Sim of the Aputure moviemaking equipment company and Griffin Hammond himself.
I don’t know anything about Mr Sim, Aputure and its products at the moment but Mr Hammond is a different story, having finally met him at the last SMPTE Sydney trade show after following his video work online for some time.
Clearly it is past time to look into Aputure’s products if I can find a local stockist for them.
Meanwhile, back to neutral density filters, both fixed and variable.
Variations in sharpness, colour casts and the dreaded X were considerations when I was searching for the best and most economical neutral density filters to buy when I got back into digital video and photography a few years ago.
I had used sets of square and rectangular high-end cinema filters for attachment to movie cameras via matte boxes years before, but no longer have the sorts of budget to afford such things nor the desire to cart them all about any more.
When I started looking into screw-on fixed and variable neutral density filters the most recommended brand at the time was Singh-Ray but the company’s VND cost a fortune and was out of reach.
Instead I settled on Genustech’s Eclipse Fader VND after reading a number of recommendations by independent documentary and music video cinematographers and opted for the 77mm version along with a set of aluminium step-up rings to common sizes.
The Genustech Fader acquitted itself well through a number of small projects but recently I began looking for replacements, whether fixed or variable NDs or both, that had the least possible colour cast and the maximum sharpness.
I am also considering making 82mm filters my standard for maximum versatility given some current and future lenses I may add to my kit have wider front elements than did my limited selection of starter lenses some years ago.
Australian cinematographer/director Paul Leeming recently showed me the stripped-down travel version of his Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K kit and how he attaches his 82mm Formatt Hitech Firecrest Ultra fixed ND filters via the Manfrotto Xume magnetic filter adapter system for fast easy and secure filter swapping.
Vignetting at the widest focal length is a consideration with the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art zoom lens with Metabones Speed Booster attached though Mr Leeming assured me that, for the feature film he recently shot on the larger version of his BMPCC 4K rig, the vignetting was acceptable.
I continue to research the options but have now settled on the 82mm filter diameter and step-up rings made of brass rather than aluminium, which has a tendency to bind when screwing them on and off in the field.
I may well choose another brand of variable neutral density filter, bearing in mind factors like colour cast, sharpness, the x-effect at maximum density, the absence or presence of a self-locking device, and, now that cameras are appearing with higher base ISOs when shooting HLG footage in particular, a maximum density in the 10 or 11 stop range.
I may also add a set of 82mm fixed value neutral density filters for the other cameras I use and will most likely stick with Breakthrough Photography brand fixed NDs for that as I am rather fond of the company’s beautifully designed and made knurled brass-framed UV, CPL and ND filters.
Other screw-on circular fixed and variable neutral density filters and step-up rings
Genustech Eclipse Fader Variable Neutral Density (ND) Filter, once the most recommended variable ND and still one I keep in my documentary moviemaking kit. This VND gives you 2 to 8 stops of neutral density.
Aurora Aperture PowerXND II VND: “The PowerXND-II 128 is a 1-7 stop variable ND filter while the PowerXND-II 2000 is a 5-11 stop variable ND filter. With both filters users can control light reduction from 1 to 11 stops, making them highly versatile tools for general photography and videography applications.”
SLR Magic self-locking 82mm Variable Neutral Density VND Filter.
SLR Magic 86mm Solid Neutral Density 1.2 Enhancer Filter, 4-stop, to go with SLR Magic 82mm Variable Neutral Density Filter. The VND gives you 1.3 to 6 stops of density and adding the Enhancer to the front of it adds an extra 4 stops of density, totalling 10 stops. The Enhancer also adds extra ultraviolet and infra-red filtration.
SLR Magic 82mm Fixed Neutral Density Filter, 3.0, 10-stop. SLR Magic recently released fixed ND filters to complement the company’s highly-regarded VNDs.
Formatt-Hitech Firecrest Fixed Neutral Density (ND) Filter, available in a range of filter diameters from 39mm to 127mm and a range of densities from 1 stop to 16 stops.
Breakthrough Photography Magnetic Wheel and Magnetic Filter. The company had a Kickstarter campaign for this new filter attachment system but it does appear to have reached the Breakthrough Photography online store yet.
Sensei Pro brass knurled step-up ring. I prefer these to the company’s aluminium knurled and unsnarled step-up rings but knurled aluminium is better than unknurled in my experience.
The XUME magnetic filter attachment system was invented by an independent moviemaker then sold to Manfrotto. It appears that XUME products are not available in every territory where Manfrotto is distributed, including Australia. I would love to see and try them out myself before investing in equipping every lens with XUME adapters.
Xume filter adapter attached to step-up ring attached to lens.
ND filter attached to filter adapter via filter holder.
Lens cap attached to adapter, step-up ring and lens.
Paul Leeming’s Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 in 8Sinn cage with Scorpio handle and XUME magnetic filter holder system.
SIMMOD Variable Neutral Density 0.4-1.8 Filter. I recently came across this brand while researching the utility value of locking rings on VND filters.
SIMMOD Variable Neutral Density 0.4-1.8 Filter with a range of 1.3 to 6 stops.
SIMMOD Variable Neutral Density 0.4-1.8 Filter with a range of 1.3 to 6 stops. Note the locking ring.
“The sinew and texture of history are to be found in this grippingly detailed documentary by Peter Stephan Jungk, based on his 2015 book The Darkrooms of Edith Tudor-Hart. She was Jungk’s aunt: an Austrian-born documentary photographer and socialist, domiciled in Britain during and after the second world war, whose work brilliantly recorded the lives of the urban working classes in Vienna, London and the Rhondda valley….”
This documentary on the life and work of Edith Tudor-Hart is currently doing the rounds of cinemas and film festivals, and I hope that it will eventually become available for viewing or purchasing online.
Far too many historically important female photographers and especially female documentary photographers have been forgotten about and left out of the historical record, gallery shows and museums, and time is well overdue for Edith Tudor-Hart and so many others of her ilk to be recognized, racy political background or not.
Comments in the media about Edith Tudor-Hart’s reliance on a Rolleiflex Twin Lens Reflex aka TLR camera are interesting.
I used several Rolleiflex TLR cameras during the analog era and would have loved to have been able to buy one each of the most recent standard lens, telephoto and wide-angle lens versions of the camera, but Rolleiflexes were always hard to find and costly new or secondhand.
Their waist-level viewfinders and other viewing options made it possible to melt into the crowd when photographing in public or next-to-invisible when making portrait photographs in public or in the studio, aided by their relatively quiet leaf shutters.
There was no mirror slap as their twin lens reflex design meant they had a lower lens for making the photograph and the upper lens for viewing, with the viewing compartment mirror fixed.
Rolleflex and other brand TLRs such as those made by Mamiya and Yashica continue to be popular amongst certain documentary photographers who are blessed with access to good secondhand camera suppliers, but there are digital alternatives such as Fujifilm’s medium format GFX 50S with optional tilting EVF adapter and more affordably Panasonic’s Lumix DMC-GX8 and DC-GX9 Micro Four Thirds camera, both of which have built-in tilting EVFs.
It is also possible to make waist-level-style photographs with cameras having tilting LCD monitors, though I much prefer fully-articulated LCD monitors for the purpose and some Panasonic cameras have these too, on cameras including the DSLR-style Lumix DMC-GH4, GH5, GH5S and G9.
Given the choice between tilting EVFs, tilting LCDs and fully articulated LCDs, my preference by far is for cameras combining tilting EVFs with fully-articulated LCDs as they present the most versatile viewing options and thus the most ways of seeing and shooting stills and video.
Waist-level and tilting viewfinder cameras and users
Photojournalist Ian Berry of Magnum Photos using Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7.
Photojournalist Thomas Dworzak of Magnum Photos using Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7.
Australian photojournalist Daniel Berehulak using his Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 with fully-articulated LCD monitor.
Small tilting electronic viewfinder (EVF) on the Panasonic Lumix DC-GX9 rangefinder-style camera.
Fujifilm GFX 50S medium format digital camera with Fujifilm VG-GFX1 Vertical Battery Grip and tilting LCD monitor.
Fujifilm GFX 50S medium format digital camera with Fujifilm EVF-TL1 EVF Tilt Adapter.
Fujifilm GX680 II 6cm x 8cm format 120 roll-film camera, like a cross between a view camera with camera movements and a waist-level twin lens reflex camera, lovely for portraits and product shots. Photograph courtesy of Cambo.
Hasselblad 203FE with waist level finder. Photograph courtesy of Japan Camera Hunter.
Phase One XF 100MP cameras. Photograph courtesy of Phase One,
Rollei Rolleiflex 2.8 FX Medium Format Twin Lens Reflex Camera with 80 mm Planar f/2.8 HFT lens, now no longer in production.
Rolleiflex 4.0 FW Medium Format Twin Lens Reflex Camera with Built-in Schneider Kreuznach Super-Angulon 50mm f/4 HFT lens, now no longer in production.
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Fujifilm GFX 50S Medium Format Mirrorless Camera – B&H – soon to be joined by the release of its larger GFX 100S and smaller GFX 50R siblings.
Fujifilm EVF-TL1 EVF Tilt Adapter – B&H – with the addition of this tilt adapter the Fujifilm GFX 50S in effect becomes a waist-level viewfinder camera.
Fujifilm VG-GFX1 Vertical Battery Grip – B&H – adding this battery grip helps turn the Fujifilm GFX 50S into a viable vertical/portrait format camera for handheld or tripod use for portraiture and documentary photography.
Fujifilm 64GB Elite II Performance UHS-II SDXC Memory Card – B&H – until this fast SDXC card appeared at B&H, I was unaware that Fujifilm also makes memory cards. Worth buying and trying.
Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera – B&H
Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera – B&H
Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5S Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera – B&H
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera – B&H
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera (Body Only, Black) – B&H
Panasonic Lumix DC-GX9 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera with 12-60mm Lens – B&H
Panasonic DMW-EC5 Eyecup – B&H – essential for getting the best out of the GX9’s small field sequential viewfinder.
Panasonic Hand Grip for Lumix DC-GX9 Mirrorless Camera – B&H – essential for safe, secure grip of the GX9 when using medium-sized to large lenses.