Philip Bloom: Can you TRUST the FUJI X-T4 video AUTOFOCUS? – Commentary

“This isn’t a review of the excellent Fujifilm X-T4 but a detailed look at whether the improved autofocus abilities over the X-T3 get close to the superb AF of the Sony and Canon mirrorless cameras.”

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Fujifilm X-T4 with Fujifilm VG-XT4 Vertical Battery grip and Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 R LM OIS kit zoom lens. The battery grip is essential if you need a headphone port for monitoring audio while shooting. Image courtesy of Fujifilm Australia.

Commentary

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The “best camera ever made” according to Philip Bloom. ALPA XO Exoskeleton aka cage for Fujifilm GFX 100 medium format camera with ALPA Switar 140mm cinema prime lens. Image courtesy of ALPA.

I came across this video by Philip Bloom while researching recently-released Super 35 video-capable cameras.

Autofocus capabilities of current affordable Super 35 hybrid cameras are a constant subject of discussion online, with different manufacturers achieving various degrees of success with it.

Theoretically all makers of such cameras should be able to achieve near-parity in autofocusing given time and R&D dollars, but there is a question of when and whether all current makers will stay in business until they do.

Having grown up as a photographer and videographer during the analog era before autofocusing cameras and lenses even existed, I have always seen autofocus as something of a luxury and fall back on manual focus and back-button focusing anyway.

Philip Bloom has an obsession with autofocus in video and speaks about it well and in detail.

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More substantial grip and better hardware design. Fujifilm X-H1 with VPB-XH1 battery grip and Fujinon XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR professional zoom lens. Image courtesy of Fujifilm Australia.

Meanwhile I believe it is a good idea to keep an eye on developments in affordable manual-focus Super 35 prime and zoom lenses that are native to Fujifilm X-mount or that can be adapted.

Keep an eye also on the coming Fujifilm X-H2 professional hybrid camera, successor to the under-rated X-H1, though its arrival may be some time off.

I found the X-H1 much easier to use handheld all day long than the X-T3 and its more hand-friendly design ranks alongside the X-Pro2 for ease of use and of carrying.

As for autofocus on Fujifilm cameras, perhaps the X-H2 may see it come to fruition and match if not beat that in Sony and Canon’s mirrorless cameras, along with new and redesigned Fujinon prime and zoom lenses made for video as much as stills photography.

We can only live in hope.

A “phenomenal” manual focus lens and adapter combo for Fujifilm video

Links

Meike Global: Meike 35mm T2.1 Super 35 Cinema Lens – Commentary

https://meikeglobal.com/products/meike-35mm-t2-1-super-35-frame-cine-lens

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Meike 35mm T2.1 Super 35 Cinema Prime with EF or PL mount, on Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K. Image courtesy of Meike.

Commentary

Panasonic’s recent announcement of the amazing Lumix DC-S5 had me wondering where Meike and other makers of manual focus cinema prime lenses might be in their offerings for Super 35 hybrid and cinema cameras.

I was pleased to see that Meike, currently offering an attractive range of cinema primes for Micro Four Thirds cameras, has just announced the first of its range of cinema primes for Super 35 cameras with EF and PL mounts.

Investing in Meike lenses with Canon EF mounts gives owners of non-EF cameras the most options when adapting to L-mount cameras such as Panasonic’s 35mm sensor-equipped S-Series Lumix S5, S1H and S1, Micro Four Thirds cameras like the Lumix GH5 and GH5S, Blackmagic Design’s cinema cameras and Fujifilm’s X-mount and G-mount Super 35/APS-C and medium format cameras.

A good first cab off the rank

Meike’s 35mm T2.1 Super 35 prime is a good choice of first cab off the rank given its equivalence to 52.5mm in the 35mm sensor format, with 50mm and equivalent focal length lenses often being first choice when investing in new lens systems.

I look forward to seeing more examples of stills and video shot with this lens, given I currently don’t have a cinema lens at this focal length and that Meike is offering a decent prerelease discount right now.

I would choose the EF-mount version and then adapt it for L-mount, Micro Four Thirds mount, Fujifilm X-mount and G-mount hybrid cameras.

Meike states that its coming “Super35-Prime Cine Lens Series with industry-standard 0.8mm pitch gears on the focus and aperture ring” includes “18mmT2.1, 25mmT2.1, 35mmT2.1, 50mmT2.1, 75mmT2.1, 105mmT2.1” focal lengths.

I would love it if Meike added 14mm, 21mm and 40mm lenses as they are three of my favourite Super 35 video and stills focal lengths.

Meike 35mm T2.1 Super 35 Cinema Lens

Images courtesy of Meike.

Links

David Thorpe: A Look At The Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro Zoom for Micro Four Thirds Cameras – Commentary

I bought this lens some time after it came out so never thought to reviews [sic] it. Quote a few photographers have taken me to task about that so here, at last, is my take on it. There’s no shortage of standard zooms for Micro Four Thirds but the Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8 Constant Aperture Pro zoom should be towards the top of any buyer’s list.

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Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro standard zoom lens.

Former Fleet Street newspaper photographer David Thorpe remains one of the very best digital camera and lens reviewers on YouTube and I thoroughly recommend him for those interested in the Micro Four Thirds format. 

He has to buy the gear that he reviews so he makes somewhat infrequent appearances on his YouTube channel and limits his coverage to the Olympus and Panasonic cameras and lenses that he uses for his own freelance work.

Likewise, Panasonic Australia seems to have fallen off in it support for local reviewers while Olympus Australia has never been interested in helping out with review units, so my current coverage of both company’s hardware and firmware is limited to items that I already own, or based on articles by others.

Thank goodness, then, for reviewers like David Thorpe and others too numerous to list here!

Other M43 lenses that David Thorpe uses and recommends

I own two of the six lenses that receive high recommendations from David Thorpe, the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro standard zoom and the Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 Aspheric near-pancake sized collapsible standard zoom.

Both have their joys and their workarounds, but both are firmly established as my default zoom lenses for different reasons and different subjects and applications.

Foremost amongst their differences is that the M.Zuiko Pro 12-40mm f/2.8 can be purchased standalone or bundled with a high-end Olympus camera while the 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 can only be purchased bundled with a lower-end Panasonic camera.

I managed to find my 12-32mm zoom lens online at eBay Australia, bought it for a good price, and have been very happy with it ever since.

It is not a lens for all seasons though, lacking a manual focusing ring and an aperture ring, and with a 37mm filter diameter so narrow that it necessitates stacking step-up rings to get it to industry-standard 77mm or 82mm or investing in a set of smaller diameter fixed and variable neutral density filters.

For those reasons I have yet to create videos with my 12-32mm lens, relying instead on the Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8 with its 62mm filter diameter, excellent manual clutch focusing, solid build, beautiful optics, and great weather and dust resistance.

Despite the effectiveness of Panasonic Lumix cameras’ back button focus, I have often resorted to retracting my 12-40mm’s manual clutch focus ring to quickly zero in on a key detail, and the usefulness of fast and accurate manual focusing when shooting video cannot be disputed.

The one thing that stops the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro from being the perfect standard zoom lens for stills and video is its lack of an aperture ring.

Aperture rings are one of the major areas where Micro Four Thirds consortium partners Olympus and Panasonic appear to have begged to differ, with Olympus lenses have them not at all and Panasonic building them into some and not all of their lenses.

One of the most intriguing Panasonic lenses with a form of manual clutch focus is the company’s Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 Aspheric wide-to-normal zoom lens.

I had the chance to briefly try one out at the last SMPTE in Sydney and while the lens’ range from 20mm to 50mm equivalent is impressive and incredibly useful for documentary photography and video, I was a little nonplussed by the lens’ lack of hard stops at each end of the focusing scale.

Hard stops aid in easier, faster focusing when your eyes are glued to the camera’s EVF or LCD monitor, as I quickly discovered after investing in my 12-40mm f/2.8, but if I was buying into Micro Four Thirds video nowadays then Panasonic’s Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 Aspheric would be the first and possibly only lens I would buy alongside a Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5,  DC-GH5S or the coming DC-GH6.

If I had the funds and the need for more M43 lenses with manual clutch focus and autofocus capabilities, though, then I would certainly invest them in Olympus’ excellent though aperture-ringless M.Zuiko Pro primes and zooms, so impressive is their optics and performance.

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The Olympus M.Zuiko Pro professional prime and zoom lens collection as of late 2017, all with manual clutch focus, invaluable for fast, accurate and repeatable manual focusing as well as linear focus-by-wire and autofocus.

Links

Meike Hints at ‘Full Frame’ aka 35mm and Super 35 Cinema Lenses Coming Soon

While researching for my previous article on the ever-growing Meike Cinema Primes collection of manual ciné lenses for Micro Four Thirds, Sony E and Fujifilm X mount cameras, some images of other possible upcoming new lenses caught my eye. 

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Meike 35mm T2.1 Super 35 cinema prime lens mounted on Blackmagic Design’s Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K aka BMPCC 6K. Sign of things to come? Image courtesy of Meike Global.
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Meike cinema prime lenses marked “6K” in 25mm, 35mm, 50mm, 65mm and 85mm focal lengths. Mockups or coming new releases? Image courtesy of Meike Global.
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Meike 50mm T2.1 “Full Frame” cinema prime lens for 35mm sensor cameras and presumably for Super 35 cameras too, as well as smaller sensor cameras via adapters. Image courtesy of Meike Global.
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Meike poster image for Meike 50mm f/1.2 “Full Frame” lens for Nikon Z-mount camera with 35mm sensor. What other mounts might this lens be coming in? Image courtesy of Meike Global.
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Meike T2.2 Series 6x Cine lens Kit for MFT + Cine Lens Case, containing Meike cinema prime lenses for Micro Four Thirds cameras. Looks like a great option for users of Micro Four Thirds cinema and video cameras including Blackmagic Design’s Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K aka BMPCC 4K and Panasonic’s M43 cameras. Will Meike be making kits like this available for its possible coming Super 35 and “full frame” cinema prime lenses? Image courtesy of Meike Global.

Given the praise that Blackmagic Design’s 6K raw-capable  Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K aka BMPCC 6K is receiving, it appears to be a more attractive alternative to the smaller sensor-equipped BMPCC 4K provided it is used with so-called “full frame” or 35mm sensor lenses, or lenses designed for motion picture industry standard Super 35 cameras.

I will be intrigued to see what focal lengths Meike will be releasing in these formats, how good they are and how affordably they may be priced.

Links

Veydra LLC, Maker of Affordable Manual Focus Mini Prime Cinema Lenses, Is Dead. What Now for Lenses in Their Class?

Veydra LLC, maker of the Veydra Mini Prime manual-focus cinema lenses for Micro Four Thirds, Sony E-Mount and Fujifilm X-Mount cameras, is no more. 

Veydra’s Ryan Avery recently announced the company’s demise on its Facebook page, bringing to an abrupt end the story of this doughty little lens maker, throwing into confusion affordable native geared cinema prime lens choices for independent moviemakers. 

With its mission statement being “Veydra lenses are designed to be premium quality cinema lenses at the absolute minimum retail price”, Veydra gave thousands the opportunity of using cinema lenses instead of the more common stills-oriented  non-cinema zoom and prime lenses we have come to rely upon despite their shortcomings for video use. 

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Veydra 50mm and 25mm Mini Prime Cinema manual focus lenses with imperial or metric markings, made by Veydra LLC.

Veydra LLC has gone out of business due to the conclusion of ongoing litigation between the founders of the company.

I offer special thanks to everyone involved in the success of Veydra; first and foremost all Veydra Kickstarter backers and customers. Specific thanks to those who made it possible from the start; Phil Holland, Illya Friedman, Matthew Duclos, Joshua Brown, Alex Jacobs, and all the supporters too numerous to mention here.

It’s been a wonderful journey and I thank you all for your support and kindness.

—Ryan Avery
Co-Founder

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Veydra Mini Prime colour-matched, geared manual-focus cinema prime lenses, from left, 12mm T2.2, 16mm T2.2, 19mm T2.2, 25mm T2.2, 35mm T2.2, 50mm T2.2 and 85mm T2.2 for Micro Four Thirds and APS-C sensor cameras.

Social media rumours have it that there was some conflict at Veydra about one partner licensing his lens designs out to another company, Meike, but another factor leading to Veydra’s end may have been the theft of US$200,000 worth of lenses from the company’s warehouse in 2017, after which the company seemed to drop off the radar.

There are cinema prime lens alternatives, however, with SLR Magic releasing an intriguing set of lenses for Super 16 and Super 35  digital cameras in M43, E-Mount and X-Mount.

Another option is Fujifilm’s impressive MKX cinema zoom lenses available in two focal length ranges and now in the same there mounts.

Should Fujifilm continue delivering on its promise to radically improve video functionality on its XF APS-C/Super 35 cameras,  SLR Magic’s seven lens collection appears attractive with the lenses’ 18mm, 22.5mm, 27mm, 37.5mm, 52.5mm and 112.5mm equivalence in the 35mm sensor format.

So far Meike has only released three cinema prime lenses and not in all three mounts, in 12mm, 16mm and 25mm focal lengths, so time will tell whether the company is fully committed to supplying a full set of primes in three mounts.

A prime lens alternative? SLR Magic MicroPrime Cinema Lenses for Micro Four Thirds, Fujifilm X-Mount and Sony E-Mount.

A cinema zoom alternative? Fujifilm Cinema Zoom Lenses for Micro Four Thirds, Fujifilm X-Mount and Sony E-Mount.

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At Last! SLR Magic Releases Full Set of Affordable Cinema MicroPrimes for Fujifilm X-Mount Super 35/APS-C Cameras

I have been waiting for someone to announce a complete set of affordable, matched cinema prime  lenses for Fujifilm X-Mount Super 35/APS-C hybrid mirrorless cameras for a long time, at least since Fujifilm announced its then coming affordable MK-series of matched parfocal cinema zoom lenses, and finally, here they are, an initial set of six X-mount cinema prime lenses by Hong Kong-based cinema optics specialists SLR Magic ranging from 12mm through to 75mm with a (hopefully) possible 15mm also coming. 

Duclos Lenses came up with a Fujifilm X-Mount option for Veydra’s Mini Primes that can cover the Super 35/APS-C format.

I had thought that US company Veydra might be the first one to achieve this breakthrough but when they dropped plans for a very necessary wide-angle lens to complete its offerings, the writing was on the wall.

Now Veydra has been dropped altogether from B&H Photo Video, and the Veydra website appears to be semi-functional at best so it looks like the feisty little US left coast newcomer may be no more.

Before its apparent demise, Veydra had only released, from memory, five focal lengths suitable for adapting to Fujifilm’s APS-C/Super 35 X-mount cameras and that was courtesy of an optional X-Mount Kit for self-installation by purchasers.

The Veydras’ other built-in limitation was their Mini Primes’ adherence to a common 77mm filter diameter on all lenses rather than 82mm, the latter all the better to avoid vignetting in wider focal lengths.

Luckily the new SLR Magic MicroPrimes come with no such limitation, all coming with 82mm filter diameters suitable for use with the company’s own SLR Magic 82mm Self-Locking Variable Neutral Density 0.4 to 1.8 Filter (1.3 to 6 Stops) or other 82mm diameter variable NDs like those made by Aurora-Aperture, Simmod Lens and a host of other filter manufacturers, as well as fixed value neutral density filters by SLR Magic and a great many others.

Not just for video production?

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Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R prime lens, regrettably much too slow to focus manually or via autofocus and its aperture ring too flakey and quirky for fast-paced professional work in stills and video, though some folks seem to like it for the quirkiness that made it frustrating for me.

There is no reason why cinema lenses cannot do sterling service for stills photography so long as their gearing does not get in the way.

Several of the SLR Magic Cinema MicroPrimes may well do a great job filling the gaps in Fujifilm’s current Fujinon XF prime lens offerings, and the 18mm MicroPrime may provide a great pro-quality alternative to the quirky Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R lens so long as you use it with an electronic viewfinder given the former’s 82mm filter diameter which would intrude too much into the X-Pro2’s Advanced Hybrid Multi Viewfinder.

  • 12mm in APS-C = 18mm in 35mm sensor format
  • 18mm in APS-C = 27mm in 35mm sensor format
  • 25mm in APS-C = 37.5mm in 35mm sensor format
  • 35mm in APS-C = 52.5mm in 35mm sensor format
  • 50mm in APS-C = 75mm in 35mm sensor format
  • 75mm in APS-C = 112.5mm in 35mm sensor format
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Nikon Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 manual focus, manual exposure macro lens, the one that got me into portrait photography. I would love a 105mm equivalent as a native X-mount lens.

Fujifilm does not currently offer a 12mm nor a 75mm prime lens, and I badly feel the lack of a professional quality 18mm when shooting immersive documentary photographs in crowds where there is simply no room to step backwards with less wide lenses and ultra-wide lenses are altogether too wide.

There is another advantage to a manual-focusing 18mm 28mm equivalent lens with a well-marked focusing scale – easily setting hyperfocal distance when shooting so-called “street photography”.

The SLR Magic 12mm may be suitable for architectural and scenic photography, provided its optical qualities test well, and the 75mm is close to my preferred full-face frontal focal length of 105mm in the 35mm sensor format.

It is currently unclear as to whether SLR Magic intends to release a 15mm X-mount MicroPrime, but that focal length would also have its uses for video and stills photography.

  • 15mm in APS-C = 22.5mm in 35mm sensor format
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Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R prime lens with manual clutch focus.

One of my favourite focal lengths for truly immersive, highly emotive documentary photography is 21mm in the 35mm sensor format, and the 15mm MicroPrime comes close.

The Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R is one of the far too few Fujifilm lenses that has manual clutch focus and hard stops at both ends of the distance scale, along with the XF 23mm f/1.4 R and XF 16mm f/1.4 R WR prime lenses.

When these manual clutch focusing primes first started appearing, I had hoped it was the start of Fujifilm adding this crucial ability to all future prime and zoom lenses but I was to be very disappointed.

As many cinematographers have variously stated about lenses without manual clutch focus or manual focusing rings, pulling focus on lenses without either sucks.

Especially when using follow-focus devices.

SLR Magic makes fixed and variable NDs as well as IR-cutting enhancer filters

The news of SLR Magic’s announcement of its MicroPrimes is recent and so far I have not come across any pre-release reviews of pre-production versions so have no idea of their optical quality and lack of optical distortion or otherwise.

I remain hopeful, though, and look forward to the full set of X-mount MicroPrimes finding its way to well-qualified professional videographers for assessment.

The Super 35 sensor format is a great one for narrative, commercial and feature-style documentary moviemaking though I also appreciate the grittier Super 16 documentary style afforded by Panasonic’s GH5 and GH5S, as well as the possibilities of the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K especially now that it has received its Blackmagic Raw firmware update.

Meanwhile I am thinking seriously about whether some of SLR Magic’s X-mount MicroPrimes may answer some of my long-standing need for professional-quality manual focus-capable primes for documentary and portrait stills photography in certain undercatered-for focal lengths.

Such lenses would do well on my Fujifilm X-Pro2 and even better on the amazing X-T3 and the even better-gripped X-H1 for stills and video, given the latter two cameras’ superior electronic viewfinders, though I certainly hope that the X-Pro3’s EVF improves radically over its predecessor’s EVF.

Fujifilm’s X-mount MKX 18-55mm and 50-135mm T2.9 parfocal cinema zoom lenses

Where to see, try and buy SLR Magic MicroPrime Cinema X-mount lenses in Sydney?

In the absence of an all-things-to-all-people megastore in Australia, and the difficulty of finding smaller brands like SLR Magic here in Sydney, I went looking for other possibilities and discovered the following:

  • Media + Entertainment Tech Expo, Sydney – exhibition 18-20 July 2019, venue location TBA at time of writing but likely to be either Darling Harbour or Moore Park.
  • C.R.Kennedy Photo Imaging – importer, distributor and retailer of a wide range of photo and video products including SLR Magic filters, lenses and other optical accessories. Many brands unavailable in retail stores here are imported and retailed by this company, such as G-Technology HDDs and SSDs, in my experience the most reliable mainstream brand of them all and yet oddly enough the hardest to find, even in Apple Stores which used to be the most reliable stockists. C.R.Kennedy most likely will be exhibiting at the above expo in July.

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Clicking on the links below and purchasing through them or our affiliate accounts at B&H Photo Video, SmallRig or Think Tank Photo helps us continue our work for ‘Untitled’.

  • Digital Cinema Lenses, Fujifilm X-MountB&H
  • Aurora-Aperture 82mm Power XND Mark II Variable ND 0.3 to 2.1 Filter (1 to 7-Stop)B&H
  • Aurora-Aperture 82mm Power XND Mark II Variable ND 1.5 to 3.3 Filter (5 to 11-Stop)B&H
  • Fujifilm XF LensesB&H
  • FUJIFILM MKX18-55mm T2.9 Lens (Fuji X-Mount)B&H
  • FUJIFILM MKX50-135mm T2.9 Lens (Fuji X-Mount)B&H
  • FUJIFILM X-H1 Mirrorless Digital Camera Body with Battery Grip KitB&H
  • FUJIFILM X-Pro2 Mirrorless Digital CameraB&H
  • FUJIFILM X-T3 Mirrorless Digital Camera Body with Battery Grip KitB&H
  • SLR Magic 82mm Image Enhancer Pro FilterB&H
  • SLR Magic 82mm Self-Locking Variable Neutral Density 0.4 to 1.8 Filter (1.3 to 6 Stops)B&H
  • SLR Magic 86mm Solid Neutral Density 1.2 Image Enhancer Filter (4-Stop)B&H
  • SLR Magic MicroPrime Cine 12mm T2.8 Lens (Fuji X Mount)B&H
  • SLR Magic MicroPrime Cine 18mm T2.8 Lens (Fuji X Mount)B&H
  • SLR Magic MicroPrime Cine 25mm T1.5 Lens (Fuji X Mount)B&H
  • SLR Magic MicroPrime Cine 35mm T1.3 Lens (Fuji X Mount)B&H
  • SLR Magic MicroPrime Cine 50mm T1.2 Lens (Fuji X Mount) – B&H
  • SLR Magic MicroPrime Cine 75mm T1.5 Lens (Fuji X Mount)B&H

James Miller’s DELUTS Releases DELUTS Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K Creative Looks

https://sellfy.com/p/gg0m/

“DELUTS BMPCC4K Creative Looks, Base transforms for use with Blackmagic ‘Film’ profile for use with BRAW and ProRes.

75 Luts designed for the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K (This set is also compatable with Blackmagic Ursa Mini 4.6k & Blackmagic Ursa Mini 4.6k Pro using ‘Film’ profile)

• 4 Base Tranforms when working with the Blackmagic Film profile.
• 9 Monotone Creative Looks
• 62 Colour Creative Looks

Davinci Resolve Legacy .cube format Luts. For use in FCPx (Version 4 or Higher), Adobe Premiere Pro CC, Adobe Photoshop, Davinci Resolve and many more supporting applications.

Luts supplied in x64, x33 and x17 resolution. Use x64 for Davinci Resolve, x33 for FCPx and limited adjustment layers with Adobe Premiere CC, x17 for Adobe Premiere CC general use….”

James Miller’s DELUTS Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K Creative LUTs for use with Blackmagic raw aka BRAW and Blackmagic camera film profiles.

Commentary

Director/cinematographer James Miller creates and sells creative looks LUTs under the DELUTS brand, and supplies to moviemakers looking for fast, efficient ways of adding strong, emotive looks to their footage.

Mr Miller’s latest DELUTS release is aimed at users of Blackmagic Design’s Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K aka BMPCC 4K, as well as other cameras using Blackmagic Design’s Blackmagic RAW raw video codec such as the Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro.

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Help support ‘Untitled’

_sony_128gb_m_series_uhs-ii_sdxc_memory_card_kit_(2-pack)_01_1024px_60%
Sony 128GB M-Series UHS-II SDXC Memory Cards 2-Pack, R: 260 MB/s, W: 100 MB/s

Clicking on the links below and purchasing through them or our affiliate accounts at B&H Photo Video, SmallRig or Think Tank Photo helps us continue our work for ‘Untitled’.

  • 8Sinn cagesB&H
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  • Atomos Handle Adapter for AtomX SSDmini (5-Pack)B&H
  • Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4KB&H
  • Blackmagic Design Mini XLR Cable for Video Assist/4K (Set of 2, 19.5″)B&H
  • Breakthrough PhotographyB&H – the finest brass traction-framed ND, UV and CPL filters as well as the best step-up rings (sadly only sold direct on the company’s own website at present).
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Sigma Fills the Gap with 28mm f/1.4 and 40mm f/1.4 Art Lenses, Two of the Most Currently Neglected Prime Lens Focal Lengths

With almost every new camera coming with a kit zoom lens and the popular image of newspaper photographers stalking the streets with three DSLRs and the usual wide, standard and telephoto zoom lens trio, prime lenses have taken a back seat and most lens makers seem to have forgotten some of the most useful, most classic prime lenses upon which documentary photographers and moviemakers once depended upon to earn their living. 

I am referring to the 28mm and 40mm focal lengths with the former documentary photographer’s go-to wide angle lens and the latter a favourite focal length of many of the great Hollywood feature film cinematographers and directors. 

While I remain hopeful that other camera and lens makers will soon release professional-quality 28mm and 40mm lenses for 35mm sensor cameras and their equivalents in other sensor formats, Sigma Corporation has led the way in creating the Sigma 28mm f/1.4 DG HSM | Art and Sigma 28mm f/1.4 DG HSM | Art prime lenses for 35mm sensor cameras.

In the Micro Four Thirds sensor format, their equivalents would be 14mm and 20mm, and in the APS-C sensor format they would be 18mm and 27mm.

While all of those focal lengths are catered for with pancake or near-pancake lenses in APS-C by Fujifilm and in M43 by Panasonic, none are suitable for the rigours of professional-level documentary photography and photojournalism, or feature film and documentary moviemaking.

The 28mm focal length, superb for documenting people in places without optical distortions detracting from the story

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Photograph made by Karin Gottschalk with Fujifilm X-Pro2 and Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 OIS kit zoom lens at 18mm setting, equivalent to 28mm in 35mm sensor format.
Photograph made by Karin Gottschalk with Fujifilm X-T3 and Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 OIS kit zoom lens at 18mm setting, equivalent to 28mm in 35mm sensor format. If only Fujifilm made a professional quality 18mm prime lens!

Prime lenses in 24mm equivalent focal lengths such as 16mm in APS-C and 12mm in M43 appear to be touted these days as the “replacement” for 28mm and its equivalents, but 24mm super wide angle lenses have inherent optical distortions and volume deformations that must be corrected in software in-camera and on-computer.

I rarely use 24mm, preferring instead 21mm for establishing shots and tiny-figure-in-landscape images as well as architecture, but when I am not carrying the wider lens and only have a zoom lens with 24mm at its widest find I must apply DxO ViewPoint after processing the raw file.

The other big difference between 28mm and 24mm?

Photographs made with the 28mm draw attention to the contents of the image itself whereas photographs made with the 24mm often draw attention to the lens that was applied.

I know which one I prefer for immersive documentary photography that respects the subject and enhances the story.

The most famous 40mm lenses were introduced with the Leica CL and Minolta CLE

The 40mm focal length is often characterized as “perfect normal” as opposed to the “standard normal” of the 50mm focal length that was introduced as standard with the first Leica cameras in the early 20th century.

Stop press: Zeiss announces Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2.0 prime lens for Sony E-Mount cameras

As I was writing this article news arrived of Zeiss’ announcement at photokina 2018 of its new Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2.0 prime lens, characterized as “the versatile lens”.

Some 35mm DSLR camera and lens makers still produce 40mm lenses as low-price options such as Canon while Voigtlaender has several 40mm lenses for DSLR and rangefinder cameras.

The 40mm focal length is also available in some high end cinema prime lens brands.

Leica and Minolta’s 40mm lenses were discontinued at the same time as the cameras for which they were designed, but remain popular purchases on the second-hand market.

Now that Sigma is a member of the L-Mount Alliance, let’s hope that the company comes up with a wide range of L-mount Art prime and zoom lenses including 28mm and 40mm.

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Italian-Australian Cinematographer/Director Dante Cecchin Creates Bolidism-Inspired LockCircle HiPock Cage System for Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K

One camera cage and accessories maker that appears not to receive the press coverage it deserves is LockCircle, a brand of the Brain Emo company based in Lombardy near Lake Como

LockCircle is the only video accessories maker with its origins in Australia, specifically Broken Hill, thanks to Italian-Australian cinematographer/director Dante Cecchin, but the brand is sadly not represented in this country through an importer/distributor or resellers

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LockCircle HiPock, “The Pocket 4K Camera Cage”, designed by Dante Cecchin for the Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4K.

Meanwhile LockCircle’s products are clearly well regarded enough to be represented in other countries by respected resellers including AbelCine, B&H, mtf, P+S Technik, The Flash Centre and Vocas.

Mr Cecchin’s product design inspirations include the Bolidist Movement pioneered by Italian designer Massimo Iosa Ghini, who characterizes Boldism as “a way of narrating the transition from materialety to drawing things in which the visual and media aspect prevails with respect to the object’s functional purpose”.

Mr Ghini was involved with the Memphis Group of architects and designers during the 1980s, and perhaps the many highly coloured products Memphis members designed may have influenced LockCircle’s product materials and coatings such as the bronze, grey and black anodized surfaces of the three HiPock elements and cages and the rarer, more wildly coloured limited editions and new product colour-ways sometimes seen on LockCircle’s Facebook page.

Special anodization colours and surface finishes

Mr Cecchin’s LockCircle has been one of the first camera cage makers off the mark to come up with accessories for the soon-to-be-released Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K and has come up with three different cages or cage-like devices – Minimal Plate, Essential Plate and System Cage, all under the product name of HiPock.

As with his other camera cages, HiPock integrates intimately with LockCircle’s and camera accessories including MicroMega rigging, RodRocket titanium rods and rails, NoLux “photon trap” technology matte box system, MatBox professional matter box system, LockCircle ultra-secure camera body caps, LockPort camera cable savers, Prime Circle cinema lenses and filters and the Pro M.35 System of accessories for adapting stills photography lenses to use in cinematography.

The breadth and depth of LockCircle’s product system appears to obviate the need to ever go outside it in fully equipping many popular hybrid mirrorless cameras for professional video production.

LockCircle HiPock 4K camera cage for Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K

Due to LockCircle being unrepresented in Australia I have not had the pleasure of seeing and trying any of its products in real life and neither do I know anyone here who owns and uses them, but I certainly hope to remedy that lack some day.

Perhaps Mr Cecchin may be persuaded to pay his birth country a visit to show off his products and share his clearly not inconsiderable achievements.

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Image Credits

Header image concept and hack by Carmel D. Morris.

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

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