DPReview: EXCLUSIVE: Hands-on with upcoming Fujifilm XF and GF lenses [Including Fujifilm’s Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom lens] – UPDATED

https://www.dpreview.com/articles/9472614833/exclusive-hands-on-with-upcoming-fujifilm-xf-and-gf-lenses

“…We’re in Dubai, where Fujifilm is showing off pre-production and prototype samples of three upcoming lenses – the GF 50mm F3.5 – a compact, lightweight standard lens for medium format – the XF 16mm F2.8, and the XF 16-80mm F4 – both of which [were] designed for the company’s range of APS-C format X-series cameras.

Click through for an exclusive first look at all three, including detailed specifications….”

Staffers at the Amazon-owned photography hardware review site DPReview got their hands on three upcoming lenses for Fujifilm’s G and X series cameras at Gulf Photo Plus aka GPP’s GPP Photo Week 2019 in Dubai. Here is the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom lens.

Commentary

As time is inching towards the release sometime in the first half of 2019 of Fujifilm’s Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 “travel” zoom lens it is terrific to get some idea of its size and features and other it may provide a solution for own needs as a documentary photographer and videographer.

I am self-funded, only able to carry a small amount of hardware on each project, and must work within ongoing limitations – thanks for nothing, Australian banksters, for blowing our refinancing out of the water after you were found out for your crimes by the Royal Commission into banking.

I must be able to get the most out of the hardware I carry and it must be able to help me create good enough movies and videos without the benefit of cases full of equipment, assistants and crews, and the big budgets that I never had anyway when working as a magazine editorial and corporate photographer during the analog era.

Gaps in their offerings

As two relatively new camera and lens systems, Fujifilm’s APS-C sensor format X system and medium format G system  still have gaps in their offerings, especially for documentary types like me who prefer to rely on fast prime lenses with all the manual controls that can be had.

Not to say that I do not appreciate zoom lenses now that their optical, mechanical and image quality are so good nowadays.

I also use and love Panasonic’s Micro Four Thirds cameras and Olympus’ M.Zuiko Pro lenses, with my most-used lens being the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro zoom lens and, had it been released at the time I bought my first Panasonic camera, I may well have chosen the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f/4.0 OIS Pro zoom lens instead.

Slower zoom lenses are fine so long as you supplement them with moderately wide and moderately long fast aperture prime lenses for available darkness documentary work and portraiture, and Olympus offers three of  them in its M.Zuiko Pro range at the moment, with more to come I hope.

Going fast to begin with

At the time I bought my first interchangeable lens Fujifilm camera, the company did not offer a standard zoom lens like those above made by Olympus or their Panasonic equivalents, so I invested in a Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R and Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 R, well answering my fast aperture moderate long and wide needs.

Another longstanding need has been for a professional quality 18mm prime lens equivalent to 28mm in the 35mm sensor format and 14mm in the Macro Four Thirds sensor format.

With little sign of Fujifilm offering such a lens any time soon, I have had to consider other possibilities including adapting an EF-mount Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art zoom lens to X-mount, but this solution is best suited to DSLR-style cameras like the X-T3 rather than the rangefinder-style X-Pro2 that is much more effective for hardcore immersive documentary photography.

Interest piqued

My interest in the coming  Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS zoom was piqued when I borrowed a Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 kit zoom lens for my first tryout of the X-T3.

I loved its 18mm widest focal length, rarely used the lens at 23mm and 55mm as I was also carrying my X-Pro2 equipped with either of those two lenses, and would have loved access to longer focal lengths than 56mm for those times I could not get close enough.

DPReview’s hands-on with the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom provides a reasonably reliable impression of the lens in its shipping form and confirms it has a marked, clicking aperture ring and weather resistance, though no manual clutch focus or, probably, no clickless option.

The X-T3’s firmware offers the ability to switch focus-by-wire from non-linear to linear so I will be giving that feature a tryout during my current X-T3 loan period over the coming days.

Two out of three

Two out of three ain’t bad for the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom.

As I am not a fan of the neither fish-nor-fowl 16mm focal length, equivalent to 24mm in the 35mm sensor format, the Fujinon XF 16mm f/2.8 R WR “Fujicron” lens is not on my wishlist which is topped by the Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R annual clutch focus prime lens to tackle the ultra wide end of things and has a 58mm filter diameter, meaning I can easily add a knurled brass Breakthrough Photography step-up ring for my neutral density filters when shooting video.

Although I would prefer to have a set of wide-aperture manual-clutch-focus primes for all my documentary moviemaking and photography, the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom would provide a range of my most-needed focal lengths – 18mm, 23mm, 27mm, 56mm and 70mm.

In 35mm sensor format terms, that is 28mm, 35mm, 40mm, 85mm and 105mm, and a limit of 120mm at the long end will account for those rare times my feet are unable to do the zooming.

Postscript

Fuji Rumors has republished images and information about the northern hemisphere fall aka autumn 2019 (southern hemisphere spring 2019) release of the XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR including these from Japanese website capa.getnavi.

Many thanks to Fuji Rumors for the slide translation:

Fujinon XF 10-24mm R OIS, Samyang 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS X-Mount, Fujinon XF 14mm R and Venus Optics Laowa 9mm f/2.8 Zero-D for architecture and documentary

I have a longterm project coming up where I need to document the construction of a house from greenfield to completion, and I need to expand my stills photography kit for that and a number of other upcoming stills and video projects.

Right now I have no idea what my budget will be, given the economy-wrecking predations of the Australian banks and real estate agencies over the past couple of years, but there are at least two options.

Minimalist:

  • Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R with Fujifilm VF-X21 external optical viewfinder for my X-Pro2.

Maximalist:

  • Fujifilm X-T3
  • Fujifilm MHG-XT3 Metal Hand Grip
  • Fujifilm VG-XT3 Vertical Battery Grip
  • Fujinon XF 10-24mm f/4.0 R OIS
  • Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR
  • Breakthrough Photography 72-82mm knurled brass step-up ring x 2
  • Breakthrough Photography lens cap, 82mm x 2
  • Breakthrough Photography X4 UV filter x 2
  • Fixed or variable neutral density filters, 82mm diameter

There are other lenses available that receive good reviews and are suitable for architectural photography though they are too ultra-wide for documentary photography, the Samyang 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS X-Mount at 18mm equivalence and Venus Optics Laowa 9mm f/2.8 Zero-D at 13.5mm equivalence in the 35mm sensor format.

If only one lens it is to be, then the minimalist option makes sense as I rather like the Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R’s 21mm equivalence for figures in landscapes, emotive close-up documentary shots, and architectural and cityscape work.

This lens will need Fujifilm’s VF-X21 viewfinder sitting on top of my X-Pro2 as a 14mm field of view falls outside the X-Pro2’s 18-56mm optical viewfinder bright frames and the X-Pro2’s EVF is not what I would like it to be.

Will the X-Pro3 improve upon that and other weak points?

If there is budget enough, then of course I would prefer the maximalist option camera and lens plus upgrading my ageing post-production facility.

The X-T3 plus grips and two zoom lenses, with the addition of my three current 23mm, 27mm and 56mm Fujinon prime lenses, makes a good Super 35mm video set-up combined with Fujifilm’s X-Trans 120-rollfilm quality stills.

The Fujinon XF 10-24mm f/4.0 R OIS is an ageing lens design, however, and lacks weather resistance and appears to be at its best optically speaking from f/8.0 rather than closer to f/4.0.

I want to see Fujifilm bring it up to current standards with a Fujinon XF 10-24mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom that will make a great match with the coming Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom lens, giving the equivalent of 15mm through to 120mm in the 35mm sensor format.

Links

Help support ‘Untitled’

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’.

  • Breakthrough PhotographyB&H
  • FUJIFILM VF-X21 External Optical ViewfinderB&H
  • FUJIFILM X-Pro2 Mirrorless Digital CameraB&H
  • FUJIFILM X-T3 Mirrorless Digital CameraB&H
  • FUJIFILM MHG-XT3 Metal Hand GripB&H
  • FUJIFILM VG-XT3 Vertical Battery GripB&H
  • FUJIFILM XF 10-24mm f/4 R OIS LensB&H
  • FUJIFILM XF 14mm f/2.8 R LensB&H
  • FUJIFILM XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS LensB&H
  • FUJIFILM XF 23mm f/1.4 R LensB&H
  • FUJIFILM XF 56mm f/1.2 R LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f/4 IS PRO LensB&H
  • Samyang 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS Lens for Fujifilm X-MountB&H
  • Venus Optics Laowa 9mm f/2.8 Zero-D Lens for Fujifilm XB&H
Advertisements

Bounce-Back and Sore Eyes: Why to Choose Black-Bodied Cameras Over Half-Silvered Ones

I have been trying out a Fujifilm X-T3 loaded up with the latest firmware in order to shoot some HLG video footage and further try out the camera’s radically improved autofocus functionality which will reportedly be getting better again in a future firmware update, possibly in April this year. 

The first X-T3 I borrowed was half silver and half black while the current loaner is all black, and what an unexpected and pleasant difference that has made.

I made great use of the silver X-T3 in a two-day documentary photography project and shot quite a bit of footage with its Eterna and F-Log picture profiles, on location in available darkness and the brightest of high UV sunlight.

Each time, halfway through the day I would notice my eyes becoming sore and by day’s end the soreness would be unbearable, especially in my right eye.

_5780135_1024px_80pc
Plenty of reflective silver. Fujifilm X-T3 minimally rigged for video with Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 R LM OIS kit zoom lens, 58-77mm step-up ring, variable ND filter and lens cap for protection in your camera bag when out walking about.

I am ambidextrous and tend towards right eye dominance though that is not exclusive, and with DSLR-style cameras always use my right eye to view through their electronic viewfinders.

I had attributed the unaccustomed soreness to the slowly worsening eyesight of my ageing myopic eyes, and had feared the worst for my eyesight despite recent eye tests showing expected slow, steady but not marked deterioration in vision.

I wondered whether using an EVF camera might be the cause of the soreness given I own two Fujifilm viewfinder cameras, an X100 and an X-Pro2, and use their optical viewfinders in preference to their EVFs.

But then I also have two Panasonic Lumix EVF cameras, one viewfinder-style and the other DSLR-style, and have never experienced problems like this with either of them.

This week, after extensive use of the black X-T3 for shooting video and stills, I am reluctantly coming to the conclusion that the silver X-T3 and its highly reflective silver-coloured magnesium upper body might be the reason for my previous and constant eye soreness.

I have had no eye soreness with the black X-T3 at all.

Of course, this observation about the difference between the two versions of the X-T3 is a deduction and not the result of any form of scientific test, but it is something worth thinking about when I am in a position to invest in my own X-T3 and the coming  Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom lens.

I had been wondering whether my eye soreness was the product of the EVF in the X-T3, and was worried the problem might rule out investing in an X-T3 or any other DSLR-style Fujifilm camera, but the electronic viewfinder clearly is not the source of that problem.

Postscript

I used the black X-T3 in a wide range of lighting conditions throughout the weekend, in bright high-UV sunlight, deep shade and in poorly-lit train stations and experienced none of the eye soreness that I had when using the silver X-T3.

Links

Help support ‘Untitled’

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’.

  • FUJIFILM X-Pro2 Mirrorless Digital CameraB&H
  • FUJIFILM X-T3 Mirrorless Digital CameraB&H
  • Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR – to be released later in 2019.

fcp.co: If High School Kids Can Do It, So Can You… The Apple Short Film Project Workflow Pt. 1

http://www.fcp.co/final-cut-pro/articles/2052-if-high-school-kids-can-do-it-so-can-you-the-apple-short-film-project-workflow-part-1

“Sam here. I’ve been waiting to write this article for a very long time, and it signals the beginning of something… and that is the beginning of complexity finally getting out of the way of high end filmmaking and truly making it accessible to everyone. We’re talking turning high end filmmaking into a teachable, repeatable process….

… There is a new world of content that is emerging and the paradigm shift from an ivory tower post production mentality where everything is complicated and no one knows how to communicate with each other is shifting to a model where anyone can make something that looks amazing if they take the time to become good at their craft. All you need is the right workflow, some affordable tools, a basic understand of storytelling and filmmaking fundamentals, and a willingness to learn….”

red_raven_HK8Q2_AV1_1024px_60%
RED Raven camera with Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art Lens for Canon EF mount.

Commentary

I laboured under the ivory tower postproduction mentality mentioned in the quote above as well as the cap-in-hand production finance paradigm that has ruled documentary moviemaking for what seems like an eternity and I can think of no systems in the creative sphere that can be as punitive and as brutal to storytellers.

I have experienced the worst of the system with the lowest of low points being the time when then Australian Prime Minister John Howard personally demanded my human rights documentary movie project that was about to be commissioned by the Australian Broadcasting Commission under its New Directors scheme be cancelled resulting in being blacklisted as a moviemaker.

I sincerely hope Australian expatriate Sam Mestman is correct about a coming major paradigm shift in the nature of independent documentary moviemaking, and I look forward to the rest of his four-part series of articles about the methods used by LA high school students and their advisers and assistants in the Apple Short Film Project.

Although the Apple Short Film Project was based around using RED Raven raw cinema cameras equipped with EF-mount Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art lenses, I hope that the workflow used in these short documentary projects will be adaptable to using more affordable cameras such as Panasonic’s Lumix DC-GH5 and GH5S hybrid Micro Four Thirds and media storage systems other than LumaForge’s reportedly excellent Jellyfish Tower.

I will post links to each article in the series as they appear.

Links

Help support ‘Untitled’

sigma_18-35mm_f1.8_dc_hsm_a_02_1024px
Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art fast zoom lens for APS-C sensors and for adapting to M43 with Metabones SpeedBoosters, lens available in Canon EF or Nikon mounts. Also available in a geared cinema version.

Clicking on and purchasing through these affiliate links helps us continue our work for ‘Untitled: Stories of Creativity, Innovation, Success’.

  • iZotope RX 6 Standard Audio Restoration and Enhancement Software (Download)B&H
  • Metabones Canon EF Lens to Micro Four Thirds Camera T CINE Speed Booster XL 0.64x (Fifth Generation)B&H
  • Metabones Canon EF Lens to Micro Four Thirds Camera T CINE Speed Booster ULTRA 0.71x (Fifth Generation)B&H
  • Metabones T Speed Booster Ultra 0.71x Adapter for Canon Full-Frame EF-Mount Lens to Micro Four Thirds-Mount CameraB&H
  • Metabones T Speed Booster XL 0.64x Adapter for Full-Frame Canon EF-Mount Lens to Select Micro Four Thirds-Mount CamerasB&H
  • Panasonic DMW-BGGH5 Battery GripB&H
  • Panasonic DMW-XLR1 XLR Microphone Adapter – B&H
  • Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital CameraB&H
  • Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5S Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital CameraB&H
  • RED RavenB&H
  • Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art Lens for CanonB&H
  • Sigma 18-35mm T2 High-Speed Zoom LensB&H

Think Tank Photo Releases SKB Series Hard Cases with Think Tank Photo Soft Interiors for Photographers and Videographers

At long last, a company has recognized an issue that has increasingly been coming to the fore for travelling photographers and cinematographers, and has come up with a thoughtful, well-designed and well-made solution to it. Or rather, two companies in close collaboration, Think Tank Photo and SKB, and that issue is the increasing demand by airlines that we agree to stashing our precious, costly gear in the cargo hold instead of carrying it on as cabin luggage.

Think Tank Photo, a company whose soft camera bags and accessories I have used for some years, has collaborated with a maker of hard cases, SKB, a company new to me until now. Think Tank lists the products of this collaboration on its website under the SKB Hard Cases moniker and SBK has them on its website as the SKB Flyer Series.

There are similarities and differences between the two companies’ listings of the products of their collaboration, with SKB adding some video-oriented Flyer cases and a very useful long logistics hard case for carrying lighting and other production gear while Think Tank Photo appears to be  concentrating more on the stills side of things.

Think Tank Photo was a pioneer in supporting hybrid stills/video photographers/cinematographers with its brilliant but discontinued Wired Up Multimedia soft case range that I use to this very day. Think Tank Photo seems to have passed the hybrid thing by now, focussing on pure cinematography with a fourteen soft case-strong collection of video transport cases illustrated carrying RED, Canon Cinema EOS and DJI drone cameras.

A subset of Think Tank Photo SKB Hard Case photographs

Think Tank Photo has recently begun illustrating its products with Fujifilm X-Series mirrorless cameras in a hat-tip to the ever-growing popularity of APS-C and, one assumes, Micro Four Thirds hybrid stills/video cameras for professional photography and moviemaking, especially in the self-funded independent documentary and feature sector, a refreshing relief from their former concentration on 35mm format DSLRs from Canon and Nikon.

I do not use the inane and inaccurate “full frame”, “full format” and “crop sensors” terminology in reference to digital sensor sizes. Fujifilm’s GFX 50S medium format camera makes such olde worlde 35mm absolutism appear ridiculous, especially given that its body is about the same size or just a little bigger than the average DSLR but with a much larger sensor, establishing a new standard for image quality to be judged against if one is so inclined.

Although M43 cameras are not shown in the product shots, it is safe to assume that a case that can carry Fujifilm X-T2 and X-Pro2 Super 35 APS-C cameras, lenses and accessories can also hold Panasonic or Olympus Super 16 M43 cameras, lenses and accessories.

That is good news for those like me who would prefer to transport our Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5, DMC-GH4 or DMC-GX8 fully rigged and ready for fast camera case egress going straight into shooting documentary footage minus fussing about attaching microphones, recorders, monitors, cables, cages, rigging and the like.

The same assumptions should apply to transporting the GFX 50S for stills photography given its DSLR size but bigger and better sensor.

The Think Tank Photo cum SKB Flyer hard case cum soft internals series could not have come at a better time as I am currently having to radically rethink how to carry my stills and video production gear during shoots, going to and from shoots and, when this interminable subdivision process is finally completed so we can refinance our projects including Untitled: Stories of Creativity, Innovation, Success, travelling intercity, interstate and overseas.

I am on the verge of a major camera case cleanup, reducing my reliance on shoulder bags and even some backpacks unduly straining permanently damaged spine, shoulders, arms and back.

Another clean-up factor is leather now that Sydney’s weather veers towards sub-tropical with ever-advancing climate change and the danger of leather-loving, lens-destroying mould taking up permanent residence in most Australian homes. Add to that the cruelty and environmental impact aspects of leather production.

I want to see all camera bag and accessory makers abandon the use of leather and follow the examples of companies like Cosyspeed that use kinder, safer materials like synthetic leather as used in the automobile industry.

Meanwhile I am looking at the specifications of all ten of the SKB Hard Cases at Think Tank Photo’s website while remembering scenes I witnessed in the days when I carted aluminium hard cases and soft logistics cases around the deserts of Western Australia and the odd foray to the eastern states for corporate assignments.

Watching luggage handlers hurl bags on and off their trailers, topple them onto the ground or sling them into luggage chutes made me cringe every time. It is great if you can get away with carrying your gear into the cabin but best to be prepared for that odd stroppy ticket or gate attendant who disputes that your “airline carry-on approved size” really is the approved size or rejects it for breaching said size by a millimetre or two.

Think Tank Photo SKB iSeries 3i-2011-7BP Backpack & Rolling Case

The 3i-2011-7BP is the one hard case in the SKB Hard Cases collection that combines a removable backpack with a rolling case, for use in a way not unlike the one that Deanne Fitzmaurice demonstrates in her How to Pack Gear for a Regional Jet video.

I have been considering something similar for safely transporting a future mostly-video documentary production kit based around the GH5 and its predecessors the GH4 and GX8. I just need to determine whether the set-up illustrated above will carry everything I need for short and feature documentary projects. Time to make a list!

I will need a second camera bag for cabin-only documentary stills gear, to complement the cabin or cargo hold mostly-video case, as well as a safer way of carrying tripod, lights and lighting stands for my coming new travelling kit to be complete.

It would be terrific if a vendor turns up at the SMPTE 2017 at Darling Harbour mid-July with a massive collection of Think Tank Photo camera bags so I can work out some optimal carrying combinations.

The steady reduction of photography retailers in this part of the world and the ending of photography trade shows here makes seeing, trying and selecting the right gear even more difficult than before. Guessing which camera bags you need based on product shots with cameras, lens and accessory systems you don’t use can be a challenge!

Links:

Image Credits:

  • Header image made from product photograph kindly supplied by Think Tank Photo and SKB Cases, processed with Macphun Luminar Neptune using a preset from the Tintype Looks collection, in remembrance of Khadija Saye,  the emerging British artist tragically killed in the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Creative Planet Network: A Cinematic Solution at a Sensible Price: How JVC’s GY-LS300 Expands Production Capabilities

http://www.creativeplanetnetwork.com/news/shoot/cinematic-solution-sensible-price-how-jvc-s-gy-ls300-expands-production-capabilities/611665

The GY-LS300 comes with a Micro Four Thirds (MFT) universal lens mount, and adapters are available for PL, EF, Nikon, C and other lenses….

Besides resolution, one figure that stands out about the GY-LS300 is its suggested price of $4,395—and the street price, which is about $1,000 less.

JVC GY-LS300 4K camcorder with Veydra Mini Prime Micro Four Thirds geared cinema lenses

I really appreciate the flexibility the GY-LS300 gives you to adopt any kind of lens,” he says. “I like both Canon and [Duclos] Veydra lenses, and the JVC mounting system handled them very well.” … Sanjeev Chatterjee

Can he recommend any improvements? “Sure. The camera would benefit from an additional threaded tie-down,” Herrlin says. “Also, it comes with a small viewfinder, probably to save cost. I’d like a higher resolution one, and a viewscreen that can stand up to bright outdoor sun.” … Steve Herrlin

 

Cosyspeed’s Camslinger Streetomatic+ Camera Hip Bag for Mirrorless Heroes Is Now Available in Cruelty-Free Black

Camera bag maker Cosyspeed has released the black version of its largest hip bag, the Camslinger Streetomatic+. The Camslinger line is, in effect, a distant descendant of a pair of belt packs I relied on during the analog era to protect my beloved Leica rangefinder cameras and lenses but that, in the end, badly let them down. Cosyspeed’s modern styling, anti-cruelty artificial leather, internal and external pockets, and integrated waist belt, go far beyond those now mouldy trad-style leather-trimmed hip bags in the realms of safety and comfort. 

The Cosyspeed Camslinger Streetomatic+ belt pack hip bag for
The Cosyspeed Camslinger Streetomatic+ belt pack hip bag for “mirrorless heroes” is generously-sized enough to carry a DSLR as well as a range of mirrorless hybrid stills/video cameras, and is made with cruelty-free, synthetic materials that should not attract mould as animal leather does, a win on several fronts.

While previous Streetomatic bags have looked promising from their images and descriptions online, the Streetomatic+ looks to be the first large enough to carry my mirrorless still and video bare essentials while still being smaller than my currently smallest cross-shoulder bag, the Peak Design Everyday Messenger 13.

I chose the smaller Everyday Messenger as I must be careful not to over-stress neck and spine permanently damaged by a lifetime of carrying movie and photography equipment starting with the big Zero Halliburton cases I carted about the deserts of Western Australia as a corporate photographer with mining company clients.

Despite the EM13’s small size as a messenger bag, and the small load I carry in it, I still experience shoulder pain in the middle of a long day shooting. A belt pack would be a welcome relief but the only one I have now in two sizes, Think Tank Photo’s innovative Multimedia Wired Up 10 and Multimedia Wired Up 20 proved it wasn’t quite up to the job.

A selection of bags from Think Tank Photo's innovative, pioneering Multimedia Wired Up Collection, now sadly long discontinued. If it had continued to evolve through the mirrorless hybrid camera era this bag design would have been a force to contend with in stills and video production. I collected the complete set and have them in storage.
A subset of bags from Think Tank Photo’s innovative, pioneering Multimedia Wired Up Collection, now sadly long discontinued. If it had continued to evolve through the mirrorless hybrid camera era this bag design would have been a force to contend with in stills and video production. I collected the complete set and have them in storage.

The Multimedia Wired Up Collection was a brilliant response to the needs of the pioneers of DSLR-based multimedia stills and video production but it predated the mirrorless revolution that cemented the hybrid stills/video camera concept. It was a radically new concept released before its time.

Had Think Tank Photo continued developing the collection well into the mirrorless era then it would have had an enduring winner. When the writing was on the wall and Multimedia Wired Up Collection bags began vanishing from foreign online retailers, I set out to collect them all and continue to use some of them to this day.

The Multimedia collection’s centrepieces were the two Wired Up belt packs. Each has a waist belt and each bag’s internal carrying capacity can be enhanced by attaching further bags from the collection or other packs in Think Tank Photo’s Belt Systems.

I like to assume that the two Wired Up bags might have evolved by gaining more dimensional stability, trading too much softness and collapsibility for a much sturdier frame.

As ProVideo Coalition’s review of the Multimedia Wired Up 20 indicates, both belt bags need to be supplemented with one or both of the crossover shoulder straps that come with them. Neither works as a pure belt bag and adding one or two shoulder straps makes my spine and shoulder problems worse.

Cosyspeed Camslinger Steetomatic+

So on to Cosypeed’s Camslinger Streetomatic+. Is it the waist bag I had hoped my two Multimedia Wired Up belt bags might have been, apart from the wired-up cable integration aspect of Think Tank Photo’s underlying concept?

It is hard to tell from the online evidence alone: only a good hands-on tryout can put that possibility to the test. From the photographs above, the Camslinger Streetomatic+ can carry mirrorless and DSLR cameras minus battery grips, with a zoom lens attached or two smaller prime lenses, and I am hoping that a small external microphone like Røde’s VideoMicro with windshield or even its amazing Stereo VideoMic X may fit instead of the second prime lens illustrated above.

Multimedia Wired Up Bags and StuffIt! to supplement the Streetomatic+?

I am also hoping that the Streetomatic+ permits attaching other belt bags from the Multimedia Wired Up collection or contemporary belt bags like Think Tank Photo’s Stuff It! (I have two, as they are so handy for personal items) or either or both of Cosyspeed’s own supplemental belt bags, the LensBag 80 and StuffBag 30.

Despite the uniqueness and utility of its bags, Cosyspeed has yet to find a distributor in Australia so I have not had the chance to examine any of its products and thus my questions remain unanswered for now.

The ultimate bag for the mirrorless hero. … Thomas Leuthard

One thing is for certain, the arrival of advanced stills/video cameras like the Panasonic Lumix GH5, the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, the Fujifilm X-Pro, X-T2 and X-T20, the Sony Alpha 9, the rest of the Alpha series and other mirrorless hybrids, has shifted the photography and moviemaking landscapes for those of us needing to work alone and light on our feet.

I look forward to camera bag makers keeping pace with camera makers and am hoping that the Cosyspeed Camslinger Streetomatic+ may prove to be a suitable centrepiece for a lightweight carrying solution that other bags and belt systems I have owned or tried out have not.

 Links:

JVCKENWOOD Updates the Incredible JVC GY-LS300 4K Camcorder Firmware to Version 4.0, Adds 4K 4:2:2 Recording and 4K60p Output

One of the most underestimated, sadly rarely heard of, Super 35 4K camcorders out there is the JVC GY-LS300 by JVCKENWOOD USA Corporation’s JVC Professional Video division. I have never had the pleasure of trying out the GY-LS300 or even seeing one from a distance, so must rely on the professional insights of documentary cinematographer Rick Young who has expressed nothing but praise for the camera. 

The JVC GY-LS300 has intrigued me from the moment I first read about it, at a time when I was wondering whether I should stick with hybrid stills/video cameras or look into the emerging world of 4K camcorders.

With an independent self-funded photographer and moviemaker budget, and the need to adequately cater for both creative fields, I opted for hybrid cameras but sometimes wonder if I have made the right decision on the video side of things.

Should I have bitten the bullet on the JVC GY-LS300 4K camcorder and made do with a smaller selection of cameras and lenses for stills photography? Given the ongoing problems we have in this country with our lousy online upload speeds, some of the worst in the world, I made the best choice available at the time and opted to start off Untitled: Stories of Creativity, Innovation, Success by focussing more on documentary photography than short documentary movies.

If things had been different for Australian Internet access I would gladly have chosen to focus more on video than stills and I most likely would have selected the JVC GY-LS300 as my prime video camera with M43 hybrids as my B and C cameras. If full-length documentary features enter the picture sometime soon, then I may well do exactly that.

Before JVC announced its version 4.0 firmware update, the JVC GY-LS300 possessed a specifications list to impress:

  • 4K Ultra High Definition video.
  • Super 35 4K CMOS sensor.
  • Micro Four Thirds lens mount.
  • Variable Scan Mapping for native angle of view with a wide range of lenses including M43, Super 16 and Super 35.
  • Lens mount adapters for EF and PL lenses.
  • Built-in 3-position ND filters – 1/4, 1/16 and 1/64.
  • HD-SDI (3G) and HDMI outputs with 4K only via HDMI, feeding and triggering external recorders.
  • DCI Cinema 4K 24p and DCI Cinema 2K 24p recording.
  • Full HD 4:2:2 recording at 50Mbps.
  • JVC-Log aka J-Log for 800% dynamic range.
  • 120fps HD slow motion recording.
  • 2-channel XLR phantom-powered audio inputs and included shotgun microphone.
  • Hot-swappable dual SDVH/SDXC card slots for dual, backup or continuous recording.
  • Handle unit for XLR input and microphone.
  • And more.

The one widely-reported downside to the JVC GY-LS300? Its viewfinder. Given current electronic viewfinder technology, JVC could easily add a far better EVF to the JVC GY-LS300 and really knock one out of the park.

Meanwhile Paul Leeming of Leeming LUT One and Visceral Psyche Films says this about footage from the JVC GY-LS300:

I was impressed with the footage I was given when I built my LUT for it. J-Log is log done right, because it uses the full 8-bit space to assign values, meaning very little banding compared to truncated log profiles such as 8-bit V-Log for Panasonic and S-Log3 on the Sony cameras in particular.

Links:

Image Credits:

Quick and dirty image graphic concept by Carmel D. Morris.