ALPA of Switzerland Announces ALPA XO Exoskeleton aka Cage for Fujifilm GFX 100 100-Megapixel Hybrid Medium Format Camera

Medium format digital camera and lens maker ALPA of Switzerland has been showing off prototypes of its ALPA XO Exoskeleton for the Fujifilm GFX 100 DSLR-style medium format digital hybrid camera and the exoskeleton aka camera cage has an uncanny resemblance to the range of cages and accessories designed and made by expatriate Italian-Australian cinematographer/director Dante Cecchin for his LockCircle brand in northern Italy.

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ALPA of Switzerland XO Exoskeleton for Fujifilm GFX 100 medium format digital camera with ALPA Switar 80mm cinema prime lens.

ALPA has long had a reputation for producing high-priced, well-designed and beautifully-manufactured cameras and lenses and has been expanding into the cinema space with its PLATON range and now the coming new XO range for the GFX 100.

Given the reputed high quality and precision of Mr Cecchin’s cinema camera accessories and his location just below the Swiss/Italian border, a collaboration between the two companies seems like a wise decision.

ALPA XO Exoskeleton aka Cage for Fujifilm GFX 100

LockCircle Cages for Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K and Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 and GH5S

Links

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  • Fujifilm GF lensesB&H
  • FUJIFILM GFX 100 Medium Format Mirrorless Camera (Body Only)B&H
  • LockCircle camera cages B&H

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.

Links

Image Credits

Header image concept and hack by Carmel D. Morris.

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blackmagic_pocket_cinema_camera_4k_bmpcc4k_14_1024px_60pc
Blackmagic Design’s Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K aka BMPCC 4K.

Clicking on these affiliate links and purchasing through them helps us continue our work for ‘Untitled’.

  • LockCircleB&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).
  • Chiaro Premium UV Protection FiltersB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye PRO LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f/4 IS PRO LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f/1.2 PRO LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm f/1.2 PRO LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.2 PRO LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 300mm f/4 IS PRO LensB&H

LockCircle Robot GH5, the Key to All-Round Top End Feature Film Camera Cages and Rigging for the Panasonic Lumix GH5?

Italian movie production hardware maker LockCircle produces the Robot Skin GH5 cinematic system, perhaps the ultimate answer to high-end, ultra-light, handheld hybrid movie camera caging and rigging aimed at users working in feature film and television series productions. 

Substantially composed of deep anodized CNC-machined billet aircraft grade aluminium with selected grade 5 titanium parts, integrated into the IMS Professional and Positive-Lock lens mounting systems for PL-Mount, Panavision, Leica-R, Canon EF and Nikon optics, with provision for Camera Assistant focal plane measuring, available in Noir Black, Blumix or Purple Rain for design-conscious Camera Operators and Directors of Photography, and a myriad of accessory options.

Designed by cinematographers for cinematographers, LockCircle’s Robot Skin GH5 has clearly been created to impress and to perform in the most demanding conditions.

Its attention to detail is astounding, the design effort apparently aided and abetted by Sydney-based Director of Photography/Producer Clinton Harn ACS, and clearly aimed at those whose needs and budgets ensure that only the best will do.

I came across LockCircle’s Robot Skin GH5 while comparing and contrasting GH5 camera cages I have seen and tried in real life with the many available online, and no others came close to it in terms of design, functionality and manufacturing quality.

LockCircle’s International Resellers page, alas, does not list any Australian importers or retailers but the Robot Skin GH5 may eventually appear at B&H Photo in which case I will add links to the affiliate links list at the base of this page.

For those of us for whom LockCircle’s cage might be financial and mission overkill, it may be wise to compare these three Robot Skin GH5 bundles to other manufacturers’ versions.

So far the other GH5 cages that have impressed are those made by Movcam, Seercam and SmallRig, with 8Sinn’s GH5 cage showing promise that may be fulfilled if the Polish company issues a revision that allows access to the GH5’s remote port.

Links

Image Credits

Image concept and hack by Carmel D. Morris.

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Note: 8Sinn and SmallRig products are not retailed at B&H Photo Video with which we have an affiliate relationship, but we use and recommend the following camera cages for the Panasonic Lumix GH5. LockCircle products are retailed by B&H but the Robot Skin GH5 has yet to appear there. When it does, we will add those links below.

  • Movcam Cage for Panasonic GH5B&H
  • Movcam Cage Kit for Panasonic GH5B&H
  • Seercam GH5 CageB&H
  • Seercam Cage for GH5 with Classic HandleB&H
  • Seercam Extension Kit for CUBE GH5 CageB&H

Seercam’s Brilliant New Cage for the Panasonic Lumix GH5 Available Soon, Extension Kit to Follow

My favourite cage for my Panasonic Lumix GH4 camera was made by Motion9, now trading internationally under the Seercam brand name. The only GH4 cage I had ever seen in real life was Motion9’s CubeMix GH4/3 and if the company’s other GH4 cage, the CubeMix GH4/3 Pro had been available at the time, then I would most definitely have bought that model instead, for its NATO sliding handle and one-touch cable clamp.

Now, Seercam has revealed its cage for the Panasonic Lumix GH5 and it looks like it will be the cage I buy for my GH5, when one finally finds its way into the country and into my hands.

Seercam’s newly-revealed Cube GH5 cage and NATO handle. Extension kit to accommodate the GH5’s DMW XLR1 audio adapter is coming soon.

I took a well-researched gamble on Motion9’s CubeMix GH4/3 and it paid off handsomely. I will be keeping my GH4 as second camera to my GH5 when it eventually arrives and it will be wearing its cage even more then than it does now.

My GH4 will continue to be equipped with its Cube Cage Round Handle, in my experience the most secure design of the two Motion9 top handles, though it does not have the convenience of fast-on, fast-on via NATO rail or the ability to balance the camera’s weight via sliding to and fro.

I would love an updated round handle in the style of the one on Canon’s Cinema EOS cameras, but Seercam’s NATO rail-mounted CubeCage Classic Plus Handle looks tempting as does its quick-release Rod Riser 1565.

I would consider replacing Seercam’s NATO rail with SmallRig’s Quick Release Safety Rail 7cm 1195 though, for its spring-loaded pins to prevent accidental removal. It is the little things that count.

Pity both items are out of stock. Quick-release mechanisms, so long as they mount tightly and securely, are key to working fast and efficiently as an independent, self-funded documentary moviemaker who cannot afford crews and wasting time screwing and unscrewing camera rigging when needing to move fast.

8Sinn’s GH5 cage and handles, especially its Scorpio top handle that can double as a side handle, was the first custom cage for the GH5 to appear online and it has several attractions including its elegance, small size and camera-right hand grip-hugging design.

I have another camera cage now, SmallRig’s 1844 cage for the Panasonic GX8, and through it have come to appreciate the small size and light weight of minimalist camera cages, but for regular through heavy-duty moviemaking when I need to attach a range of accessories to the rig, Motion9/Seercam’s beautifully conceived, brilliantly designed and expertly manufactured cages are my go-to standard.

You can see why in the photographs below. For your product comparison convenience, links to other current GH5 cages are listed at the base of this article.

Seercam’s Cube GH5 body and handle

Coming soon: extension kit for placing handle over DMW XLR1 audio adapter

Of all the GH5 cages listed below, those by 8Sinn and Seercam remain at the top of my wishlist.

If I were shooting features as part of a small crew alongside a camera assistant and audio recordist then I would choose 8Sinn’s cage along with Veydra or Duclos’ Voigtlaender ciné-modded native M43 prime lenses and follow focus device.

While Veydra cinema primes deliver a more standardized look that gets out of the way of the story, Voigtlaender’s faster optics produce quirkier looks that can enhance certain types of stories.

If shooting documentaries as a doing-it-all-myself one-person crew then hands-down I would chose Seercam’s GH5 cage along with Olympus M.Zuiko Pro zoom and prime lenses though I may add one or two Panasonic lenses for the benefits of extra stabilization and DFD – Depth from Defocus.

I really like M.Zuiko Pro lenses’ repeatable hard-stop manual clutch focus mechanism, build quality, durability and colour consistency across the range, and can sacrifice some stabilization for the sake of all that. They are terrific for video as well as stills photography.

There was some consternation about the Olympus M.Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8’s inability to accept screw-on filters when it first appeared, as there was about Panasonic’s Lumix 7.14mm f/4.0 lens, but some third-party filter adapter solutions for square or rectangular filters have appeared:

Links:

LockCircle Announces Innovative First Cage for Fujifilm X-T2, Excludes Vertical Power Booster Grip

The very first cage for the Fujifilm X-T2 is about to appear. Italian camera cages and accessories maker LockCircle first came to notice via its self-named camera body cap for the Canon EOS camera range, born from director of photography Dante Cecchin’s “idea to design the most over-engineered and priced body cap, the LockCircle“. A range of other unique products soon followed including BirdCage, LockPort, MatBox, PrimeCircle ciné lenses, MicroMega, MetalJacket for Leica SL and now, the Cage Kinetics XT2 Professional. 

LockCircle’s Cage Kinetics XT2 Kit, minus optional accessories like top handle, hot shoes, MicroMega nameplate and rod riser, MicroPort and more.

I have yet to see any of LockCircle’s products – the company has yet to find a distributor in Australia though B&H Photo Video is listed as a LockCircle reseller – so please regard this article as a notification and not as a recommendation.

LockCircle is taking pre-orders for the Cage Kinetics XT2 Professional and its accessories options with availability slated for end of April, with shipping worldwide. A special promotional discount applies to the first 10 pre-orders, of US$199.00 plus shipping or €189,00 plus VAT and shipping.

LockCircle Cage Kinetics XT2 Professional, with LockPort, MicroPort and MicroMega Accessories

Purchasers may wish to add accessories to the basic Cage Kinetics XT2 Kit, and a list is available in the Cage Kinetics XT2 Professional downloadable PDF. Most notable is item LPFLEX-KIT-XT2, the Flex Port Micro HDMI to Full Size HDMI Adapter as well as XT2-MP, the MicroPort XT2.

LockCircle LockPort XT2

The Fujifilm X-T2, in common with most current hybrid cameras on the market other than the coming Panasonic Lumix GH5, is equipped with a somewhat vulnerable micro HDMI port for external monitoring and recording. Repairing damaged HDMI mini and micro ports is costly and time-consuming so any solution that takes the strain off them can only be a good thing.

LockCircle’s solution looks well-conceived and manufactured, reducing strain on the HDMI cable while adding a full HDMI to mini HDMI adapter, enabling cabling camera to monitor/recorder with full-size HDMI cables.

LockCircle’s LockPort XT2 for adapting and securing the X-T2’s micro HDMI port and MultiPort XT2 for adapting and securing the camera’s micro USB 3.0 port are available for direct connection to the X-T2 without needing a cage, as a dual kit or as separate items.

Observations

LockCircle’s Cage Kinetics XT2 Professional appears to be the very first cage for the Fujifilm X-T2 to leave the drawing board and become available for pre-orders. Other cage makers are still in the design phase or have not made it known whether they will be making cages for the X-T2 at all.

I encourage all cage makers to take the Fujifilm X-T2 Super 35 camera seriously now that Fujifilm has created two new cinema zoom lenses for E-Mount now, X-Mount later, the Fujinon MK 18-55mm T2.9 and MK 50-135mm T2.9.

In recent interviews Fujifilm staff members have restated their commitment to improving video functions in their flagship Super 35/APS-C and other cameras and over time they will doubtless be delivering on that promise. I hope they have taken Paul Leeming’s recommendations for improving the X-T2 for filmmaking seriously and will be implementing them soon.

Although the Panasonic Lumix GH5 is the Super 16/Micro Four Thirds 4K camera of the moment, especially given its Dual IS and 5-axis IBIS stabilization that will be of enormous benefit to independent moviemakers wanting to break free of gimbals, monopods and tripods, Fujifilm’s X-T2 has the potential to become a go-to tripod-mounted Super 35 movie production camera given the renowned quality of Fujinon lenses and the beauty of Fujifilm’s X-Trans sensors’ colour rendering.

Lock Circle has designed an intriguing cage in the Cage Kinetics XT2 Professional, but it has one glaring omission in its lack of provision for the X-T2’s Vertical Power Booster Grip.

Without the grip attached, the X-T2 is limited to 10-minute clips instead of the 30-minute recordings possible with the grip beneath the camera. Monitoring audio also requires the battery grip as the headphone jack is located there and not on the camera itself.

Shooting 4K eats power and having two extra batteries attached to the camera is a real advantage. Another current limitation of the X-T2 is that it requires an external monitor/recorder for shooting in F-Log, Fujifilm’s flat logarithmic camera profile.

Once Fujifilm solves those problems I am sure more moviemakers will take the X-T2 and its successors seriously as viable Super 35 production cameras. The loss of Samsung’s excellent NX1 and NX500 4K Super 35/APS-C hybrid cameras and indeed their whole camera design and manufacturing division has created a big hole in the market that Fujifilm can fill if they wish.

Meanwhile LockCircle’s Cage Kinetics XT2 Professional signals that they have already been taking the X-T2 seriously, though I hope that LockCircle and other cage makers too will be coming up with cage designs integrating the Vertical Power Booster Grip into the mix.

Links:

Tech Notes:

Header image composite made with Affinity Photo then exported as a TIFF to Alien Skin Exposure X2 where I applied the Damaged Daguerrotype preset along with Cyanotype split-toning, in homage to the BBC’s Britain in Focus: A Photographic History documentary series.