Indy Mogul: ULTIMATE BUYER’S GUIDE to ND Filters

“… 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. …”

Breakthrough Photography’s brass traction-framed ND and other filters are a boon for those of us with damaged hands and fingers and are safer to handle in the field than smooth or slightly knurled aluminium frames.

Commentary

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Paul Leeming’s stripped-down Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K aka BMPCC 4K rig with 8Sinn cage, Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 zoom lens, Metabones Speed Booster, Kenko aluminium step-up ring, Xume magnetic filter attachment system and Formatt Hitech Firecrest Ultra fixed neutral density filter.

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

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’.

  • Aurora-Aperture filtersB&H
  • Breakthrough Photography filtersB&H
  • Formatt Hitech Firecrest Ultra filtersB&H
  • Genustech filtersB&H
  • Heliopan step-up ringsB&H
  • Sensei Pro step-up ringsB&H
  • Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art Lens for Canon EFB&H

Cinematographer/Director Paul Leeming Shoots Fujifilm X-T3 and X-Pro2 Footage for Custom Leeming LUT Pro in Our Home Studio

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Australian cinematographer/director Paul Leeming with his Blackmagic Design Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K, 8Sinn cage and Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 Art zoom lens attached with Metabones Speed Booster EF-to-MFT adapter.

Australian cinematographer cum director cum LUTmaker Paul Leeming took advantage of a break away from the Australian bushfires, torrential rains and floods to drop by our Sydney home studio and shoot some footage on our Fujifilm X-Pro2 and a loaner Fujifilm X-T3, courtesy of Fujifilm Australia.

Mr Leeming was on his annual Australian jaunt after completing photography for a feature film set in Osaka, to eventually return to his domicile in the Netherlands where he will get back to working on Leeming LUT Pro custom look-up tables for the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K, Fujifilm X-T3, Fujifilm X-Pro2 and Panasonic cameras including the GH5 and GH5S, amongst others.

He shot the feature on two fundamentally different cameras, Panasonic’s Lumix DC-GH5S and the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K, and Leeming LUT Pro will play a crucial role in ensuring easy editing and colour grading of HLG and raw video footage.

According to Mr Leeming:

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.

Multi-camera shoots are now much easier, because you are starting with a common, colour-matched baseline, meaning much less time trying to match cameras in post before starting your creative grading.

Once all your cameras have been corrected, you can optionally use the specially matched Leeming LUT Pro Quickies™ for a one-touch creative grade designed to work seamlessly with the common baseline of Leeming LUT Pro™ corrected footage.

Save hours of frustration and give your footage the best possible quality right out the gate. It’s as easy as Shoot – Apply Leeming LUT Pro™ – Done!

Leeming LUT Pro custom LUTs coming for Fujifilm X-Pro2 and X-T3

Mr Leeming shot colour chart footage using the ProNeg Standard film simulation on the Fujifilm X-Pro2 camera, and in the Eterna, F-log and HLG picture profiles on the X-T3.

His preferred profile when shooting with Panasonic cameras is HLG and it is likely that Fujifilm’s HLG will prove to have the same benefits when shooting for high dynamic range aka HDR and standard dynamic range aka SDR output.

I recently shot some HLG footage on the X-T3 in available darkness and the results were impressive to say the least.

Always carry a grey card for white balancing video

Mr Leeming showed me this Struan Grey paint sample card made by Taubmans and told me it is the most accurate grey card for white balancing that he has found available for free.

I have been guilty of forgetting to carry a grey card when out with my camera each day due to the ones I have being a little too large for my daily carry camera bag, so it is good to know there are smaller and cheaper – free! – alternatives available at your local hardware store so long as it stocks Taubmans paint.

Paul Leeming Shooting Footage for Leeming LUT Pro for Fujifilm X-T3 and X-Pro2

Mr Leeming travelled light, carrying a stripped-down Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K rig in this Think Tank Photo backpack.
This stripped-down rig for the BMPCC 4K includes the 8Sinn full cage and once of Mr Leeming’s favourite lenses, the legendary Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM  Art lens for Canon EF-mount. He has preferred 8Sinn cages and accessories since buying one for his Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5. He also relies on Xume filter adapters and Formatt Hitech Firecrest Ultra fixed neutral density filters.
Shooting color checker footage at our home studio. The camera is mounted on a 3 Legged Thing tripod.
Mr Leeming relies on DSC Labs ChromaDuMonde CamAlign Chip charts for their high colour accuracy.
Photographing the Fujifilm X-T3’s monitor for use in writing the manual on the best settings for the camera and how to use Leeming LUT Pro.

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’.

  • 3 Legged Thing tripods and accessoriesB&H
  • 8Sinn cages and accessoriesB&H
  • Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4KB&H
  • DSC Labs chartsB&H
  • Formatt Hitech Firecrest Ultra filtersB&H
  • FUJIFILM X-Pro2 Mirrorless Digital CameraB&H
  • FUJIFILM X-T3 Mirrorless Digital CameraB&H
  • Fujifilm XF lensesB&H
  • Metabones EF to Micro Four Thirds AdaptersB&H
  • Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art Lens for Canon EFB&H
  • Think Tank Photo camera bagsB&H
  • Xume filter adaptersB&H

Paul Leeming’s Leeming LUT One 801 for Panasonic Cameras including Lumix GH5 and GH5S is Available, More Versions to Come

We have been following Australian director/cinematographer Paul Leeming’s progress in creating, refining and updating his Leeming LUT One unified, corrective Look Up Table aka LUT system for popular mirrorless and DSLR hybrid cameras and camcorders ever since we launched the ‘Untitled’ project. 

Leeming LUT One began as an effort to transform the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4’s ‘Cine-D’ aka Cinelike D video picture profile into the most accurate, most realistic rendering possible and has expanded to encompass a range of cameras including those made by Canon, DJI, GoPro, JVC, Sony and more, with support for the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K and Fujifilm X-T3 and others coming in the near future. 

Mr Leeming continues to refine Leeming LUT One with version 801 for Panasonic being the most accurate yet, setting a new industry benchmark for realistic colour rendering for video footage shot with the Cinelike D, V-LogL and HLG profiles for editing in Rec. 709 movie projects. 

Recently I put Leeming LUT One 801 to the test with Cinelike D footage from my Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 camera, the one that goes with me almost everywhere everyday, and the results were, as usual, impressive.

Better yet, correcting footage with Leeming LUT One then adding film simulation or creative looks LUTs produces rich grading with a lush and easy-to-grade tonal range.

Many independent moviemakers shoot video for the same project on several cameras including within multi-camera interview set-ups, and Leeming LUT One is invaluable in reducing time in the colour grading suite matching footage from all those different cameras, especially when exposed according to the principles of ETTR aka expose-to-the-right.

In all the following examples, I graded quickly and minimally to simulate the look and feel of the subject at the moment I shot it, to be as realistic as video permits.

Skin tones in mixed available light with Leeming LUT One 801 and LookLabs’ Digital Film Stock Fujifilm Eterna 500T

Reds, greens and blue in strong sunlight with Leeming LUT One 801 and Leeming LUT Quickies v8 Basic Balanced v8 Lighter

Greys and greens in weak sunlight on cold, windy day with Leeming LUT One 801 and LookLabs Digital Film Stock Kodak 5218

Links

  • Leeming LUT Pro – “Leeming LUT Pro™ is the world’s first unified, corrective Look Up Table ( LUT ) system for supported cameras, designed to maximise dynamic range, fix skin tones, remove unwanted colour casts and provide an accurate Rec709 starting point for further creative colour grading.”
  • LookLabsDigital Film Stock aka DFS – “DFS instantly gives you the natural look of film and the most flexible set of LUTs on the market. The DFS bundle includes 19 LUTs that perfectly emulate the most popular Kodak and Fuji film stocks. DFS comes in both REC.709 and LOG video formats and all SpeedLooks camera patches work with today’s most popular digital cinema and mirrorless cameras. DFS even makes your Android videos look like film!”

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’.

  • Olympus M43 lensesB&H
  • Panasonic Battery Grip for Lumix GH3 and GH4 Digital CamerasB&H
  • Panasonic DMW-BGGH5 Battery GripB&H
  • Panasonic M43 lensesB&H
  • Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital CameraB&H
  • Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5S Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital CameraB&H
  • Panasonic Lumix DC-GX9 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera with 12-60mm LensB&H
  • Panasonic V-Log L Function Activation Code for DMC-GH4, DC-GH5, and DMC-FZ2500B&H

Leeming LUT Pro Coming Soon to Level the Hybrid Camera Video Playing Field with Radically Improved Colour Accuracy for Easy Colour Matching

While we have been stunned and amazed by Australian company Blackmagic Design’s coming revolutionary Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4k aka BMPCC 4K aka P4K, a a quiet revolution in hybrid camera video post-production has been brewing. 

Australian cinematographer/director of photography/director/writer Paul Leeming of Visceral Psyche Films has been radically overhauling his Leeming LUT suite of camera profile colour matching 3D LUTs whilst grading Kodokushi, the very first full-length feature film to be shot on the affordable, award-winning Panasonic Lumix GH5S high-end compact video camera. 

paul_leeming_panasonic_lumix_gh5s_zoom_h4n_rig_01_1024px_60pc
The Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5S plus 8Sinn GH5/GH5S cage-based rig used by Paul Leeming to shoot ‘Kodokushi’, the first full-length feature film to be shot with the GH5S.
During his first visit to ‘Untitled’ Paul Leeming tested several cameras for possible Leeming LUT One custom 3D LUTs.

As we learned earlier this year when Mr Leeming dropped by our home studio after wrapping production on the Kodokushi shoot in Osaka, the Leeming LUT camera profile testing and production process has evolved courtesy of now basing it on 3D LUT Creator combined with a new footage creation methodology.

We tested an early beta of Leeming LUT Pro, successor to Leeming LUT One, against earlier versions of Leeming LUT One and were suitably impressed.

Leeming LUT Pro has delivered on its predecessors’ promise of enabling easier, faster and more accurate correction of video footage from a range of hybrid cameras and camcorders affordable for self-funded, low-budget, independent documentary and narrative moviemakers.

Leeming LUT Pro makes that possible regardless of whether video acquisition is via Rec. 709, Rec. 2020, log, flat or regular picture profile footage, and with whichever brand camera so long as Mr Leeming has tested its footage for creation of his custom camera profile 3D LUTs.

Still frame from ‘Kodokushi’, the very first feature film to be shot with the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5S video camera by Director of Photography Paul Leeming.
Still frame from ‘Kodokushi’, the very first feature film to be shot with the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5S video camera by Director of Photography Paul Leeming.
Still frame from ‘Kodokushi’, the very first feature film to be shot with the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5S video camera by Director of Photography Paul Leeming.
Australian director/cinematographer Paul Leeming with his Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 rig during his first visit to the ‘Untitled’ home studio..

Contemporary moviemakers often use a range of cameras on any given production, presenting a costly, time-consuming colour-matching headache during the postproduction process.

With Leeming LUT Pro, a timeline of footage from several different cameras can be colour-matched by dropping the relevant Leeming LUT Pro camera profile custom LUT onto each clip, evening their colour up for faster subsequent colour correction then colour grading for looks and emotion.

Consequently, footage from, say, a Canon EOS DSLR or Cinema EOS camcorder, a Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8, GH5, GH5S, any of the Sony hybrid cameras, a JVC GY-LS300, GoPro or DJI X5 Series on the same timeline will no longer be screaming out their colour science differences and will play nice together.

Application of the ETTR – exposing to the right – principle as taught by Mr Leeming on his Leeming LUT Pro website aids in exposure-matching and enhances Leeming LUT Pro’s colour-matching benefits even more.

Colour-matching footage shot on a range of cameras over time is the bane of longterm documentary moviemaking and Leeming LUT Pro makes the process more accurate, easier and faster when using profiled cameras.

For example, my current documentary production gear kit includes the Fujifilm X-Pro2, Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4, and I may be adding a GH5 or GH5S along with a second Fujifilm camera to backup and extend my X-Pro2.

paul_leeming_panasonic_lumix_gh5_8sinn_cage_2250059_cameraraw_1024px_60pc
Paul Leeming’s Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 in 8Sinn cage with Scorpio handle.

That represents a range of picture profiles, film simulations, Rec. types and specific Rec. 709 profiles as well as HLG and V-Log without adding footage from very different cameras such as GoPro, DJI, Canon, Nikon, Blackmagic Design and more.

Blackmagic Design’s Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K aka BMPCC 4K aka P4K gives self-funded indie moviemakers like me an eminently affordable 4K UHD and 1080p HD cinema camera option as well and Mr Leeming will no doubt be creating a custom Leeming LUT Pro 3D LUT for it when he can obtain a production-ready version of the camera.

Blackmagic Design’s Grant Petty once shared his vision for the rest of us who need to be storytellers in moving pictures but don’t come from traditional storytelling class and ethnic backgrounds:

“My big thing is, if you don’t have any money, it doesn’t mean to say your brain is turned off, or you’re stupid or you don’t have ambition. From my point of view, you want to move up, you want to do great things. If you want to do that, you should be able to buy products that let you do that. That’s how you get rid of class structure. I’m trying to remove it, and just let people be creative.”

With the coming release of Leeming LUT Pro, Paul Leeming is also assisting independent moviemakers in dismantling the moviemaking class system and more power to his arm, as the saying goes.

Links

Help support ‘Untitled’

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

  • Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4KB&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

Paul Leeming of Leeming LUT One Presenting at Getting to Grips with Lenses Event in High Wycombe, Bucks on Saturday 21st April 2018

https://mailchi.mp/9dfd2da97b22/gtc-workshop-getting-to-grips-with-lenses?e=a9ac9ddccc

“This interactive workshop will explore the world of video & motion picture lenses, from the perspective of camera operators, cinematographers and filmmakers. We will look at the current state of the industry, with opportunities to get hands-on with the most popular current zoom and prime lenses. We will also discuss anamorphic lenses, lens adaptors, budget cine zooms, and how continual increases in sensor resolution are affecting the lens market….

… Paul Leeming: DoP In conjunction with Formatt-Hitech, Paul will show how modern filters can work best with the new breeds of zoom and prime lenses….”

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Australian director/cinematographer Paul Leeming of Leeming LUT One fame with his Panasonic Lumix GH4 rigged for shooting feature films.

Links

Panasonic Rumoured to Announce Lumix GH5S 4K Low-Light Video Super Camera on December 15, 2017 US Time – UPDATED

The rumour sites have been running hot with the possibility of a low-light version of the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5, giving rise to thoughts on what benefits such a camera might offer to documentary moviemakers and photographers working mostly in available light, or often, available darkness. 

The Panasonic Lumix GH5s is rumoured to have the same camera body size and shape as the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5, great news for cinematographers and camera accessories makers.

A Micro Four Thirds answer to the Sony Alpha a7S low-light video camera series would be very useful for the sorts of immersive, fly-on-the-wall photo essays and short documentary movies on the cards for the ‘Untitled’ project’s Stories department.

Although I appreciated the Sony a7S series’ larger 35mm format sensor when I reviewed the Sony a7S, I much prefer Panasonic’s hardware design and engineering, its menu system and colour science, and Olympus’ manual clutch focussing M.Zuiko Pro f/2.8 zoom and f/1.2 prime lenses.

Most of all, I prefer the affordability and portability of Micro Four Thirds cameras and lenses, even if, as some users complain, some M43 flagship cameras can be a little on the large side.

Sample stills from another low-light, low-resolution high-ISO camera, the Sony Alpha a7S

Images minimally edited with DxO PhotoLab.

Otherwise, though, I obtained some impressive available light results from the Sony a7S’ 12 megapixel, 35mm format sensor, especially when shooting stills in the gritty mixed-source lighting and grotty interiors of Sydney’s ageing inner-city underground railway stations.

Video on the a7S proved more challenging as its S-Log2 logarithmic profile was poorly understood at the time and little well-qualified advice was available on how to get the best out of it via camera settings and postproduction.

Further, the a7S’ S-Log2 base ISO is 1600, demanding the use of strong neutral density filters in a good set of fixed density NDs or a strong variable ND, which I did not have at the time.

The need for speed induces a need for density

Only now are strong, top-quality variable NDs like those from Aurora-Aperture and SLR Magic becoming available to satisfy the needs of documentary moviemakers for whom constant swapping from within big sets of fixed NDs is not an option.

Nowadays, if using the Sony a7S II or the coming a7S III, I would default to using Paul Leeming’s Leeming LUT One for Sony camera settings and camera profile LUT.

If the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5S proves real and follows Sony’s example in having a high base ISO, then you may wish to consider some of the more recent ND filter solutions that I have written about:

Consider a possible high base ISO GH5S in combination with the Olympus M.Zuiko Pro f/1.2 17mm, 25mm and 45mm prime lenses used wide open or close to it in bright light as well as darkness and the need for a good set of matched variable and fixed ND filters becomes even more urgent.

Low-light stills and low-res sensors

Getting back to stills photography, for some years glossy magazines have commissioned cover portrait photographs to be shot with high ISO RED cameras for the sake of behind-the-scenes videos, raw digital stills and top-quality raw video.

At the start of the digital era, before the camera makers’s megapixels contest began, we were often reminded that 6 megapixels was enough for magazine covers and double page spreads.

The 10.71 megapixels sensor being suggested as Panasonic’s choice for the for the Lumix GH5S should be more than enough for most digital and four-colour press publication, while the Lumix G9 may well be suited for big exhibition prints given its 80 megapixels high resolution mode.

Things are looking good for affordable, portable, high-quality digital documentary moviemaking and stills photography thanks to creative innovations like these.

A GH5S video features wishlist

I asked cinematographer/director Paul Leeming of Leeming LUT One for a the features he would like to see in a possible GH5S:

If they make a low light DCI 4K sensor variant I’d be very happy just with that alone. The main thing I’d like to see is more dynamic range than the GH5, and more frame-rate in 10bit 4K 48p internal would be lovely if they can’t do 60p. With UHS-II cards the write limitations are pretty much gone so then it comes down to the internal processor and what it has as a limit.

If Panasonic hits any or all of the following things I’d upgrade:

  • DCI 4K at 10 bit 4:2:2 48p internal or greater,
  • 2 stops better noise performance,
  • 2 stops better dynamic range (kind of linked to the noise performance) though to be honest even 1 stop better DR would be great.

Updates

Since writing this article, the usually very reliable Micro Four Thirds rumours website 4/3 Rumors has reported that Panasonic’s Lumix GH5S public announcement event scheduled for the 15th December has now been made into a two-day closed event only for selected members of the press under NDA, with the public announcement most likely to be at CES on the 8th January US time, 9th January Sydney time.

Images of the Panasonic Lumix GH5S, first published by 4/3 Rumors and Nokishita

I have added relevant 4/3 Rumors rumours to the Links below.

So far though, other than the GH5S’ base ISO which is sure to be higher than the GH5’s 200 and 400 ISO for video, the rumoured specifications for the GH5S include:

  • DCI C4K (60p, 150Mbps, 4:2:2 10 bit Long GOP)
  • Slow motion: 240fps (FHD)
  • Sensor: 12 Megapixel 4/3 LiveMOS sensor with up to 100.000 ISO
  • Effective pixels: 10,280,000 pixels
  • Total number of pixels: 11,930,000
  • Lowest frame rate: 12 fps
  • ISO: 160-51,200
  • Extended ISO: 80-102,400
  • Mechanical shutter: 1/8,000
  • Electronic shutter: 1/16,000
  • Flash sync: 1/250
  • Light metering system: 1728-zone multi-pattern sensing system
  • LCD screen: 3.2″, 1,620,000 dots, touchscreen
  • Viewfinder: OLED, 3,680,000 dots with diopter adjustment (-4 to +3)
  • Wi-Fi: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
  • Bluetooth: 4.2
  • Battery charger: Panasonic DMW-BTC13
  • Battery: Pansonic DMW-BLF19PP
  • Two memory card slots
  • 4K photos
  • HDMI Type A / USB 3.1
  • Dimensions: 138,5×98.1×87.4
  • Operating temperature: -10°C to 40°C (14°F to 104°F)
  • Dust-proof and splash-proof body

Links

Image Credits

Image concept, rip and hack by Carmel D. Morris.

Help support ‘Untitled’

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

  • Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital CameraB&H
  • Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera  – B&H
  • Sony Alpha a7S Mirrorless Digital Camera B&H
  • Sony Alpha a7S II Mirrorless Digital CameraB&H

Leeming LUT One for Panasonic GH5 and Other Panasonic Cameras Now at Version 501, Supports HLG, V-Log L and Cinelike D

NOTE: Since this article was written some time ago, Leeming LUT One has been updated and improved again with version 502 and is to be followed soon with version 601.

You may wish to read this more recent article here:

Australian cinematographer/director Paul Leeming has released version 501 of his groundbreaking Leeming LUT One camera profile 3D LUT for the Panasonic Lumix GH5 4K Super 16/Micro Four Thirds camera in three flavours based on which picture profile your footage is shot with – Cinelike D, HLG or V-Log L. 

Still frame of Paul Leeming, shot on Panasonic Lumix GH5 in HLG HDR mode then processed in Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve Studio 14.

Mr Leeming chose the GH5 as his benchmark camera and will be updating other Leeming LUT One camera profile 3D LUTs soon, enabling cinematographers using a range of cameras to start “with a common, colour-matched baseline, meaning much less time trying to match cameras in post before starting your creative grading”.

Users of previous versions of Leeming LUT One may notice a change in the behaviour of version 501 when applying it to old footage, resulting in a darker rendition:

The new philosophy is zero brightness shift in the LUT itself, so the only shift is to the colour values. At first this may seem like the LUT is not doing anything, but watch skin tones in particular when you apply it and you’ll see the difference. Of course the other colours are fixed too, but skin is where you’ll see it most easily as it’s a pretty obvious shift from yellow to skin tone.

Leeming LUT One for Panasonic Lumix GH5 and X-Rite Color Checkers

Leeming LUT Quickies, a set of free looks LUTs, will also be updated to work better with Leeming LUT One version 501 but in the meantime Mr Leeming advises using the current version at “40% intensity (or gain)”.

Given the colour science characteristics shared by current top end Panasonic Lumix cameras such as the GH5, GH4 and GX8, it appears possible to apply Leeming LUT One to all three cameras to obtain similar colour grading starting points.

I will be putting Leeming LUT One 501 for the GH5 to the test on GH4 and GX8 Cinelike D (aka Cine-D) footage over the coming days, but my early tests using a late beta of 501 showed marked improvements over previous full versions of Leeming LUT One.

Leeming LUT One for Panasonic Lumix GH5, HLG, Before and After

The GH5’s HLG (hybrid log-gamma) picture profile is intriguing given it is an HDR (high dynamic range) standard developed by the BBC and NHK for future program creation and broadcast in 4K and higher resolutions.

While HLG HDR 4K 10-bit 4:2:2 production and post-production are not fully supported by current hardware and software, the wisdom of future-proofing your work has been borne out many times in recent years starting with the move to 1080p and then 4K.

Mr Leeming and Leeming LUT One version 501 for GH5 users have reported anomalies in various non-linear editors and colour grading plug-ins when applying the LUT to HLG footage, and testing is currently under way to work out optimal software and workflows.

As with any radical advance in video production and postproduction, software needs to catch up with the capabilities of new hardware and this is no exception.

The advantages of HLG HDR may persuade movie and TV show makers to adopt it as their new default standard when it is fully supported.

Mr Leeming reports that:

My new favourite profile is Hybrid Log Gamma. It uses more of the 10 bit space than V-LogL, and has just as much dynamic range as far as I can see.

It also has slightly more accurate tonal density response (the relationship between colour and saturation/luma levels).

Best of all, it’s a free profile in camera, instead of a $100 activation code sent half way across the world….

Only down side is it’s not available in 8 bit, but for that, we can continue to use old faithful, Cine-D.

Roger Bolton of Final Cut Pro X plug-in maker CoreMelt has been sent Leeming LUT One to test it in his recent-released high-end colour grading and LUT application plug-in for FCPX, Chromatic, and I look forward to his report with interest.

Other such colour grading and LUT application software seems to be having problems with HLG footage.

Meanwhile Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve 14 Studio colour grading and non-linear editing software is reported to be handling the GH5’s 10-bit HLG HDR footage well and readers are encouraged to download the free version or invest in the paid version if they have not already done so.

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Image Credits

Header image concept and hack by Carmel D. Morris.

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iPetitions: Samsung, Keep NX Alive!

https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/samsung-keep-nx-alive

“Samsung Camera Division,

With exception of you closing your business in select markets, there’s been no new developments or statements concerning your Galaxy NX line of cameras, lenses and accessories. Nor have we seen any new firmware updates in several months.

Additionally, we didn’t see any related product updates since its release in 2014.

It’s now 2017 and the NX system is still alive and going strong. In some cases, the NX cameras still offer technology still missing from other manufacture[r]s to date. Think about how impressive this is? That’s how ahead of the curve you were.

The hottest camera today should not be the buzz about the lastest models from your old competitors. We shouldn’t be talking about the GH5, or even the CK200, we should be buzzing about the game changing NX2 PRO, with a new lineup of amazing glass.

You had this market setup to crush it, if not even give cameras costing in excess of $50k a run for its money. But you prematurely dropped the ball. What a huge mystery and giant disapointment to your customers….”

The revolutionary and still amazing Samsung NX1 Super 35/APS-C 4K hybrid mirrorless camera with Samsung 50-150mm f/2.8 S ED OIS premium zoom lens.

From Paul Leeming of Leeming LUT One:

Samsung could have radically changed the HDSLR market with the NX1 had they developed it further and made more cameras.

Like Canon, they didn’t realise what they had and were content to rest on their laurels.

Innovation and iteration are key in today’s prosumer market.

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Formatt Hitech Releases Firecrest Ultra, the Ultimate Colour-Neutral IR-Cutting Neutral Density Filters for Stills and Video?

British-based filter maker Formatt Hitech has released what may be the ultimate collection of circular, square and rectangular neutral density filters for cinematographers and photographers, Firecrest Ultra ND Filters.

The Firecrest Ultra collection is, according to Formatt Hitech, “the pinnacle of photographic filter technology” due to their perfect flatness, colour neutrality, clarity, sharpness and extreme effectiveness at cutting infra-red light pollution. 

The Firecrest Ultra Patrick Di Fruscia Signature Edition Pro Essentials Kit, one of several current kits aimed at photographers. Will Formatt-Hitech be adding kits for cinematographers?

Infra-red pollution of video colour rendering has proven to be a persistent problem in recent years, with long established, popular brands and professional filter product collections failing to cut IR passing through their filters and hitting sensors to the detriment of accurate colour rendering.

According to Formatt Hitech, “we have had photographers do exposures of over 10 minutes with no IR pollution at all” so one hopes that cinematographers trying out the new Firecrest Ultra filters will experience the same benefits.

Firecrest Ultra Kits for Photographers

Format Hitech has released the Firecrest Ultra collection in a range of sizes as aluminium-mounted circular, square and rectangular ND and graduated filters as well as six sets of kits specified by five well respected landscape and travel photographers.

These photographers include Colby Brown, Elia Locardi, Joel TjintelaarKen Kaminesky and Patrick Di Fruscia.

As landscape and travel photography are not my thing, I asked cinematographer/director Paul Leeming of Leeming LUT One fame for his advice on the best Firecrest Ultra kits for cinematography.

Our Firecrest Ultra Filter Kit Recommendations

  • Base kit for 400 ISO cameras like the Panasonic Lumix GH5 – 82mm diameter circular filters in ND 0.6, 1.2, 1.8, 2.4 (2, 4, 6 and 8 f-stops reductions).
  • Extended Kit for 1600 ISO cameras like the Sony A7S II – 82mm diameter circular filters in ND 0.6, 1.2, 1.5, 1.8, 2.1, 2.4, 2.7 (2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 f-stops reductions).
  • Complete Kit for Feature Film Cinematography – 4×5.65″ filters in every stop.

The Xume Filter Adapter System

Paul Leeming uses and recommends the Xume magnetic circular filter adapter system for easy, fast and safe on-location filter swapping. The Xume system was created by XumeAdapters.com, now defunct, then sold to Manfrotto.

Of all the brands of aluminium and brass step-up rings I have tried, those made by Breakthrough Photography have proven to be the best and are unique in their top quality machining and easy-handling traction frame.

You will need to purchase enough Xume adapters, holders and caps for all of your video production lenses and filters, more items than are contained in the Xume Pro Kits, to get the best out of the system.

Standardize on 82mm or 77mm filters, place step-up rings on all your lenses, then attach adapters to each step-up ring.

I recommend brass rather than aluminium step-up rings to avoid binding and use brass step-up rings made by Breakthrough Photography, Heliopan or Sensei especially if they are knurled for better traction.

The Variable ND and Other Alternatives

I have been aware of colour, sharpness and other problems with some of the most highly recommended ND filter sets for some time and have held off investing in a base kit for my Panasonic cameras until something better comes along.

Working in the documentary genres, the time required to carefully white balance off colour checkers or cards is not always there.

Breakthrough Photography’s brass traction frames are a boon for those of us with damaged hands and fingers and are safer to handle in the field than smooth or slightly knurled aluminium frames.

Screw-on, screw-off filter swapping in the field can be dangerous especially with the smooth-sided filters that were standard before Breakthrough Photography came out with its innovative traction frame.

I have some Breakthrough Photography ND filters and they have proven outstanding insofar as colour neutrality and sharpness go, but enquiries about their degree of protection against IR pollution remain unanswered.

There is this statement, however, on the Breakthrough Photography X4 ND product page:

… the X4 ND maintains a very well controlled and flat transmission all the way throughout the visible spectrum and into IR.

In contrast to our GH5 base kit recommendation, Breakthrough Photography’s X4 circular neutral density filters come in 3, 6, 10 and 15 stop reduction values or, under the ND.number naming convention, ND 0.9, 1.8 and 3.0 with the last value between ND 4.0 and ND 5.0.

I’ll stick with f-stop reduction values and forego the arcane ND1number, ND.number and NDnumber naming conventions so 3, 6, 10 and 15 stops it is.

Breakthrough Photography’s Dark CPL & X4 GND Kickstarter campaign earlier this year saw the addition of 100mm and 150mm X4 Square filters: “X4 ND Square is available in 1-stop through 10-stop densities, as well as 15-stop.”

A Stopgap Solution for Documentary Cinematographers?

My stopgap solution in the absence of a full set of fixed ND filters was to rely on the most heavily recommended variable ND filter of the time, the Genustech Eclipse ND Fader with its 2-8 stops reduction range.

Nowadays the most recommended variable NF filters appears to be the 1.3-6 stop reducing SLR Magic Self-Locking Variable Neutral Density filter.

SLR Magic recently announced its 1.2 IEND filter for stacking on fixed or variable ND filters to bump exposure reduction up to 10 stops along with added IR colour control, so purchasing this in combination with SLR Magic’s variable ND filter may be a wise investment for documentary moviemakers always on the move.

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  • Breakthrough Photography X4 Solid Neutral Density FiltersB&H
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  • Formatt Hitech Firecrest Elia Locardi 100mm Signature Edition Travel Kit with 100mm Firecrest Filter HolderB&H
  • Formatt Hitech Firecrest Joel Tjintjelaar 100mm Signature Edition Long Exposure Kit #1 with 100mm Firecrest Filter HolderB&H
  • Formatt Hitech Firecrest Joel Tjintjelaar 100mm Signature Edition Long Exposure Kit #2 with 100mm Firecrest Filter HolderB&H
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  • SLR Magic 82mm Self-Locking Variable Neutral Density 0.4 to 1.8 Filter (1.3 to 6 Stops)B&H – has 86mm front filter thread.
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