Sony USA: Sony Celebrates No. 1 Overall Position in U.S. Full-frame Cameras with Launch of Historic ‘Be Alpha’ Campaign

https://alphauniverse.com/stories/sony-takes-over-as-no-1-in-u-s–full-frame-cameras–launches-historic–be-alpha–campaign/

“… The ‘Be Alpha’ campaign will also feature programs that are designed to foster growth in both the current and next generations of imaging professionals, the most notable of which being the flagship ‘Alpha Female’ program. This multi-tiered, female exclusive program is Sony’s thoughtful response to the imaging industry’s well-documented diversity challenges. It will include a variety of grants and mentorship opportunities for female photographers and videographers, as well as the production of several large-scale industry events. Additional details to be released soon….”

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Sony Alpha a9 mirrorless digital camera with Sony VG-C3EM vertical grip and Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 24-70mm f/4 ZA OSS zoom lens.

Commentary

Details about Sony’s coming ‘Alpha Female’ program thread of the ‘Be Alpha’ campaign have yet to appear online but this is the very first time to my knowledge that any camera maker has done anything to address the huge imbalance in opportunities for and representation of female photographers and moviemakers.

It is likely that concrete information about the ‘Alpha Female’ program and the ‘Alpha Female’ photographers and moviemakers involved in it will begin appearing during the ‘Be Alpha’ campaign launch event on August 19th, World Photography Day, in New York City. 

I hope that the ‘Alpha Female’ program will be a beacon to all aspiring and established female photographers and moviemakers everywhere, not just limited to the USA, and inspire all camera and other hardware manufacturing companies to make a real change for the better.

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“Not enough lenses”? Sony A-Mount and E-Mount lenses in 35mm and APS-C sensor formats as of 2017.

Coverage of Sony products, as well as those by Canon and Nikon, has been sporadic here at ‘Untitled’ but Sony’s ‘Alpha Female’ program as well as the other two camera makers’ coming high-end mirrorless cameras are incentive to try to persuade all three brands to assist us in writing about their products with firsthand experience.

Another such incentive is Australian cinematographer/director Paul Leeming’s creation of Sony and Canon inclusive Leeming LUT Pro, “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 Quickies™ for a one-touch creative grade designed to work seamlessly with the common baseline of Leeming LUT Pro™ corrected footage.”

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Sony FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Sonnar prime lens for Sony E-Mount cameras with 35mm sensors. Photojournalist David Burnett describes it as “the sharpest, crispest 50mm lens I have ever used”.

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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.

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Popular Video Noise Reduction Plug-In Neat Video Updated to Version 4.5

There has been plenty of online chatter lately about the possible high ISO noise qualities of the coming Panasonic Lumix GH5 Super 16 hybrid video/stills camera. The background to that chatter has been the relatively low noise high ISO qualities of Sony’s 35mm hybrid video-stills Alpha a7S and Alpha a7S II cameras compared to other contemporary cameras. 

A big factor in reducing the noise level of your video files is to expose correctly in the first place, applying the principle of exposing to the right aka ETTR. Cinematographer Paul Leeming does a good job showing how to ETTR and why at his Leeming LUT One website.

So far the GH5’s firmware is in pre-production and the last thing one should do is make firm buying decisions based on pre-production camera firmware. But so far, from the evidence shared recently by Panasonic brand ambassador Nick Driftwood, the GH5’s high ISO noise looks promising.

If noise is an issue, though, there is another solution, noise reduction software in the form of plug-ins for your favourite non-linear editing software aka NLE.

One of the most popular third-party noise reduction plug-ins is the legendary Neat Video, available as a plug-in for a range of NLEs and it has just been updated to version 4.5.

According to the version 4.5 change list, Neat Video’s profiling functionality has been improved with enhanced tools and a range of new features have been added, in short:

  • Preview Assist viewer mode
  • Noise Level Tuning Assist tool
  • Slow Shutter Tuning Assist tool
  • Spatial Filter Tuning Assist tool… and more.

Demo versions of the Neat Video plug-in can be downloaded for the ten different hosts in which Neat Video works, and it can be purchased online if it proves satisfactory, separately or in bundles.

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