I accidentally discovered that a DJI boutique has opened in the Sydney central business district – aka CBD – at World Square while on the way back to the ‘burbs from an International Women’s Day event that I had been covering.
Two handheld gimbals were on display as well as several drones of various sizes.
One gimbal was the recently released Ronin-S, a product in which I am interested, but did not dare pick it up and try it out as the Canon DSLR mounted on it had a defective lens mount lock and the Canon EF 24-105mm kit zoom lens looked like it was in danger of dropping off at any moment.
It is great that a standalone store is now showing off and selling DJI products in Sydney now.
Although a subset of DJI products and other brands of drones and gimbals can be found in some city and suburban camera stores, none so far have a a substantial collection of such products to see, try and buy.
I would love to find a place that stocks Zhiyun-Tech handheld gimbals so I can try them out as well, in order to make an informed purchasing choice and so I can make informed recommendations to readers of ‘Untitled’.
It would also be terrific to find a store where the staff do not ignore me as if I were invisible.
Do they assume that an unaccompanied female cannot afford to buy their products?
“Which lens is better for b roll? Which is better for the buck? Today we’ll look at 2 highly acclaimed lenses from the M43 system in this Panasonic shootout for B ROLL!…”
Panasonic Lumix G 25mm f/1.7 Aspheric prime lens.
Panasonic Lumix G 42.5mm f1/7 Aspheric Power OIS prime lens.
One of the many joys of Micro Four Thirds hybrid mirrorless cameras is their range of price points from affordable through to high-end and the same is true of lenses, making the M43 sensor format attractive to those of us just breaking into stills and video as well as more experienced practitioners.
While I often write about flagship M43 cameras and lenses here, I also use and value lower priced M43 gear for its affordability, smaller size and weight and its usefulness for discrete photography and b-roll video especially in multi-camera set-ups.
New vlogger Kim Cruz has recently produced some short, sharp videos about some of these affordable choices.
Lest one succumb to the commonly held belief that M43 sensor photographs cannot look as good as those from larger sensor cameras, I recommend trying out DxO PhotoLab and its companion applications for processing your M43 raw files.
I received a Panasonic Lumix G 25mm f/1.7 Aspheric prime lens with my Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 camera as part of a promotion at the time and often use it for available darkness stills and video as well as in conjunction with the GX8’s wonderful tilting electronic viewfinder aka EVF when emulating the look of my former Rolleiflex Twin Lens Reflex cameras.
Other small Micro Four Thirds prime lenses for stills and video
Panasonic Lumix G 20mm f/1.7 II Aspheric pancake prime lens.
Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 Aspheric prime lens.
Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 Power OIS prime lens. Considered a benchmark lens in its focal length but it is priced accordingly.
DxO – DxO PhotoLab – Its industry-leading Prime noise reduction algorithm helps M43 raw files look as good as or almost as good as those from larger sensor cameras. I also recommend companion DxO applications such as DxO FilmPack and DxO ViewPoint as well as Nik Collection, currently a set of plug-ins for Photoshop and Lightroom that I hope will also become a plug-in for DxO PhotoLab in due course.
Clicking on these affiliate links and purchasing through them helps us continue our work for ‘Untitled: Stories of Creativity, Innovation, Success’.
Aurora-Aperture 37mm PowerXND 2000 Variable Neutral Density 1.2 to 3.3 Filter (4 to 11 Stops) – B&H – Top quality variable neutral density aka VND filters are a great choice for fast-moving documentary cinematography as opposed to a set of fixed density neutral density filters. Small, narrow filter diameter lenses like the ones discussed by Kim Cruz in these videos can benefit from having their own native-sized VND filters attached when shooting video due to the size and weight of stacking up step-up rings to attach 77mm or 82mm ND or VND filters.
Aurora-Aperture 46mm PowerXND 2000 Variable Neutral Density 1.2 to 3.3 Filter (4 to 11 Stops) – B&H
Chiaro brass UV protection filters – B&H – I recommend brass filters for lens protection as they are not susceptible to binding like many aluminium-framed filters. Chiaro makes an excellent collection of brass-framed UV filters in filter diameter sizes from 37mm through to 122mm.
Heliopan 37-46mm Step-Up Ring (#745) – B&H – I use a variety of brass step-up rings made by Breakthrough Photography, Heliopan and Sensei Pro. Brass step-up rings are best to avoid binding but they cost and weigh a little more than aluminium step-up rings. I like Breakthrough Photography’s step-rings the best due to their unique heavily-knurled traction frame but the company does not make all the sizes you may need such as 37mm, 40.5mm and 43mm.
Panasonic Lumix G 20mm f/1.7 II ASPH. Lens (Black) – B&H – Equivalent in 35mm sensor terms to the 40mm “perfect normal” focal length, this pancake lens is better suited to stills photography than video but is a much-loved focal length for many movie directors and stills photographers. Filter diameter = 46mm.
I have a particular interest in finding optimal solutions for storing, carrying and holding my photography and video production gear, so it is rewarding to come across new and unfamiliar product ranges, with the latest being the HPRCbrand, the initials standing for High Performance Resin Cases.
HPRC is a brand of Plaber Srl, an Italian manufacturer based in Bassano del Grappa, a city and commune in Vicenza province in the northern Italian region of Veneto, and the company’s products are distributed in many parts of the world.
Until recently I had not come across HPRC cases, hardly surprising given we no longer have an annual photography trade show in Sydney nor well-stocked photography and video superstores the like of which exist in other world class cities.
Instead my introduction to HPRC came via a Fujifilm X-E3 review loaner camera and Fujinon XF 50mm f/2.0 R WR and 35mm f2.0 R WR “Fujicron” lenses kindly sent over by Fujifilm Australia, all contained in a beautiful little HPRC hard case with internal zippered soft case, illustrated at right.
The padded soft case could be used as a camera case in its right, but in combination with the external hard case is a potent solution for protecting and transporting equipment like the camera and lenses.
It is a much better alternative to the customary way in which review loaners are sent via couriers, inside boxes inside taped-up corrugated cardboard boxes.
I am familiar with several brands of hard cases, most notably the Pelican brand due to relying on several of its memory card cases for some years as well as some mid-sized Pelican cases for storing items of non-photographic equipment.
My history with hard and soft cases of all types and brands for carrying photography and video production equipment of all sorts, sizes and weights is a long and not always a happy one.
Looking back on the myriad of custom-made and off-the-shelf bags, backpacks and cases I have used over the years, most especially during the analog years when I was working in corporate and magazine photography with a sideline in cinematography, I wonder how my equipment managed to get by without too much major damage.
Much of my travel for work involved small hire cars, small airplanes and understaffed regional airports where I often watched luggage handlers hurl my precious gear on and off trailers and carousels with no thought for safety, their own or that of my precious camera gear.
None of those bags and cases could be described as optimal in their design and manufacturing, often failing miserably at keeping the dust, fluids and salt out of the equipment contained within.
Mind you, I did subject them to some harsh conditions in deserts, at the edge of oceans, down mines and in massive open-cuts as well as traipsing up and down stairs and in and out of elevators, not to forget hauling them in and out of taxi cabs’ back seats and boots in the inner city and suburbs near and far.
Nowadays I tend to travel alone and with the more minimalist kits that the digital age permits, but my own safety and that of my equipment remains paramount and the soft shoulder bags and backpacks that I have used so far have acquitted themselves better than any I had in my analog days.
One big difference between then and now though is in the realm of tripods.
Carbon fibre is a relatively recent innovation and currently I have two carbon fibre-legged tripods for location work, one for video and the other for stills.
There is no way I would undertake extensive travel with either in the soft bags that came them, so my chance discovery of the HPRC brand took on a serious note given I am now looking at upgrading both tripods with more recently-made carbon fibre tripods for environmental portraiture and documentary moviemaking.
An enquiry to HPRC received the feedback that the best hard case for the Sachtler tripod kit will be the HPRC 6400W case, and my choice of hard case for a small stills tripod depends on which of the two 3 Legged Thing tripods I choose.
I like the look of the HPRC 6200 hard case for small tripods and other HPRC items look appealing for other reasons.
I have been needing a smaller, safer memory card carrying solution for some time, and the HPRC1100 looks like it could fill the bill.
The HPRC 5400W would have been perfect when I was carrying light stands and lighting and microphone booms all over the planet and I like that it can take two internal soft bags inside to keep items separate.
The HPRC 2550W2017 is worth serious consideration as wheeled carry-on cabin luggage should interstate and foreign travel plans come to fruition.
For more local travel the HPRC GH52460-01 customized case looks great should I choose to upgrade to a Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 or GH5S for video, though Blackmagic Design’s Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K aka BMPCC 4K aka P4K looks very attractive right now given its ability to shoot high-quality raw or ProRes video while being portable enough for handholding with the right stabilized lenses or gimbal stabilizer.
Given it will not be released until laster in the year questions remain about the BMPCC 4K but one thing is known for sure right now, that its dimensions are very different to those of any other cinema cameras or camcorders and so we may need to rethink how we are going to transport and store it and its lenses and accessories.
HPRC’s customized hard case for the GH5 and GH5S is also available in a version for Sony’s A7, A7R, A7S, A7II, A7III, A7RII, A7SII and a6300 mirrorless hybrid cameras, the HPRC ALP2460-01 for Sony Alpha 7.
I wonder if the HPRC folks are working on a custom case solution for the BMPCC 4K or the coming DJIRonin-S?
A pre-production Ronin-S was being shown off with the BMPCC 4K and non-stabilized Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro zoom lens attached at the recent NAB 2018 trade show in Los Angeles and it looked like a perfect fit.
All these decisions as to camera, tripods, stabilizers and cases depend on being able to actually see and try these items in order to make well-informed decisions though and that remains the biggest obstacle of all right now.
Lest I forget, another HPRC custom case that has a great deal of appeal is the HPRC MAC4800W-01 for carrying and storing my production iMac 27-incher while away on my travels and needing to store all our non-travelling possessions in lockup while away.
Keeping expensive gear in cardboard boxes or other low-end storage products is not recommended when relying on removalists or storage services especially now that radical climate change has brought the threat of mould and insect infestations to the fore here like never before.
A selection of cases for photography and video production equipment by HPRC | High Performance Resin Cases
HPRC HPRC6200 case for small tripods.
HPRC HPRC6200 case for small tripods, foam interior.
HPRC’s HPRC6400W case, one of a range of hard cases suitable for safely transporting tripods.
“We have just released Version 3.0 of our popular Modular Belt System, with improved access speed and ease while accommodating for today’s gear. The Modular Belt System moves weight from your shoulders to your waists for more comfortable all-day carry. Many of the new pouches are expandable to fit pro-sized lenses with hoods in the shooting position….”
The news earlier this month that Think Tank Photo has updated its Modular Belt System to version 3.0 is welcome indeed here at ‘Untitled: Stories of Creativity, Innovation, Success’ as we are in the throes of refining our equipment carrying system for transporting gear in the field and on planes, trains and automobiles.
I chose Think Tank Photo products some years ago on discovering its Wired Up Multimedia system when getting back into photography and video production while needing an integrated system for carrying audio equipment, cameras, lenses and accessories of all sorts and sizes.
I went on a quest to buy every bag in the Wired Up Multimedia system after it suddenly vanished from Think Tank Photo’s website and the retailers stocking it here, and use its components still, but I have long needed to expand it with newer offerings better designed for more contemporary mirrorless cameras, lenses, audio equipment and other many and various accessories by other equally innovative brands such as 3 Legged Thing, Fujifilm, Olympus, Panasonic, Peak Design, Røde Microphones, Rotolight, Tascam, Zoom and more.
The core of the broader integrated production system I am putting together for my documentary photography and video work now may well be Think Tank Photo’s Modular Belt System V3.0 along with the company’s Naked Shape Shifter 17 V2.0 (or its possible V3.0 successor).
Integration seems to be name of the game as production gear makers in different countries partner with each other in making their gear work together in ways that never occurred before.
I will be poring over the components within Think Tank Photo’s Modular Belt System V3.0 via its PDF and website in order to work out the best combination for me, in the absence of a local stockist with plenty of Think Tank Photo product on its shelves for a good try before you buy now that professional suppliers L&P Photographics in Artarmon and Foto Riesel in Sydney are sadly no more.
Think Tank Photo Modular Belt System V3.0 and related items
Think Tank Photo’s Modular Essentials Set V3.0 from the new Think Tank Photo Modular Belt System V3.0 can make a good starter set of Speed Belt-mounted camera bags for cameras, lenses, accessories, personal items and hydration supplies.
Think Tank Photo Pro Speed Belt V3.0 is the core of the Think Tank Photo Modular Component System.
Think Tank Photo Pixel Racing Harness V3.0 attaches to the Think Tank Photo Pro Speed Belt V3.0 for even more fatigue relief and attachment points for bags, camera straps and other items.
Think Tank Photo modular bags attach to speed belts and camera bag side rails with this tongue and flap system so they stay in one place on the belt or rail or are able to be moved into place as needed. To anchor the bag in one spot for the duration, place the tongue into a loop like this. For free movement, place the tongue over the loop.
Think Tank Photo Naked Shape Shifter 17 V2.0 is specially designed with internal rails for attaching Modular Components System pouches and belts. Use it to carry your system onsite, belt up then keep the Naked Shape Shifter on your back to carry personal items and rain jacket, or for rapid packing when your shoot is completed.
Think Tank Photo Speed Belt and Modular Belt System V3.0 components make for fast, easy access to all your gear on location instead of fiddling with shoulder bags or backpacks.
Think Tank Photo Little Stuff It! V3.0 can be attached to a belt, bag rail or vertical straps such as Think Tank Photo Pixel Racing Harness V3.0 or straps on other camera bags and backpacks. I want one so I can keep my mobile phone and other small daily necessities in it then swap from bag to bag at speed.
Think Tank Photo Camera Clip Adapter V3.0 enables you to hang cameras off your Speed Belt or camera bag rail via camera clips made by Peak Design or the Spider brand’s Spider Light or Spider Pro.
Think Tank Photo Stuff It! V3.0 can hold a wide variety of small items. I have two of its predecessor, Stuff It! V2.0, and use them attached to backpacks and waist packs. One always holds my personal items for easy transfer between bags.
Think Tank Photo Stuff It! V3.0 can hold keys, reporters’ notebooks, pens, pencils, mobile phones, business cards and plenty more besides. I have two version 2.0 Stuff It! bags.
Think Tank Photo Credential Holder Tall v2.0 for holding press passes, credentials papers, business cards, mobile phones, pens, pencils and more. I have one small and one tall, ready-packed for when I need to dash off to cover an event.
Instead of leaving your water bottle in the side pocket of your Think Tank backpack, carry it with you at all times on your Think Tank Speed Belt. Think Tank Photo R U Thirsty V3.0 can also make a good holder for mini umbrellas.
Think Tank Photo Hubba Hubba Hiney V3.0 may have started life as a camera bum bag concept but it can be so much more than that, the core bag component of your modular belt system for carrying gear while shooting.
Think Tank Photo Lens Changer 25 with cover over the lens for better protection. Think Tank Photo’s Modular Component System V3.0 contains six version 3.0 Lens Changer bags.
Think Tank Photo Speed Changer V3.0 can hold one battery grip-equipped DSLR or mirrorless camera, or several lenses or a myriad of small items of various sorts.
Think Tank Photo Speed Changer V3.0 can carry several small lenses, SSD or hard drives, batteries, SD card holders or other accessories.
Think Tank Photo Speed Changer V3.0 can also carry a range of smaller items in its two front compartments.
Think Tank Photo Slim Changer V3.0 can carry lenses, a non-gripped DSLR or mirrorless camera or other small accessories and production equipment.
MindShift Gear – website – Think Tank Photo’s companion brand for outdoor adventure bags and accessories.
Peak Design – website – many Peak Design products work in synergy with Think Tank Photo and Mindshift Gear products.
“If you have a solid investment in a tripod and travel a lot having a case that is dependable and can take some bumps is important. Not only is protecting your investment important but making it easier to move around is too. Think Tank Photo has you covered with the new Video Tripod Manager 44 Rolling Case.…”
The very first tripod case I have seen that looks like it could be worth investing in!
I have travelled with big, heavy but amazingly stable tripods in a range of bags including third party tripod cases and bags provided by the manufacturer but all have proven wanting.
This case ticks all the boxes and would definitely suit my big Miller tripod.