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Thursday, 19 April 2012

Canon Puts 5D Mark III Shipments on Hold As It Investigates Light Leak Issue

Canon Puts 5D Mark III Shipments on Hold As It Investigates Light Leak Issue
Michael Zhang · Apr 18, 2012

Canon has begun informing retailers in the UK and Canada (and probably other regions as well) that shipments of the Canon 5D Mark III have been put on hold as the company investigates the “light leak” issue that has come to light over the past month. Widely discussed in the blogosphere and on forums, the issue — which some have dubbed “leakgate” — is now known to cause a 1/3 stop error in exposure in very specific situations (i.e. scenarios that will not affect the vast majority of photographers).


(via Canon Watch)

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

The downfall of the big guys just began – BlackMagic 2.5K Cinema Camera with 12bit RAW for $3000

The downfall of the big guys just began – BlackMagic 2.5K Cinema Camera with 12bit RAW for $3000
Monday, 16 April, 2012 18:58
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Black Magic Cinema Camera
Above: Bearing a resemblance to the Box Brownie, the BlackMagic Design Cinema Camera will be available July for $3000
For too long the big corporate giants from Japan have been neglecting a huge burgeoning demand for a true next generation filmic camera for the masses… Despite stumbling ass backwards into it in pole position.
Now a company with a fraction of the resources best know for their external recording boxes (like the Hyperdeck Shuttle) BlackMagic Design has dropped a bombshell. They have entered the digital cinema market with a $3000 cinema camera that records 2.5K RAW with 13.5 stops of dynamic range to an SSD, with Thunderbolt and HD-SDI. A true next generation camera.
In terms of the camera
Sensor size is a little like the GH2′s Micro Four Thirds 16:9 multi-aspect CMOS. It sits between Super 16mm and the GH2. It isn’t quite as large as Super 35mm but it isn’t far off. The whole area of the sensor is 16.64 mm x 14.04 mm and the recording area for video is 15.6 mm x 8.8 mm.
Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera - Sensor Size
In terms of concept this is like a Digital Bolex but it ships in July with a large sensor. (I want that project to succeed just as much as this but how many must now be asking Kickstarter for their money back?)
The raw recording format is CinemaDNG 12bit. Pretty amazing. What is more – for those whose workflow / hardware is not ready for raw, the camera also records to ProRes and Avid DNxHD.
The LCD is a capacitive touch-screen like the iPhone which should be pretty responsive and allows you to input custom metadata… But I’d have preferred to have seen more physical controls for ISO, shutter, etc.
The lens mount is compatible with EF glass because it seems to be a longer 44mm-like flange, as on the 5D Mark III. To be honest that tube could do with being hot swappable down to a bare mirrorless mount with a flange under 20mm for compatibility with more lenses and a PL mount. Not sure if it is. The EF mount includes electronic control for aperture in much the same way Metabones does it for Sony E-Mount.
A very nice addition is HD-SDI and Thunderbolt (a first for any camera). These are great inclusions at this price point and makes the camera even more appealing to any pros dissatisfied with DSLRs. Thunderbolt makes use of the transfer speeds the camera’s SSD media is capable of delivering, which will come in handy for massive raw files.
In terms of the filmmaker
This is just a picture making box. Like Apple, BlackMagic seems to get that adding simplicity rather than complexity makes for a better product. It is a machined aluminium block and the crucial interface ports are just as robust. HD-SDI is far better than HDMI. Audio connectivity is provided by 2x 1/4″ plugs which is more an audio recording studio standard than camera – these can easily be pulled out accidentally but they’re more robust than 3.5mm jacks and audio quality should not be an issue with these. The headphone jack though is 3.5mm like an iPhone.
This camera will be hot… It will sell out instantly. It will get hyped to death.
It is important to remember that this camera is a 1st generation product by a company new to the camera market.
As such – although it breaks the mould and sets the tone for future products, it is probably not going to be perfect or as good an all-rounder as more mature products from larger companies.
Will I be ordering one? Yes of course! Unless there are any huge image quality issues and the low light really sucks, it has a place in my bag because of 2.5K 12bit raw.
Blackmagic
In terms of the market
This camera sets the cat amongst the pigeons to say the least.
Canon recognised a need for large sensor cinema cameras but priced them for Hollywood and left DSLRs to rot. With Canon it seems they have tunnel vision. The announcement of the 4K DSLR with no 4K 25p, only 24p proves this. Nobody outside Hollywood or Japan exists! It is like building a car for a worldwide market and having it leave the factory with 3 wheels. Some, like Nikon, took 3 years to realise there was even a market! Some like Red aimed at the market but failed and went back to the Hollywood glitterati, their natural home. Blackmagic Design meanwhile could so easily have priced this raw camera at $10,000 and still sell out but the fact they didn’t is hugely significant.
The Blackmagic Cinema Camera may well clean up. DSLRs have a serious rival now.
Blackmagic cinema camera with 12bit raw
To price it high would have made a massive margin and they’d still have sold out for months. But it would be penny wise, pound foolish in the long run. It is the price that makes this camera such big news. Up against the might of Arri, Canon and Sony, a company like Blackmagic would have had a very hard time of winning market share at $10k+ but the sub $3000 market is crying out for this kind of product.
Then having established themselves here, they have the foundations and reputation for a higher end model.
Some rivals are already pushing into the future like Sony, whose FS700 is very appealing and seems to have significant benefits over the Blackmagic in terms of 4K, slow-mo, low light and a larger sensor but no raw 12bit. In the end it will all come down to image quality, workflow and price.





Source: EOSHD.com
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Which digital cinema camera to get now?

Which digital cinema camera to get now?
Friday, 23 March, 2012 15:14
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Digital Cinema Cameras - Guide
Disclaimer: I usually say don’t wait – shoot with what you can get now, the best you can afford. But March 2012 is an unusual month because NAB 2012 is around the corner in April. The picture may change somewhat. Bear that in mind!
The candidates are:
Sony NEX FS100$4000 used / $4700 new
The first professional interchangeable lens camera to dip to the accessible $4000 mark
Canon 5D Mark III$3000 used / $3500 new
An incremental improvement to the 5D Mark II
Canon 5D Mark II$1600 used / $2000 new
For budget users for whom a 5D Mark III is out of reach
Panasonic GH2$600 used / $800 new
For the price of a lens you can shoot at 170Mbit i-frame with FS100 standard 1080p
Nikon D800$3000 new
Improved Nikon full frame video DSLR offering with 4:2:2 HDMI output and 1.6x crop mode
Sony NEX 7$1500 new
Top of the range mirrorless camera with 1080/60p
And at the end, a brief look at some of the higher priced options such as the RED Scarlet, Canon C300 and Nikon D4.
Wow what an embarrassment of riches for a start! I remember just 5 years ago the cost of going from a not-very-cinematic small chip camcorder to a slightly less not-very-cinematic pro camcorder was more than the price of the 5D Mark II alone.
Now you can go from the not-very-cinematic to cinematic for the price of a living room TV, with cameras like the GH2.
We’ve never had it so good.
The case for the Sony FS100
FS100
This is now down to $4000 used and so is a lot of camera for the money. If you are considering the 5D Mark III but think the resolution, manual focus, monitoring and handling may be an issue then the FS100 may be worth extra the $500 or so. It has the same lens mount as the little consumer NEX cameras and can take Canon lenses with full aperture and IS control via the new Metabones adapter, the issues with which are now solved. Unlike, say, a $10,000 Scarlet, the FS100 is ready to shoot out of the box. It is modular though so you will be tempted to buy specific add-ons for it… But they’re not essential like they are for the RED. It takes an SSD or SD, and the high capacity battery runs for up to 8 hours. It does 1080/60p even via uncompressed HDMI 4:2:2. Currently the Atomos Ninja does not support that, only 1080i with 24p in progressive segmented frame format, but it will be nice for the future. If you need slow mo, better resolution and peaking with an articulated screen the FS100 is a better choice than a full frame DSLR for not that much more money. A forthcoming firmware update will make this camera multi-region like a Canon DSLR is. For some reason the price is a bit crazy in Europe so consider importing a NTSC model instead.
The case for the Panasonic GH2
GH2
If you think the FS100 is a lot of camera for the money wait until you see what this does for $600. Resolution is insane and the best of all the DSLR-type video modes. With the hack which runs very reliably you get up to 170Mbit ALL-I from it and a very fine grain of noise. Image quality is comparable to the FS100 in all but the shadows. The codec compresses the lows more and it has a more punchy baked in look. The camera doesn’t have the low light performance above ISO 3200 that the 5D Mark III and FS100 does but you can get very nice film-like black and white images from it at ISOs up to 12,800 in extreme low light situations with fast glass. Nice artistically. The camera lacks the audio control and XLR jacks of the FS100, and the sensor is slightly smaller than Super 35mm. It does not have quite the colour sampling performance of the 5D Mark III, Mark II and Nikon D800 via HDMI 4:2:2 because the image processing pipeline prioritises resolution sampling but there’s no question that this is easily the best bang for buck camera in the world right now and capable of a superb image, sometimes RED 2K rivalling in the way it looks with the right lenses. Just be aware that shallow DOF is rather small-chip looking at super wide angle, though it is lovely and shallow at mid to tele even stopped down.
The case for the Canon 5D Mark II
5D Mark II
An oldie but goodie, the Mark II has the largest sensor here because it is primarily a 35mm photographic animal. The problem is that the 4 year old image processor and sensor is not optimised to deliver video. Resolution falls quite a long way short of the GH2 and FS100. The codec is ok but nothing special, and you don’t get the fine grain of noise you do on the FS100 and GH2 either. The image is really nasty at ISO 3200 and above with blotchy red and blue speckles everywhere. However there is no denying that full frame x-factor. The colours, the way it handles shadows and highlights (it even has more headroom in specular highlights than the much newer 5D Mark III in video mode) and the creamy shallow depth of field even when stopped down. With this camera it is all about the lenses. Forget about the rest. Although with the superb Magic Lantern hack you can win a LOT of useful video related features back (such as manual audio control, levels, peaking and adjustable frame rates) most of which the 5D Mark III doesn’t have and might never have! Moire and aliasing is an issue to watch out for as is HDMI monitoring at 540p and via the small non-articulated LCD which can be back breaking at times – but with the used price now finally dropping since being made obsolete the old 5D could be a bargain if you want the full frame look in your videos. A great b-cam to the better all-rounder GH2 for those on a budget.
The case for the new Canon 5D Mark III
5D Mark II
Rather than progression, this camera is more like a fix. It does away with moire and aliasing, it has a headphone jack for audio, and better monitoring over HDMI. It reminds me in some ways of the difference between, say, a 60D and 7D. BUT it still has the muddy resolution of the 5D Mark II from 4 years ago! For certain shots the softness is just perfect. Portraits, medium-close ups, shallow DOF stuff is all very nice on this camera. At infinity focus on a wide angle shot though, it looks utterly terrible. The codec is questionable on this one, it doesn’t seem to give you much of an image quality boost and it has some fizz where the old 5D Mark II has none, but it is nice to have intra-frame to give quick motion a cleaner more cinematic look. Whether the 5D Mark III is worthy of your $3000 or whether you should spend half that on the body and invest the rest in lenses will depend on you. If you already have a lot of full frame glass and want to make use of your nice fast wide angle 24s and 28s then this is the one to go for provided you can put up with the stuff missing over the FS100, like 1080/60p, over crank, clean HDMI, 4:2:2, XLR audio, articulated screen, peaking for manual focus, better battery, (deep breath, 1 sec!!……….) mirrorless mount, AF with Sony lenses and recording to an SSD. Quite a lot more for $500 extra! But bear in mind that full frame is still quite a bit larger than Super 35mm in terms of the sensor so you get a different look to your lenses on the FS100.
D800
Resolution actually seems a notch above the 5D Mark III judging from some footage I’ve seen lately. But the camera has issues on horizontal lines, some aliasing and quite heavy moire like the old 5D Mark II. This is not improved via the HDMI output but you do get 4:2:2 and can record to ProRes at 300Mbit. Just as well since the internal encoder is not very good. However the DXOMark results for the 36MP sensor are VERY – no EXTRAORDINARILY good. They say it is the best they’ve ever tested, better than medium format digital backs. Surprisingly the ISO score is neck and neck with the D4 despite the much higher megapixel count. How this translates to video mode remains to be seen. This camera is also a slightly more reasonably priced camera than the new Canon equivalent but more than a used 5D Mark II. It has some things the 5D Mark III doesn’t such as a 1.6x crop mode but it lacks some of the Canon features like timecode and internal i-frame codec. Image quality is similar on the whole and you get the same kind of manual audio control and monitoring. If you have a EVF just be aware that you’ll be relying on a 24Mbit internal codec that isn’t much good. You might want to swap it to a Ninja for both monitoring and recording with this camera.
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NEX 7
Some of the FS100′s best features have tricked down to the NEX 7 but the image quality just isn’t as good. The GH2 is better resolved as well. What the camera does have going for it is price, size, lens mount, slow mo (although it is not compressed as well as on the FS100) and peaking for manual focus. It also has a nifty articulated screen making it more convenient to use out of the box than a 5D Mark III or D800 for video on a tripod. Moire and aliasing is there and there’s no way to record at high bitrates like there is on the other cameras. The camera has a flat picture profile but it falls apart horribly in post so this is not the one to get if you want to do colour correction or shoot flat. Personally I end up using my GH2 ahead of the NEX 7 because I prefer the image, though both are brilliant in terms of what they offer for the money. ReWo have developed a very nice cage for the NEX 7 like they did for the GH2, you can check that out here.
The case for the others
Scarlet
RED, C300, Nikon D4 – now it gets serious. These are a lot of money and shouldn’t be considered unless what they’re offering for the extra is worth it in terms of investment. These are not purely artist’s tools they are business tools. Here is an example of what I mean – the FS100 lacks a built in ND filter. Would this slow you down or hurt productivity shooting a commercial job? If the answer is yes then it is worth investing a not inconsiderable amount of money in solving the problem.
The Canon C300 solves a lot of problems and is simply brilliant to use. However the image is not that much different to the FS100 (8bit 4:2:2) and it lacks some features of that camera – such as over crank, 1080/60p, SSD recording and auto-focus. It does however have two biggies… Built in ND wheel and HD-SDI. If those are a concern – and you will know without explanation if they are – then that will be $11,000 for your ND wheel and HD-SDI socket thank you very much, ta. Oh and it also has a ‘broadcast ready’ codec which is helpful if you are shooting for the dinosaurs at the BBC! It is MPEG 50Mbit 4:2:2 and 8bit – not up to the Sony F3 standard of 10bit – but this is more than compensated for by the sensor which has the best colour sampling on any camera today.
The RED Scarlet is $10,000 and does 4K. If that isn’t exciting I don’t know what is! However it comes with a plethora of issues which need carefully considering. Remember also that 2K on this camera is in crop mode. 4K is full sensor and that mode doesn’t do slow-mo like the EPIC.
It won’t shoot for $10,000. You are really looking at closer to the C300′s price. Here is the breakdown of Scarlet’s pricing:
Scarlet-X brain with Canon mount and SSD slot – $10,000

Side handle (mandatory) – $1000
LCD (mandatory) – $1600
Battery (erm, mandatory) – $400
REDMAG (that is the SSD, 64GB) with station $1100
Then there’s the stuff you really need but can just about get away with not having. The RED ROCKET speeds up post – that is $5000. The extra SSDs are $1000 a piece for just 64GB, far more than they would be direct from a manufacturer like Kingston whose drives are the latest tech and go for just $1 per GB. Yes – $64! So add up the mandatory stuff first and that comes to $14,100. Still under the Canon C300 but with raw workflow and 4K. For absolute image quality that is really very good value. You have to really want that 1080p broadcast ready codec and quicker workflow to stump up extra for the Canon C300.
And finally the Nikon D4.
Forget it. The D800 has a better image in video mode and that is half the price! It does however have a 2.7x 1:1 crop mode that gives you a sensor size the same as a $300 Nikon J1 mirrorless compact camera. Don’t laugh – image quality is actually perfect 1080p in that mode with no aliasing or moire. But is it worth $6000? As a stills camera for pros that do the occasional video, yes. But for filmmakers, certainly not.







Source: EOSHD.com
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How to shoot around the 5D Mark III’s limitations

How to shoot around the 5D Mark III’s limitations
Tuesday, 27 March, 2012 03:33
5D Mark III

Here’s a quick guide to the things I’ve found useful with my 5D Mark III video shoots so far.
Picture profile recommendations
I don’t like to use a very flat image profile. I prefer to monitor an image whilst shooting which is representative of what I’m seeing. I also dislike the crushed tonal range that an extended dynamic range image profile like CineStyle produces and the increase in noise it entails – not to mention the hassle of grading it! For satisfying footage straight off the card I recommend Faithful – a typically warm Canon look with saturated colours. Keep sharpness at 0, off. This is far left not the mid point like the other attributes.
Don’t bother reducing contrast or saturation to a minimum as it will bake a crappy look into your image. With contrast and saturation at the mid point the codec grades better in either direction. Increasing saturation in post when it has been recorded at a minimum in camera gives you less colour data to work with. Reducing contrast too much makes low contrast detail muddy looking. Leave the colour tone setting at 0 (mid-point) since adjusting this gives you an ugly green or magenta cast to whites and lighter colour shades.
Sharpen in post not in-camera
The in-camera sharpening is pretty ugly. Turn it off and use the Unsharp Mask in your NLE instead, which throws more flexibility and horsepower at the job of sharpening. Some scenes will sharpen better than others, be selective and judge each shot as it comes and the amounting of sharpening needed to make it pop. Judge sharpness on a moving image, not a still frame grab. Spatial resolution goes up with motion and what looks either too sharp or not sharp enough on a paused frame can change when it moves.
5D Mark III sharpening
Avoid a very deep depth of field
The 5D Mark III like the other Canon DSLRs is not great at deep depth of field because of the softness of the image. Using a shallower depth of field and a medium-close up to frame your subject helps the perceived level of detail jump right up. The camera can look as sharp as the GH2 given the right composition and sharpening in post.
Turn off noise reduction
The in-camera noise reduction softens your image in low light and reduces the amount of film like fine grain in the image. Since the 5D Mark III already produces a very soft image, a fine grain pattern helps to give a perceived resolution boost. You might even consider adding fine grain afterwards with a plugin in post. One of the best features of the Canon C300 and Panasonic GH2 is the fine noise grain at high ISOs. Turning off noise reduction doesn’t make much difference in how clean your image is in low light but it does reduce the amount of blotchiness and smearing of fine detail.
Use manual white balance
Canon seem to have tamed the auto-white balance after years of complaints that it was too warm. I enjoyed the warmness as I felt it was closer to what my eyes saw and closer to memory colour, despite not strictly being ‘white balanced’ in a technical sense. Now I find that I have to disable auto-white balance and select either a preset of the kelvin setting manually. Test first – check the image carefully in post and make sure your external monitor matches the final footage. Set the monitor or camera up alongside your NLE and compare the images.
Magic hour
Select the best recording format
Use 1080/25/24p in ALL-I mode. IPB isn’t worth bothering with as the compression is too high. Since the 5D Mark III is already resolution challenged, forget 720/60p unless you absolutely need to record very fast moving scenes in slow motion. Twixtor works superbly on 24p otherwise.
Export to a high bitrate for Vimeo and YouTube
I use a VBR 1 pass H.264 codec in Premiere Pro CS5.5 to export my videos to Vimeo. Bitrate is on the high side for the web – an average of 32Mbit and a maximum of 40Mbit. The screen grab below shows my settings but ignore the part about 25 fps if you’re shooting 24p in NTSC land. Also select the option in Vimeo’s clip settings to stream your video in 1080p, rather than the default SD or 720p.
5D Mark III - Vimeo compression in Premiere Pro CS5.5
Use moire to focus with
The live view display scales the image to roughly VGA 640×480 and such is the extreme downsampling that some moire and aliasing is still visible on the live view display. This helps manual focus, making the focus plane rougher and more animated.
Re-assign the magnified focus assist
The amount of functionality than can be programmed to each programmable button on the 5D Mark III is quite limited but thankfully the ‘punch-in’ to focus can be assigned to SET. This means it is under your right thumb, rather than somewhere near your left hand!
Use a monitor instead of the built in LCD
Shooting with a screen that cannot be angled upwards when the camera is on a tripod is a pain. The LCD also does not have great visibility in bright daylight. If you don’t mind the added bulk, use an HDMI monitor or one that double as both an EVF or small monitor like the Zacuto EVF. Invest in good rigging to attach the monitor to the camera, as this will affect its usability.
NEX 5N and Zacuto EVF
Above: my Sony NEX 5N rig with Zacuto EVF. A similar setup can be performed with the 5D Mark III for an articulated monitor or viewfinder
Assign the movie start/stop button to the shutter release
Many will find this more convenient. If you don’t plan to shoot stills almost simultaneously with video, go to the SHOOT5: Movie menu and assign the Movie Shoot Button to both the normal start/stop button and the shutter. To take stills you have to flick the lever on the live view button to enter stills mode. You can by the way take stills in the middle of a recording, but beware that the clip will pause for a second or two when the shutter is released.
Turn off automatic LCD brightness
Set this to manual for more accurate judgement of shot exposure using the LCD. It is hell with it turned on and it will affect your footage.
Turn off auto lighting optimiser
This can override manual exposure if enabled, causing unexpected changes in the middle of a shot!
5D Mark III - sheep
Remove the viewfinder cup
The viewfinder cup which comes with the camera in a small plastic bag is simply terrible. When attached it wobbles. The last thing you want is the sound of a wobbling piece of plastic being picked up by your mic.
Stop down the lens
Depth of field control is pretty critical on a full frame sensor. Not every backdrop is better blurred out completely. Show restraint and not only will it be easier to get your subject continuously in focus but an attractive surrounding won’t look like a blank canvas.
5D Mark III in the woods
Have a GH2 or FS100 as a second body
It is financially viable, the Panasonic GH2 and Sony FS100 compliment the 5D Mark III very well. A larger range of lenses can be adapted. They have more manageable focus when the lens is wide open at F2 or F1.4 in low light. They have articulated monitors. The FS100 has slow mo in 1080p and peaking for manual focus. They both resolve more detail in landscape shots especially at infinity focus. I won’t detail all the advantages here but check back for a full run-down of the FS100 versus GH2 and 5D Mark III later next week.
Consider what the 5D Mark II was capable of in the right hands
Some superb looking stuff was shot on the predecessor. The 5D Mark III is even better. Yes it is a disappointment in many ways and should have been far better. But remember it is full frame – that look is special – great in low light, great at rendering your photographic lenses, a superb sensor in a body with great ergonomics and a diminutive size. Moire and aliasing is pretty much fixed. Audio is much improved. The codec is intra-frame and at a higher bitrate than on the Nikon D800′s internal codec. Frustration aside it is still pretty unique.









Source: EOSHD.com
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